Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Point Reyes and farther down the Coast

Let's continue on the drive down the west coast in 2005:

November 01
Our 2.day at the Olema Ranch Campground. Since there is wireless Internet I do my "homework" and update the web-site. Meantime Bea makes the run to the laundry. After 2 weeks on the road there is quite a bundle to wash. The morning is beautiful with bright sun, so I make plans for the afternoon to explore the surroundings. We drive to Point Reyes, the little village only a couple of miles away from Olema.

Snake Dance
  View towards the Pacific
The Point Reyes National Seashore

The place has only one little main street but there are plenty of little stores and they have nice street fronts.
We decide to follow the Sir Francis Drake Blvd on it's last leg, where it runs out to the Point Reyes National Seashore ending at the Lighthouse Visitor center.  Again we get on a roller coaster, but without the trailer it is not much of a problem. By now the weather has changed completely and sea fog has come in over land. 
The landscape is hilly and formed by the dunes. The road follows most  it's narrow valleys. The sides are grown with myrtle trees, some willows and dogwood. When getting into the outer area the tree are more sparsely, and dairy farms are lying besides the road. The cows are grazing the hilly land and there are many of them. These farms are from the 1800's and they are numbered alphabetically. The grasslands with it's rocky coasts out here remind us of Scotland or even the Norwegian coast. Whipping winds keep vegetation low and into protected places.  On a day like today with wallowing fog you might forget that you are in sunny California at all. But from the parking lot 4 miles from the Lighthouse we catch a view of the long beach far down under. We also check out the Chimney Rock Road. Here, on the south side of the peninsula, the coast is so steep, that you hesitate to approach the edge. 
We find a beautiful spot of fall-colors on a cacti species when we drive down to south beach.


Back home at the campground we download all the pictures we've taken and do some e-mails.

November 02.
Today we leave Olema and are heading farther south. We avoid the City of  San Francisco and choose to drive the Richmond Oakland Bridge which leads us over to the Oakland side and onto Hwy 580. From Oakland we take Hwy 880 through Alameda until we come to San Jose. There we return to Hwy 101, which will be our main road connection all the way down to the Los Angeles Area.

On our way south we cruise through one of the biggest vegetable gardens and vineyards on earth, the Salina Valley and Monterey County. The fields seem endless as they stretch across the wide bottom of the valley.
Workers are to be seen on the fields and huge machinery is parked besides or in active use.

Pismo Coast Village
What we noticed in San Francisco is getting more and more obvious: We've come into the spanish speaking part of America. Mexican-style radio stations offer Mariachi music all day. It fits the landscape though and I feel on real holiday for the first time since leaving home.
We stop for the night at Pismo Beach and have to wait in a long line in front of the reception office.
When we finally got registered and drive through the gate we realize that this is the most luxurious upscale campground we've ever seen. And upscale is also the mixture of camp guests. The biggest and most expensive rigs up to the 500,000 Dollar mark can be seen in this ocean-front resort. For the overnight price they offer a complimentary WIFI and a heated pool. There is a store, laundry and washroom nearby. A security guard watches the entrance. All roads paved and full hookups on every site.
But the best here at Pismo Beach is --- the beach. It seems endless and huge waves are rolling ashore. But that we first get a chance to experience tomorrow morning.

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