Fort Bragg, California

Not North Carolina. No jumping out of planes and other training to get you ready for combat. Beautiful California coast where wildflowers are in full bloom and the surf pounds the rugged, rocky coast, relentlessly.

The drive over from Willits on route 20 sucked. If a drive could suck chrome off a trailer hitch (credit Ted with that line), this one did, in a bad way. If you need to get from Bodega Bay to Fort Bragg in any size motorhome (up to 42′, bigger than that and you’re on your own), take route 1. Route 20 is awful for 20 miles, worse than 1, which is wild for about 10 miles, but way prettier. 20 is just one giant forest, continually twisting – more 20mph turns than any I’ve encountered for 20 miles, also leading to a sentence where I was able use the number 20, grammar be damned (you do know that numbers should be written by the alphabetic presentation, no?), more different ways than I ever have in my life. Horrible road. Avoid it. Bite the bullet and take rt 1. If you’re afraid of what all the other timid RVers write about the hairpin turns on 1, get some balls and just do it (but don’t sue me if you kill some asshole in a Ferrari cutting corners on some of those turns where you look out to the ocean and turn hard to the right while avoiding the cliff and no shoulder). I’m pissed that I didn’t. The route is way shorter – 26 miles translates to about $20 worth of diesel fuel for our 42 footer, in California.

Speaking of fuel, when we got to Willits I became a bit concerned about our remaining fuel and possible refueling locations, knowing we were soon headed to the boonies, if, indeed, we were not in them already. Regular gas stations that offer diesel quite often do not have enough space for us to maneuver Odyssey and our towed jeep. When you approach one of those you do a wide scan, and ask, can I get out? Which pump let’s me maneuver in and out most easily, if any? Will I block anyone? You have to do all that before you commit to entering the station at all.

You’re also going to be there a long time. Diesel pumps at gas stations are usually not the high speed ones at truck stops. And, they usually only let you pump $125 at a time by credit card, some $75. We pulled into the Safeway on the corner of 101 and 20. The furthest pump on the right allowed an easy exit from the whole shopping center. If you’re using shopping credits – we had accumulated eighty cents off at Safeway – you can only get twenty-five gallons. So, we got twenty-five gallons at $2.94 and $125 worth at $3.64, still not a bad price for diesel in CA. Truck stops rip you off but they are the safest option for getting in and out. Just don’t let the truckers intimidate you. We’ve noticed a lot of them are arrogant assholes when they get behind the wheel. Of course, you may have noticed that just about every driver on the road, at some point, if not arrogant, is an asshole – except you. Then again, the human race supports quite a cross-section of such jerks in all walks of life. I have issues with assholes. After 42 therapists, I finally found a professional who tells me that I’m not one.

But, I digress. If you want proof of how bad Rt 20 is to drive, open Google maps in satellite mode and search for Safeway Willits, CA, click directions and fill in Ft Bragg CA as the “from” location. Now, zoom in all the way to the destination, the Safeway – holy shit, I just did and in the far right pump is a giant motorhome towing a car. That sucker looks like two railroad cars, it’s so big! Guess I wasn’t the only person thinking that way. Anyway, zoom out a bit and follow rt 20. Pretty benign at first and then at the deep green of the forest you can see all the squiggles. Zoom down so far into one of them until you see vehicles on the road. See how many turns there are? Believe me, there are as many blind turns on that as on 1, probably many more and you know that the 20mph signs are for you in your big rig. Yes, there are many pullouts – required to be used for slow traffic, You! – but still, it sucks the big one. Just don’t do it! Take Rt 1. It will be a bit exciting for 10 miles, but in spurts. Just blow that big air horn when approaching blind turns and hope the other guy is not as big as you. On Rt 20 it is awful for 20 miles non-stop, and local truckers who know the road fly in both directions. Same risks there on those blind turns. You just won’t fall off a cliff when you die.

Of course, we may have to drive it again leaving here, but if you only have to do it once, your heart will only age an extra 30 days, not 60. Now, the good news, this place is gorgeous. Remember, we were going to Ft Bragg? We are in Harbor RV Park, a small, locally owned, homey place, with only Pomo Bluffs Park, a small city park, between us and the ocean, over the cliffs.


Looking back at Odyssey (just to the right of center, looking black)

Let’s go up in the air. We were sure this was a California Condor until I looked closely at the photo. Pretty sure it’s a common Turkey Vulture. Condors don’t come this far north anyway, so we’re told.

