Juli is sold on Volksmarching, for good reason. We've been to Cannon Beach many times. We've done the regular things like walking the beach and the town. Shopping, of course. But with the Volksmarch we've discovered places we didn't know were there. There were places that we would not have known we could walk through if we didn't have the route map. And to walk over the places that we normally drive through makes it a far more personal experience. We've discovered a new Cannon Beach. ...with some old familiar landmarks.
Today can be called "Anticipatory". I drove to work in the daylight. Saturday starts work an hour later then the other days of the week. The sun was out. Definitely the days are getting longer.
My car works, so there are no worries. It feels good to drive with a healthy car.
Four hours of work, then a return. Juli had removed all of the Amaryllises from the Kitchen Window box. As soon as I saw the light coming in I had to agree with her. Even though the Amaryllises are 20 years old, they have to go. ...or they need a new location. We don't have many super sunny places inside the house. I saw once were Ciscoe planted a 1 year old Amaryllis outside, just to see what would happen. I never found out. That may be the way we go though.
Tomorrow the Outdoor lights come down. I might get some winter gardening in. There is some work to do on the garden beds that will make Summer work a little easier. I've got more work to do on the C.A.J. website some more. I need to get the art room workable. So I've got lots of things that need my attention, and the energy to do it all.
There was a played out rock quarry at the side of the the point, just by the water. The Bureau of Land Management was given a challenge: find a way to make use of the hole in the ground. find a way to recover it. They came up with a great idea. They built an interactive tidal pool. It had an overlook. It had elevated Tide Pools. It had paths running through it that people would wade through when the tide was low. The paths made it wheelchair accessible, so if folks didn't mind the wheelchairs getting wet with salt water...
One of the B.L.M.'s goals was to record how nature would reclaim the land. When we saw it back in 1995 they had just opened it up to the sea. It looked like this. I took this shot with my 35 mm Minolta and 400 ISO film.
Cape Blanco( More Images Clicky Clicky )
Cape Mears and Tillamook Rock we had on digital image from many subsequent visits to the coast since 1995.
So now we have ALL of the the Oregon Coast Lighthouses on Digital Image.
Did I say ALL? Why no. Someone pulled a fast one on us and built a lighthouse in 1999. There is now a Lighthouse in operation Just north of the California boarder in Brookings. Pelican Bay. It was only 70 minutes from Cape Blanco, we could have had that one too, if we only knew it was there. Damn It!
The set is NOT complete! Gotta Catch 'em ALL!
It's about time for us to check out. The rain is starting to make it's way ashore and the weather Radar says the rain is significant. THe waves are a little bigger.
We'll be off to the Pig & Pancake, because that's just how we roll. We may walk the beach or the town, but the weekend is drawing to a close.
Juli has started her third book. Naomi Novik's "Black Powder War".
I've started my second. Carrie Vaughn's "Kitty and the Midnight Hour. [Werewolves, Vampires, and Talk Radio in Colorado.]
The weekend almost did it's job of causing relaxation. I could do with another day. But Monday comes.
Next bit of breather... NorWesCon.
We're enjoying our last few hours here at the beach. It's raining lightly. The tide is out and the, "Don't go out on Haystack Rock!!" car is out there with pamphlets and nature walks. Juli is still snoozing and I'm reading another book. We have our slider open and we are right next to the stairs to the beach. So I hear the conversations as people head down for their beach walks. "No it's too cold for swimming." "Get Karly's leash! Get his leash! Karl!" *bark bark bark yap bark!* "Don't Feed the Seagulls [that sounded official]" "seagulls: Mine! Mine mine! Mine! Mine!" "I got up before sunrise and watched the world come alive." "Coffee's ready!"
So now we're going to lounge a bit, and then check out and go to breakfast. ...or lunch.( I finished "The Accidental Sorcerer" by K. E. Mills [a.k.a.Karen Miller]. )
The Pig and Pancake has a bit of a history. It started off as a 35 seat restaurant that had to close at 2 PM so the Italian restaurant could take over for dinner. Since then it has grown to take up a city block in Seaside, a large space in Astoria, a choice location in Cannon Beach, and as of late, a new location outside of Lincoln City.
