OHE March 3, 1999 (Pacific Coast Highway)

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 21:11:09 -1000
From: Doug Walker (KAULAROCK@aol.com)
Subject: PCH Adventure

I recently completed (with girl friend, Annmarie, from New York) a most pleasant journey up the Pacific Coast Highway from the Marin headlands to Mendecino.

Annmarie arrived in Reno (after getting stuck in Manhatten traffic and missing her scheduled flight) late on 2/24. We discussed my proposed adventure and spent several hours loading my new VW Syncro (4x4 for getting to those inaccessible fly fishing spots), planning for an early start on 2/25.

Drove west on I-80 (with heavy snow and whiteout conditions at Donner Summit just out of Truckee). Diverted off I-80 to 37 to 101 and arrived at Marin headlands in the early afternoon. Started hiking around the headlands enjoying the spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge with S.F. in the back ground. It was a sunny day and the area has a light house and various pill boxes and gun batteries from WW eye-eye! The Farallon Islands are visible on the horizon and just beyond them Maui...nah, just kidding. Great, leisurely hiking and sight seeing.

Drove a couple of hours north to Pt. Reyes National Park where we hiked all around the light house area and enjoyed Jupiter and Venus and the rising moon. What a different sky one views when away from city lights. We even climbed over a guard fence to walk down to the light house at about 9 p.m. We also walked down towards North beach where there was solid 6-8 surf pounding the shores.

Had breakfast the next morning and got an early start on highway 1. Absolutely wonderful discribes the coast. A winding, narrow road sneaks in and out of canyons and back out to the Pacific. Pinnacle rocks jut out of the ocean along the coast and we came across several pods (packs, herds, groups) of seals lazing in the sun. We took a two hour detour to do some wine tasting at a local winery and ended up at Bodega bay by early evening.

Having eaten dinner, Annmarie and I were looking for a place to park, wash up and sleep when we stopped at the county run wharf. The guard on duty could not have been friendlier. He let us use his wash rooms, and told us about the camp grounds about a half mile from the docks. He also took us on a tour (his nitely inventory) of fishing boats in the harbor. Many of these rugged boats were from the fifties and as good today as then. We then retired for the evening with the camper parked right on the edge of the harbor...a million dollar view.

Early next morning we had breakfast at the Sand Piper restaurant (recommeded) and headed up the coast for Memdecino. By this time the sky was turning gray and a storm system was rumored to be arriving late in the afternoon.

The scenery was just as nice as the day before, but we now began to run into sporatic land slides. (The earth here is very crumbly (?) or more scientifically...eroded. The forests are thick and reach down to the seashore. We stopped at several parks and took comfortable walks by the shore.

By late afternoon it is pouring rain and Annmarie and I realize way everything is so green. We're in the rain forest. Along the shore line you can see where huge chunks of the land have fallen into the ocean from erosion. Can't get too close to the edge, it may cruble.

That night we grab a bite to eat and end up parking in an Safeway parking lot in Mendecino to sleep. (Safeway encourages this...nice.)

The next morning we begin the long drive back on route 20 to get past route 101 to intra-state 5. Under cloudy skies it takes us seven hours to get back to Reno.

We had a wonderful trip (1,000 miles). The coastline is about as pretty as any I have ever seen. The hiking trails seem unlimited athougth not truly test by Annmarie of myself. I hope to get back there this summer for more PCH experiences.

I highly recommend that one spend some time on the PCH...and they say the father north you go...the better its gets. Like Alaska!

Doug


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