Our first day of exploring sent us to one of our bucket list items(I think this is number 438, one of those numbers I just pull out of my ass), one of the three Glass Beaches of Ft Bragg.

So the deal is, the town was already here, with native Americans doing quite well, when some whitey explorers decided that lumbering would make a lot of sense in a land covered with giant trees. The gold rush had just begun and those miners would need homes. Those homes would need villages for commerce. The logging industry took over the town and built similar towns up the coast. Later, the Koch brothers took over the mill and much of the town.

At some point in the mid twentieth century, the city had accumulated more garbage than it could handle and cheaped out on a solution. They designated three cliffs as city-approved garbage dumps. Anything goes – old cars, trucks, furniture….the kitchen sink, you name it, and bottles. There were no plastic soft drink and water containers then. Bottles of all colors were tossed over the edge.

After a few years, they decided that maybe it was a bad idea and initiated cleanup. They got rid of all the big and toxic stuff and what remained was chewed up and spit out by the sea – a billion small pieces of glass so smoothed over by years of pounding by waves into the sand that many looked like marbles and small gemstones.

Today, those beaches have been combed over by a million tourists and unless some new pieces wash ashore, only the tiniest chunks with any color remain. Still, we spent four hours on about a hundred foot semicircle of beach with a few other collectors. Andrea’s magnetic bracelet was covered with sand-sized pieces of iron, perhaps the remains of an Edsel. Getting down to the beach is another thing but trails, of a sort, descend to the beach. Looking down a sort-of trail:

And looking up at the trail. Yeah, what trail?

While searching for the holy grail, a rounded and polished, red piece of sea glass, or just something bigger than a clipped piece of your smallest toenail,

the sun settled further out over the ocean.

It was very peaceful in that little cove.

And safe. A big teddy bear watched over us the entire time:

We ended up with a little bag of really small pieces and a few shells. The brighter colors are mostly gone. Amber and green are still common. We could do that every day. The kind of thing that keeps money from flowing out of our pockets while touristing.

On the walk back over a few more cliffs, I needed to stop and sit on a bench. We looked down on another beach and another load of huge rocks out in the water. I noticed a movement on one of the rocks and then saw the shapes of seals. It looked like an adult and playful younger seal on the right.

In that same cove, Andrea pointed out a shape, to the left, of what could be a turtle, or armadillo, or, if size matters, a creeping dinosaur.

It was one of our best days of the year.

If you look really closely, you can see the seals, though if you haven’t found Jesus in the International Banana Museum by now, you might not find Sealy in this one.

Goodnight sun.

The next day, we went to the Mendocino Botanical Gardens. Andrea has the good flower photos (for you Facebook friends). I got a few.

As I said, she has lots of flower photos:

And one more in the gardens:

Ok, my garden photos suck. Then we walked out onto their ocean cliff. I like these flowers. They got balls growing off a cliff:

How big?

I like this one, above, the stick with the starburst ends. What is that, anyway?

So, we’re on another cliff and I’m drawn to waves crashing on rocks.

We wandered further south to the kitschy (WTF is kitschy?), tourist trap of Mendecino. Yes, it’s a cute little town with every type of coastal tourist shop you could imagine, very artsy too, or maybe just full of themselves. Now, not to discourage you, Freddies Pizza was the perfect little place to have a slice and a beer. Go to Freddies on Ukiah St. We parked across the street, right in front of a place that had only one little sign in the window that said, “$4.20 A Dab”. Next to that, I was going to say storefront, but it really looked like a private home, was another place that looked pretty similar, but had a small sign that read, “Adult Sales”. In California, that does not mean movies by the president’s girlfriend. We went in.

In such a business, you only need a glass counter for floor space. Your product is priced like jewelry. Your customers are usually knowledgeable about your product. There was a lovely person behind the counter explaining each product. It is a brave new world, which we, as Coloradans at the time it was legalized, became familiar with, but still makes me shake my head – all the people behind bars for decades, for what? Reagan’s idiot wife is to blame, for starters. Uh-oh, I pissed somebody off. Now for the rest of you, Clinton bears a lot of blame for the mandatory jail sentences while he’s acting like a trailer hitch. Well, for all the people who were jailed for anything to do with marijuana, and in some way were imprisoned because of the influence of the “Just Say No” campaign, I join you in wishing Nancy Reagan an eternity of burning alive in hell. Yes, for fucking-ever! And take old Ronnie boy with you for listening to your astrological bullshit. And Bill? His hell? Different spelling – Hill. Anyone left to piss off? Yeah. I got some anger issues about that shit. Do we have any wave pictures?

