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Big Trip Weekend - California Coast

Wow, lots of traveling this weekend.  Seeing that we might soon be leaving California, I wanted to spend a weekend traveling up the coast to San Francisco so we (Anne, Astro, and Orion and I) started off by driving up to Monterey from Riverside on Thursday night.

The first stop on Friday was the Apple Store in Monterey where Anne was finally able to find an iPad 2 in stock - score!  We then took the 17 Mile Drive south out of Monterey and down the coast through Pebble Beach (the golf resort).  I wasn’t happy having to pay the $9.50 fee to drive on the road and the start of the drive wasn’t very impressive, passing some likely expensive coastal homes and driving along the golf courses that follow the rocky shore.  Much of the first half of the drive is not anything that you wouldn’t see anywhere else north or south of this area and definitely not worth $9.50 to see, but the second half is more impressive with the crown jewel being the Lone Cyprus tree which is definitely worth a stop to see and photograph.  While it was extremely windy, the rain held off until we headed back to Monterey and north up the coast towards San Francisco.  Driving through and past Santa Cruz, the coastal scenery is amazing, green as could be rolling hills, bluffs and cliffs coming right up out of the water and small towns leading up to the metro area.  Along the way, we stopped at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse to take some pictures and let Astro and Orion out.  By the time we got to San Francisco, the rain had started falling pretty heavily and really wouldn’t stop for the next two days while we stayed at the Marina Motel on Lombard St.  It was a very small 1 room “apartment” that was a tight fit, but a good rate and location.

Saturday morning, we got up and went for a run, heading towards the bay, then up the back to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Getting to the bridge only was 2.5 miles, so we headed up onto and across the bridge to the other side and back during which it really started raining and we got completely soaked - but it was still lots of fun!  I was surprised to see so many other runners out there in the rain, something you never see in southern CA - nice to see other people aren’t afraid of getting a little wet!  Lunch was a cupcake from Kara’s Cupcakes (wonderful little shop in the Marina area) and we spent the rest of the afternoon driving around sight-seeing around the SF area.  At sunset, I tried to get some photos in of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Headlands park, but the weather just wouldn’t cooperate.  The wind really never let up and it was raining pretty hard, blowing right up the face of the hill and into the direction of my camera.  I really wasn’t succesful, my lens just got covered with water and the shot never turned out good.

Sunday, we were headed back to Riverside, but first stopped at the Headlands park to see if the weather would cooperate and I could get a few shots of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was raining on the way there (pretty heavy), but just as we pulled up to the pull out area, it let up for about 10 minutes and I was able to get in some photos.  It was actually really neat out, with dark, heavy clouds around the city, fog around the bridge, and green and wet hillsides.  I’m looking forward to processing these pictures soon.  Our drive back was filled with nothing but more rain except for the insanely huge snow flakes that were falling near Tehachapi when we got back south.

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