Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

San Mateo Coast.

This was taken from one of the many state parks on the San Mateo Coast off of Highway 1.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Stormy Pigeon Point Lighthouse California

The storm actually never hit. Pigeon Point Lighthouse is about 5 minutes north of Ano Nuevo state reserve (or 75 minutes south of San Francisco) and is a good place to stop on the way to or from it, I wouldn't count on spending more than 30 minutes to an hour there. The lighthouse is currently closed so you can not and go in it. Their is also a hostel where you can spend the night if you make reservations. More from Rudy Alice and Dennis Yang.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Reserve California

Ano Nuevo is infested with Elephant seals. The park is about an hour south of San Francisco and a bit north of Santa Cruz. It is a great place to visit December through March and a good place to visit the rest of the year. December through March you'll need a reservation for a guided tour, which takes approximately three hours. The tour guides will take you right up to the seals, apparently they have decided that 25 feet is all the personal space a 5000 pound slug needs.

Here is the location, click on the google logo for a new map.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Coast Redwoods California.

My car among the giant redwoods near the California coast. Getting a halfway decent picture of the redwoods is difficult due to their size. The Avenue of the Giants is the easiest place to visit with more than a few giant redwoods. Socklabs Blog has some more pictures.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Alcatraz, San Francisco.

Definitely worth a visit, get reservations from the Blue and Gold Fleet early because they sell out, go earlier for less crowds. Usually its very busy and somewhat annoying because its a guided audio tour so everyone is shuffling along so you can't go at your own pace whether its faster or slower. More pictures of Alcatraz here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Marin coast.

The Marin coast in California is completely different than the Sonoma coast... This is off highway 1, an hour or so north of San Francisco.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sonoma coast beach view.

Just drive Highway 1 (carefully) and you will get countless vistas like this one on the Sonoma coast. This was taken north of the state beaches I believe. The beaches aren't really good for swimming, so don't plan on doing that.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Santa Cruz.

I would skip the Santa Cruz harbor boat tour, its not very thrilling, just walk around the town and boardwalk. I talked previously about Santa Cruz California here, an even better description by ChipLog, Formation of Me, and more pictures from the SJ Mercury News.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Christmas, Bay Street, Emeryville California.

This is Christmas Emeryville style. You can tell because the palm trees are all done up. Bay street is a halfway decent shopping area. It would be about 10 times better if the BART stopped right there, but nooooo, they didn't think of that 20 years ago when they built the BART. Another "unauthorized guide" has more.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Stinson Beach.

Stinson beach is a pretty drive north of San Francisco. Its a very nice beach close to a major city and not directly facing the Pacific Ocean, so its a bit calmer. On warm weekends get there early or expect to walk. If you find yourself in San Francisco and want to see a beach, this is closer than Santa Cruz. Either one is fine if all you're after is a beach. More pictures and a few brief comments at Lingamish, Joy's Blog, and James E. Lee's Blog.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Downtown Martinez, California

The Contra Costa Finance Building in downtown Martinez, California. Not worth a visit unless its the fourth of July.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Monday, December 4, 2006

Clearlake California.

Clearlake is what I would call the budget shopper's lake Tahoe. Its a bit closer, warmer, and a whole lot cheaper in general. Unfortunately its not nearly as much fun and is more of a destination for locals too lazy to drive the extra couple hours to Tahoe, unlike Tahoe you can make a day trip out of a visit to Clearlake. June Cho likes it.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Eldorado National Forest.

Eldorado National Forest is a fairly quiet place to camp compared to most other places in California... June is fine if a little cold, I wouldn't go any earlier than that, you can always camp anywhere in a National Forest, so you never have to worry about reserving a spot. More from camping guy.

Friday, December 1, 2006

17 mile drive, Monterey California.

The 17 mile drive near Monterey and Carmel California is a trip most people will consider not worth the money, considering the surprisingly similar Point Lobos is just south of the area. Anyway, you pay your money ($8 per car when I last went) and drive around a ritzy neighborhood, Pebble Beach golf course, and stopping at various beaches to take in the view. The houses are big and neat if you're into that sort of thing, the beaches are not so great considering Monterey bay is nearby. It'll take you a couple hours to get around the whole thing depending on how many stops you take. All times I've went has been foggy and I haven't seen any large sea animals on the trips, but I have seen them both north and south of the drive, so I assume its not out of the realm of possibilities. A vlog of the area here the tree is famous!

Information and reviews about the 17 mile drive in California:

The best:
Official Site: 17 mile drive Pebble Beach
Wikipedia: 17 mile drive

The rest:
Yahoo Reviews: 17 mile drive
Trip Advisor Reviews: 17 mile drive
Mercury News Review: 17 mile drive
Guestlife guide: 17 mile drive

Monterey bay.

This is a picture from the little boardwalk in Monterey. If you search for stuff to do in Monterey, people will rave about the aquarium. Its nice and all, but for my money its overpriced and really a little bit small and full of kids. I wish they would let you see the big tank for $3 and you could skip the rest. What you need to do, if you are in any kind of shape at all and the weather is sort of nice, is to rent a kayak from one of the many places and take it out onto the bay for half a day or so. The seals will come close enough to freak you out, the otters will merrily ignore you, and you can try not to think of the many other creatures just a few feet below your fragile sea kayak. It is really great fun and unless some disaster strikes, you will put it in the top 50 things you have ever done. The aquarium will not ever make that list.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

UC Berkeley.

The University of California Berkeley campus is not so much worth a visit to tour unless you're really hurting for something to do or visiting your kid. Notice how every picture you see of the campus has the clock tower in it? Thats because there really isn't anything else to see. More links.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

North Coast, Highway 1

Just take highway 1 north from San Francisco and you can't help but run into nice scenery, well you could take highway 1 south from San Francisco and get the same results, but its faster if you go north. Alot of people go to the Sonoma Coast for the wine too.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Yosemite Falls upper and lower.

Yosemite National Park is a fairly interesting four hour drive from San Francisco and then its about two more really interesting hours to get into the valley. Its easy to drive to the park edge after work, stay at a hotel right outside the border then go into the valley the next day. I've never met anyone who didn't absolutely love the place and wanted to take a million pictures of everything, one of those places you have to see at least once in your lifetime. Its best in the spring, thats when the waterfalls are in full force, drive to the valley early then hike to one of them. There are several different hiking options from easy to extreme so you can pick one you know you can handle. Check out the Yosemite Blog for more information.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Point Lobos State Reserve.

Although you can't tell it from this picture, Point Lobos is one of those places where you'll be walking along looking at rocks and then realize that there are about 20 seals there too and wonder how many you've missed along the way. Its south of Carmel, if you go on a weekend, get their early because there is limited parking and it can fill up. More on Point Lobos from Monterey John.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Coast redwoods.

Santa Cruz boardwalk.

Santa Cruz is worth a day trip if you have an extended stay in San Francisco and would like to see the sun. One review. Even better is Monterey, but you'll have to wake up earlier for that trip.

Friday, November 17, 2006