U.S.A. WEST COAST TOUR
Hollywood – Cruise America Motorhome – Grocery shopping, Wal-Mart – Ventura Beach RV Resort, Ventura. 2 H. 89 miles. Leaving LA
In LA we will arrive during the afternoon Monday and we will stay at Holiday Inn Airport Hotel for the night. Tuesday morning will be the time for contacting Cruise America and decide when to have the car, maybe we can have enough time in the morning to take a taxi to the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, but anyway after taken possession of the vehicle, we will drive to Walmart Supercenter, Oxnard, where we will do the essential shopping, before we reach Ventura Beach RV Resort, where we will stay for the night. The next day will include Solvang, Highway One and end at your place later in the afternoon, a tour of 300 miles. If everything goes according to our plan we hope to see you in Pebble Beach, around the time for High Tea.
We woke up at 6 am and found that it was still dark outside, but if we should be ready for a morning adventure to Hollywood, we would rather get up now and take a shower and get some American breakfast, before nine o’clock, where we would phone Cruise America and get the time for our appointment with them.
Before we went to the restaurant at the hotel for our breakfast we packed our suitcases, so they were ready for storage at the Holiday Inn Hotel if necessary and then we got our first breakfast at American soil and it was a very pleasant surprise, not that we are very particular of our food, but we very much prefer yogurt and fruit as main ingredients in our breakfast and we had plenty of that at our buffet, which also included lots of pancakes and syrup!
When we called Cruise America, Los Angeles, we were told, that the vehicle was ready to be collected at any time, so we decided to collect it right away and primarily move into the vehicle, and forget the trip to Hollywood.
A taxi took us from the hotel to Carson, and the driver gave us the first impression of what it would be like to drive on the San Diego Freeway 405.
We had the pleasure to drive a couple of hours on the San Diego Freeway all the way up to Beverly Hill, before we turned west on 101 to Oxnard and to our first visit to a Wal-Mart, where we should do our first shopping as to equip our motorhome with the most essential items for our future journey.
Our personal MIO GPS had proven its value and guided us perfectly all the way from Carson to Oxnard, even though I preferred to drive as far right as possible on the 10 lanes Freeway in each direction, as it was somewhat of a new experience to have so many cars to follow and so many lanes to drive on, at such a speed, for so long time.
None of us thought, that Los Angeles was of a size as our Zealand, where our Capital Copenhagen is the largest city, so we just went on driving for hours, following the informative signboards and listening to the female voice of the GPS often emphasizing, that you should “Keep left”!
We might not be able to give the Carson Depot for Cruise America our highest recommendations, or for that sake any at all, as they in their inspection of the vehicle had no interest and only proclaimed, that “it was not a new car”, and that was it, and as it later showed, the vehicle, they had given us, was not well maintained and had a leaking skylight among many other things, which we first discovered at a later date, but for now, we were a very happy couple making a start on our expedition along Highway 1 from Los Angeles to Seattle.
Wal-Mart in Oxnard gave us the impression, that we should be able to find anything from foodstuff to electronic equipment at their store, and we certainly got, what we came for. We were not in any way surprised to find fifty meters of shelves only with Cereals!
Our shopping trolley was full of necessities, when we returned to our vehicle in the parking lot, and we just pulled all the plastic bags into our motorhome, before we took off from the Wal-Mart and headed towards Ventura Beach RV Resort, where we would use the rest of the afternoon getting our things into cupboards of the vehicle.
Finally, we were all set, and now it was time to take a walk down to the beach to see the sunset, before dinner had to be prepared and an early bedtime would have to be our reward.
Click here to see more DAY 2 photos posted at "Else Duch's Gallery" on Picasa.
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KOA Ventura Ranch – Highway 1 -Solvang – Pebble Beach – Marina Dunes RV Park -6H. - 300 miles. Highway 1
If you remember the line – ”This town is not big enough for the two of us” – you can easily imagine, how it was to empty once personal items from the suitcases into the cupboards in a 19 feet Motor Home at Ventura Beach RV Resort, so yesterday afternoon we too
A clear and sunny morning made it comfortable, even to think about the distance, we had to drive that day. We followed the coast, by highway 101, during the first couple of hours and then we went inland along the road to Solvang, where our first visit went to the Bakery for morning coffee and tea with a couple of “Danish pastry”. We spend an hour walking around and enjoying the Danish looking village – like this http://www.dengamleby.dk/the-old-town/ and I think, that we managed to visit every shop which were open to us.
