Monday, November 24, 2014

Driving north to Portland

Leaving Santa Barbara I decided to avoid the 5 freeway, and drove along the 101 - headed to Portland for Thanksgiving. This is more time consuming than the big boring 5 freeway, but very enjoyable. The scenery is amazing! Unfortunately the rain started near King City on Wednesday and didn't stop until.....well, it's still raining and today is Monday! It was not easy to take photos but the next time I head south, this is the road I will take and then, weather permitting, I can take more pics. I attempted to take some photos of San Francisco, my previous home, but the fog and rain made it impossible. I especially enjoyed the town of Ukiah.

This herd of elk was grazing along the road near Willits, California. Just north of Willits the road winds through the redwoods of northern California.

There were a few very short dry moments along the Oregon coast. I love this stretch of coast!

Every time I drive this highway I end up here at lunch time - the Red Fish in Port Orford. Yummy food and a great view. There are usually a few surfers braving some pretty big waves. The day was drizzly and cold, but they make great soup here.

My camp site at Jessie Honeyman Memorial State Park. Lots of rain but so pretty!

Next stop - Portland for Thanksgiving. I can hardly wait to hug that little Celia!

Gma Van Moppes

Several kids were instrumental in packing up my mother and moving her from Grass Valley to Santa Barbara. Thank you kids! After spending four days finishing the packing, my mom and I drove south to her new home. And what a beautiful home it is! Quite an adventure for a great-grandmother!

While camping in El Capitan I found a wonderful place - El Capitan Canyon Lodge. There are yurts and great rustic buildings scattered through a wooded area. I stopped for food and wandered around. This is a great getaway place, and the state beach is a short walk away.

The entry to the Canyon

The campfire area

A cool fish sculpture!

The deli/market where I bought a salad for lunch on the road. There are many menu choices and it all looks delicious. There is also a gift shop with interesting bead jewelry, among other items.

Check out this cool table! A work of art.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Driving from Yosemite to Jackson

I drove along highway 49, the old gold country road. I passed Melones Lake, which is shockingly low. Rain dance needed.

An old adobe in Angel's Camp, in desperate need of repair

I think the colors of the old adobe bricks are wonderful.

Hello hello! I backed up to take photos of the adobe and this gentle creature came close.

Jackson Rancheria RV Park - fancy!

In a few days I'll head to Grass Valley to help my mother with her move to Santa Barbara!

Yosemite National Park

Every time I drive into a national park I get excited - I feel very lucky to be able to visit so many parks. I haven't been to Yosemite for many years. I'll be camping in the Upper Pines campground. This camp is very rustic and is often visited by wild animals, like bears, coyotes, and deer.

My camp site

Hiking along the Merced River

The water level is very low. I remember floating down this river on a blow-up raft - many years ago. Now the river is too low.

Koka had fun in a patch of early snow.

The famous Ahwahnee hotel

Rode my bike along this path from the camp to Yosemite Village.

Lawn chairs at the Wawona Hotel waiting for sun worshippers

Getting ready to climb

I think I'll return to Yosemite when it's covered with snow. How beautiful that must be!

Coarsegold, California

I spent a week in this little town nursing a bad cold. I stayed in an Escapees Co-op park, and it was beautiful. A bit rustic but with all the comforts. This RV park/camp was designed and built by a group of friends, and it's wonderfully planned, with large sites that belong to members. Some are rented out and that's how I was able to stay here. The maintenance and governing is done by all the members, who roam around in golf carts with tools and gardening equipment. The park is hilly and overlooks distant mountains.

My site, among the oak trees and large shrubs

It's tarantula mating season, and the males are roaming around, looking for love. These two visited my site. Male tarantulas roam until they find a female's den, and tap their legs to signal their presence. The female may invite him in, or reject him and he moves on, to another female's den. Females can live up to 30 years, but the poor males are often devoured by the female after mating. Tarantulas molt as their exoskeletons grow, and they can even regenerate lost legs. I was sitting in my camp chair reading when I spotted these two.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nepenthe - one of my favorite spots

Nepenthe is a restaurant just south of Big Sur. It's in a little forested area that also has a gift shop and a cafe. The views of the ocean and coast are beautiful, and the building is one of my very favorites. It's not large, but it's wonderfully situated on a high cliff above the ocean, and is constructed of wood and glass. I tried to get a photo of the interior but the contrast between the bright outdoors and the inside was too great - perhaps if I was better with my camera. There is an old-time hippy vibe here, and I love it. It feels right.

Nepenthe was a potion used in ancient Greece to cause forgetfulness of pain or sorrow.

From a Nepenthe info sheet -
"Nepenthe's terrace was once graced with a beautiful old oak tree. It used to be the first thing you saw coming up the ramp through the gardens. It framed the view of the south coast beyond, and made you feel as though the restaurant and its surroundings were one.
An overzealous gardner and too much watering conspired to send the oak tree to an untimely demise.
Sculptor Edmund Kara came to the rescue with his version of the Phoenix Bird, Nepenthe's standard. He found the tree at the bottom of the Mule Canyon creek, and sculpted the bird in one piece, adding legs of bronze.
Aloe Vera were planted around the base adding a touch of fire. On Chinese New Year in 1976, the bird came to land on the base of the old oak tree, where is has roosted ever since."

People gather on the outdoor patio for drinks and appetizers while waiting for tables. It's a warm and friendly place, and while I waited for a seat at the bar I saw many people meeting up with friends.

I met two women while eating lunch at the bar. They were from Newport Beach and were taking a "girl" trip to San Francisco. They were dressed in perfect outfits and heels - a sharp contrast to my camping clothes (jeans, sweatshirt and flipflops). They ordered margaritas and a basket of fries, and man did I want to steal some of those fries! They both downed second margaritas but wait - who's driving their car on this twisty narrow highway? Two margaritas and I would be on the floor. After a delicious beet salad and latte lunch, I drove north again and passed through Santa Cruz on my way to San Francisco and the Bay Bridge.

The Santa Cruz Beach

The Santa Cruz Pier, at the end of which is part of a sunken ship that is full of pelicans.