Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Didn't leave my heart in San Fran

Calistoga, CA, was another little stroke of luck since, again, we had no idea what kind of town it would be before we got there.  Like in Mariposa (see previous post), we parked in the fairgrounds which often host RV parks.  It was about 3/4 of a mile from yet another charming main street. The abundance of antique stores there set it above Mariposa, in my very biased opinion.  I spent an hour or so by myself exploring and wishing I had space in our motorhome to put that charming old steamer trunk I found in one of the shops, that reminded me of the trunk in our basement where our Christmas decorations were kept when I was a child.

Yeah I know.   This looks like the beginning of my last post.
Husband was off in search of a do-it-yourself, non-automatic-type carwash because the motorcycle always gets filthy as it rides atop its lift on the back of the motorhome, especially in the rain.  He cannot stand a dirty vehicle so we frequent many carwashes in our travels.  (I cannot emphasize *many* enough.  I now habitually watch for them in every town we go through.)  But this time it was a 20 mile quest to the next town to find one ....   Obsessive?  You decide.

Our plan was not to spend much time in Calistoga but to leave the motorhome there while we did a three-day motorcycle trip (with three days of mashed helmet-hair) over to and down the California coast.

So the next morning we packed a few clothes and left on the bike, heading west.

First stop -- Bodega Bay where we HAD to search out this infamous old school:

  The angle of the above shot didn't do it, so I got this next shot as we rode away.  It SHOULD look familiar to you all.

  And just for fun (and a hint):

A few more pics from my phone as we rode south.  (No packing the camera equipment when traveling on the bike.)

We shared a Reuben sandwich while sitting on the water's edge, looking out at San Francisco's skyline across the bay from the inviting community of Sausalito, which is on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Because of all the rain this winter, there was a lot of road damage so via a detour up steep and narrow side streets, we then made our way to the famous bridge that is definitely not golden.

Google informed me that the bridge was named after the channel (called the Golden Gate) which separates the bay from the ocean.  The color red, or orange as they call it ... (it's red) ... is so that it stands out nicely against the background scenery.   Which it does.   I found this picture on the web, to illustrate the point.

I remember from the last time we drove across it there was a toll, but this time the booth was closed and empty and cars just sailed past both ways.  Score! .... or so we thought.  Several days after we returned home in Oregon, a bill for $7.50 along with a fuzzy photo of us from the rear, arrived in the mail.  This is how they collect the toll from us non-locals who don't have an online bridge-crossing account.  Oh well.

I am not particularly a fan of San Francisco, which presents itself on the other end of the bridge.  It's expensive and crowded (and liberal) and the traffic was a little unnerving.  And we've seen it already.  So we got through it and its endless over-priced row houses as fast as we could and continued south.  We spent the night in a hotel in Half Moon Bay where we had one of the best Italian meals ever.  (This coastal town was fine although I wouldn't call it charming .... but a name like that belongs in a romance novel or in a song title.)

The next morning we went as far south as we could on Hwy 1 until it ended at a washed out bridge.  Husband wanted to make it to Big Sur where the motorcycling is supposed to be spectacular.  But not this year.  That road will be closed for a while.

Then back up to Carmel-by-the-Sea to stroll past the many high-end, trendy shops where most folks (like me) just go to gawk at the price tags.   We gave up looking for Pebble Beach, the famous too-expensive-for-normal-people golf course that Husband wanted to see, because we got a bit lost in an overly hilly neighborhood.   (Off the main thoroughfares, this state abounds in steep and narrow side streets which, when on a bike with a clutch, is not fun for the nervous passenger on the back.)

But how cute is this??

In Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Every town needs a tea room, right?
(Side Note:  Clint Eastwood was once the mayor there.  Ya gotta wonder about crowd control at the town council meetings.)

We spent the second night in Monterey then headed back north along the coast (purposely avoiding San Francisco this time), and through more winding detours (more road closures) that took us up over forested mountains, back to Bodega Bay, and finally to Calistoga and our little home.

The next morning it was time to go north back to Oregon.

Just like six (or seven?) weeks prior on our trip down, we again had to study the road conditions through the Siskiyous.  Winter was not over yet.  We planned to spend some time in central Oregon so we drove all day up 97 through Klamath Falls and continuing north into the snowy darkness.  As always, Husband was at the wheel, and as always I was navigating.  This time I was using both my phone and iPad, monitoring our location, the road cams, weather reports, elevation changes, etc.  Multi-ton motorhomes and slick, icy roads are not a good mix.  Fortunately, inspite of the thickly falling flakes, nothing was sticking to the road and we finally landed in the Walmart parking lot in Redmond, Oregon, where this adventure ends ......

and a new one begins.

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