The Golden State – California – Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye to the Golden State. Nine happy and carefree days driving the Pacific Coast highway 🙂

Can see our United plane, waiting to board and off to New Jersey. Home is where I can download the pics without any problems to share and enjoy excellent Verizon internet service to be able to blog about day 4 and onwards.

We leave many things undone so that we can look forward to another trip.

More to come in the next few days…

IMG_20150409_134627 IMG_20150409_134712

The Golden State – California – Day 3…

… Finally! Reached San Diego, the final stop of our trip – and good internet connection.

Day 3 in California was spent visiting the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. http://www.computerhistory.org/. For those who are interested, Google’s global head quarters is almost right behind the museum.

It is the perfect place to time travel down centuries of discovery, adventure, progress, use, development, and refinement of mathematics, logic and computers. This is great – but a bigger greatness lies in the fact that the road has not ended, it goes on into the coming future, and just like the past journey, the coming is envisioned by the gifted few, discovered and refined by many and benefits or is used by the entire human race. Humans are powerful for the reason that they can think.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay.

It is interesting that for me the history and the people involved mattered, for the three boys (husband included) the technology was captivating – we each benefited from the displays in our own way.

Charles Babbage Computing Machine.

Charles Babbage computing machine. Only two remain in the world.

IMG_0438

Fairchild Notebooks

Fairchild Notebooks

Fairchild Notebooks

Fairchild Notebooks

IMG_0432

IBM 1401 demo lab.

Display in the museum's store.

Display in the museum’s store.

Stanford University was next but we did not do the tour as planned. Instead we came back to San Francisco and took a cable car ride (http://www.sfcablecar.com/) and walked down Sacramento Street towards Chinatown. The road down, from the end of the cable car ride, has some really beautiful buildings in the Nob Hill area including some high end hotel chains like Fairmont (where the president stays on his visits), Ritz Carlton, Pacific-Union Club (which to this day grants memberships to men only), and the Grace Cathedral (where the movie Sister’s Act was filmed – I have not verified this on my own).

IMG_0501

A building on the corner of Market and Drumm streets - waiting for the cable car.

A building on the corner of Market and Drumm streets – waiting for the cable car.

The cable car.

The cable car between Market Street and Van Ness Avenue – there are two other routes.

The road of our ride.

The road of our ride.

Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Pacific-Union Club - an exclusive all men club.

Pacific-Union Club – an exclusive all men club.

Light poles outside Fairmont Hotel.

Light poles outside Fairmont Hotel.

Down towards Chinatown, browsed some of the shops and my son got a Maneki-neko (the beckoning cat – which is considered to bring good luck to the owner in the Japanese tradition). Dinner was Mediterranean food from Oasis Grill II (http://oasisgrill.com/) on Drumm Street (Embarcadero) – delicious!

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

The one thing that I would love to do on my next visit is a walking tour of Stanford – it is a beautiful campus.

We took it light as all of us where a little tired with our 10 mile biking trip the day before and we had a long drive to Pismo Beach the next day. All in all, a happy stay in San Francisco 🙂

The Golden State – California – Day 3 and 4 update…

Was planning to share travel experiences for days 3 and 4 but the internet connection at Best Western at Pismo Beach is extremely slow. Half the time I am unable to upload photographs and the other half it just stops working.

The views of the Pacific Ocean and the sunset, on the other hand, are terrific! Just sit in the small veranda outside the room, watch the sun set and the sky turn all shades of blue, orange and gold, hear the sea gulls preparing for the night and settling on the cliff side their heads hidden in their wings, and relax in the sound of the waves gently hitting the side of the cliffs.

Day 3 was mostly spent at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Stanford University in Palo Alto, Chinatown in San Francisco and the cable car ride from Market Street to Van Ness Avenue.

Day 4 (today) we drove from San Francisco towards Pismo Beach via the scenic California Highway 1. Cannot decide what the landscape, during the ride, resembles most – England or the Amalfi Coast. Every turn, every corner is breathtaking. The cliff side town of Pacifica right outside the city, the hustle and bustle of the Monterey Harbor, the Big Sur drive and its picturesque surroundings, the flowery gardens of the Ragged Point Inn and Cafe, hundreds of elephant seals basking in the sun (never seen anything like this in my life before), the historic city of San Luis Obispo and finally the quaint ocean side town of Pismo.

Outside it is a full moon, the glow highlights the tall peaks of the mountains in the surroundings. The sound of the waves hitting the shore mixed with the night time chanting of the sea gulls is music to the ears. It’s peaceful – I take in a deep breath, hold it for few seconds and then release it with all the turmoil and anxieties within – it’s serene.

Busy day tomorrow, not to mention mental recording of day 5 in California – Don’t suppose there will be good internet connection until we get to the hotel in San Diego.

The Golden State – California – Day 2

The post for day 2 is a day late – multiple things happened – My computer refused to read directly from the SD card, my son was too tired to download Picasa on his laptop and I was too tired to make him do it – hence the post is a day late.

A beautiful, sunny and eventful day!

We left the hotel around 8 AM, walked to the Ferry Building (about 5 minutes), had an amazing breakfast at Gott’s Roadside (http://gotts.com/) – Their special egg, spinach and mushroom sandwich is the best thing to kick-start the morning, rented bikes at the Ferry Building Bike Rentals (http://ferrybuildingbikerentals.com/) and set out on a biking adventure (at least it felt like one) – Ferry Building to Pier 39 to Fisherman’s Wharf to Ghirardelli Square to Fort Mason to Crissy Field to Golden Gate Bridge to the City of Sausalito on the other side and a ferry ride back. One amazing day!

Walking towards the Ferry Building: Ferry Building is the main terminal where ferries arrive into San Francisco. Built in 1898, the building is topped with a 245 foot clock tower built in the fashion of the 12th century Giralda Bell Tower in Seville, Spain. It is an imposing structure with offices and food stalls within.

