Friday, December 4, 2009

CA Trip November 2009 - The Way Home

I decided the coast would be a much safer route home, although longer and more expensive. And the good part is - all new stuff to see! Well, except for the first part on the 5....

I had read about the Iron Zoo and thought it might be a good place for a leg stretch, but I didn't realize it was still operational. The smell was terrible! And somehow all the signs about poisonous fumes didn't seem too inviting with small children! Still, Orion was very amused with all the paint jobs, and I took several shots out the window.

To be honest, it was a pretty sucky day on I5! We kept hitting patches of stop and go traffic all the way! I didn't know the 5 ever got like that, but it must have been because it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Here is a moment from the road. Name that tune!

The video is not much to speak of. I was just holding the camera over my shoulder so I could then give it to the baby to have something to look at. BUT, who can name the CD that is playing? If you are my age, you just might know it!

The Bay Area was no joy either. Sheesh, it was a looong day getting to San Rafael. I was a bit annoyed as I had gotten a nicer hotel with an indoor pool and jacuzzi, but we did manage to get in for just the last hour!

Back on the road. The drive up the 101 was so beautiful, and the weather was just amazing the whole way home. I could not believe how lucky we were with blue skies and mild temperatures.
This totally cool building is right alongside the highway.
I guess nobody expects good weather this time of year, though, as we were pretty much the only people everywhere we went! Such as the famous Confusion Hill.
My boy surrounded by Love and Peace. What more can you want out of life?
Ah, the finest in roadside kitsch.
I must be getting old, because the Gravity House made me really dizzy and nauseous. Orion seemed quite amused by it though.
The kids fed the chipalopes and played on the playground a bit, and I bought some overpriced souvenirs. On down the road, Hobbiton was closed! Darn, stupid wimpy tourists who don't want to go anywhere if it might be cold. The Avenue of the Giants was literally deserted. I don't think I saw one other car. It was eerie! But I got a picture of Gandalf from the parking lot.
At least they left the Chimney Tree open.
After we got back in the car, Orion started saying he didn't believe it was a real tree. He said somebody built it and painted it to look like a tree! My boy is already a cynic. Or was it fake stuff overload from Disneyland lol? We did see lots of big, beautiful trees that were quite impressive.

I saw a few signs for Ferndale and couldn't resist taking the short side trip to see it. Wow, what an adorable town! It is full of beautifully cared for Victorian homes, and the whole town is a historical landmark! I want to go back for a weekend there now. Even Orion thought the houses were cute. I took more photos out the window LOL.
The cemetery looked SO cool, and worth a visit back just for that!
Orion liked this one best, probably because I told him it was named The Gingerbread Mansion. I explained it was a bed and breakfast, and he said he wanted to come back and stay there. I checked the website later, and it is a 12 and older place. Sorry bub!
We made it to Crescent City and had dinner at a bland Chinese place. Then disaster struck! Dundundun. OK, maybe it wasn't a disaster, but it felt like one at the time. When we got to the motel, I couldn't find my cell phone. Then I couldn't get online either, so I had no way of getting in touch with Ron to let him know what was going on. Argghhh. I had a staff person come out and help me figure out the Internet thing, then I got in touch with Lyla to have her call my phone. I was hoping it fell out in the car somewhere, but no luck. So the more I thought about it, I remembered setting it down in the bathroom in the restaurant when I went in to change Akasha. Damn, just damn. Not the type of place that will be open for breakfast - just hoping for lunch! Sigh. And hoping it will be there!!! So I figured we might as well make the best of it and go to breakfast since we hadn't done that the whole trip.

I found a nice little place online right on the water, and we headed over there the next day. It was a great way to start the day as the food was quite good. This little gem was outside. Is it just me, or does that mermaid look a bit relaxed considering the menacing expression of the shark?
The view from the parking lot. Even a lighthouse - bonus!
We could see these fellows right out our window, so we went to take a closer look after we ate.
Then we stopped at the restaurant, and phew! The phone was right were I thought it was in the bathroom. At this point, the smart thing would have been to get on the road, but we had seen ads for this place in town called Ocean World, and Orion really wanted to go, so what the heck? We were already way behind schedule.

Cute photo opp out front.
This animated guy was in the gift shop. Orion liked him, but he got the nonono wave from Akasha.
Some of the starfish in the touch tank:
Most of the place is actually a boat that used to give underwater tours. Here you see part of their shark collection.
They also had a pool for shark petting! Orion was NOT interested, but I gave them a pat.
Another silly photo opp.
At the end of the tour, there is a short seal show. Both of the kids just loved them! Here is a snippet:

Then oh my goodness! The coast for the next several miles was SO stunning. View after view similar to these around every bend.

And then alas, there was no getting past the Prehistoric Gardens with this guy right in view. Orion called him "Prehistoric Rex" lol!
Cute boy on the rainforest path.
Triceratops, favorite of many.
And yes, I do have a picture just like this of EVERY statue in the park, at Orion's insistence.
Had Orion get in this one for scale. That's one big turtle.
Lots of cool moss covered trees.
Orion thought these little dudes emerging from the eggs were adorable.
Just thought these leaves were cool. They were huge!
And I am always a sucker for moss and ferns growing right out of a fence!
The gift shop was running 50% off on everything in the store, and I scored a great Solstice gift for Sarah!

However.... I could not believe how little distance we covered by dark. I had not even reached the turn off to head over the mountains, and I don't see very well at night, especially on a dark road when the oncoming headlights hit the windshield. So I sucked it up and decided to stay one more night on the coast.

The good part was, we were right near the Sea Lion caves, which I thought we would miss, so we even had one more day of sightseeing, and dare I say, one more day of gorgeous weather.

I didn't know we were going to be able to see Hecate Head lighthouse from there!
Heading down the path to the elevator. The ocean was full of patches of noisy sea lions. I thought our shadows looked cool with Akasha in the Ergo.
It was quite dark in the cave, so the picture ended up a little blurry, but you get the idea! This is supposedly the biggest sea cave in the world. There were also several sea lions quite close to us straight down from the view point, but it was too dark to get a shot of them. And the noise was incredible! It was also really cool being there early in the day as there was sun beaming in through a hole in the rocks.
Another pretty view from a little lookout area they had.
They had a sign up with a picture of the original access - pretty crazy!
And this is some of the original wood you can see from the view still on the ground!
Orion is such a huge fan of statues in general. It is quite amusing sometimes.
He was very insistent I use the timer to get a picture of us all together here.
Then over the hills, up the 5 and wow, we were finally home!

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