Day 6 of our California coast road trip

Today was an early day for myself and my daughter/assistant, Kira. We had a 7:30 meeting with one of the guys who run the ECO farm. It had been raining all night and we were concerned about working in the rain but due to our tight schedule we pushed on through. (I’m glad we pack umbrellas in our photography equipment.) We had a tour of the garden and the farm in the rain. The rain slowed up for a bit so we took advantage of that and quickly got our photos of the gardens and composting system on the farm. It was cold, wet and heavily overcast which isn’t great for photography, but it ended up working out well. I was also fun learning about the plants and how they are doing research and to change how the land is handled to grow our food. I love to see the diverse things people do and how a lot of small businesses are innovative and pushing to make the world a better place. I love to work with people who are passionate about a cause. I also got a lot of good ideas I’d like to implement in my own gardening practices at home.

We were finished and back to the farmhouse in time to wake up the rest of the crew and get on the road…. it’s a long way home!


Day 4 of our California coast road trip

It was a downpour when I woke up. I couldn’t sleep in so I made coffee and watched the morning news until daylight. I decided to get ready before everyone else was up. Just as I finished the sun came out! It was beautiful! My daughter and I decided to walk a block south to a little bakery I’d seen in some of the travel blogs. The “Cinderella Bakery” is a german bakery. The shop was quaint and the food was amazing! I wanted to try one of everything. Kira chose one thing and I chose another so we could share. We ate on the patio (on the street). It was so relaxing, just sitting back and people watching. THIS was the real SanFrancisco! A real neighborhood…people going about their everyday lives…not some tourist attraction. My favorite things we did in San Francisco ended up being in the local neighborhood, the small local businesses, mom & pop owned places, that were “real”. I am so glad we stayed at a AirBnB! It was a totally different experience than we would have had in a hotel!


On our way north we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge to get the typical tourist photos. The sun was shining and the fog lifted just enough to see the bridge, but it was short lived …by the time we drove around to the lighthouse point to view it from there the fog had rolled back in and we couldn’t see much.


We drove north to Muir woods and walked one of the main trails. It was beautiful, so green and moist, definitely a shock for us kids from the desert. From there we drove to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. We got there 10 minutes after it closed!!! We didn’t know it closed at 4:30! So darn frustrating…it was a long drive for nothing! We couldn’t even see the lighthouse through the fog!


We drove on up the coast and east to Ukiah for dinner, then drove another 20 minutes to the AirBnB we rented in Potter Valley. It was late when we got there so we couldn’t really see the surrounding area. The house was clean and nicely furnished. It was odd that there were no curtains or blinds on the windows, it kind of felt like we were in a fish bowl! We tried to figure out how to hang something up on our bedroom windows but couldn’t find anything so we decided we’d figure it out in the morning.

Day 3 of our California coast road trip

We got up early and it was already raining lightly. We weren’t surprised because the forecast said there would be rain for the rest of the trip. We had an early tour scheduled for Alcatraz Island so we got down to the docks just before daylight. The rain let up just as we found a parking spot. We went for a stroll and looked around while we waited for our tour. I was dying for a second cup of coffee but none of the shops in the area were opened yet.


The tour to Alcatraz was interesting. It was a cold, damp, dreary and depressing place. It was so odd to see all of these tourists smiling and laughing as they took selfies behind the bars and in the cells, in this place that was filled with such pain and negative energy. It seemed so wrong, it was unsettling, it definitely bothered me to be there. It was a relief to get out of the buildings for a breath of fresh air and explore the grounds and the views of the bay. The fog was lifting and we could just get a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge as we boarded the ferry for a ride back to the city.

We walked north to Fisherman’s Wharf where we had lunch. I can’t even remember what I had to eat but I do remember the Moscow Mules 😉 . After exploring the Fisherman’s Wharf and buying some souvenirs we walked to Ghirardelli Square to check it out. We sampled some chocolate which was pretty good. Next, we walked to Lombard Street. It was a hell of a workout! The road was so steep that my calves were burning after about a block…it was a darn long walk!!!! We watched the cars winding down Lombard Street for a couple of minutes then we walked down it looking for a good vantage point for pictures. I didn’t really like what I got. I needed a higher viewpoint but my feet were so tired I wasn’t about to go find it! Besides, that photo has been taken a million times and I don’t need a duplicate. 

From there we walked all the way down to China Town and then over the hill through the financial district back to the Pier where we parked this morning. It was a fun day but my feet were sooooo tired! We drove by the “Painted Ladies” on our way back to the AirBnB we rented. After we got back to the rental, I went down the street and got the stuff for Moscow Mules and kicked back and relaxed for awhile before dinner. For dinner, we walked a couple of blocks to a local Vietnamese place. The food was really good and inexpensive. The kids decided to go find some “nightlife” but my feet were telling me I was too old for that stuff …at least I am tonight… so my daughter and I went back to the rental to kick back and watch some tv.

