The Sierra Nevada
Wednesday, July 11 – We drove over the hill and down to Lake Tahoe. We found a place to park at Fallen Leaf Lake CG. Sadly, the CG is not on the lake, not even close. We investigated some other CG’s on the west shore, most of them are for tenting and all of Tahoe is a zoo this time of year. We decided to spend one night and head west.
Thursday, July 12 – Before we left we took a nature walk through a mosquito invested marsh and toured some of the old “cottages” on the lake.
Our destination was Loon Lake 14 miles as the crow flies from Fallen Leaf Lake. About two hours by road as the Sierra Nevada is between the two lakes. First 30 miles south and west and then 30 miles north and east. From 6,200 feet, down to 3,000, then back up to 6,500. You really have to want to get here and we are glad we did. Loon Lake is a jewel - clear water with the trademark granite mountains in the background. [You would like it Jerri]
We elected to park on asphalt in the boat parking lot rather than on dirt in the CG. We are a little tired of dirt. Plus we have a partial view of the lake.
[I would suggest the Forest Service run CG on the north shore of the lake. It is smaller, more scenic and half the price of the concession run Loon Lake CG]
I was drawn to this area after reading about the Rubicon Trail. The premier 4WD trail starts on the other side of the lake. It’s not for our Jeep, only real rock crawlers can make the two-day trip from here to Tahoe. As I said before only 14 miles if you fly.
Friday, July 13 – We paddled the yaks in the morning and in the afternoon went to the head of the Rubicon Trail where a volunteer talked our ears off about it. Literally hundreds of tricked out Jeeps make the trek every weekend and camp along the way.
While we listened, several dozens Jeeps passed by. They all look alike. None of diversity you see in Moab or Colorado. I would guess there are a few shops in the area that make a Rubicon capable rig. Also, they all have shiny paint jobs. What’s with that?
Later we visited a few of other nearby CG’s. At one, I tried out a sail powered kayak.
We can get an almost decent cell signal less than a mile from the lake.
Saturday, July 14 – Lazed around in the morning. Dorothy could not get warm in the 77 degree air. Old women! After lunch we paddled the yaks again.
Sunday, July 15 – Someone, sometime told me I needed to visit Silver Lake. I had marked it on the atlas and this morning we headed for it. That’s down from 6,500 to 3,000, back east on US50 a few miles and then south on a busy forest service road to CA88, which is designated as a scenic byway. And it is scenic and has almost as much traffic as US50. CA has way too many people. I think most of them are out of work and out on the roads. [We counted over a 100 cars a mile coming from Tahoe toward Sacramento]
Anywho, we get to Silver Lake and the CG is not on the lake and the sites are suited for very small rigs. No worries, we head a few more miles east to Carpels Lake CG. Guess what? It’s not on the lake and the sites are worse, short, tree cover and crowded. Oh we could park the Jeep in overflow parking for another $5. Launch the boats for another $10. Welcome to the fee state.
We head back west and find an abandoned Forest Service CG that had several rigs in it. The sites are large and the price is zero. Five nights in CA and five wo cell coverage.
So far, all the CG’s in CA with lake in the name have not been on a lake. California is a lot like going to Canada, the exchange rate is not very good.
Monday, July 16 – We head west on CA88 toward the Bay Area. It’s downhill all the way. We drop from 7,600 to 1,500 feet in the first hour and down sea level in the next hour. We arrive at Marin RV in Larkspur. It’s decent. A few long terms, Cruise America’s and some fancy buses.
Tuesday, July 17 – We drove to the Marin Headlands. Dorothy had never been there and it had been over 40 years since I had been there. Even with limited sun, the views were magnificent.
On the one way road, the speed limit is 15mph. Being it’s a federal park with rangers, I kept the speed to less than 20mph. This was totally unacceptable to a yahoo in a Mini Cooper who rode our bumper until I just stopped. This elicited a lot of arm waving from him. I started up and when he could he passed us off-road slinging gravel. He had Illinois plates.
Since the sky was now full blue, we went back to the Marin Headlands for sunset.
Wednesday, July 18 – We drove into the city to do a little sight-seeing and a little shopping. By lunch, the sky was pretty clear.
In addition to the very fine public transportation the city is famous for, there are some alternatives and new wrinkles. You see limo’s everywhere. The daily rate is less than $400 for 8 hours. Rental bikes have expanded. They block traffic at all tourists destinations. We have seen more than a few families peddling in dense traffic with kids under 10. Insane! New to us are three wheeled Go Cars and Segways’s. They are all fine with us, but they run in herds and ignore all traffic laws.