Juli and I always make it a point to stop at the Pig and Pancake whenever we are in town. Today however, they served to disappoint. The hostess stood at the door with her arms crossed looking board. She guided us to our table and tossed the menues higgly piggly. It sort of set the tone. If I were a restaurant reviewer I would have started to look for failings and I would have expositoried all over them. The bacon, slightly overdone, I would report as "cooked to ash". The coffee, spilled slightly, I would have reported as "slopped into the cups". The mood so set, I would report as gloomy and despairing. It only goes to show what an important job the host has.
We will still return to the Pig and Pancake in the future. It's tradition.
After breakfast we wandered the town a bit. A lot of stores we used to visit have emptied. Others have changed. Bruce's Candy Kitchen has expended and is thriving. Apparently in bad times people will not give up either alcohol or candy. Our favorite gallery "The Haystack Gallery" has changed a bit. There are still a few good things in there, but it's not what it was. There were some great shots in another gallery of Snow at Cannon Beach. Made me drool, and also demonstrates a good reason to get up early in the morning.
Now we've returned to our room to hear the Ocean and read our bountiful books.
While we can receive email, we can't send it. So here's as good a place as any to communicate.
It's all good.
We spent lots of money at the Stitchery Store. We had fun finding it, but in the end we found it behind us as we were turning around to go back and look for it. Juli is very pleased!
We spent lots of money at Powell's. We had trouble finding it. We knew the cross streets but we were coming at it from the South, something we have never done before.
We bough lots of books. Juli is pleased.
It's hard to believe we were just looking at palm trees 36 hours ago.
I found out by looking at Wunderground.com that we were fighting 30 mph winds sustained with 40 mph gusts while coming through the valley. OOoo. That explains the "e" ticket ride and the lowered gas mileage.
We are about an hour south of Portland. Shortbread wants to stop at a stitchery store she has had luck with online. Then a short-ish visit to Powels.
It interesting how a change in geography and climate can equate to a longer stretch of time. This morning in Pacifica seems like last week.
We started at that special place on Lumbar Street. I mean Lombard Street. [That twisty road makes my back hurt.] We found parking right at the top, though someone tried to nose in behind me. Denied! We hiked all the way down and all the way back. Many people just stand out in the street to take pictures. We did too. Stamp "Tourist" on our foreheads.
Next we drove out to Fort Point for the last Lighthouse capture. As we hiked all over the hillside at the South end of the Golden Gate Bridge we started to get buzzed by the Blue Angels. Whirl and click on those bird.
Next we drove to the Palace of Fine Arts. We got redirected far away from our destination by one way roads and freeways with no exits. Unfortunately when we got to the palace we found it was closed for restoration. 80 years of bird poop will take it's toll. We walked around the reflection pool and took photos though. We couldn't converse much due to the Blue Angels.
Next we went to China Town and we were just in time for crowded market streets. And the Blue Angels echo in the city canyons is very painful to the ears. Cool to watch though. We walked all the way through China Town to the Chinatown gate. Wow! That was fun! We bought stuff! I bought music!
And the Blue Angels roared on.
We left downtown San Francisco for the last time via the Great Highway, [it's the highway that follows the shoreline]and watched the sunset.
Dinner was entertaining. We were the only ones in this large posh[ish] restaurant about a block further south from our hotel. The waiter was a character, a father who emigrated from Taiwan about 26 years ago. He struck up a long political conversation with us concerning kids and lack of tradition in the US and how the US is a political paradise we need to protect. Shortbread started tapping our wineglasses together. It was time for our end of vacation toasts. We started by toasting the waiter.
Tomorrow we start changing latitudes.
When Shortbread came home yesterday from our narrow escape from the squirrel swarm she was not feeling well. So today we spent the day "in". The window has been open and the sound of the surf as been rolling in all day.
I did step out and take a hike up the nearby headlands. [And I've just now realized I could have been uploading images.]
I was at the tip of here [as seen from our hotel room] when my phone went off. It was Shortbread waving from our hotel room.
The Pacifica Headlands is haunted by the dangerous-less and haunting-less rare San Francisco Garter Snake. I only saw 2 on my hour long walk. Can they move? Oh yes! They lunge and leap quite well, usually away. They appear to be far more agile then the Puget Sound ...um... red stripy and yellow stripy garter snake.
Shortbread: "I'm glad I did not go on the hike. T-W-O snakes would have been T-W-O snakes too many."
