...then you are writing an encyclopedia.
...then you are writing an encyclopedia.
Last edited by AZBuck; 03-03-2021 at 05:12 PM.
Wow, you flushed me full of memories like when my wife and I camped at Prairie Creek Redwood SP campground in June 1982, what a great place. Cape Kiwanda is where I have had the good fortune surfing several times... and afterwards dining and drinking at Pacific City Brewing right there admiring the haystack rock. Astoria is also a beautiful town.
When you mentioned that nondescript area of southern Washington state I immediately thought of the big nuclear waste installation. Perfect place for that.
Good to see you had the opportunity to enjoy some of the beers of the PNW, not to mention it is also coffee drinking territory.
@glc, yep, yes, it was!
@AZBuck, I guess I went a bit overboard with the pictures. Looking at it now, I could have trimmed a few of them. I think I wanted to make up for the few pictures I took (and thus included) in the first part.
@landmariner, that's awesome! I wish we could've camped at Prairie Creek Redwood SP. It seemed really nice. We could also have used the following morning to see the park a bit more, but oh well. Cape Kiwanda was awesome! Thank you for all the amazing recommendations! And that's spot on how it felt being there and drinking. It fit my idea of what a California surf-town is.
Regarding southern WA, nondescript is a great adjective. It was totally unexpected, as I hear Washington state and think of vast ranges of lush evergreen forest.
Absolutely! The PNW has amazing beer. My hold luggage flying back was literally just beer, a lot of which was from the PNW, and packing material.
So many great memories for me as well and I thank you for allowing us to come along for the ride with your report.
No no. Keep them coming, they bring the report to life !!I guess I went a bit overboard with the pictures. Looking at it now, I could have trimmed a few of them.
My apologies once again, but life has been extremely busy (and will continue to be so in the near future). This week, though, I've managed to find some time to finish the write-up. I hope you enjoy the last part of this report.
Like I said, this morning I was feeling much better than the previous night. A combination of a hot shower and breakfast did wonders! Today's plan is to reach Mendocino, where we would be meeting a couple of friends.
First, we stopped in Ferndale. We had read it was a nice stop from multiple sources, including RTA's own Southwest Dave. We got there at 11 and took a good stroll. It definitely belongs in the quirky town category, with its numerous Victorian-styled buildings. However, I can't say much more, as we didn't find much else to do.
We calmly continued down northern California. Now, I must correct the record and say that it was this day that we did the Avenue of Giants. After this beautiful road, we hopped back on US 101 and made our way to Fort Bragg, stopping here and there to breath in the views of the coast of northern California. We had some time to kill, and so, decided to stop at the North Coast Brewing Taproom, where we ate and got to taste a couple of beers. I also bought a few bottles to take back home, including the famous Old Rasputin.
It was time to meet our friends at the Russian Gulch SP campground. When we got there, we were fortunate enough to get one of two spaces left. The campground itself is next to the sea and one can look up to see the bridge that goes over the park. Our site was really nice, with a lot of space, including a fire pit. After setting up, we headed out to explore a bit Mendocino county. We also got supplies and, back at the campground, we had an amazing barbecue. Truly idyllic camping lifestyle!
We woke up to a very foggy day, but I nevertheless went for a short stroll and managed snap a couple of pictures.
Today would be dedicated to San Francisco. After lunch in Santa Rosa, it wasn't long before we were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Our friends were very kind and had a nice tour prepared for us. With them serving as drivers/guides, we hit the main touristy attractions, such as a Golden Gate Bridge look-out, Lombard Street, Pier 39, etc.
We finished our day with dinner at the Boudin at the Wharf. It was a good day, even if a bit gray and chilly.
Once again, our friends had cooked up a day plan. Unfortunately, I don't recall any particular spots, except California's country roads full of curves. For some reason, I didn't take any photos either. Anyway, the country roads took us to some place on the coast, where we walked on a couple of beaches and later had a wine tasting, which was delicious (and pricy)!
This was the last morning with our friends, to whom we were very grateful. They had to work in the morning, but we would still have lunch together before we left (as well as attend a talk at one of Silicon Valley's bigs). While they worked, we checked out the NASA Ames Visitor Center, where we saw, among other things, a sample of the Moon. Very cool!
For lunch we got burritos that were so large they would later be dinner too. American-sized portions! Anyway, we said our goodbyes and started one of the most exciting parts of our trip: the PCH!
It was glorious! Majestic! Gorgeous! Not enough adjectives for the beauty of this road. No wonder so many people come to it. Yet, there wasn't that much traffic. Perhaps because we were already past peak tourist season. In any case, it was excellent! Not only were the views amazing, but the drive itself was very enjoyable, despite the curves, narrow roads and cliffs. Naturally, we stopped at almost all marked look outs, taking our time to soak in the landscape, take photos and just enjoy ourselves. Going south is definitely the way to do it. I can't imagine pulling out to some of the stops coming from the other side.
Before the sun set, we still managed to see elephant seals at San Simeon. This was something we hadn't planned for, and as such, a very pleasant surprise.
Our planned overnight rest was Montaña de Oro SP, next to Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. Just as we were arriving, another encounter with wildlife.