Walk down the road from our hotel.

Walk down the road from our hotel.

The top of the Ferry Building. The building is lighted in the evening.

The top of the Ferry Building. The building is lighted in the evening.

IMG_0240

The road names are etched into the sidewalks in San Francisco.

The road names are etched into the sidewalks in San Francisco.

Roadside stalls outside the Ferry Building.

Roadside stalls outside the Ferry Building.

Roadside stalls outside the Ferry Building.

Roadside stalls outside the Ferry Building.

A building that caught my husband's eye.

A building that caught my husband’s eye.

Breakfast @ Gott’s: Inside the Fery Building with outside seating as well. This is a chain restaurant – I saw one in Palo Alto right outside Stanford campus.

Egg, Spinach & Mushroom Sandwich

Egg, Spinach & Mushroom Sandwich

IMG_0254

The biking starts – Ferry Building to the Golden Gate Bridge: Our first stop was Pier 39. Although we did not go inside the Bay Aquarium, it has raving reviews and a must visit time permitting. We got a little lost around Fisherman’s Wharf but that led to the discovery of a WWII submarine USS Pampanito and warship SS Jeremiah O’Brien (for more information: http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/

and http://www.maritime.org/pamphome.htm).  Beautiful road with many quaint little stores – colorful and festive. Ghirardelli square next – a very quick pit stop – no pictures. Fort Mason, which was the main port for the US Army during WWII is bordered by a scenic park and ends in a quaint little town, Presidio, with many Spanish and Mediterranean style houses. Spring brings beautiful flora and fauna to the area and the green color is a balm to our “snow-shocked” eyes from New Jersey. Right before the actual turn to exit into the Golden Gate Bridge, another WWII US Army stop is at Crissy Field – a former airfield. Both Fort Mason and Crissy Field are now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. Do not forget to stop and stamp the National Park Passport book at the National Park visitor center. A little beyond the Crissy Field is a beach area – worth a stop to enjoy breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It almost seems like the bridge is made across a stretch of green fields than on water.

There are many, many, many people crossing the bridge, both on foot and on bikes – this can be challenging. The views on the other hand are out of this world – one word – “WOW”! Depending on the camera some really good shots are possible of San Francisco’s skyline, Alcatraz Island and of the bay.

Bike rentals

Bike rentals

Pier 39

Pier 39

Metal works outside the Bay Aquarium.

Metal works outside the Bay Aquarium.

IMG_0263

IMG_0264

Spring is coming.

Spring is coming.

IMG_0271

Street view from Fisherman’s Wharf.

IMG_0274 IMG_0284 IMG_0293 IMG_0294

IMG_0297 IMG_0304 IMG_0315 IMG_0318

Humming birds - there were many.

Humming birds – there were many.

Visitor Center.

Visitor Center.

IMG_0343

Into Sausalito, good ice cream and ferry ride back: I have come across very few quaint little towns in the US – Sausalito sure is one of the few. The main downtown is not more than five or six blocks long. A big part of the residential area is built on the mountain slopes offering awesome views of the bay and San Francisco.

Do not miss the ice cream at Lappert’s (http://www.lapperts.com/) – some unique flavors offered.

We took the ferry back to the Ferry Building to return the bikes.

View of the valley town of Sausalito coming off the bridge.

View of the valley town of Sausalito coming off the bridge.

IMG_0381 IMG_0401

San Francisco Skyline from the ferry

San Francisco Skyline from the ferry

Golden Gate Bridge from the ferry.

Golden Gate Bridge from the ferry.

Alcatraz Island from the ferry.

Alcatraz Island from the ferry.

Coming up next – Day 3 – A day late!

The Golden State – California – Day 1

Arrived in San Francisco. Super tired but excited about the days ahead. Walked down Post Street and around the Union Square area.

IMG_0208 IMG_0204 IMG_0210 IMG_0213

“Bun” kabob at Karachi Classics, a small shack style place but super delicious burgers, is a must try. These are similar to American burgers but topped with chutney and egg (slightly spicy).

IMG_20150401_171745

Turned out to be a nice, brisk hour long walk from the Financial District where our hotel is located.

IMG_0231 IMG_0195 IMG_0191 IMG_0190

IMG_0215

Weather is a wonderful change from New Jersey – high 69 degrees – bliss!

🙂

Adventure’s in the Air

Three days and change to go!!! Our first trip in 2015. Packing – done, cameras – charged, bike and ATV rentals – researched, hotels – booked, Getty Museum parking – reserved, road trip – mapped — California here we come 🙂

Thoughts floating in my head: can’t wait, Wednesday come soon, warm weather, lazy days at Pismo beach, freedom, ahhhh!!!!

Maps and More

There is nothing like spreading a map on the floor or a table and charting the course of a journey. The unfolding of a map is like unfolding adventures to come, which we plan, plot and execute ourselves. No matter the technological advances, the convenience of global positioning systems, instant direction mapping on our phones – nothing can beat the old world charm of holding, and reading a real paper map. One almost feels like the travelers and adventurers of the past – with oil lamps, ink pots, magnifying glasses – huddled over tables, drawing the courses to conquer the seas and the oceans and discovering the unknowns.

It’s difficult to explain the feeling – the joy, the anticipation, the control, the togetherness – that comes from making travel plans using maps.

We have many lying around the house. A large framed world map hangs in my office, we normally get one of places we visit – so quite a few of those, and probably a road map in the car. It makes an excellent souvenir and is also a tool to find new, sometimes more scenic routes to our destinations.

However, I have never taken a picture of one until today – this picture marks the beginning of my first adventure after starting this blog – our upcoming California road trip in April 2015.

IMG_20150119_210803