Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tides Inn at Shelter Cove beckons again

I told my wife this morning I wanted to go back to Shelter Cove.

That's an off-the-beaten-path place in northern California. We made a stop there on our October adventure and spent a night at The Tides Inn.

Since the first of the year we have been experiencing cold weather and rainy days.

The sun is in its glory today after a weather front that had been going through the area for the past four or five days finally moved eastward.

With clearing skies and great temperatures, I felt like I wanted to hit the road (well, I always want to hit the road). But as the year continues on the feeling gets stronger.

And I thought about Shelter Cove.

We were almost half way through our nine-day journey in October and needed some rest to rejuvenate.

We had left Yreka that morning and I told my wife we needed to arrive somewhere around 3 p.m. It was a struggle since there were a lot of places we wanted to stop and visit, having even worked a few in.

But as the day continued, I quickened our pace to time our arrival for early afternoon.

Correspondence with those at the inn over the proceeding months had me believing the two-lane road from Highway 101 to the coast was going to be a challenge.

I was led to believe that it was almost one-lane in places with gravel or dirt covering and difficult to maneuver especially going over what I expected to be blind hills.

I was expecting the worst, but the toughest part of the road was surviving the curves and then after mounting the last ridge, we settled down onto the coastal plain and started looking for our lodging.

Wifey didn't have any indication as to where we would be staying. I wanted it to be a surprise. 

We pulled up to the ocean-front inn and marveled at the Pacific Ocean. We also marveled at our accommodations which were exceptional.

Our unit, on the third floor, included a bedroom, bathroom and living room, small dining area with a magnificent view of the ocean from our balcony.

It was a little bit of heaven.

A basket of goodies awaited us along with a welcoming gift of wine to help us celebrate our 45th anniversary.

The gas fireplace added to the ambience.

October's weather offered a calm ocean and the waves lackadaisically beat upon the shore. I read that a few months later, some major storms moved through the area and the waves were really kicking up.

Calm seas are nice, but I would have loved to be there when the waves were crashing and spraying over the shore -- as long as I knew that it wouldn't go any farther.

An extra day would have been nice. Shelter Cove is an out-of-the-way place and offers a bit of solitude. There are few restaurants and not all are open during the course of the week.

We reluctantly packed the next morning. After taking a walk along the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean we headed out, looking back as we ascended the hill, thinking it would be a nice place to revisit.

And this morning I got that urgent desire to return.

On another note: Happy Birthday to Linda, my wife of 45 years, who has followed me all over. As the lyrics in the song "Moon River" indicate, we are still "two drifters off to see the world."

Next post: March 5, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spend a little time, save a little money

Our huge van at Yosemite National Park prior to arrival in San Francisco

Would most people swap out three hours of their time on vacation to save $220 on parking fees in a big city?

I don't know about others, but I guess I would, because on a roadtrip out west a few years ago that is exactly what I decided to do.

We arrived in San Francisco to set up house in a apartment for about 11 days. I thought I had an agreement to park our huge long-wheel base, high-rise van for $20 a night at a local garage.

The deal had been completed and I plunked down about $220 for the duration of the time we were to be in the city.

The next day I went back by the garage to get something out of my vehicle and they told me they had to charge me $30 a day because of the size of my vehicle.

I had already accepted the fact of paying the $20 a night, but I was a little perturbed because of the change in fee.

I decided to get my vehicle and pursue other options. I paid for one night and they refunded the rest of my money.

What to do? Where to go?

I managed to park my vehicle on the street and then went on the Internet to check out one option I had thought about.

And that was an off-airport parking facility. I checked out their prices and it was about $9 a day.

I drove our  vehicle out to the facility near the airport, checked it in and took their complimentary shuttle bus back to the airport. I plunked down $5 to take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) back downtown and then walked to our apartment.

When it came time to leave the city, I took BART back out to the airport, took the shuttle bus and picked up my vehicle.

With taxes, the bill ran a little more than $100.  I drove back into the city to pick up the wife and all our supplies and we headed out of the city having saved a little bit on our stay.

I figured the two trips out to the airport which took a little more than a couple hours total, was worth the savings.

Its good to save a little here and there and then be able to spend it later on something more interesting.

Next post: Feb. 26, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nighttime photo excursions worth the effort

Coit Tower, San Francisco
Sometimes one is too tired at the end of the day to take the time to go out and shoot nighttime pictures.

Nevertheless, the Friday night of our West Coast October 2012 trip, we decided to head out and enjoy the scenery, but managed to only get three of four great sites into our schedule.

The fourth shot would have been in Marin County on the hills above the Golden Gate Bridge which overlook the City by the Bay, but we didn't get there.

But the other three are well worth the effort.

Our first stop, which was nearest our motel on Columbus Ave., in San Francisco, was Coit Tower. The location offers a spectacular view of the Bay area from the Bay Bridge on the east to the Golden Gate on the west.

At night, the tower offers a great shot in and of itself at nighttime. We walked around the area, taking a few shots. Upon driving up the hill to Coit Tower we discovered that the city has begun prohibiting parking in the area on Saturdays and Sundays. And I understand parking tickets are about $78.

Two different exposures of San Francisco taken from Yerba Buena Island
We then headed out to location No. 2 -- Yerba Buena Island. We took the Bay Bridge toward Oakland, and were in the far left lane of the five-laner. Even for a Friday night, traffic was heavy.

I didn't know if the exit to the island was to the left or right. I worked my way over to the far right lane thinking we would exit from there.

I was wrong. The roadway sign indicated the exit was to the left, so we made our way back through heavy traffic  to the left side.

Looking toward downtown San Francisco from Twin Peaks

Artsy picture with a little motion taken on Twin Peaks
Our last destination was Twin Peaks, far to the west side. One can take Market Street from downtown and follow it seemingly for miles and miles. It turns into Portola and then just follow the sign that says Twin Peaks exit.

We missed the turn and realized that, after heading down the hill toward the coast.

We retraced our steps, and amazingly, there was an easy to observe sign showing us the way.

The winding drive took us to the overlook that had hundreds of other tourists with the same idea.

That nighttime trip wasn't the first time we had visited those locations before, but it doesn't matter how many times one visits those spots, its always an adventure. And what a view from each!

Next post: Feb. 19, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hopefully the last trip to that place this year

I took another trip to la la land yesterday.

I was put to sleep and had a 10 centimeter by 6 centimeter gallstone removed. My physician told my wife that the gallstone filled up the entire space of the gallbladder.

The laparoscopic incision to remove the gallstone had to be increased from 1/2 inch to two inches.

I'm resting comfortably today although looking forward to enjoying a meal later in the week.

There is a minimum of pain but I don't really feel like putting a lot of effort into another post.

The last "put to sleep" procedure was Jan. 14, 2013. Maybe this will be last trip to the aforementioned land for this year. I sure hope so.

Next post: Feb. 12, 2013