Day 2 of our California coast road trip

We grabbed a quick breakfast at our hotel then headed to San Simeon this morning. We did one of the tours at Hearst Castle. It was fun to see the Hearst estate in real life. Unfortunately, the big outdoor pool was closed for construction. We had really hoped to see it. It was fun learning about the architecture and all of the unique building materials they used in its construction. Although it was late in the season, many plants were in bloom and the gardens were beautiful. By the time we were done with the tour it was afternoon so we stopped for lunch before we headed up the coast.

 

We spent the entire day driving up the coast. We stopped at countless scenic outlooks and took tons of photos. We went for a short hike to the waterfall in the Limekiln State Park. It was beautiful and misty in the redwood trees. I missed the turn off to one of the beaches I really wanted to see but otherwise, it was a great day. I will say that the “1” is a very curvy road so it was pretty slow going. I wouldn’t suggest this road for someone who gets motion sickness easily.


 

We arrived at our AirBnB in San Francisco at about 8:30 pm. Parking is a challenge in San Francisco! We had to double park while we unloaded and ended up parking a block away from our house. We walked a couple of blocks to a little Korean restaurant for dinner. The food was good and not too expensive. It rained lightly on us on the way back to the rental.

 

 

Day 1 of our road trip to California 

I’ve been busy catching up on everything since the trip so I didn’t find time to post this…I guess better late than never. 😉

I’ve always wanted to explore the coast via Interstate 1 and I finally got the chance. Our first stop on our trip was Santa Barbara, CA. We visited the Old Mission and the Santa Barbara county courthouse. The views from the top of the courthouse were amazing. Next, we went for a stroll out on the pier  and had fish & chips for lunch. It was delicious. Usually, I can only eat a few bites of fish and chips because they are so greasy, but these weren’t greasy at all and the fish was flaky and perfect.

Next, we drove about an hour and a half to Solvang, CA. It was originally settled by people from Denmark and Holland. It was basically a tourist trap, but it was fun walking down the cute little streets with the unique looking architecture. My daughter, Kira was determined to find a certain Danish pastry so we went to every bakery in Solvang and no one had it! She was very disappointed. We stopped and tried some wine in one of the tasting rooms and found a delicious red that was very affordable so we picked some up for dinner.

 

After that, we traveled on to Cambria, CA. We checked into a nice little motel on Moonstone beach and enjoyed the sunset and had a glass of wine our patio. After we were settled, we walked down the boardwalk to dinner at the Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill. It was my daughter, Shauna’s 21st birthday so we had a nice dinner to celebrate. The food was delicious. We walked back to our rooms and some of the crew went hot tubbing while I relaxed in my room, in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine….listening to the ocean waves ….. a perfect end to the first day of our trip.

Quick trip to Death Valley 

My kiddos and I did a spur of the moment trip to see the “SUPER BLOOM” that happens in Death Valley about once a decade. It was a long day of driving but I’m glad we did it.  We left at about 4:30 am and drove, and drove…. 

  
Our first stop was Zabriski Point. It was a beautiful combination of light, shadow and texture. 

  
Next we went to the visitors center at Furnace Creek.

  
Then we went to Badwater Basin. The children were impressed with being 300 ft. below sea level. We walked quite a way out on the salt flats and examined the salt crystals. It was beautiful and amazingly loud. The crunch of the salts under your feet were a strange sensation. If you decide to go I highly suggest you remember a hat and sunglasses…and a macro lens….the reflection out on the flats is almost blinding. 

  

Salt Lake trip continued

After I was done  with the Vincent Laforet – Directing Motion Workshop,  we spent the evening walking around in the downtown area including Temple Square.  It was nice to have a mini-vacation with my girls.

Mormon Temple
Mormon Temple
Downtown
Downtown
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My two youngest girls.
Salt Palace
Salt Palace

The next day, on our way home, we went to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point.  It was pretty.  I imagine they will actually be nicer in a month or so after they get filled in a little more. They were doing a lot of planting when we were there.  If you go to that area don’t forget to hit the outlet mall by Cabela’s 🙂  (There were some great deals.)

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Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes – Photo Safari

My son and I got up early and went to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park today. It’s supposed to get up in to the mid 90’s today, but you wouldn’t have thought that this morning. It was surprisingly cold! We both wished we had taken jackets with us. It was worth it though, the dunes and wild flowers were BEAUTIFUL! We spent a couple of hours just wandering and taking pictures. I am so proud of my son. He has quite an eye for a 9 year old! Here’s a photo he took today :

copyright Craig Jeffs 2013
copyright Craig Jeffs 2013