A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: kforge

Sonoma to San Francisco

The Last Post - Back at Alexis' House

sunny 22 °C

After a pleasant, late breakfast in the motel's courtyard, we started the final part of our loop drive back to San Francisco, just an hour away


We arrived back at Alexis' house just after lunch - Alexis had gone on holiday for a week or so but had very kindly offered to let us use the house for our last few days in San Francisco. It took us quite a while to unload 6 weeks of debris from the car. Suddenly the fog lifted so we jumped in the car and drove down to the Maritime Museum near Fisherman's Wharf and had a great couple of hours in glorious sunshine and blue skies (and, of course, very cool winds)


Back at the house, we collapsed in front of Tour de France, watching other people cross mountain passes

Tuesday morning was extremely foggy but by 11am it had burnt off and we headed into the Golden Gate Park to have a walk around Stow Lake and then visit to Ocean Beach which looked beautiful in the sunshine and blue skies, but was, in fact, very cold from the offshore wind


The Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant was nearby and as neither of us had been there before, we decided to have lunch there. It was a very good lunch and there was a fine view of the ocean through the huge windows. And, they made the best "lemonade" I have ever tasted - with guava and mashed strawberry


Finally we drove along the coast a little way to Land's End, a rocky, high outcrop with magnificent views across the Golden Gate Straits


Wednesday was a quietish day. In the morning, Jeni went for walk along Union Street and I caught up with the Tour de France. In the afternoon, it was to the Beach Chalet for more of their addictive lemonade. In the evening, we drove (bad idea, the traffic was terrible) to the Gracias Madre restaurant in the Mission district to meet Lisa Peers, an old friend of Jeni's - they were at NIDA together and had not seen each other for 30 years


On Thursday morning we returned the Avis car (we'd done 4356 miles) and as always there was an administration issue - despite the fact that we had pre-paid for the car and all insurance etc were included in that price, their system reckoned we owed $192. After at least 30 minutes, they worked out that because the exchange rate had changed, the system had recalculated the price - despite it being pre-paid!


We then walked down to the Ferry Building and wiled away a couple of hours sitting on the dock of the bay


From there, we took the number 5 bus back up to Alexis' place, packed our bags and waited for Renee (a friend of Jeni's from Bali) to pick us up for a final cafe visit before driving us to the airport for the 9:45pm flight to Auckland and Gold Coast



Posted by kforge 10:03 Archived in USA Comments (4)

Corning to Sonoma

Deja vue

sunny 28 °C

After a good breakfast, we continued down the I5 and onto the I580. All was going well until we decided to take the obvious short-cut to Napa via Highways 128 and 121. Despite what I said in the blog entry "Mendocino to Arcata", these roads were far worse and the drive took ages through gorge after gorge and this was especially annoying as we were trying to get to Mission Di Rosa to see their eclectic art collection before it closed at 4pm. We did get there by 2:30 ( in a traffic jam) but discovered that you can only see the whole collection on a guided tour and we had missed the last one. A couple of very small galleries were open but we were so pissed off, we just left

We eventually got into the Napa area but the traffic was so bad that we peeled off and continued on towards Sonoma instead. Alexis had taken us to Sonoma when we were first in San Francisco a few weeks ago and it's a lovely little town so we decided to stay

In the evening we strolled a couple of blocks to the Hopmonk Brewery and enjoyed a couple of drinks in their beer-garden - our last "on the road" tipple


Posted by kforge 09:55 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Ashland to Corning, California

via Mt Shasta

sunny 25 °C

We left Bend thinking that the worst of the mountain drives were behind us - wrong again. Interstate 5 to Mt Shasta (the town not the mountain) had some of the worst section we had seen. We should not have been surprised as we were going very close to the 14,179' Mount Shasta!


Alexis' flat-mate Corby had suggested we stop at the City Park in Mt Shasta (his home-town). We did, and found the headwaters of the 700 km Sacramento River at a spring bubbling out of the rocks in a corner of the park - the water tasted very good. We then found the main street and the charming Village Books that had a good espresso bar and excellent books


We did not come down to near sea-level until Redding (564') which meant we'd been above 3,000' for over 3 weeks and much of that time above 5,000' - I hadn't realised how high the High Desert was through Idaho and Oregon and hadn't realised how big the Cascade Range is

Corby's other suggestion was to stay at the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning. My cousin had also suggested staying at casinos, so we thought "let's give it go". The excellent room was only US$114 and included a really good all-you-can-eat breakfast. There was no pressure to use the casino but they did give us $20 worth of vouchers to use in the slot-machines (which we later managed to turn into $7.90 cash in 2 minutes). We were a bit worried what we would find for dinner in the Casino Buffet but there were loads of freshly-cooked vegetables, and great desserts for only $16 a head (again, all-you-can-eat). It was a strange evening but actually pretty good, although I don't think we would do it again


Posted by kforge 18:44 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Bend to Ashland

via Crater Lake

overcast 18 °C

We left Bend just after 9am for the drive to Crater Lake. It was very overcast but looked like it should clear. How wrong we were. We paid our $15 at the North Entrance. By the time we reached the Rim Drive at 8,000', we were in dense fog. At the first lookout, we peered into the fog and could just make out the far side of the lake. The exit via the South Entrance was the shortest way but that would meaning crossing a 8,500 pass in terrible fog. It was not a difficult decision - we returned to the North Entrance and joined Hwy 230 south to Medford on what turned out to be a very scenic drive. The following photo was taken by me in August 1980


Just before Medford in Eagle Point, we dropped into the Agate Ridge Vineyard where their tasting-room was a beautiful 106 year old weatherboard cottage. sampling a few whites and reds, we bought a Petite Sirah, a Viognier/Sauvignon Blanc and a Marsanne/Viognier

Medford tself was another town completely destroyed by freeways

We continued down to Ashland and had great difficulty finding a room as the Shakespeare Festival happened to be on. We eventually found the good "Manor Motel"


In the evening, we went to the Caldera Tap House, drank good local Pilsener and ate some felafel and cheesy garlic french fries!


Posted by kforge 21:33 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Burns to Bend

Raining and cold most of the day

rain 16 °C

It was still pouring with rain as we pulled out of the Days Inn to continue our drive to Bend


The unremarkable drive (apart from the formidable Cascade Mountains in the distance) was through heavy rain with temperatures in the 50Fs. We arrived about 1:30pm and after checking in, we drove a mile or so to downtown to walk along the Deschutes River at Mirror Pond in Drake Park (it was now about 80F). Downtown itself was very laid back and walkable with lots of people about


In the evening we were back at Drake Park for the season's first Munch & Music free event. There was a really good band from Bakersfield called Cracker and excellent Deschutes Brewery Summer Ale, and dozens of food stalls


Posted by kforge 08:51 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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