It was a beautiful scenic route we followed – El Camino Real – King’s Road – now highway 101 - the old road between the monasteries, which the Mexicans had built with a distance between each monastery of one days travel, Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel is an example of one of the 21 Spanish monasteries, which were built along the route from San Francisco to San Diego, a distance of nearly 600 miles.
San Luis Obispo was for us the town at the end of Highway 101, where we would like to join Highway 1 and again drive along the coast until we would reach Monterey.
On this part of our route, a landslide would be a phenomena, which might have happened during the autumn, and we could expect to find road constructions in several places along Highway 1.
Soon we found that we was coming to the town of San Simeon, and we could see Hearst Castle in the distance, a structure build on the top of the mountain La Cuesta Encantada, a very rich man’s American dream coming through, the owner of several newspapers, William Randolph Hearst.
We were now entering the 100 miles drive along the coast called Big Sur, El Sur Grande, a road which has been under construction up to 1937 and which contains more than 29 bridges. Three times were we stopped by road constructions after landslide, bridge construction or road slide, before we entered Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park with the most southerly growing redwood trees on the American Continent.
It was getting late that afternoon and the daylight started to fade before we entered Pebble Beach, where we were going to meet our very dear friends Bruce and Patricia Belknap at their home.
It was a very emotional reunion, with a time distance of 43 years, since we were together at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and we stayed at their house up to nine pm. before we left them again for Marina Dunes RV Park a half an hour’s drive from their house, where we had reserved a RV site for the next two nights, but before we left, we promised to return the next day at 9 am.
Click here to see more DAY 3 photos posted at "Else Duch's Gallery" on Picasa.
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Monterey – Point Lobos State Reserve – 17- Mile Drive – Carmel –Pebble Beach - 1070 Mission Road - Marina Dunes RV Park
After last night’s delicious soup, we slept well in our Motorhome, and when we had our breakfast, it was time to visit the Marina Dunes RV Park office for registration, as we would have to leave early the next morning to reach Stanford University in time for the Guided Tour at 11 am.
I had to call Bruce and Pati over my new American Cellphone, a LG TracPhone bought at Wal-Mart in Oxnard (831 238 5681), and then tell them that we would be a little late, as the office opened at 9 am.
When we met with Bruce and Pati at the house, they were ready to take us on a morning tour to Lobo Point, 17-Mile Drive and Carmel, so we started by driving to the entrance station at Point Lobos State Reserve in their Jeep.
Pati had to stay at home, as she had to contact her medical doctor for advice and treatment, but she had packed a picnic basket for us, which we later enjoyed at Piney Woods picnic site.
At Point Lobos SR, we walked the Sand Hill Trail until the Sea Lion Cove, where we walked on pebbles, while we heard animal noise from the Sea Lion Rocks. On our way back we walked the Sea Lion Point Trail just to see, if we could find any Sea Lions laying in Headland Cove, but unfortunately they had all gone to the Sea Lion Rocks.
On our way out of the Reserve, we visited Whalers Cove and Cabin; a wooden construction erected by Chinese fishermen in the 1850’s, while the site as such functioned as a whaling station from 1862 to 1879.
17-Mile Drive is part of a private road system on the southern part of the Monterey Peninsula. Access to the private road system can only take place through one of the four Entrance Stations and for a fee. Then you will be able to experience some of the most expensive houses and estates in California and you will drive next to some of the world’s most exclusive and expensive Golf Courses, and when you come as far as the southern part of the 17-Mile Drive, you will see houses facing the Carmel Bay, which are built in a very personal way and furnished with several “Keep Out”, No Trespassing” and “Private property” signs. Clint Eastwood was once mayor in Carmel, from 1986 – 1988, and he still owns Mission Ranch facing south towards Carmel Bay.
Mission San Carlos Borromeo is under renovation, but it is said, that this Monastery in Carmel is the most beautiful Monastery of all the Monasteries along the Coast of California.
Our tour of 17-Mile Drive ended up with the most famous and most photographed Cypress – Lonely Cypress – which is standing supported but alone on the top of a cliff – a couple of hundred meters away from the coastline.