So for the rest of the day we've relaxed and read. Sometimes you just need to do nothing on your vacation.
After Alamo Square we headed for the Southern Windmill [we took pictures of the Northern one yesterday.] Unfortunately it's in the "Completely removed and framed in base of the new one" stage of it's refurbishment. So off to Strawberry Hill for a long walk [more walking]about the island and the lake.
Now a word of caution about Golden Gate Park, the largest city park in the US.... the squirrels can be dangerous. I sat down to change my camera batteries and within moments the squirrels began to swarm. They would get closer by the moment. They've been known to strip the shell from a nut in .2 seconds. An open camera bag, a pant leg, anything is fair game. ...and they looked hungry. Well, no, actually they look well fed.
The geese, the ducks, the pigeons, all of them are voracious predators. Poor elderly sitting on park benches are the first to be swarmed. Next, the slow walkers, and finally the joggers. ...like something from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". I mean, Bodega Bay is only a few miles to the north.
We escaped from Strawberry Hill to the Conservatory of Flowers. The entry fee had been waved so that park patrons could take shelter. ...I mean pictures. Even though the interior of the great green house has hot and humid, the flora was bright and colorful. Shortbread and I spent a great deal of time snapping photos. [at this point Shortbread began to wilt from the danger. ...I mean humidity] One room had was reserved for butterflies. We got a number of good photos of them, though we would have had more if the children didn't lunge at the poor bugs, enticing them to fly away.
We escaped the children only to find out why they were at the Conservatory and not safely secure in the Secret Playground. The Carousel was closed. We pressed our noses, I mean our cameras, up against the glass and came away with the memories of the beautifully hand carved carousel figures.
Soon the deserted Carousel was too disturbing for us to remain. We sought peace in the Japanese Tea Garden. ...and now I know why tea gardens exist. Despite the number of people there the tea garden is an incredible source of peace and tranquility. ...and very few pigeons. We saw one very fat one. [Shortbread speculated that he had eaten all of his brethren, or perhaps the squirrels.] We wandered the many secluded paths for about an hour and finally settled into the tea house for a pot of Jasmine tea and spice crackers. Shortbread has saved our cookie fortunes for posterity.
Finally we made one more try to escape the park's hungry denizens.
We drove to the far west end and slipped out to the North to take pictures of Mile Rock Lighthouse. Success! No fog. Not only could we take photos of Mile Rock, but we could also photograph Point Boneta on the far side of the bay entrance, Lime Point under the North tower of the bridge, and Fort Point Lighthouse on the the South end of the bridge. 4 Lighthouses from one lookout. [...and almost Alcatraz if it weren't for the one tree in the distance.]
Take that you no good sneaky squirrels!
We drove into San Francisco on highway one. It becomes a surface street soon after we get into town. After a stop at Boarders for Coffee and Manga, we moved on. We took a side trip to Lincoln Park. There is a lighthouse off the coast off called Mile Rock that we wanted to catch. It entailed a 2 mile hike [sigh]. We got to the parking lot. Fog started rolling in but we decided to risk it anyway.
We descended some steps to a trail and took about 5 paces down the trail. ...and "There it is!"
Since it was still shrouded in fog we've decided to come back on another day.
We crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge and, on impulse, went down to the marina on the right. From there we could see what was left of Lime Point Lighthouse at the base of the North Tower of the bridge. It's the little tiny lighthouse dwarfed by the lower half of the tower. In fact I don't think it's taller then the foot of the tower.
We left the marina and ended up waiting for a red light by a one way tunnel. The sign by the light says the wait is five minutes long. [It's a long skinny tunnel under highway 101 and the adjacent mountain.]
We worked our way to the far SW corner of the Marin Headlands, winding narrow roads up and around treeless brown hills, until we found a small sign that said "open". It was our only hope for finding the trail to Point Bonita Light. It's only open 4 hours a day, three days a week. We started our hike.... in the fog. There was a small party of YMCA kids also running about on the trail. We got out to the suspension bridge and were allowed to go out to the actual light station two at a time. Juli and I set off into the fog, the bridge swaying in the mist with the sound of the ocean surf echoing up from below.
Cool light station. We got a lot of mysterious pictures and silhouette shots. And we survived the walking.
