Friday, January 29, 2016

California - 2nd stop


The last day of 2015 was moving day for us. December 31, 2015 was also our 10 month road trip anniversary. We traveled to Dunnigan which is north of Sacramento. The trip was short and uneventful, just what we like. We traveled through the mountains, mostly in between ridges and not over them.

As we got farther east we started seeing more evidence of the drought with dry creek beds and very low rivers. 

We also passed acres and acres of trees, hard to tell at this time of the year what they are, but the area is known for its crops of fruit and nuts.  

We stayed at the Happy Times RV Park. It is just off of Hwy 5 but very little road noise. The sites are nice and wide with a picnic table and full hook ups. 

There is a large field for dog walking and a Pilot Gas station across the street for easy and quick propane gas fill up. Dunnigan has a small general store and a motel, so for any shopping you need to go south to Woodland or Sacramento. 
Our dear friends Jan and Dave Leap live in Sacramento which is what brought us here. Nancy and Jan worked together at the International Center for Reiki Training in Michigan. It was so great to see them and spend time with them. Nancy and Jan laugh so hard it hurts but oh such a good hurt. We got to ring in the New Year with them. 

Mielikki enjoyed the visit as well and made herself right at home.  
We didn't get as much sightseeing done as we wanted. Nancy came down with a cold and ended up at Urgent Care, the cough was so bad she pulled a muscle in her back and hurt her ribs. Laid her up for about 4 days. 

We did explore Sacramento a bit, and wandered Old Sac
A really cute little area of old buildings with shops and eateries. 

We enjoyed Danny's Mini Donuts and got to see the Tower Bridge. 

We found a few roadside oddities. First, a giant woman's head outside of a coffee shop.

Then, a very creative home owner has the best lending library we have ever seen. It looks looks like a Tardis from Dr. Who! 

The convention center was hosting an Anime convention and the streets were full of people in costumes, it was awesome. 

We found this phone
booth shaped like a pagoda. 

The governors mansion is absolutely beautiful. 

Auburn, is a small town east of Sacramento, we wished we had more time to spend there. Lots of stores, restaurants, and pubs. We found a roadside oddity honoring the Gold Rush. 

Folsom Lake was a shocker and a true example of how severe the drought is here. 

The lake is so devastatingly low and you can tell it has been for quite some time. At one time the water came all the way to the tree line.

On the way to the lake we saw this guy airing out his wings! 
This area is called the central valley as it is surround by mountains on both sides, making this a perfect place for farm lands. Not only did we see thousands and thousands of trees, we also saw rice farms. There are acres of laser-leveled fields, level fields allow the farmer to save on water. The fields are full of furrows and are flooded with 5" of water, the rice seeds are soaked and then loaded into planes. Flying at 100 mph the planes plant the fields from the air, the heavy seeds sink into the furrows and grow.  

San Francisco was top on our list of things to do from this stop. We used two days to explore the town. The first day we came in from the north and San Rafael and across the Golden Gate Bridge, and left via the Oakland Bay Bridge at rush hour - not the best timing! We found a few more roadside oddities, in San Aneslimo, the home of filmmaker, George Lucas. Yoda and Harrison Ford statues are in the center of Imagination Park, property donated to the city by George Lucas. 

The view from the first overlook
The Golden Gate Bridge was as spectacular as expected. We stopped at the overlook, two overlooks actually, we chose not to go any farther than the second one as the road signs warned of an 18% grade on the road - a little more than Nancy thought she could handle!

From the second and higher overlook you can see for miles in all directions.

Just across the bridge is the coolest roadside oddity we have found so far. It is at the end of a jetty by the marina. 

The wave organ, completed in May of 1986, is a wave-activated acoustic sculpture built by sculptor and master stone mason, George Gonzales. The jetty itself was constructed with material taken from a demolished cemetery, providing a wonderful assortment of carved granite and marble, which was used in the construction of this piece.

The sculpture includes 25 organ pipes made of PVC and concrete located at various elevations within the site, allowing for the rise and fall of the tides. Sound is created by the impact of waves against the pipe ends and the movement of the water in and out of the pipes.   

This spot also offers a beautiful view of the San Francisco skyline and of Alcatraz Island.
Of course the hippies had to drive through Haight Ashbury. It is not the same hippie kingdom it once was, but it can still be considered the odd mans territory. There are a number of eclectic shops, some head shops and retro clothing stores to explore. 

The Golden Gate Park is 1, 017 acres of nature in the heart of the city. It is filled with gardens, lakes, playgrounds, picnic areas, trails for walking and biking, a waterfall, a museum, a conservatory and so much more. The entrances at the ocean have large Dutch Windmills at them. 

There are so many amazing buildings in San Francisco. 

Beautiful details of the older buildings in contrast to the sleek architecture of the new buildings. In between are the most interesting houses, condos and apartments all on top of one another. 

Everyone has heard of the crazy hilly streets in San Francisco and we can tell you that there is no exaggeration in the description of them. 

We drove down Lombard Street, which is probably the most popular and twisted street in the city. There are eight hairpin turns in a one block section.  

The first time down we were both in the car with Nancy taking pictures from start to finish. In the first two pictures you can see how steep the streets are. The blue car in the third picture is actually parked - can't imagine living on this street. The second set of pictures was taken with Nancy waiting at the bottom while Les and Mielikki drove down the hill. 

On the second visit to the city we came in across the Oakland Bay Bridge, and headed home from San Rafeal, again in rush hour! Half way across the Oakland Bay Bridge is an exit to Treasure Island. Treasure Island is an artificial island, that was built in 1936-37 for the 1939 Golden Gate World's Fair. Most of the Island is deserted, some of the buildings that remain are listed on the National Historical Registry, including the islands naval station and auxiliary air field. 
When you drive onto the island, you are greeted to a great view of the Oakland Bridge on one side and the San Francisco skyline on the other. 

You drive down a very pretty palm tree lined street, but once you pass that there is nothing but abandoned buildings. 

Based on the major road construction of new exits and entrances it seems something may be in the works for the island. 

Pier 39 is a must stop while in the city. It is filled with places to eat and shop, along with a beautiful two story carousal in the center of it all. We had never seen a two story carousal before. 

The best part of Pier 39 is that the seals like to hang out here as well. We got to watch one climb onto the back end of a boat and a couple of young males trying to exhort their authority. 

We ended our second day by driving back into San Rafael and enjoying dinner with Shannon and Kate who used to live next door to us in Asheville. It has been so fun reconnecting with people as we travel across the country. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You! 

Tips and things we have learned along the way
~ Back in August we shared a tip in our Atkinson blog post, about making the best use of the small space in our freezer and defrosting it. We have another freezer tip for you. When traveling the freezer and fridge are not running, so we put a half dozen ice packs in the fridge and keep the rest in the freezer so everything stays cold. We found on long trips that the frozen items didn't always stay completely frozen, especially things like fruits or veggies.

To remedy that we picked up a small cooler at a Goodwill store. The kind that would hold a 6-pack. We put the frozen items and an ice pack in it and put it back in the freezer. Problem solved - every thing stays frozen.

1 comment:

  1. Love that Governor's mansion :) We've been to San Francisco for a friend's wedding when Maggie was about one. Visited Pier 39 then too - it is cool!!