Glad you asked, asshole. You ever talk to yourself like that? Calm down, watch the waves:

Talked myself down. At the adult sales store, I bought some CBD salve. I had previously tried an oil and patches, like a nicotine patch, not that I would know – tried smoking in seventh grade, hated it and could only afford one habit then, baseball cards. I believe, which isn’t exactly the same as stating a fact, CBD’s help as a topical treatment for pain. If the morons-in-charge would finally get with the flow and remove marijuana and THC/CBD derivitaves from the list of substances in the FDA’s Schedule 1, which also includes heroin and LSD, serious research (read, big pharma investment, and, I don’t deny that some anecdotal research has been done already, including by me) can be focused on CBD’s medicinal benefits. Living on Social Security, a long term regimen of CBD treatment is not in the cards for most of us. Federal reclassification will begin the process to include a defined, CBD based pain treatment in Medicare. Or we’ll find it’s bullshit, but we need to find out for sure. We need change at the federal level. I’m probably going to be dead by the time we, uh, you, see a Medicare-covered CBD treatment for pain, epilepsy, and, what was that other one? Oh, yeah, Alzheimer’s. Really.

Damn, where were we? Leaving the pot store in Mendocino.

Ok, we zoomed back up to Ft Bragg and stopped in some old guy’s “museum” of physical science, another free curiosity. Larry Spring was an inventor of sorts and a collector of amazing rocks. He had an old, gas power saw to down smaller redwoods:

And some cool rocks that nature painted:

I really liked those rocks. I had found a couple on the beach with intricate striations, but what I found most interesting on the beach were small pieces of abalone shells. Larry had some whoppers:

Remember how I hated Rt 20, the main east-west route to Ft Bragg from the big highway, “the” 101? Yeah, I know, Californians always prefix their numbered highways with “the”. When in Rome,… Anyway, I really didn’t want to drive back to the 101 on 20 to get to our next destination, Myers Flat (oh, just look it up), when Rt 1 angled right into it further north. So, scientific method was in order. We drove up the 1 to find out for ourselves why nobody online – except one, very experienced RV driver – advised driving a big rig north of Ft Bragg. Let me present you with some evidence of our research:

OK, some road/erosion issues.

At one point, you came to a stop sign approaching a cliff. Rockslides had reduced the road to one lane – yes, just one lane for both directions. Another sign at that point read, “Stop for oncoming traffic”. You wait for the guy who gets there first.

Another area of slides had a slim road with those concrete dividers keeping you on the straight and narrow. Nerve wracking to some. Luckily, that doctor who stuck me with pins and wires concluded that I had severe idiopathic neuropathy, meaning my nerves don’t work like they used to. One less thing (to worry about, and the line always reminds me of Forest Gump’s response to understanding that Lieutenant Dan’s investment in some fruit company, Apple, made worrying about money, “One less thing!”).

But road conditions be damned, it was pretty.

One overlook

after another,

and another,

and another, this one showing one of many California state beaches where you can park your RV on a cliff (extreme lower left):

We stopped at a beach:

I have a series of these, watching waves roll in and explode on those rocks.


It’s like your trains crashing on the figure eight track when you were seven, but you don’t have to tell dad how the crash broke the coupler on the front of the engine. Maybe not, but the waves keep coming, and they are free!

So, after 35 miles of Highway 1, well beyond where it turns inland through the mountains and some serious squiggles in Google maps, we decided Odyssey, and Andrea, could handle the thrill. Me? As was stated by my superiors in a 1970 meeting to decide who would be promoted among my Jones Beach Parking Lot Attendant peers, the conversation being relayed to me by Tom Sieminski, a good friend and a manager at the time, “Carlin? He’s just out for a good time.” As a 19 year old crawling out of a shy shell, I felt success at achieving such status, not giving a shit about the promotion. I was proud of that tag, “out for a good time”, and have tried to keep life that way. But, I digress. Driving Highway 1 is a good time, big rig or small car.

