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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

San Francisco

We said goodbye to the awesome Redwoods Saturday, October 1 and hit Pacific Coast Highway 101 for about 190 miles to Petaluma where we turned southwest for the final 25 miles to the little community of Olema, Ca. We stayed at the Olema Campground for 8 nights for some R & R and to visit nearby San Francisco as well as some scenic parks nearby.  We've painfully learned that the closer we stay to major attractions or cities, the more expensive the parks are and the harder it is to find accommodations. Our sites at Olema were dirt sites with only 30 amp power and no sewer for $43.10/night including our Good Sam discount. No bargain at all, but as Crickett says "it is what it is". We had hoped to stay at the Fairgrounds park in Sonoma, where we stayed on our last trip, but it was booked for some event. We kept a close eye on the weather to plan our day trips so we would have better picture taking conditions and looked like Thursday and Friday were our best days for going to San Francisco. The other days we went on trips to close by Point Reyes National Seashore, checked out the scenic coastline, ran errands and rested the remainder of our time there. Our first day trip to San Francisco we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge again, which is an awesome experience that I would recommend to everyone! We had previously walked the bridge with our good friends Al & Pat when we here two years ago and it hasn't changed much, but is still really cool. The only issue we had was dodging bicycles, which share the same sidewalk as the pedestrians, the same as two years ago! Our second trip to the "City by the Bay", we really lucked out. There is an annual event there called Fleet Week where our armed services have their ships and planes on display including an air show with the Blue Angels being the main attraction. The displays and shows were Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Friday was our second day there. We had previously planned to book a harbor cruise and as luck would have it, it coincided with the air show, so we got to see a lot of the air show from the bay. Our cruise was with the Red and White Fleet and is known as "The Bridge to Bridge" tour with the ship going under the Golden Gate Bridge and then close  to Alcatraz and under the Oakland bridge and back to pier 43 1/2. Our tour lasted about 90 minutes, cost $36 each and was very worthwhile. 

Our next stop is in the community of Coarsegold, Ca. where we plan to see Yosemite National Park for the first time!
Our location here at Olema, California! Forgot to get a picture of our camp site.

Scenic lighthouse on the point at Point Reyes National Seashore (This and next 3 photos courtesy of Kathy's Photography who is getting to be quite good).

Rugged coast line near light house.

I like this shot a lot.

We didn't make the drive to the lighthouse, but Terry and Kathy did. They said it was 25 miles of pretty rough road.

This tree was in our yard at Olema. I've never seen pine cones grow on a tree like this. They were on the trunk of the tree and at unusual points on the limbs whereas they normally grow towards the end of the branches.

Never seen pine cones like this either. They are much heavier than "normal" pine cones. You see some strange things in California!

Large bull elk in Point Reyes Park

Also in Point Reyes. First time I've got a good shot of a coyote.We were probably about 50 yards from him.

Nice buck in the park.

Part of a herd of elk in the park. You can see the bull elk behind his harem.

A different coyote in a different location.

Ever seen a two headed deer? Well, I haven't either. This was a shot of two deer perfectly lined up with each other and the telephoto lens makes them look closer. If I had been trying to capture this shot, I would never have got it. Just got lucky!

I saw this sign at Safeway Grocery Store in San Rafael. Charge your electric car's battery while you shop! Btw, Safeway is a very nice store. Much like our Harris Teeter's used to be in NC.

She's still just as pretty and stately as ever!

It was a little windy and chilly when Kathy took this for us.

If you're thinking about jumping, you can call for help on these phones on the bridge. On average, there is a suicide on the bridge every two weeks.

Terry and Kathy Derouen, our traveling buddies.

In case you wondered!

Navy ship coming in for Fleet Week.

There's a lot of cruise boats in the bay.

Not to mention sail boats.

Display of main span cable used to support the bridge. It's over 36 inches in diameter.

Staue to honor sailors from San Francisco located beside Visitor Center at north end of bridge.

Everybody's heard of Pier 39 in SF!

Section of Pier 39 on inside. All kind of restaurants and shops. If you come bring a bag full of money!

We ate dinner at Bubba Gump's.

Our Cruise Line and their promotional picture I borrowed from their web site.

I took this one!

Top deck of our cruise ship. They give you a receiver and headset to listen to the tour info that is available in many different languages. You can see the planes in the air show just behind the US Flag.

There are plenty of bicycles available to rent.

I caught this large cruise ship headed out to sea. San Francisco is a major port for cruise lines.

My attempt at a night shot from the Visitor's Center. Not too bad for hand held.

Night shot of San Francisco with the Oakland Bridge to the left.

Water Taxi to transport passengers around the bay.

We saw more security in the bay while on our cruise than you can imagine for Fleet Week.

The F-22 Raptor. The pilot who flew it was amazing. We saw him put this plane through maneuvers that planes aren't supposed to be able to do.

He was so fast it was hard to get a decent shot of him.

Squadron of jets known as Breitling's. They're a privately owned California company that fly the fleet of L-39 Albatross jets at air shows. The planes are Czech-made and were widely used in the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, back on our cruise, here's the most famous bridge in the world!

I always wondered what the bottom looked like!

The western side

There were boats of all shapes  and sizes on the bay.


San Francisco Belle with a crowd onboard.

The Oakland Bridge. It's a two level bridge with south bound on top and north bound traffic on bottom layer.

She has four tower supports with a span support in the middle. The bridge connects Oakland and San Francisco.

I have no idea what this boat is.

The Blue Angels. They always perform a great show. I've seen them several times and still marvel at their skill and precision.

Near the end of the show, a 747 flew over the bay several times with his gear down and made several impressive maneuvers.

Of course the mimes and street entertainers are common on the waterfront.

This guy wasn't too impressed with all the excitement and noise.


  1. Thanks and Love love your pictures. So homesick - first time missing Fleet Week in 40 years. Don't miss Glacier Point in Yosemite. Kings Canyon and Sequoia NP are just south of it, if possible. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks for the compliment on my pictures and your comments. We just left Yosemite and going to Sequoia and Kings Canyon tomorrow.

  2. I also love and enjoy your pix. I'm traveling vicariously with y'all. Yosemite is a park we never got to. Tried couple times but didn't work out. Enjoy & take lots of pix. Betty