On the way back we stopped at a number of viewpoints on the headlands and took many photos of the Golden Gate Bridge with the south end hidden in fog. A continuous fog bank did its damned best to smother San Francisco, but would fall short just after crossing over the bridge.
We stopped briefly, in the foggy west end of Golden Gate Park and took a number of photos of one of the windmills there. Then the fog rolled in some more [yes, it was already foggy] and it got dark and colder. We drove pack to Pacifica along the water, through the fog. ...at least I think it was along the water. There was sand and surfers and... It was foggy.
The Aquarium... It seems to double in size every time I see it. It's got a cool new tank that is larger then all of the others combined. It holds Tuna, Sharks, Sardines, Sunfish, and barracuda. We were there just in time for feeding. The Tuna go on a feeding frenzy described as "rush hour meets rugby". The sardines school in and "hoover" up all the scraps. The barracuda are new and haven't figured out the "Free Food" aspect of captive life. Right now they lie in wait to catch the unwary sardine.
The Jelly Exhibit is cool. I did not know Rainbow Trout became Steelhead. Don't eat farmed salmon [I already knew that]. DO eat farmed trout [I did not know that]. Do Not Flash the Octopus. All otters are cute.
Shortbread: "I took pictures of Snakes! I was brave!"
Now we've started back north. ...just a little.
We're in Pacifica for 5 days and we can hear The Ocean from our room!!!
San Francisco is about 2 minutes north.
Big Sur rock doesn't have a provable geological reason to be there, just some theories. But there it juts. If it weren't connected to the mainland it would beat out Haystack Rock as the biggest free standing monolith.
Cool Light station! Most of the original structures were built out of the local sandstone. Later buildings were built out of wood. The newest building, a replica of the original water tower, was actually built out of special composites. That's because it was built by AT&T. They wanted a cell tower on the rock and were given permission as long as they could hide it. Since wood would block their signal... Success! We never knew it was there.
We pulled out of the parking lot at 2 and turned right, away from our home base and further down highway one. oooOOOOOoooo! We stopped at a waterfall that falls from a cliff onto the sandy beach. The overlook was closed as was the park. That didn't stop the 15 or 20 carloads of people from parking along side the road and hopping the fence. Well worth it.
Many of the parks were closed because of the horrendous fires they had here. There are some that are still burning, fire crews all over. However no one is franticly fighting fires. There are just some obvious hot spots still smoldering.
We left the falls and, again, turned right. We drove waaaay father then we had originally planned, all the way down to Piedras Blancas Light Station. It was closed of course. At 5 PM everything would be closed. Mostly we drove there as an excuse to travel highway one. the lighthouse was just a bonus. A big bonus.
Got back to our hotel in the dark. Shortbread just now turned out the light to go to sleep.
First Stop: Point Montera. Mr. C. mentioned this lighthouse in one of his private posts. It's the one that was found last year to be a missing
Second Stop: Pigeon Point. Both Pigeon Point and Point Montera are operated as youth hostels. Poor Pigeon Point though, is suffering from a little disrepair. No one had the authority to refurbish it and the Coast Guard could only maintain it. That was until 2005. Now the race is on against time.
Third Stop: Ano [~ over the n] Nuevo. Ano Nuevo light station is on an island. It was abandoned in 1948. We weren't sure we would be able to do this one as it's on a nature preserve. Elephant seals haul out here to mate or molt depending on the time of year.
We discovered that it was possible, but there was a thick fog to deal with. There was a 4 mile round trip hike involved [that's a harder type of walking]. Part of the hike is in sand [Prince Feisal: "I think you are another of these desert-loving English."]. Shades of Punta Gorda. There are also strict rules about staying on the path. Shortbread had me go first so I could watch for the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake. And in fact we did find one. Shortbread leaped back before she could see it. She wanted me to club it with my tripod [not really].
We finally arrived at the first look out. ...and could see nothing. Fog. We hiked out to the second lookout and found the preserve attendants. In the distance there were a few elephant seal males having some intense discussions with a back drop of driftwood logs. Out where the island was... fog.
We talked for a bit about the seals and about the island, about San Fran and
ME: "Oh my god! That's not drift wood. Those are seals!!!" What I thought were dry driftwood logs were all Elephant Seals. ..over 600 of them. More pictures. I think I've taken over 300 photos by now.
Now we're in