Travels With Caroline – Part 4

The drive from Ft. Bragg (Mendocino) was beautiful, and some of the scariest driving I’ve done.  Winding, narrow roads, along the cliff with no  guard rails in many places, hairpin turns.  In several places the road had washed out on the cliff side, and it was down to one lane, temporary traffic lights regulating flow.  My palms were sweating for much of the drive.  But the vista were amazing, when I could look at them.


California coast nik

California coast impressions2


We stopped at the Point Arena lighthouse, a stop well worth the time.  The site features a small museum and gift hop and tours of the lighthouse, requiring a climb up 140+ stairs up a circular staircase.  The climb was well worth it for the views, and the guides were very informative.

Pa lighthouse

Port arena lighthouse

Califofnia coast from lighthouse


Caroline on top of Point Arena lighthouse.

Caroline on lighthouse


Leaving Point Arena, we continued south on the coast highway, slowly I  might add.  Conditions did not allow for driving much over 25-30 mies per hour for long stretches.  We had a very forgettable lunch at the Lucas Wharf in Bodega Bay, then shortly after lunch  CA 1, our highway, turned inland and the driving got easier.  We then cut over through some very pretty farming and wine country and joined CA 101 and headed into San Francisco.

In San Francisco, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf, conveniently located to the tourist attractions of Fisherman’s Wharf and to the bus stop for the tour bus, Big Bus.  We ate dinner at a mediocre Italian restaurant then called it a day.

Next morning we hit the bricks early, actually the hop-on hop-off Big Bus, and started to see San Francisco.  the first stop was the Ferry Building.

Ferry building

Ferry bldg clock tower

Inside ferry bldg

Near ferry bld 1


Caroline outside Ferry Building.  Shopping of course.

Caroline at ferry bldg


The Big Bus was a popular way t get around San Francisco as a tourist.  This is the crowd waiting to board two full busses stopped at Union Square.

Line waiting for hop on bus at union square


I don’t think this guy was waiting for the bus.

Catching a nap


We rode the Big Bus across the Golden Gate Bridge, sitting on the open top of the bus.  at 50 or so miles per hour, it was a windy, cold experience, but great views. Heer is a view of Alcatraz in the distance as the bus went across the bridge.

Alcatraz from bridge


Some other views from the bus:

Another view from the bridge

Bay from bus in parling lot


We spent some time in Chinatown of course.

Entrance to chinatown

Chinatown 1

Chinatown 3


Caroline loves socks.

Sock store


A couple of other shops in Chinatown:

Shop in chinatown

Shop in chinatown 2


Some other views around the town:

Land of the sun 


Sf 1 park

Sf 2

Sf 4

Sf 5

Change in the world


We rode the cable car up to the top of Lombard Street, the most windy street in the world, or at least in San Francisco.

View from nob hill 1

View up nob hill


Finally a pencil sketch of a gnarled old tree that caught my attention.

Tree oft pencil


Unfortunately, we had to return to reality.  A really great trip with my daughter.

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Travels With Caroline – Part 3

We had an uneventful drive south from Leggett to Mendocino.  The weather cleared up as the drive went on, turning into a beautiful day on the California coast.  As we approached the turn to downtownMendocino, this view assaulted our senses:

Mendocino bay 1

We arrived in Mendocino about lunch time and starving, so our first stop was the Goodlife Cafe and Bakery.  A sign on the front door welcomed us, saying the Cafe welcomes all races, creeds, colors, genders and sexual persuasions, all were safe there.  We felt good about ourselves and entered confidently.  The food was excellent.  Fortified and safe, we ventured out to explore Mendocino.

Some views from around the town.

Mendocino bench cham texture signed

Mendocino pond and towe signedr

Museum and water tower Mendocino

Entertaining the kids.

Entertaining the kids Mendocino

Taking it easy in a bookstore.

What you do in a bookstore

This nice lady is homeless, begging for lunch money

Homeless lady Mendocino

I painted this as we walked by.  Another example of fake news.

Mendocino alley impression signed

This lovely model posed for me on the bluff.

Caroline in Mendocino

Mendocino does have a church or two.

Mendocino cburch nik

After Mendocino, we returned to Ft. Bragg, 10 miles north where we were spending the night.  We had dinner at a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant, Luna’s Trattoria.  The food was excellent and the service was just as good.  We then went to see the sunset at Glass Beach.

Caroline at glass beach Old man on glass beach

Glass beach signed

Glass beach sunset nik soft colors

Glass beach driftwood

The next morning we headed south to San Francisco.

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Travels With Caroline – Part 2

Leaving Portland behind, we headed to the Columbia River Gorge.  About an hours drive on I-85.  We went first to the Bridal Veil Falls. It was overcast and misting rain, great day for a walk on the trails. Below is a view of the Columbia River from the trail at Bridal Veil Falls.

Columbia river from bridal veil falls trail

The Bridal Veil Falls:

Bridal veil falls 3


There has been an unusual amount of rainfall in the Pacific Northwest this winter, and the falls were flowing mightily.  Below is Bridal Veil Falls as J. M. W. Turner might have imagined approaching it along the trail:

Bridal veil falls 1 turner


Multinomah Falls is more spectacular, as one would immediately note from the crowds there and not at Bridal Veil.  It was misting and there was a fog as you can see at the top of the Falls.

