Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Moving Day, Golden Gate Bridge and Pacific Coast

Location: San Francisco North/Petaluma KOA (el. 60 ft); Petaluma, California

(click pictures to enlarge)

Yesterday was moving day; about 170 miles. Liberty took a beating the entire way from just about each and every bridge. CalTrans has done a very good job on the roads and most are smooth with only a few areas in need of patches. However, they really need to work on their bridge ends. I hit a couple that made me look in the rearview mirror to make sure Liberty hadn't unhitched. I really hope the roads improve as I head farther north in a couple days. 

I moved from one KOA to another which is unusual since I usually don't stay in KOA's. They are full of amenities that I don't need. For example; petting zoo's, bouncing pillow, hayrides, etc. They are usually overpriced for my needs but would be very nice for a family with children. The advantage for me is they are usually located exactly where I need to be to do the exploring I want to do. I'm using this one for access to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Coast. I also think there is a grove of Redwoods close by which I didn't know about until I checked in here. The campsite was perfectly level both fore and aft which is always good. I haven't counted lately but I think I'm getting close to having stayed in 100 campgrounds and have only had to use leveling blocks maybe a dozen times. Of course there were a few times that I should have used the blocks but I was tired and said that 1/2 bubble would be OK. It is during those time I have to be careful about opening the shower door to make sure it doesn't fling open too fast and hit the vanity counter. 

KOA campsite, electric/water. I will empty my tanks on the way out or since the dump station is in a very bad location, I may just carry the extra weight to the next location.
I packed a lunch today and went to see the Golden Gate Bridge. It is about 30 miles down US 101, which varies from 3 to 5 lanes with an HOV lane. I pulled out of the campground around 9:30 after visiting with a nice couple from Florida in a new Winnebago View. They only stopped for the night and were heading farther north. We exchanged information on places we had been, where we were going, recommendations as to campgrounds to stay in and ones to avoid. After telling each other safe travels and Cya down the road, I headed out as they finished breaking camp. 

Traffic to the bridge was light and I was able to go 60 mph the entire way. I saw a California Highway Patrol motorcycle cop speeding while weaving in and out of traffic without his "bubble gum lights" on. He got about a mile ahead of me before pulling someone over. By the way, those cop lights don't look like "bubble gum machines" anymore, I wonder what they call them now a days. I've heard it called "running hot", but heck that could have double meanings so I don't think I'll use it. :)

You're looking north in this pictures. The bridge is to your right out of the picture. Notice the two tunnel openings to the left/middle of the picture. You come through those tunnels and everything just opens up and you can see the tops of the bridge. As you look in your rearview mirror you will see the tunnel entrances have a rainbow painted around the entrance. 
The bridge is 78 years old and is maintained by a crew of 16 ironworkers and 34 painters. It is called The Golden Gate Bridge because it crosses the Golden Gate Strait, which is the water leading from the ocean to San Francisco bay.
That is Alcatraz Island on the left/middle. It gives you an idea how far the guys who escaped had to go to get to shore. Personally, I don't think they made it although others think they made it safely and lived a normal life afterwards. 
She sure is a pretty bridge.

One of the sad facts I learned about the bridge is that it is the number one suicide location in the world. More than 1500 lost souls have jumped to their deaths. There have been so many jumpers that 11 suicide crisis phones have been installed along the walkway in hopes of helping people. The good news is that more than 30 people have survived the jump. It would be nice to read about what those 30 people did with their lives after God saved them from a foolish act and gave them a second chance. I haven't been able to find that information. 

I found a nice "thinking bench" on the way to the bridge overlook, however it was already occupied. 

After I left the bridge, I went back north on U.S. 101 and exited onto CA 1 which runs along the coast. I figured there would be some nice ocean views. I wasn't mistaken.

Looking southward

Looking north. You can see the highway as it curves around the outcroppings. 

There is a house with a view

A nice walkway has been built out to the point.

There is a bird sitting on the highest rock next to the tree. He stayed there the entire time I spent on the walkway. 

I waited patiently while the two young ladies finished their conversation. I overheard enough to hear that the one on the left was complaining about having to work too much. The one on the right agreed and offered encouragement that things would get better.

After the young ladies left, I enjoyed the end of the overlook. It was nice.

Looking back towards the parking area. Notice the lack of people. Being early in the season is great.

The only true beach area along this stretch of coast. It is about 3 miles long and named Stinson Beach. It was a little chilly for beach time but I can imagine it is packed during the summer time.

