My computer took a dump a couple of weeks ago and it took me a while to get old files and folders extracted from the computer. This is the final installment of our trip along the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco. You can go back to Day One, Day Two and Day Three by clicking the hot links on each day.
We woke on Monday morning to a dull gray sky with some fog and the same cool winds whipping in from the ocean. We went and found a little coffee shop so Cindy could get a coffee fix and I had a fresh squeezed orange juice and a danish. While we were getting gasoline in the car, it was like the sun miraculously came out and the day became beautiful.
But we found that was so typical of California.
We went down to the beach on the north side of Monterey and looked for sea shells for Cindy's kids. Then we went back into Monterey and went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Research Institute.
It had to be one of the neatest places I've ever been to in my life. I'm entranced by the sea and seeing a lot of sea life up close is even more fascinating. And the Monterey Aquarium didn't disappoint. We spent about three hours looking at sea life, including about a 30 minute watching of the little sea otters that played in a pool just outside the main aquarium building.
We left Monterey about noon and took the road up and around to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a nice little seaside city with a very nice downtown area and a pier with shops and restaurants. We had lunch on the pier, then ventured over to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum which is housed in an old lighthouse on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
First of all, I'm mesmerized by surfers. It's one thing that I really wish I could have done in life. The surfing museum was very interesting as they showed the history of surfing in Santa Cruz since the 1930's. They had old boards on display, as well as pictures of some of the local legends who have surfed at the beaches of Santa Cruz over the years. And there's also a memorial to those surfers who lost their lives in the Pacific Ocean off Santa Cruz.
It didn't really cost anything to go in, but they did ask for a one dollar donation per person. We thought it was so neat, we threw another five bucks into the can when we left.
We walked over to the edge of the point and stood and watched about 15 to 20 surfers riding 2 to 4 foot waves for about an hour. Like I say, it's mesmerizing to me to see the surfers paddle out, get up on the boards and ride the waves.
We took off about 3:00 trying to make the final push into San Francisco. Just up the road from Santa Cruz is Davenport, CA. Since we're from Davenport, IA, we had to take a quick look around this little town. It was nice, but I wanted to show Cindy a place that I'd been before just up the road about 35 miles.
Half Moon Bay is a wonderful little (but growing) community just over the mountains from the south side of San Francisco. I first went to Half Moon Bay four years prior to Cindy and I driving the Pacific Coast Highway. I thought it was a great little town, full of shops, restaurants, inns, and other trendy little businesses. But it was getting late in the day and I wanted to get to San Francisco before the sun set.
We came up the Great Highway into San Francisco around 5:30. We got up to Land's End, a point just west of the Golden Gate Bridge and I wanted Cindy to get her first look at the Golden Gate from this point. It should have looked something like this, but the fog was so thick, you couldn't see much more than 100 feet out into the opening of the bay.
By the time we got around the hill and got over the Golden Gate Bridge to the north side, the fog had lifted and there was a cool tinge in the air. Cindy snapped this shot of me at the little turn-in just off the bridge.
Here's a shot of Alcatraz Island that we took from near the same spot.
We ended up staying the night in San Rafael up in Marin County. We ate some outrageous sushi at a little place in downtown San Rafael that evening. It was the first time we sampled different grades of tuna for sushi.
Cindy's not one on taking the same trip twice, but even though I've done the Pacific Coast Highway from L.A. to San Francisco twice I could easily do it again.