We got back to the RV, packed up, noted the odd paint job on this van parked next to us,

and bid Ft Bragg a good night.

Wait – turkey vulture? Any birders among you?

Next stop, Myers Flat, in the middle of Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Wow. You read the whole thing. Or did you?

Bodega Bay

Tuesday, May 15

We spent five days in Colorado Springs last week. The prime reason for going back was, of course, a grandkids fix, more specifically, Wren’s first birthday. Turns out that she and Leo are still the cutest kids in the world. No shit! Well, maybe a little on my arm one day but no big stink. Well, maybe a little.

Secondary reason for the trip was continuity of care – for the aging flesh and bones. The only doctor I really trust stuck a three inch needle up my spine. One poked my legs with needles and wires. Another injected me with radioactive saline. Two of them gave me drugs. And Fox Rental Car Company robbed me blind. Never, ever, if they are a choice, use them for car rentals. You hear that anyone Googling Fox Rental Car? They are fucking crooks!!!

OK, I got that out of my system. Now, RVer tips. Here’s a big DO NOT: Book a flight where you need to be at the airport by 6:30AM or earlier and pick up your pet on the way back to your stored RV which is 60 miles from the airport and then drive 120 miles, 30 of which are in heavy traffic and 10 on a tiny, winding road with construction and then, and here’s the kicker, arrive at your destination having forgotten that there are no hookups! Oh, the traffic and winding road required some abrupt navigation causing shifting of even secured, fragile items. Thankfully, just some frightening noises but the human angst level was quite high. Stress? Guess! That’s all I have to say about that.

Oh, while in storage, the house batteries drained to the point where they couldn’t spark the propane for the fridge. That probably happened within 24 hours of us returning because it was still cool. We had very little in the fridge. The freezer meats were just about defrosted so we salvaged them. Cheeses were ok. Everything else, out. Not much. Engine batteries were disconnected so it started right up. Needed ice when we got to “The Birds” land.

With about four hours sleep before flying, plus a nerve wracking drive, we were wiped out and slept twelve hours. Today, anniversary number 41 by the way, Bodegay Bay is lovely and peaceful. Forty-one was once the age of old people to me. At forty-one, movie stars get lines in their faces. We get more. Men’s heads get big, physically too. Women’s boobs start sagging. Everybody’s bellies get bigger. You can’t grow enough hair for a comb-over, and you don’t bother with make-up anymore – he’ll get over it. But, I digress. Forty-one years married? So? Now fifty, that’s a fucking big number.

We putzed around today recharging and then drove 40 minutes, a very pretty ride, back to Cotati for a supermarket run – and dog food. We weren’t so sure about the stuff we got back from the dog sitter. Luna has been eating Freshpet refrigerated rolls for over two years. Spoiled. She is, and we had doubts about the batch of food on hand. She’s sick. The sitter either let her eat other than the food we provided, or she ate shit, both of which we warned against. Bad poopies last night, she slept longer than we did, and moped around sleeping most of today. She did finish the dinner she passed on last night and then went right to her bed. We’ve seen this before. We’ll have to be more selective in choosing sitters in the future. The other possibility, and if it’s true then apologies to the dog sitter, Luna just missed us. People are pretty Psycho!, appropriate word for Bodega Bay, so why not dogs?

Our first stop tonight was at Walgreen’s.

Then, across a busy street to put gas in the tank ($3.69).

Last stop was a Safeway and, after our appetites were whetted, we brought home hot chicken.

Early to bed. Generator hours end at 10. Early for us. Tomorrow, up the coast on Rt 1 a bit.

Wednesday, May 16

We want to go up Rt 1 to some severe squiggles on the map to make sure Odyssey can do it. After that nasty road on Tuesday, I’m not too concerned, but if it’s anything like the section past the Hearst Castle, I might opt for Plan B.

What do you think?

Great road for cars.

Maybe not so much for a 42′ motorhome.

You see how the road goes out onto the edge of that hill and turns (to the right from this direction)? You can’t see the Teslas and Maseratis coming the other direction and Odyssey needs to swing a little wide into their lane to avoid scraping on the right, or falling off the no-shoulder road. I don’t mind doing that – when I can see them coming, or they me. They get out of the way. And the inner hairpinss are absolutely too tight to stay in the lane.