We now returned to collect Pati for our last visit to the beach - to their special bench. We drove out to the beach and as it was low tide, the boys walked along the beach, near to the water front among the rocks, while we were talking about the movements of the sand in these areas of the beach. The girls went for the car and drove up next to that bench, which had been sponsored the Pebble Beach Company, with Bruce and Pati’s choice of location of granite supports and seat, and a bronze plate mounted on one of the granite stones which says “Belknap and Roberts”.
Home again we were showed around in every corner of the house, and the garden, as for us to know what they were talking about when they later would describe a place or a situation for us.
Patricia had her birthday on November 12 and we were going to celebrate the occasion when having afternoon tea. A nice and rich cake had been bought for the occasion and a birthday song was also a part of the tea party. Presents were opened and admired and soon we found ourselves unpacking gifts meant for us, as to be able to remember this special day – our Reunion Day.
Around 9 pm. we had to surrender, as we had an elegant sufficiency and could not press another piece of food down into our stomach – it was time for saying Good Bye, and that was not easy for any of us.
We could have stayed for eternity, because we all clicked immediately and from the time of our first meeting the night before.
For me it was such a pleasure to drop 43 years back in time and again to be able to behave, in any respect, as in 1969/1970, and be allowed to do so!
Else really enjoyed to be present, and she had a lot of positive comments on the way we interacted. Our conversation was obvious a complete continuation of what was going on 42 years ago, and she loved to be present to witness something she had never seen before.
Bruce and Pati escorted us up to the Morse Gate, where we waived Good Bye to each other.
I know, how we all felt, especially I know how sad the wonderful Pati felt that evening at Morse Gate.
She had for the whole time we spend together enriched us with her fantastic positive spirit and her emotional closeness, and for that we cannot thank her enough!
On our way home to Marina Dunes that night, the conversation we had was the one we could manage to keep in our heads; the one conversation, where words are of no value and pleasant and positive thoughts made of gold.
Thank you a million times, Bruce and Patricia, and we will never forget, what you meant for me at Stanford, and now for us both during the arrangement and execution of our trip to California.
Click here to see more DAY 4 photos posted at "Else Duch's Gallery" on Picasa.
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Monterey – Stanford University, Palo Alto– San Francisco RV Resort. 3H - 117 miles. Stanford University.
We wanted to visit famous gardens in California, such as Lotus land in Santa Barbara and Filoli in San Andreas Rift Zone south of San Francisco. The time of the year for a visit of that kind was not right, as Lotus land was already closed and Filoli about to close on November 17.
Lotus land was developed by the singer under the artist name Ganna Walska from 1941 – 1980 and it was famous for its use of euphorbia and cactus in its gardens.
Filoli was developed from 1906 – 1921, starting shortly after the big earthquake by David Bowers Bourn.
The name of the garden contains a specific philosophy, as it stands for Fight for a good life, Love your neighbor and Live a good life.
Instead we decided to use our few more hours on visiting Stanford University, Palo Alto. California.
We went to Stanford University and participated in a guided walking tour of the campus, and we saw all the old places, the Bookstore, where I bought all my textbooks and my first tape recorder and children’s books for Jan, books I would translate and record as Good Night Stories on tape.
The Post office, from where the tapes and postcards were send home and all correspondence with Europe was send as Airmail or small packages.
Bechtel’s International Center, where I witnessed the Moon landing and the first man on the moon July 4, 1969 on color television, and where I came to visit for a short period nearly every day, and from where I participated in several guided tours to the San Francisco Bay area.
McFarland, where I lived in an apartment together with another student occupying the bedroom as my own room, sharing the kitchen and the bathroom, and Barnes, where Bruce and Pati lived at the same floor as Tom And Betsy, and where I came visiting several times during the week.
Else and I had lunch together with the students at Tresidder Union, before we went into the building for the School of Education, where we saw the lecture halls and we also found the picture of Dr. Robert Bush.
I was so proud being at my old school again and I could feel the old memories from back then returning to me, and it felt so nice.
We found our RV resort in Daly City without difficulties, thanks to our always well-tuned GPS, but before we could enter the Resort, we had to go to a Supermarket to obtain some provision for our evening dinner. As before, it was the people we tend to observe and not the amount of groceries, and it seems to be our destiny often to have conversations with people around us and to interact with them.
It was near to closing time for the office at San Francisco RV Park so we were asked to return to register the next day.
Soon after dinner, we were into our beds, while it rained cats and dogs outside our Motorhome, and unfortunately the roof and the skylight of the vehicle leaked considerable amounts of water into the interior of our Motorhome, so we decided, that we would call the company’s Emergency telephone that night and ask for assistance and ultimately to change RV, but the later might first happen the next morning, as it was long after closing hours.