Unfortunately, the campground was first come first served and we couldn't see any empty sites. It was dark and late, so rather than drive back and randomly look for another campground, we decided to ask a young group of women in an RV if we could share their site. The sites were large and because they were in an RV, there was plenty of space for our tent. They accepted and we split the cost.
We wouldn't go to bed before wildlife greeted us once again, with a group of raccoons scaring us. We were walking back from the restrooms to the tent and we start to hear noises. As soon as we turn on the flashlight, we see a big group of them a mere couple of feet away from our feet.
The night didn't go that well. Our "sitemates" were joined by another group. Despite the noise, we managed to fall asleep. Unfortunately, in the dark, a couple of them walked and fell on top of our tent, waking us up in the process.
We got up early and took a morning walk in the park. The sunlight was warming, but it was nevertheless cold. The landscape, however, was beautiful, as the PCH had us accustomed to.
The clock had not yet ticked eight in the morning and we were already on the road. Continuing down the 101, today's drive was a short one, which my partner volunteered to do. Our objective was to spend the day in Santa Barbara, but we decided to head to Faria Beach Park first. It's 30 minutes past SB, but we wanted to secure a site for the night.
Having done that, we backtracked to Santa Barbara. There, we parked the car and did most of the city walking. We started at the harbor and walked along West Beach to Stearns Wharf. It was strange to be in a place we had seen on TV so many times.
At this point, we were hungry and naturally decided to get mexican. We found a taquería with good reviews and I'm so happy we did. It was absolutely out-of-this-worldly delicious! One of the best meals ever! So good I still think of that meal from time to time.
After a meal like that, a good walk was warranted. That's what we did, as we made our way to State Street. We checked a few stores and did some shopping. It was now late and time to head back to Faria Beach Park for our last night of camping. There, we open our tent to find a big rock inside. A few minutes later, our neighbor, an Austrian tourist, shows up and tells us that the tent was flying away and so he put the rock to prevent it. The campsite was right next to the water, so, huge thanks to kind stranger! After a dinner snack, we enjoyed the beautiful sunset over the ocean and went to bed.
After breakfast, we sat on the same rocks from which we had watched the previous day's sunset.
Today would be a very boring day, as we had to return the car. In the original trip plan, we would drop off the car and explore LA without it. You're probably already laughing at my stupidity (as did we after being in LA for the first day of our trip). In my European naïvité, I had assumed it could be easily done with a combination of public transportation and walking. Having realized the mistake, we tried to extend the car rental. Unfortunately, they quoted us an astronomical price for just 2 extra days. In short, the day was spent cleaning the car, packing our stuff, dropping everything off at the AirBnB and returning the car at LAX.
To get back to LA from the airport, we took a bus as it was the cheapest option. The driver was an old lady, who must be one of the unfriendliest and most unpleasant people I've come across in the services sector. There were a lot of buses and the signs were not clear. Naturally, people would get confused or just not know which bus headed to which part of LA. This lady was incredibly rude to anyone who asked. She would literally just say "HOLLYWOOOOOOOD" in the demeaning and annoying voice possible, or say "What does the sign say?!?!?!?" (if the person knew which sign to look at, they probably wouldn't have asked), or just not even reply and do a face at the person asking. She repeated Hollywood with that rude entonation so much that anytime I hear the word "Hollywood" now, her voice comes to my head. When paying, my card didn't work the first time and so I asked her to try again (sometimes it doesn't work on the first try, but does on the second), to which she gives me this look while pointing at the card machine that says "Error" or something. This trip was full of surreal experiences, but an LAX bus driver wasn't something I was counting on.
Anyhow, it was night by the time we got to LA, so we just had a quick dinner at some noodle place and walked (the ridiculously badly lit and grim looking streets) to the AirBnB.
Last day of our trip. We got a taxi/uber/lyft to the Griffith Observatory, where we admired the views and saw the Hollywood sign. We also went inside and saw, among other things, a Tesla coil demonstration. Very cool!
We got another taxi/uber/lyft to Hollywood. Not a lot to report, as it's probably the biggest tourist trap I've ever been to. Too many people, too little interesting stuff to see or do. Sorry! We got average mexican food for dinner, went to the cinema and got back to the AirBnB.
We call a taxi/uber/lyft to the airport and say goodbye!
What an amazing trip this was! The only regret was, expectedly, not having had more time. It's forever on our minds and we are incredibly happy that we did it! From time to time, the trip pops up in our heads and we just light up, remembering the beautiful places we visited, the feeling of being on the road and the bliss of discovery. Thank you to everyone here (and elsewhere) who contributed to the plan. I hope you have enjoyed this report and that you forgive me for the absurd lateness. Here's to more roadtrips!
We know 'real life' can get in the way and keep us busy so we are grateful that you got to finish your wonderful trip report !
We know that feeling !! Lets hope you get some time to do another trip in the near future, if you need any help with the planning you know where we are.The only regret was, expectedly, not having had more time.
I knew I recognised this car from your report !
Photo from from our 2015 road trip !
Yep, a really great report. Thanks for sharing.
@Dave, thank you very much! I did another, though shorter, roadtrip in the US a couple of years ago. I was much better prepared having learned a lot with the first one. Maybe I'll write about it if I find the time.
Given the current global situation, I think trips in the near future will have to be on our side of the pond.
About the car, wow! Look at that. Great memory!
@Mark, thanks! Glad to be able to contribute.