We drove about forty miles up the coast, destination, the Twofish Bakery – it sounded eclectic. I was most interested in driving past the really tight hairpin turns and constant weaving in and out, up and down between Jenner and Ft Ross. I’ve been debating, even tonight, whether I want to do it again with the Odyssey or go back up that tiny road with construction to “the” 101, adding twenty-six miles to the trip. We’ve been on roads like Rt 1 before. They are usually gorgeous but a pain in the ass to drive. It’s not too dangerous or too difficult to make the turns, but the constant turning, braking, flooring it, and honking – some asshole at you and you at some asshole (ask George Carlin how that works) – makes it a stressful experience. Something in the RV will come loose at some point, Andrea will run back to secure it, the road will turn the other way and she’ll bump into something – anxiety will build and bubble over. It’s not fun. Much better to drive those roads in the car after you get to where you’re going.

And we did. Rt 1 along the coast is beautiful.

Lots of easy pullout, many for RV’s.

Craggy, rocky, cliffy shoreline,

with the occasional beach, most are state or regional (county) parks.

The waves keep coming.

I’ll always stop to watch the waves crash over rocks.

We had intended to go quickly up the highway, have a bite, then take our time on the return trip. However, I was intent on talking myself into driving the RV on this road so I slowly went around the tight turns and narrow sections, swinging wide as if I was driving the RV. And, as you can see, we just couldn’t resist some of the turnouts.

After almost over hours, we made it to Twofish Bakery, which had another name on the building. The side of it had a painting of a fish with the number 2 in it.

The yard decorations were interesting.

Below, that black thing in the middle is a burnt tree stump, after it split in the middle. The tractor on the left should give you some perspective on its original width.

Odd stuff on the California coast.

I really don’t know what the deal was with the bathroom:

Driving back along the coast we paused a bit more for the sights.

Then we came back to Bodega Bay. First we drove into the “town” area – Andrea wanted pictures of The Tides Inn, where they filmed Hitchcock’s ‘The Bird’s, and then I wanted to stop at The Pelican Deli where they had these cool flowers out by the road, Rt 1:

Finally, we went by our rv park to the end of the road, the peninsula out to the ocean. Some pretty looks from out there.

The bay and the beach:

That’s not our rv park down on the right – another state beach. We’re behind the trees on that strip of land jutting out in the water from the left.

This is Bodega Bay from our rv site – at very low tide, so low, boats can only go in and out at high tide.

Thursday, May 17

This is this morning, when I first got up, looking across the bay to the hills:

And here we are, about to head out to Fort Bragg.

I finally decided to chicken out and take the 101 to Willits and then left on 20. We shall see.

See you there.

SF Part 3

Grey Whale Cove State Beach

We took another day off from touristing but did not exactly relax. Grey Whale Cove is about three miles south of where we stayed in Pacifica. It is right on Rt 1. The parking lot is across the highway from a cliff looking down on the beach. No traffic lights or stop signs. You’re on your own crossing.

After you’ve won round one of Frogger, you probably want to get to the beach. Whale watching would likely be better from up on the cliff. We’ve been doing that since we got to the Pacifico rv park. It’s the tail end of the grey whale migration north and we have both been lucky enough to see whales spouting and breaching. Still wondering what the big deal is and that people spend money to get a chance to see these big fish jump out of the water. Oh, I know they’re mammals, shut up. I can’t wait for the nightly news to report on the big tragedy when a boat full of tourists out whale watching gets split in two by a leaping, mammoth fishie and then they all get eaten by sharks. Just nuke some popcorn and watch the National Geographic Channel. You don’t have to take a fucking picture up close. We believe you….hold on, no we don’t believe you and furthermore we don’t want to see your goddamn pictures. But, I digress, and where are our whale pics? We were watching, not clicking. Anyway, up on the cliff you could set up a chair, pull out your binocs, and whale-watch away, but, hey, it’s a beach.

To get down the cliff, the state has provided a path that goes down about forty feet and then this:

Maybe that chair up on the cliff wasn’t such a bad idea.

148 steps. Yeah. I counted. Twice. Our relaxing day of non-touristing.

But it was a lovely beach. Beautiful location.

I could watch the surf pound those rocks all day.

Over and over.

And watch the waves roll in.

And then we had to go back up.

If it weren’t for that drain pipe in the wall I might have been prone to provide an alternate fact for what looks like an ancient culture’s ruins. Right? And no, I have no idea what those stair-like things are.