We use, what we had available to close any leak in the skylight, and it helped us through the night, until we could call the Emergency again and get directions from them. It was a long and wet night!
Click here to see more DAY 5 photos posted at "Else Duch's Gallery" on Picasa.
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Cruise Amrica, Newark -(Alcatraz - Fisherman’s Warf - Cable Cars - China Tow) - San Francisco RV Resort
I can tell you, that it is unpleasant trying to sleep, while the bed sheets get wetter and wetter because of the drops falling from the skylight, and water creeps in at all corners of the vehicle.
We called the Emergency Number again at 9 am, and we were directed to the Cruise America depot at Newark, by a very concerned representative from the Company, but that would mean, that we would miss the trip to Alcatraz Island and our visit to different parts of San Francisco, but our priority was a pleasant future journey, as we well knew, that we could expect a lot more rain to come in the next few days, as we were driving North towards Oregon and Washington, and we were right!
The Newark depot had been contacted by the Emergency Service, and we got the full professional treatment from the Front Desk up to the General Manager, and the defect skylight on our vehicle was replaced, but when it was clear, that it was only one of many problems with our motorhome, it was decided, that the vehicle, which was given us in Los Angeles, was so badly maintained, that we would be given another motorhome on the spot, and the Company would compensate as for one day, supply us with 2 new personal kits and support us in any way to facilitate a pleasant future journey, we just had to wait a couple of hours, and then our future vehicle would be ready for us to move in to.
That gave us enough time to take a taxi down to the nearest Wal-Mart to shop for blankets and bed mats as we were beginning to feel the cold weather creeping under other blankets during our sleep.
Next to the cellphone, that was the best investment we had done so fare, as we found the temperature approaching the freezing point further on during our journey.
The problem was only our transport back to Cruise America, Newark from the Wal-Mart. Because of the short distance, no taxi want to make any effort to collect us and return us, so we decided to walk back with our voluminous packages, and we were most certainly the only two persons out walking that Saturday afternoon in that particular area of the San Francisco Bay.
We had now two vehicles which we parked door to door to facilitate easy transfer of our luggage from one vehicle to the other. Then we realized, that we had been given the wrong vehicle to move into!
It was a mistake of the Front Desk, and immediately they transferred our papers one more time, and we did not have to move our things out again.
We got a vehicle with no problems at all, and it was a much younger vehicle, so our coming week of driving would be something complete different, thanks to the efficiency and care for our problem by the staff at Cruise America in Newark.
We went back to our RV Resort and enjoyed the rest of the day. The rain had stopped and we could take a walk along the Coastline trail to look at the waves of the Pacific Ocean.
We lost a rainy day in San Francisco, but we would get a good night sleep in our new vehicle, and tomorrow we would be driving through San Francisco and pass the Golden Gate Bridge, and at the other side of the bridge, we would stop and take a look at the skyline of the City, and Alcatraz Island.
Click here to see more DAY 6 photos posted at "Else Duch's Gallery" on Picasa.
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San Francisco RV Resort – Highway 101 - Willits KOA. 3H - 147 miles. Wine country on Highway 101.
Up to now everything had happened according to plans except for our day in San Francisco, where we should have been at Alcatraz and downtown on a walking and Cable Car tour. That day the weather was so bad, foggy and rainy, in San Francisco, that I have no doubt that we would have skipped our visit to Alcatraz anyway, so for the sake of success of the rest of our tour, we made a vice decision of tackling the problems right ahead.
The Sunday morning weather was nice and clear with sunny intervals, and as San Francisco RV Resort is situated in Daly City close to Highway One, we soon were on our way driving on 19th Avenue, passing Twin Peaks and driving through the western part of Golden Gate Park, on to Park Presidio Blvd and through Gen. Douglas MacArthur Tunnel and then on to Golden Gate bridge with Fort Point to the right.
We turned right close to the entrance of Fort Baker when we came on to the Marin side of the bridge before Sausalito, and we parked the vehicle at the view point overlooking the skyline of San Francisco, with the island of Alcatraz to the left and the bridge to the right. We had a lot of pictures to take inspired by a photo taken 43 years ago with the center of the bridge as background. That picture had to be taken again, now, so many years later.
