I would like to say that I didn't wake up until the sun got up but that would be a lie. Somewhere in the bay was a horn that went off every several seconds, this continued on throughout the entire night. The only way to drown it out was to have the heat going, which was ok, to begin with until I got too hot then I had to find other ways to drown out the noise and get some sleep.
The hardwood floors made getting a grip for Aria difficult and woke up to her crashing on the floor because she had fallen off while trying to get on the bed. A quick check proved she was all right and I helped her up. Even she was restless, the next morning we were up with the sun, still exhausted, and got ready to take on another day of driving. We took a walk, had breakfast, packed up the car, found the original key cards, and took a tour of Bodega Bay before I headed South on Highway 1.
Bodega Bay was a quaint and peaceful town and I would have enjoyed more time to view it but a review of the map showed another long day of travel. I did a quick drive around the town, which had no mention of Alfred Hitchcock's movie “The Birds”, and followed the route to the ocean's view.
An overlook of the town and the beach below offered amazing photos and one last chance to walk around with Aria before we continued on. A deep breath, a gentle breeze and the salt water smell in the air had me enjoying the moment and glad to be here. We got back in the car and headed South towards San Francisco taking California 1 part of the way. I was on it for a short while when I entered a town that was having a parade of some sort which had the main street shut down. I had to maneuver around the city and with every turn, another road was blocked. Once again I had to ask someone in a vest for directions, thankfully, these were right and I headed out of the town and back towards California 1.
The backroads of California offered some great views of rolling hills filled with livestock. This area, specifically, was now farm country and the hills were full of cattle with a horse ranch sprinkled in as well. I eventually arrived at Port Reyes and was mislead by the signs that said only 10 miles to the Port Reyes Lighthouse. Liars! It was a good 20-30 miles to the location and the road was rough, crowded and parking was limited.
There were some great views of the hills and coastline as I go closer to the lighthouse but the lighthouse itself couldn't be seen from the road. I would have to park the car either in the limited parking lot area or on the side of the road. Then had to hike up the steep hill and around a bluff to see the lighthouse. I had hoped it would have been a little closer but since I had Aria I didn't go up to the lighthouse. There were way too many people around and pets weren't allowed. I did get out long enough to take a few shots of the coastline before I headed back down.
As I did, a road to the right called Chimney Hill route caught my attention for possible photos and I turned on it. The road was made for one car and one car only but was used for cars going in and out of the viewing area. There were limited pull-offs and the dips were deep. At one point, I had to get off of the road to let another go by and the sound of the bottom of the car scraping and hitting the concrete made my heart drop. Thankfully the car was ok but I couldn't help but apologize to her, again, for the conditions I put her through.
This route also put me face to face with the cattle that called these hills home. There was no fence to separate them from the car and the road. Now what I saw in front of me when leaving still makes my blood boil. People were getting out of their cars and walking up to them, trying to feed them, pet them and get a picture of themselves next to a cow. It's a cow! Have you never seen one before?
This is why animals are put down because people think they can do whatever they want, then the animal attacks out of fear or protection and they are the ones who suffer not the people who provoked them. Leave the animals alone! There is a reason there is a zoom on your camera.
Time to continue South towards San Francisco. I had been through this city once before and that was a long time ago. I had always wanted to go back and see the Golden Gate Bridge on a clear day. I continued down California 1 and was just about to leave a small town when a sign ahead says, (that's right), road closed. Ugh!
However, this one was well-marked and didn't involve any backpedaling, which was a good thing, because oncoming traffic was extremely long. I took the detour and I was back on the Amalfi Drive. I was beginning to think that California couldn't have any road, unless it was an interstate, without these 90 degree blind turns that had sharp inclines and declines. I groaned and cringed as I realized what I was about to do, yet again, in less than 24 hours. My hands gripped the wheel tightly and I got ready to do it again.
Everything started out going well until on a turn I saw a biker peddling their way up the hill as well. Apparently, there was some kind of biking event going on and they too were on this route. I mean really? A biker?
Yeah, sure, why not. I mean over the last several days while being in and out of the mountains I had to deal with light rain, blinding rain, sleet, snow, slush, ice, semi-tractor trailers baring down on me, loggers on blind curves, construction vehicles, and now bikers. It was a beautiful, warm summer day why would I want this drive to be easy. Screw it, bring on the bikers...and the bikers came. I lost count after 15, all showing up on hills or blind curves and unable to pass them because I couldn't see what was coming towards me.