Multinomah falls soft


We ate lunch at the Multinomah Falls Lodge (which was a good choice) and then headed back past Portland to the Oregon Coast.  Our first turnout on Hwy. 101:

Coast1 okeefe


As one can see from the brilliant photography, the Oregon coastline is dramatic and beautiful.

Oregon coast 2


We spent the night in Newport, Oregon, a charming little town with an attractive harbor.  It was an overcast evening with showers spitting at times.

Newport harbor


The weather got worse as we drove south along the Oregon coast.  You can easily see the conditions from the following shots:

Oregon coast 3

Oregon coast 4

Oregon coast 5


Quite a storm had blown through Newport during the night and early morning, and little did we know at the time the effect it would have on our plans for that day.  Sitting at lunch in Coos Bay (at Sharkbites Restaurant, not recommended) I received a call from the Holiday Inn Express in Klamath where we were to spend that night. The coastal storm had knocked out power in the area, and the young lady suggested we stay at the next Holiday Inn in Eureka.  That would make what was already going to be a long coastal drive an hour and half longer. So, we trucked on.  Caroline did most of the driving through the bad weather, rain and high winds that morning..  

Crossing the California line, we were soon in the redwood forests. The only word to describe the redwoods is magnificent.  Redwoods can grow to 300 feet or more, and can live over 2,000 years.  The oldest know living coastal redwood is over 2,200 years old.  Most of the redwoods we see are 50-150 years old, and can grow to 100 feet in their first 50 years. Writing this blog entry the day before Easter, I am reminded that the oldest living redwood was probably over 100 feet tall when Christ was on earth. 

We spent the night in Eureka, California and continued south early the next morning.  We intended to turn off of Hwy. 101 onto coastal California Hwy. 1 ay Leggett, Ca. Arriving at the intersection the road was closed.  There is a redwood tree attraction in Leggett on Hwy. 101, and paying for the entry fee, the attendant , who works for Catrans during the week, explained that there were two major landslides a week apart that completely blocked the road.  Sp we too a small detour.  First, a drive through redwood.

Chandelier tree


The weather finally cleared as we drove south toward our next stop at Mendocino, Ca.  But that’s another story.

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Travels With Caroline – Part !

Portland, Oregon.  Not a particularly beautiful city, at least the downtown portion thereof.  Caroline and I spent an evening and a full day in Portland.  The first stop, the absolute required first stop, was Powell’s Bookstore, the City of Books.  Probably the best bookstore I have seen, and I have seen a few.  We spent a couple of hours there, then walked around a bit before having dinner at Mother’s Bistro and Bar.  An excellent restaurant.  The weather was standard fare for the Pacific Northwest this time of year, drizzling and chilly.

Portland has a superb mass transit system, trains, streetcars and buses.  Very easy to get around the city.  Also, there is an arial tram going from the street level to the OHSU Hospital Complex.

Speaks for itself

From the tram

Portland arial tram

Some random shots from above:

Angles and dangles

Angles and dangles 2

Looking down from OHSU

You ca see Mt. Hood just right of center in the picture below.

Looking down from OHSU 2

Caroline from top

Some shots from around downtown Portland:

Ringside park

Food Truck row

Food trucks

Mexican food and ragtime

The best bookstore I’ve seen, at least recently.  Luckily they ship.

Powell s Books

We walked a lot in Portland, and also rode the trains and street cars.  Ate some really good meals, and probably didn’t spend $60 total for the full day in the city.  We only had the one full day there, and left the next morning for the Columbia River Gorge, then down the coast.

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Santa Fe

We travelled to Santa Fe in September, 2015 with two other couples.  A trip I recommend, Santa Fe being a lovely, friendly place.  Traveling with other couples means, of course, negotiation on what to do, where to go, etc, but we did get to see a lot and do a lot, and we look forward to going back to cover what we missed on this trip.

Our first stop was Sandia Peak outside  of Alburquque, where we took a cable car or tram up to the top of the peak.  We had a good lunch in the restaurant and enjoyed to vistas stretching out before us.

View from Sandia Peak

View from Sandia peak 2


You have to wonder at times about people’s intelligence.  Would you ride on the top of the cable car?

Dummy on top of cable car


A rose on top of the peak.

Santa fe rose hopper


A car show on the square in Santa Fe.

Bugatti    Bugatti 1

Lincoln    Unknown car

 Mg signed


Giving the burro a break

Tired Burro


Santa Fe has a marvelous farmer’s market on Saturday, and also on Tuesday afternoons.  Some scenes:

A flower vendor

Flower vendor


Some  of her wares

Zinnas i  santa fe




Peppers degas dancers

Red peppers and flowers


Little fiddle player trying to earn a buck or two

Little violinist


Blowup balloons not people, a nice sentiment

Blow up balloons


One of the many sculptures around Santa Fe.

 Eagle Attacking


More chili peppers, a wall display 

More Chili Peppers


Part of the Plaza, vendors selling jewelry, etc under the shade.

Market in Plaza


Some more indian sculptures:

Indian couple sculpture

Three indians


The gal singing in the picture below had just wandered into town, and asked the guys if she could jam with them  She was singing her heart out.  Really pretty good.

Itinerant singer


Another sculpture:

Balancing act sculpture


Good dad:

Tying his shoe


As you can tell, the arts are alive and well in Santa Fe, as is the Native American and Hispanic heritage and culture.  A great place to visit.

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