The noise from the vehicles passing the bridge in its six lanes made it next to impossible to have a normal conversation, as we walked out on to the gangway and bicycle track leading over the bridge to the other side, but it was worth the effort, being able to look straight up to the top of one of the pylons and down from the bridge to canoes, which came close to the wild currents under the Bridge.
We felt as if we had made some sort of compensation for the missing City Tour yesterday.
Driving on, we were entering the land of fine American Wines in Sonoma County, to end up at the gateway of Redwood Trees in the City of Willits.
We left Highway 101 in Geyserville for going on to a local road to Cloverdale. We wanted to see the wine fields close up and to be able to do the driving in our own pace for a while, and then we came to Cellar no 8 just outside the town of Asti, but it was closed!
“Asti is an unincorporated community in Sonoma County, California, USA. It is located near U.S. Route 101 in the Alexander Valley between Cloverdale and Healdsburg. In 1881, Andrea Sbarboro established two communities, Asti and Chianti, as part of his Italian Swiss Agricultural Colony. Asti was named after the city in northern Italy. A plaque at the southeast corner of Asti Road and Asti Post Office Road commemorates the colony, whose wines won ten gold medals in international competition. The colony is California Historical Landmark.
We had our lunch just outside Cloverdale over the bridge on the other side of Eel River on the tracks of the old North-West California Railway before we entered Highway 101 again and went directly for the town of Willits in time for doing some shopping in the nearby Supermarket before entering the Willits KOA, where we would spend the night.
Click here to see more DAY 7 photos posted at "Else Duch's Gallery" on Picasa.
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Willits KOA – KOA Kampground, Eurek. 3H - 141 miles. Redwood trees
We were in for some more clouds and rain in Willits. During the night, it had been raining, and the temperature had dropped, but we felt, that we had a very nice feeling, that we had left the big roads behind us, and that we were on our way out to where we could find the rural population and where people live.
We left Willits and went on the road towards the town of Leggett, where we first of all could find the “Chandelier Tree”. The tree is about 2400 years old and has since 1930th had a road going thru it.
The tree is 96 meters high and 6,4 meters wide and is a genuine Redwood tree.
We had many good pictures taken of the tree, at the clearance in the forest with its souvenir shop, before we left for the next special event at the “Avenue of The Giants”, but an additional experience was the present of two Corvette MSRP, who both went thru the tree, that made a huge impress on us.
We turned off Hwy 101 at Exit 645 close to Phillipsville and would return to the Hwy at Exit 674 after the Town of Pepperwood. The road was more than 50 km long and went parallel to the Hwy 101 along the Eel River. Besides giant redwood trees we found resemblance to the 1950,’ tourist activities in the area as many of the tourist shops were made as “One Log Houses” or as “Chimney Trees”.
“The 32-mile Avenue of the Giants parallels Highway 101 and winds its way through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This road was originally built as a stagecoach and wagon road in the 1880’s. Today, the Avenue of the Giants, also known as State Route 254, is considered a scenic alternative to Highway 101.”
We had lunch at a local Italian restaurant in the town of Miranda, and we had excellent food.
Again, the local people caught our attention and kept us fascinated to the scenery, which we could observe.
As always, Else observed the people in the restaurant, and she couldn’t get her eyes away from a tall, broad-shouldered man, who entered the restaurant together with his date, for lunch. He was driving into the parking lot in a huge car, a black Hummer, and he wore a Stetson hat with a leather banded rim, Woodman’s shirt, khaki overalls and a pair of dark brown cowboy boots with a green pattern. His date for lunch had long artificial, red, glued nails, and her jeans must have seen better days not to mention a better washing machine.
Next door to the restaurant was the local Jailhouse, and in our fantasies the scene was complete to a western, and we were only so happy to be among local people, sharing daily routines with them.
The Avenue of the Giants was longer than to the town of Miranda, so we had to leave the town after lunch and drive among huge Redwood trees in what looked like a forest which would last forever, vertically and horizontally.
We drove into our KOA site for the night, and the seaside town of Eureka was a deserted place, and it was obvious without tourists. The rain was heavy and the storm from the Pacific Ocean was unpleasant, but at Eureka KOA, we were given a site for the night, where we hardly could hear the wind, but the rain continued all night long and made a soporific sound, so we had a long and healthy sleep after dinner and a game of cards.
Click here to see more DAY 8 photos posted at "Else Duch's Gallery" on Picasa.
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