Finally, I was off of the detour, back on the main road and just outside of San Francisco and The Golden Gate Bridge.
Through a tunnel and around the bend and there she stood peaking over the hill in the near distance. As I headed out to cross her, I stayed in the far right lane and took my time going across. There was a good chance I would not be back here for a long time and I wanted to enjoy every moment. I remembered crossing it as a kid when visiting relatives but at the time it was foggy. Today offered unlimited views and the size of her was unbelievable.
I headed down to The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, even though pets were welcome here, I was hesitant on taking Aria out, the area was packed with people, but seeing as how I got a break and found a spot right in front of the bridge I decided to go ahead. Truth be told I was not sure if it was a legal parking spot but I wasn't going far and could move it if anyone said something.
Locals were use to seeing dogs down there and didn't do anything to excite her but, as always, she did get several comments about how pretty she was; but of course! Even with all the people around Aria stayed close to me and didn't try to jump or sniff anyone; this was huge for her and I've never been more proud.
I hate changing out camera lenses. I try to make it work with one lens, which lately, had been my long range one but not here, not today. It was only good for Alcatraz and Angel Island, and I found myself back in the car changing the lenses several times.
I continued to drive towards the fort to get an even closer look at the bridge, the fort, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and of course, San Francisco in the background. Today's temperatures were climbing quickly which had me rushing to get photos taken before the car became too hot for Aria. Down by the Fort, I grabbed a few more shots of the bridge, Alcatraz, and San Francisco. Even with as busy as it was, it was still a great place to visit, sit down by the water and watch the boats coming in and out of the Bay. There was one last place to visit in San Francisco; Crooked Street; a recommendation from my mom. Had I known the route I would have to take to get there I would have said, "what are you nuts?"
Crooked Street was located near Fisherman's Wharf and was on some pretty steep hills, several times I couldn't see what I was driving into because of how steep the hill was. Thankfully, most of these streets were four-way stops and local drivers knew I was coming to the top blinded. A lot of times, I just coasted through afraid if I stopped I would slide back down. Crooked Street was probably the easiest drive I had been on since I got to California; getting to it, however, was a whole other ball game. This route brought back my white-knuckle driving, only this time it wasn't the mountains or blind corners.
At times I had one foot on the gas peddle and the other on the brake. It was even scarier when there was a line of cars in front of me and I had to stop on the steepest part of the incline. Even Ella let out a few grumbles as I climbed yet another steep city hill.
Once I reached Crooked Street it was all downhill from here and no place to stop to take any good shots. I was glad to have the dash cam to be able to capture the experience. However, once I hit the bottom, I had to watch out for the many pedestrians that were waiting and taking photos of all the cars going down. Clearly this was a popular attraction, however, parking at the bottom to do the same was extremely limited and would have to walk several blocks to get back to it.
This was one thing I wasn't going to do, especially with Aria along. It was a fun drive and one that I can proudly say I did. A few steep hills later, I was now out of downtown San Francisco and back on the Interstate. Even during rush hour traffic, I felt a sense of relief, it was nice to see a straight, smooth road ahead of me and driving faster than 30 mph. If traffic would have allowed, I would have kissed that interstate. Our drive ended in Monterey, which was a town I fell in love with several years ago.
The rest of the day ended without further incident until I reached the hotel in Monterey. The hotel was nice but getting to it was, big surprise, lined with construction and to a newbie wasn't very well marked. I was also at another hotel that didn't have much for walking a dog unless I wanted to go down a few blocks.
Somehow Aria made it work, well sort of, she wasn't crazy about the non-grass areas and was willing to wait for better conditions, when that didn't happen she finally did use it for a quick moment. This had me hoping for no accidents and once again we were on hardwood floors. Although, a little out of the box thinking had me using the towels to help her get a better grip when jumping up on the bed.
It wasn't long after we were settled in for the night that we both crashed. Thankful to be here at a reasonable time and even more thankful that tomorrow we would be leaving California. I hoped for a good driving day but feared I would have a few more obstacles before I got to Nevada.
Driving across country can bring about some interesting situations. Broken down on a day by day basis enjoy my adventures and set backs along the way to some beautiful destinations.