On Sunday, August 7th, we drove through Monterey and then up to Santa Cruz, where Mike surfed “Steamer Lane,” a famous spot for surfers. Kaitlin was a bit nervous because it looked like a dangerous spot to be in the water, right along a cliff, but Mike headed in with the other brave guys out there!
We grabbed dinner at a Santa Cruz diner that night and then went to our campsite at a nearby campground. On Monday morning, we headed toward San Francisco, but made some stops along the way. The first was in Cupertino, where the Apple Inc. headquarters are located (it’s a whole campus). You can only walk into a little area inside the front doors of the main building, unless you have an appointment with someone, (for some reason, they didn’t believe us when we said we had a 10:00 with a Mr. Jobs), so we took a quick look and then went into the gift store, where Mike turned down Kaitlin’s idea of buying an iPad. Her campaign continues…
We then drove to and around the Stanford campus, which is beautiful! We wanted to enroll in some classes just so we could stay there, but knew we had to move on (also, they probably wouldn’t accept us), so we drove to Pacifica Beach, where Mike was hoping to catch some waves. He did and had a great short session before we drove into San Francisco. Kaitlin’s former boss and friend, Kate, now lives in San Francisco, so we were excited to see her and stay with her for a couple of days! She was still at work when we arrived in her neighborhood, which is the Haight/Ashbury district, so we grabbed a drink on Haight Street while we waited for her and did some people watching, which doesn’t disappoint in that area! After reuniting with Kate, we showed her Bessie and she showed us her apartment and then we headed to dinner! We ate at a delicious German restaurant on Hayes Street and met up with another Fresh Air Fund co-worker – it was a great night!
On Tuesday morning, we set out to explore San Francisco. We first walked down toward City Hall, then took a bus to Fisherman’s Wharf, where we wandered for some time and ate chowder for lunch. We then walked up to Coit Tower, which offers beautiful views of the city. From there, we took a bus to Union Square, where Kate picked us up in her car and she took us through Golden Gate Park and then we set out for dinner in the Mission district, where we had Indian food (Mike had an allergic reaction to the food, but he was ok!). It was a full and fun day, which certainly only allowed us to skim the surface of everything that San Francisco has to offer. It’s high on the list of places to return!
On Wednesday morning, we dropped off Kate’s keys at her office (thank you again Kate for a wonderful stay!!) and after some errands, headed to Berkeley, where we got biodiesel at the Biofuel Oasis and used one of their Starbucks to get some work done. In the afternoon, we started the drive to Yosemite. The sun started to set as we made the trip, which created beautiful views as we crossed the mountains.
On Wednesday night, we slept in a National Forest campground near Yosemite (if we haven’t mentioned National Forest campgrounds as an option before, we highly recommend you keep them on your radar when you’re on your next camping trip. They’re cheap, never full and usually in a beautiful spot!). On Thursday morning, we drove to Yosemite and stayed until it was dark. It is such an amazing place and we…you guessed it, highly recommend a visit! We just wish we could have spent more time there. In our one day, we went to the Visitors Center (always have to stop in the National Park visitor centers to learn about the park and for the introductory videos), checked out Half Dome, walked to Yosemite Falls, took a short hike to Mirror Lake (where we saw two bears!), then we drove to Glacier Point at sunset, which provided one of the most breathtaking views we’ve experienced on this trip. It also provided some drama, as we had to drive through some prescribed burning to get there. So, we literally were driving through smoke and past fires in the woods and firemen walking along the road, which was a little spooky!
After staying at another National Forest that night near Yosemite, we woke up on Friday with the intention of making it back to San Francisco that day. We stopped at a Walmart first to get our oil changed, but were told that they were unable to do it because a part had come off and there was oil spilling out! We were unable to drive Bessie in her condition, so we had to rent a car to drive to a nearby town to buy the part we needed (a grommet), then returned to Walmart where Mike fixed the problem. Walmart still wouldn’t change the oil for us (too long to go into, but Mike was not pleased), so we ended up grabbing dinner and then Mike did it himself. This pretty much took all day, so we ended up staying in a Walmart parking that night.
On Saturday morning, we started toward San Francisco again. We got biofuel at Dogpatch Biofuels (biodiesel everywhere! Yes!) and then drove into the city for a delicious sushi lunch at a restaurant recommended by Kaitlin’s cousin. We then drove to see the Golden Gate Bridge from below, drove over it and into Marin County Park, where unfortunately the fog hid the bridge from our view and the wind nearly blew us over!
We then headed to Napa Valley, where we did a tour and tasting at O’Brien’s Estate Winery. It was a beautiful afternoon and a gorgeous setting – we really enjoyed our time there!
After a relaxed couple of hours at O’Brien’s, we drove the picturesque route to Healdsburg, where Kaitlin’s cousin, Matt, had just arrived to spend the next several months working at a winery – let’s just say we’re more than a little jealous! We had dinner together in Healdsburg, which is a beautiful town with restaurants, shops and of course, great wine!
After dinner and checking out the winery at which Matt is working, we took off in search of the campsite we were hoping to stay at that night. Unfortunately, it was full (always a risk on the weekends), so we set off to find another one in the area, which was also full. We drove to a third campground, which was unfortunately closed for the season. It was pretty late at night at that point, so we decided to crash in the parking lot for the night, which was a little spooky (totally spooky), because we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere on the coast. A man arrived at sunrise to go fishing, so we woke up then and got on the road. We were tired, but it was beautiful driving along the coast as the sun rose!
We made our way to a town called Hopland for biodiesel at a place called the Solar Living Institute and then spent much of the rest of the day driving up the coast. We settled for the night in a campground in Redwood National Park. Mike slept for more than 12 hours after our previous night of driving and uneasy parking lot camping! We headed into Oregon the next day, on Monday, August 15th, and we’ll pick up from there next time!