I drove through several locations with these trees. Their surfaces are smooth like an Aspen or Birch. Some appeared to not have any bark at all. I haven't researched them to know their name, sorry. 

This was my view as I ate my lunch. Bologna sure tastes better when you have a good view. 

As I got farther away from the coast and coming into to Petaluma from the west, the landscape changed to these rolling hills. There was green grass everywhere and lots of dairy cows.

There were places where only a few cows were grazing. If you look close you can see more cows in the background that are "skylining" themselves at the top of the hill.
I decided to include a selfie with the bridge in the background. 
I'll be heading farther north on Wednesday. The weather has been warm but I keep getting a sense that there is at least one more winter snap to go. I'm probably pushing my luck but I'll continue north to at least the Crater Lake area. If I find a nice campground, I need to stop longer than a couple days to let time catch up.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


  1. Great photos, Darrell. What camera and lens are you using? Exceptionally clear with a great depth of field.

    If you make another swing east and can handle dry camping, give me heads up and you can join us if we're in Maine at the time. Heading back for summer 2015 but can't say for sure we will be back in 2016.

    1. Hello Will, thanks for the comments. 99% of my pictures are taken by my cell phone. It is a Nokia Lumia Icon 929. I purposely got this cell phone for it's quality camera as well as being a Windows phone. It is really convenient since it is small enough to carry in my shirt pocket or back pocket. It has other features on the camera but I usually just point and shoot.

      I'm not sure where I'll be going next year. Maine was nice, but not sure if I'll make it back there again or not.

      Have a great day.

  2. The ocean views get even better the farther north you go!!! Hwy 101 along the Oregon coast is beautiful!!

    1. Hello Jenny, I'm heading in that direction. It is just a matter of how far north I go. Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

  3. You may want to call ahead to Crater Lake to make sure the road is open.

    1. I have been checking Crater Lake's webpage. It shows which roads are open and which are closed. My best guess right now is that I will be in that area in about 10 days or so.

  4. Gorgeous ! Most pleasing to my eyes! Best yet. Wish I could wiggle my nose and be living there.
    Too bad dad never worked in California...seems like he had something from the Golden Gate Bridge..do you remember anything? Keep safe baby brother

    1. Hello Big Sis. He had a section of the original suspender cables from when they were replaced a few decades ago. I had it on my desk at work for many years before I retired. I still have, but not on display. Hope all is going well for you and yours.

  5. If I am not too late my I suggest the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park? Magnificent trees & I have always enjoyed the drive up there.

    1. Hey Rob. I checked into the state park but I'm right at the limit of RV length for the park. That is too close for my comfort, but I have found several other places to see the Redwoods.

  6. Beautiful pictures. We dont use KOA campgrounds unless we just have to. If you have never been up the Oregon Coast you might consider putting that on your bucket list. Beautiful Countryside. and ocean views.

    1. Hello Betty. I'm heading in that direction. I'm just not sure how far up the coast I go. I want to see Crater Lake as well.

  7. We did Highway 1 two summers ago from Fort Bragg to where you are now....there were just two turns along the route that we had to take real easy so we didn't bottom out due to the turn with a dip in it...but that was headed south, and you are headed north. We stayed at Westside Regional Park, Bodega Bay, a no-hookup park which has water, and Manchester Beach / Mendocino Coast KOA just south of Fort Bragg. Also stayed at Golden Bear RV Resort, Klamath, Ca twice....you can park looking out over the Klamath River right before it enters the Pacific, very close to a large Redwood Forest just south of Klamath. Also stayed at Smith River RV Resort near Oregon Boarder and visited Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Park which, I believe, is where Star Wars was filmed if my memory holds true. In 2012 we stayed at Ancient Redwoods RV Park just below Eureka. Both those years we visited Crater Lake, staying at Stewart State Park Campground in 2013 and Crater Lake RV Park in 2012. Like both parks, liked the price of the State Park better, and they were just putting in 4G service near that park that year so you won't have to put up with slow 2G like we did if you pick that park. You can see all of this on our maps page on our blog. --Dave (GoingRvWay.com)

    1. Hello Dave. Thanks for the great information. The weather is cooperating so far. I have checked your blog.

  8. Beautiful photos. Very near my home. I don't know how far north you've gotten by now, but the California Coast north of San Francisco is truly worth the drive, especially if you have good weather.