Sunday, July 29, 2012

Golden Gate Bridge / Gualala CA

As things remain busy at the park it is nice to get away and check out the sights.  I do have to first make a comment on the weather.  Being from the South we are accustom to high temps and tons of humidity, usually around 90% if not higher.  So here on the West Coast we can have up to triple digits during the day but in the evenings you will find yourself reaching for a jacket as the temps can go down to 55. High humidity here is 40%.  All in all the weather has been nice except for the Delta Breezes the can be over powering sometimes and very enjoyable other times.  It has rained here 4 times, 3 times in April and once in May! 

Ok moving on to the Golden Gate Bridge trip.  Workampers Dale and Sandy Lieber that we worked with in Mesa this past winter took a job in Gualala CA off Highway 1 in the redwoods so we made plans to visit them and take in the bridge along the way.  We approached the bridge from the North.

We actually never drove over the bridge but took the last exit before going into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  There are many stop off points for viewing the bridge which we took advantage of.

Looking at San Francisco through the Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge and has been declared one of the 10 wonders of the world and is also the most photographed bridge in the world.  Construction began on January 5, 1933 at a cost of $35 million and was finished by April 1937.  The color of the bridge is officially an orange vermillion called international orange and was selected  because it complements the natural surroundings and enhances the bridge's visibility in fog.

Looking to your left you will see Alcatraz and looking to the west is the Pacific ocean.

I personally would not want to live in San Francisco as the weather is cool, windy and you have a 50/50 chance that there will be fog.

Early construction.

In the recreation park there are several gun batteries that you can visit along the way.  One we found interesting was Construction 129 which in the end was never used.

You will walk through this tunnel

to reach it.  I am unsure of our elevation at this point but it was definitely up there and the views were awesome.

Moving on we drove winding twisting roads along the rocky shore line to reach Muir Beach, which was a play on words as far as I was concerned, wheres the sandy beach?

Muir Beach Overlook

To the Left

To the Right

From this point we stayed on the famous Highway 1 headed to Gualala.  It is a beautiful drive but I don't think there is one mile of a straight away.  Mark did a fine job of driving but it may not have been so enjoyable for him as he couldn't take his eyes off the road for a second or we could have ended up in the ocean!

As we approached Bodega Bay to have some dinner we finally saw a sandy beach but I have to tell you again the temps were 57 and cloudy.  Doesn't sound like beach weather to me.

Completely different from the eastern shoreline of NC but very beautiful.

Oh I almost forgot, one other thing you have to look out for when traveling Highway 1 is free range cattle.

The next day we got up with Sandy and Dale Lieber at Gualala River Redwood Park. 

We spent the morning catching up with them sitting around the campfire as it was another cool day.  Then we walk around checking out the park. 

The Redwoods are awesome and these are just babies.

Mark is standing inside of several trees then I entered and took this picture which is my favorite.

The river was shallow which is typical for this time of the year.

                                                    The water was so clear but so cold.

Dave showed us some beautiful Abalone shells that he had gotten during their stay. 

Abalone is not found on the east coast and can't be fished south of San Francisco Bay.  Abalone may only be taken using breath-hold techniques or shore picking; scuba diving for abalone is strictly prohibited.  A driver with a abalone stamp card has a quantity limit of three per day and 24 per year.  Note the tag on the left, it states the exact day and time of the catch.

                                Later we drove to Manchester State Park and walked on the beach.

Looks cold doesn't it.  This was taken around 2pm.

On the way back we stopped at Pt. Arena fishing pier. 

This is also where the fisherman have their boats launched by driving onto the pier and then the boat is plucked off the trailer by a hoist and dropped into the water.  There was a woman to the left of the pier painting a coastal scene.

         We walked on the pier just in time to peek into some lucky fisherman's cooler full of fresh fish.

There were no humpback whales to be seen while we were there but did you know they can live up to 95 years and can stay submerged for 15 minutes.

Thank you Sandy & Dale for a great day and we will see you in September!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

We survived the 4th then headed to Sacramento

We finally had a holiday off since it hit the middle of the week.  The park was packed for 10 days straight, a rig would move out and within a couple of hours another was in it's place.  When you are at a park for months you become to know the regulars and tend to make friends with them.  Since we work the weekends when it is busy folks tend to invite us over for a drink or dinner.  We kind of laid low on the 4th taking in the sights enjoying watching families spend time together.  On the 5th one of the regulars I spoke of took us on a boat ride.  We cruised through the sloughs checking out the houses and boats, on the return trip we passed a sea plane that docks just abit up the slough from Sugar Barge, now that's the way to travel.

                 We passed by a real Redneck Yacht club, there must have been 12 boats tyied up.

On Monday the owners had an employee appreciation day at Dave's home. All the food and beverages you could want, a good time was had by everyone.


We left the following morning headed to Sacramento to visit some folks we meet in Quartzsite last winter.  They are into prospecting as well and we have learned alot from them.  The next day we headed to the Bear River.

                                                 Gay and Yancy getting the sluice box set up.

First you find your Glory hole, dig some material, classify it and then run it through the sluice box.

Then you pan the results hoping for some gold. 

We did find a little but the best part was spending the morning at this beautiful location with good friends. 

It was a very hot day so we decided to head for home but took a small detour that lead us over the highest bridge in California.

The next day Mark & I headed to Placerville which is located between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. 
After the discovery of gold in nearby Coloma  in 1848 which sparked the gold rush, the small town now known as Placerville was known as Dry Diggin's after the manner in which the miners moved cartloads of dry soil to running water to separate the gold from the soil. Later in 1849, the town earned its most common historical name, "Hangtown", because of the numerous hangings that had occurred there.  By 1850, the temperance league and a few local churches had begun to request that a more friendly name be bestowed upon the town. The name was not changed until 1854 when the City of Placerville was incorporated. At its incorporation Placerville was the third largest town in California. In 1857 the county seat was then moved from Coloma to Placerville, where it remains today.

Downtown Placerville CA

When in Placerville one must check out Placerville Hardware est. 1852, this is a step back in time where you can find anything! 

                        The famous Bell Tower stand as a monument to the city's volunteer firemen.

Next we headed to Gold Bug Park & Mine formerly known as the Hattie which opened in 1888 and is a hard-rock mine located just north of Placerville.  Hard rock mining is a kind of underground mining.

Now the cool thing about touring this mine was the cool air that came out of the shafts as it was 109 degrees outside.  Seriously it was very educational and we had a good time.

On the way to Coloma we stoped at the monument for James W. Marshall who discovered gold in CA.  On January 24, 1848, an event occurred in Coloma that would radically impact the history of California and the Nation. James W. Marshall was building a sawmill for Captain John Sutter, using water from the South Fork of the American River. He noticed several flakes of metal in the tailrace water and recognized them to be gold. Though he tried to keep it a secret, the word spread quickly, and triggered the California Gold Rush of 1849.

We drove through Coloma but there wasn't much to see and it was way too hot to walk the streets so we headed back to Sacramento. 

                                          The next morning we went metal detecting with Gay and found some coins.

Thanks Gay & Yancy for a wonderful time, you are great hosts and we will be back.

On our way home we went to the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. 

I highly recommend checking this museum out, it is very well done and known as North America's finest.  There is a great 20 minute movie explaining the history and along with 20 restored locomotives and railroad cars.

The museum is located in the heart of Old Sacramento so we wandered through the streets enjoying the sights.

                                                                    Pretty cool stuff.

                                                           Boy times have changed.

After all the sight seeing we stopped in a the River City Saloon for a beverage.  The beers were cold and the staff was friendly, a great way to end a good day.

                                                                       Bottoms Up!