Showing posts from May, 2015

California, 15th November, San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf

We checked into the St Francis Hotel and immediately went to our room, tried the television, bounced on the beds and had a shower. This hotel is quite old by US standards (1904) and has lots of interesting photographs of bygone days in the lobby.  A bit like the Overlook in the Shining!
Next we hit the town and after a look at Union Square, which already had it's Christmas tree, we purchased a book of transport tickets, worthwhile as it makes travelling on the cable car, train or bus really cheap.
The cable car to Fisherman's Wharf went from outside the hotel. We clung to a pole and it is quite a scary experience. I am not sure why more passengers are not peeled from the sides by passing cars.

Fisherman's Wharf was buzzing, crowded and a bit like Blackpool. We walked around, people watching, as the sun went down and then went to eat in a seafood restaurant.

Emerging on to the street it was now lit by a riot of street lights. We walked and observed for a little longer and t…

California, 15th November, San Francisco morning and obligatory dawn shot

Before we got into San Francisco there was one thing to do; get to the north side of the Golden Gate bridge and take the dawn shot. So at 5.30am we packed up our bed and drove the short distance to a dock just by the coast guard station, joining a number of other people there for the same thing. There was no fog, so unfortunately there was no magic of the bridge rising above the sea of mist.
However we watched as the sun came up over Bay Bridge and the city. As the sun rose more cloud came until a thick layer covered the sky over the bridge.

We were due to get the car back to Lost Campers for noon. We had breakfast down by the dock and had a clear out of all our rubbish. The cafétiere, which had leaked before, luckily chose this moment to break completely, so we threw that out as well. Having packed up, there was till some time to go before midday so we had a tour of the Marin County side of the bridge.  We started at Fort Baker, a 1905 built former US army post which has a ring of hi…

California, 14th November, South Beach Point Reyes and a coyote afternoon

We drove up to Point Reyes South Beach for a spot of late lunch and studied the surf. There were squadrons of pelicans flying overhead and I decided that I liked pelicans as much as I like crows, my favourite bird. Looking into the sun through the spray and the mist the low cliffs were obscure.

Coming back to reality we decided we should move on so we made a quick visit to a bird reserve which we did not really have time to investigate and, driving out, were lucky enough to see a bob cat crossing the road. It was too quick to photograph but we felt very privileged. The car was due back in San Francisco the next day and we had to find somewhere to sleep for the night, having not booked for this final camping evening. We drove back past Schooner Bay where backlit by the lowering sun a coyote was crossing the river and stopped to shake the water off on the other side. We watched, fascinated.

We had several abortive attempts to find a campsite and partially ate a hurried dinner of Kraft m…

California 14th November, safety at sea

After our fantastic foggy start to the day we got to the lighthouse as the mist cleared and the sun shone. Point Reyes is the windiest place on the north American coast (in the spring winds can reach up to 130mph velocity) and the second foggiest. Not surprisingly many ships were wrecked off it's shore trying to get into San Francisco harbour. The lighthouse was built in 1870, after blasting an area 300ft below the cliff to try and lower the lighthouse under the level of the normally high fog. A fog signal was built as well.
On the day of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 the lighthouse moved north around 18ft. The only damage was that the lens came off it's rail and the lighthouse keeper manage to effect repairs so that it was up and working by the next day.
The manned lighthouse was in operation until 1975 when an automatic light was installed.
The consequence of the lighthouse being lowered is that you have to negotiate a half mile walk from the car park followed by 308 …