We located a Middle Eastern store and stocked up on fava beans (foul). Now we can have garlic breath for breakfast again. Also topped up with single malt at our fav store D&M. They have over a hundred brands. They keep the Glenfiddich and such out of sight where it belongs.
Where we would like to live if only we had 15 million, plus another million or so a year for expenses.
Either style suits us
Dorothy writes: A day in San Francisco - today we drove into the city. We are staying across the bay in one of the few RV parks around here. You think what's the big deal about the Golden Gate Bridge, it's just a bridge, right? Wrong - it's beautiful and to me it's a symbol of America, much like the Statue of Liberty on the other coast. As you catch your first glimpse of it, it's breathtaking.
We don't like cities and actually try to stay out of them, driving back roads to avoid them. San Francisco is different. The architecture is old - most homes were built after the 1906 fire. They are painted in the Victorian colors and trim. Those that were built in the 1950's - 1970's, just don't fit in. They should be replaced with better designs. The ground floor is a one car garage, the main floor is 15+ steps up and then there are the upper floors, maybe two more. The houses sit right on the street and if you have a car, it cannot block the sidewalk. So, you can put one small car in the garage and another one, is parked on the street with the front wheels turned out so that if it happens to roll back, it will be stopped by the curb. And these houses are very expensive (that's for the cheap ones). That's not even counting the Pacific Heights area where the homes are multi-millions.
Also impressive are the old churches. We saw Catholic churches and a Jewish Temple and an Episcopal church. Sure wish we could have parked and gone in them.
For many years, I have said that it was easy to get around in SF. Today I was a nervous wreck. First the traffic lights are located in several different locations, and there are stop signs and 4-way stop signs. Always read the signs on the side of the road and painted on the street. If you remember the movie, "Bullitt", and you are driving down the hills, some part of you just wants to speed down the streets - what fun that would be, better than a rollercoaster!
We wanted to buy some Middle Eastern food and went to one of the neighborhoods with a Middle Eastern store. The Old Jerusalem restaurant was a couple of doors down, which is where we had lunch. Also some Mexican restaurants were in the neighborhood. If there is an ethnic group anywhere, it's in SF. One of the things I wanted to do was to shop at a local market. The produce is outside in stands, so you get to browse. Nothing is prepackaged. I bought two avocados, two tomatoes, and three jalapeno peppers for $1.28. That was fun.
And there are lots of parks in SF. We first stopped at Crissy Field which is on the water and watched an older America's Cup boat sailing. The old ones are chartered now that they are no longer raced. We also went to Fort Mason and drove around. There was a big military presence in SF many years ago.
As you can tell, we really enjoyed ourselves.
Thursday, July 19 – A few tourists activities and a little shopping.
Not My Picture, But I Wish It Were
Friday, July 20 – We read that the city wanted to honor Nana and name a street after her. We saw it today in the Golden Gate Park.
Lombard is no longer the crookest street in the area
They call them Painted Ladies
To Prove We Were At Twin Peaks
Our Tour Guides At Their Cozy Home. Note Their Legs Are the Same Length In Spite of Living In The Bay Area All Of Their Lives
Friday was a delightful day. We met Dave & Mary Gardner for a dim sum lunch. We have never had dim sum. It is like tapas. They bring a bite of several different foods. It was delightful. Besides a good lunch, we got to spend time with Dave & Mary. They were born and raised in San Francisco. So who would know more about the sites than San Franciscans. We got to see the Painted Ladies, seven famous old Victorian homes, although there many Victorian and Edwardian homes that are well maintained. We also went to Twin Peaks and saw many views of the city/Pacific. As a hard and fast rule, we always avoid cities but San Francisco is different. It fabulous and we would highly recommend a visit if you can.
Saturday, July 21 – We put the kayaks in at Sausalito and paddled around the boats. Well over a thousand power and sail boats. I think all are capable of limited coastal cruising, some are fully blue water capable. The usual gold-platers, mixed with live-a-boards. One house boat caught our attention.
Being Saturday, the masses were out. Kayaks, paddle boards, rowing shells, kayaks with sponsons, etc. One use of paddle boards was what we guess is tai chi on water.
Sunday, July 22 – Rode the ferry for a tour of the harbor. Planned to walk about a bit before heading back, but Dorothy’s foot was not good before we got to the bus stop. Still an enjoyable afternoon.
Leaving San Francisco in the morning.