Our Honeymoon Journal
     Entry 4 - 24 August 2000
We drove up some spectacular coastline to Fort Bragg. The 24th was a mixed day of sunshine and fog.  Click here to see what the weather is like today...
  San Francisco to Fort Bragg

Vanessa Auto, cruise control, CD player, central locking...Even though we had wanted an early start, we slept in again. To save time, Chris went to a nearby Chinese bakery and bought a couple of sweet buns for our breakfast. After we had eaten, he left to pick up our hire car (caught a bus there) and I stayed in our room and repacked all our gear. We had booked the car before we had left Australia and, from Chris' previous driving experience in the USA, we made sure we got a mid-size car for the advantage of having more room and more power. The car we ended up with is quite nice - a gold coloured Mitsubishi Galant. It turned out that this colour is very popular over here. (Licence plate: 4JNE207.)
North Beach area including Lombard Street. (7 photos) We left the inn at about 10.30am (three nights stay: $305.38) and drove through the North Beach area towards Russian Hill. Our first planned stop for the day was the famous part of Lombard Street. Lombard Street is actually a very long street, it is only a section about one block long that is known the world around for its crookedness. We couldn't actually stop there because of the traffic congestion - so many tourists! - but we did manage to join the queue and drive its twisty length.
Driving around San Francisco. (2 photos) San Francisco has some impressive public buildings!The next stop on our itinerary was an orchid farm, many miles to the south of San Francisco. On the way, we went through the centre of the city and passed a number of places of interest, such as the City Hall. Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to stop and look. We drove for ages, missed the turnoff, backtracked and found that the orchid farm had been bulldozed to make way for some large warehouses, or something else of equal industrial concretedness. Next time, we will telephone ahead... Disheartened and feeling hungry after such a small breakfast, we stopped for some more to eat at a "Wendys". The hamburgers were okay. Feeling better, we got in the car and headed north again along Route 1 towards the Seacliff area, this time looking for a hobby shop we'd seen advertised in the local yellow pages. Once again we were disappointed. The shop was there, but apart from a few good science fiction model kits, it had very little of interest for us.
South End Golden Gate Bridge. (9 photos)

North End Golden Gate Bridge. (9 photos)
The Golden Gate Bridge was our third point of interest for the morning. Our initial reaction was of frustration and further disappointment. The bridge was totally shrouded in a thick fog! Not to have a totally wasted morning, we stopped and took a few pictures of the southern end of the bridge through the fog. We walked partway onto the bridge and froze in the chilly, damp air. I can now say I've walked on the bridge. At the tourist centre, we bought three postcards and paid for a machine to press a penny with a design celebrating the bridge's 50th Anniversary. We then went back to the car. As we were driving across the bridge, wonder of wonders, the fog cleared near the far end! It was an amazing sight. We hope our photos turn out okay. Inspired by this, we stopped at the north end of the bridge and joined the crowds of tourists taking pictures of the half fog-covered bridge and the tops of the city skyscrapers peeking through. Everyone was very polite, taking turns in the prime viewing spots and sometimes taking pictures for other people. We were a little annoyed when a group of people arrived carrying huge wrapped bundles. They sat along the wall and stood around, often blocking the view for other tourists, and didn't seem to be taking any photos. After a while, they unrolled the bundles and it turned out they were peddlers, selling T shirts of the bridge and SF. After taking a lot of photos, we got back into the car and headed north - finally beginning the true part of our holiday - the driving journey.
  The long open road with wonderful vistas augmented by the occasional roadworks.For the rest of the day, we travelled along SR1 - the main highway that runs right along the coast of northern California. Sometimes the landscape reminded us of the areas around Gympie and Mt Tambourine. At other times, it was just like nothing we had ever seen before. The road wound its way right along the coastline, often clinging to the side of sea cliffs, with the ocean crashing below. Chris said that the road was sometimes actually in the ocean, where it had fallen from the cliff. There were a few places where there was evidence of this. The coastline is very rugged and very beautiful. We stopped sometimes to take photos, but sometimes even though the view was spectacular, there was just nowhere to take photos from as the road was quite narrow. We did stop at a lookout between Bodega Bay and Russian River and took photos of the dramatic cliffs and rocks in the ocean. This area reminded Chris of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.
Along the coast to Fort Bragg. (7 photos) Highlights of the day:
  • I saw my first wild deer - it was foraging in the forest at the side of the road near Stinson Beach.
  • We saw more sea lions basking on a mud bank in a wetlands area just past Point Reyes Station.
  • I learned that lookouts over here are called "overlooks".
  • Chris was amused to hear some radio advertising for Java coders for start-up companies. There were also other computer/programming advertisements that were in pure jargon that were almost incomprehensible to me.
  • We learned that Summertime is when the local authorities have the roads mended. It seemed that every few miles there were roadworks - either resurfacing or mending it where it had fallen or washed away. Winters must be very severe along the coast.
  Excellent meal!After a long day of driving along narrow, twisty roads, we arrived at Fort Bragg where we were to spend the night. We had not booked accommodation, but we had done some research and were able to get a room for the night at the Fort Bragg motel. It was typical for a two star place - clean and basic. Chris asked at the office if there was a good local Mexican restaurant. He was told there were a couple nearby, but the best was "El Sombero". Chris had been looking forward to a good Mexican meal for some time and he wasn't disappointed. The salad was crisp and fresh. The salsa had a good bite to it. I had a seafood burrito and Chris had a seafood combo with a seafood enchilada - prawns in garlic butter and deep fried white fish. Both meals were huge and cooked to perfection. The only negative was that there was more than we could eat! (Cost: $23.49 plus $4.51 tip.)
  After dinner, we spent a quiet evening watching and episode of "Cadfael" (British television show) and writing up journal notes.