The drive to Santa Nella was simply beautiful. Unfortunately we could not do the tour of Edwards Air force base…apparently they only do 1 tour a month, and so it books up several years in advance. I’m sure the tour would have been very interesting, next time! We did get fairly close to Concoran, and we all know the famous person that is housed there…right? We did stick to our route and continued up I5 towards Santa Nella.
Our night in Santa Nella was good. It was a relatively early in the evening so we wandered down the street to have dinner at “Pea Soup Anderson’s“. Neither of us had any soup, but I do recall the meal tasting very good. There was a wonderful gift shop, and I neglected to purchase anything – but it was a wonderful place to browse. With the wind mill, you can imagine all the Dutch souvenirs in the shop. But I controlled myself, and headed back to the hotel with a full stomach, and empty hands.
The next morning we left Santa Nella for Gilroy. The road took us around the San Luis Reservoir. The reservoir, built in 1947 stores water which comes from the San Joaquin – Sacramento River Delta . The water is actually pumped uphill into the reservoir and continues down along the aqueduct and is used as needed for irrigation, among other things. Different times of the year the water levels change but it is about nine miles long and five miles wide. After leaving the reservoir we started the climb up to Pacheco Pass following Route 152. Beautiful Farmlands, wildflowers and rolling hills, simply beautiful where ever you turned.
We continued west from Gilroy through Hecker Pass…again, the scenery was breathtaking. As you can well imagine, driving along the coast were views that surpass anything we’ve seen so far. This road trip has totally met all my expectations with just the Desert and Ocean scenery. Going through Santa Cruz we did come across a street sign that just described Gary and I to a T. At this point I had not crossed anything off my bucket list!
We left the coast at Half Moon bay and travelled in to the 280, which took us right into the heart of San Francisco. I just loved to old buildings with their fire escapes. Right out of the movies! The gardens and parks we went by were just magnificent so lush and green. I’m sure there was so much more to come into bloom over the next few months. So gorgeous. Such a sense of Humor with their signs in California, although I’m sure they are meant to be serious!
To say the least I was pretty excited. We had only gone 158 miles that day, but with many stops to enjoy the scenery, it took us a little more time than it normally would have. The first thing we did was drive down Point Lobus Avenue to the beach. We did attempt to find parking at the Lands End Lookout, but that wasn’t going to happen, so continued down the hill to Ocean Beach. It was very windy, and the Kite boarders were going at it with great force! We managed a 2.5 km walk down the beach and then back to the car, which was nice after sitting for the day! Two windmills were built just off the beach. The first one completed in 1902, and the second one followed soon after. They were used for pumping as much as 1 ½ million gallons of water daily.
Time for check in at our hotel. We wanted something close to Fisherman’s Warf, but didn’t get a big ol’ fancy one, we had no intention of spending a lot of time in it. Once again, Suzie took us right to the front door with no excitement. It was a pretty good view, and just down the hill from the famous Lombard Street. After check in we decided it was still early enough to head out and be tourists. Lombard street was only a few blocks away, but it was a jaunt to say the least. On our walk back to the Hotel we spotted Alcatraz between all the buildings! It was a pretty magnificent sight to see. As we continued, going down hill we found a strange little lounge, and by little it maybe had enough seating for 30. But it was cheery, and everyone seemed to be having a great Saturday night. We had a couple cold ones before heading a couple more blocks to the hotel.
Of course I thought it was early for “tourist” season, and getting tickets to Alcatraz wouldn’t be a problem, and I didn’t want to tie us to any specific dates along the way, but as we were leaving my relatives place in Rimrock, my Uncle asked if we had tickets. My heart sunk. As soon as we drove out of their driveway, I hooked up to the wifi and checked for availability – I was close to tears when they were sold out, next available tickets, April 3rd! Too many days to wait around. Of course the web page explained that you could line up, starting around 5 a.m. and hope there are no shows, also to check back as they do, on occasion put in extra sailings . About an hour later, I checked back – and they HAD opened up for the Sunday. I quickly started putting in all my information to purchase two tickets. This was no easy task travelling down the freeway at 75mph! We did eventually pull off so I was able to move my curser accurately, and type easier -Voila…Two tickets to Alcatraz! I also made reservations for our hotel immediately after that to ensure we were in the area we wanted – and printed both the reservations and tickets at the hotel in Santa Nella that night! Whew….technology does come in handy, and to think our wifi was not working in the car when we left! Alcatraz tomorrow!