So we had one more day to finish up touristing. We had a small checklist of places to go. One of them was not really a tourist destination. Andrea paid a visit to a business acquaintance of our brother-in-law. While she was in there, I called the number of a guy who is listed in the “odd things to do in SF” lookup. You could only visit his oddity by appointment. He is the “Institute of Illegal Images”. You know, I think I’ll just leave that subject up to your imagination, and, why would I be interested, anyway? Or, for the curious:
We didn’t go, so nothing to report. Maybe next time. I’m so sorry we missed it.

Balmy Alley

Our final tourist stop was Balmy Alley (though the camera recorded it as Florida Street). You had to park and walk down this alley. Quite a number of homes and buildings in the neighborhood were adorned with similar artwork. Welcome to Balmy Alley:

Great stuff.









I love all the little things going on in this one:

Really – look closely at that rivery kind of thingie to the right – it has jumpers.

This is one of my favs:

Kudos to all the artists.

Most are on garage doors. Pretty damn cool. These are just a few. Go see it. FREE!

The sun did not set over the Pacific that night. The clouds and wind rolled in and it was nasty. As we packed up I noticed the amount of rust and corrosion, mostly on the bikes, that 10 days on the ocean will cause. No wonder so many ocean front houses in Pacifica looked like shit. And they still want almost two million for them. But, we did have one decent sunset a few days ago.

Still, you can’t beat those Phoenix sunsets.

Good night, San Francisco. Cool city.

Back to CO for family time until May 14. See you in Bodega Bay then.

SF Part 2-1/2 The Wave Organ Concert

Not sure how this is going to work on the website, but here goes. I held the phone up to a Wave Organ pipe and recorded a video. On hindsight, an audio recording would have used up fewer megs and perhaps the entire symphony could have been reproduced. This is just 11 seconds of one of nature’s masterpieces. Please excuse the background commentary. I felt like I was in the middle section of the Pink Floyd opus, ‘Echoes’ – “everything was green and submarine”. In the last second of the recording, Luna started freaking out – she might have ingested the brown stuff at Woodstock and seemed to be having a flashback. You know the name Luna was my subtle suggestion to sneak in a Dark Side of The Moon reference. Time is, as Einstein proved, and as many of us experienced, relative, so don’t tell me that because she’s only four years old, she wasn’t at Woodstock.


It didn’t work. WordPress wouldn’t allow a video, at least through the phone. Ah – it wants a ‘wxr’ file, whatever that is. So, in light of the absence of audio, please get in your best ocean mode – think wave splashing up against rocks with a kind of hollow sound:

“Whoosh, splash, whoosh, gurgle, splash”, and repeat for 10 seconds. Oh, in the background pretend you hear my voice softly, “Whoa, far out, it’s water!”


SF Part 2

Sometimes it is best to take a step back, take a deep breath, and consider plan B.

Chew on that.

It was the 11th Commandment, recently discovered on a piece of sandstone found among the remains of a Nepalese guide and several hiking tourists on the north face of Everest. The Aeitheist Society commented, “Perhaps your God is now in such a position”. The Pope added, “What would Jesus have done!” Democrats wondered, “Plan B?”

OK. Perhaps the 11th Commandment is an alternate fact. But when IS plan B being implemented?

San Francisco is quite a city. Now we need some R&R out in the boonies, which is where we are right now, with no internet, prompting my recitation of the 11th Commandment when attempting to send this. Thus, these next couple of postings are a couple of weeks delayed – no plan B. I’m tired so let’s can the talk and go right to the pictures.

Where were we? Chinatown? Well, we came back to town a couple of more times.

We went up to Twin Peaks. No, not the high-brow restaurant – wait, my editor says it’s a high-bra restaurant and there aren’t any in San Francisco. You ever go to a Twin Peaks? Nevermind. In this town it really has to do with geography and altitude. This is San Francisco, after all, with a lot of hills. Probably a lot of transmission shops, too. Also the location for that car chase scene in Bullitt (spelling? No internet). You know, Ford built a 2019 Bullitt Mustang to commemorate Steve McQueen’s car. I kind of liked the bad guy’s Charger. But, I’m wandering. Let’s go up to Twin Peaks.

Do you feel high? After all, it is San Francisco.

You can see Alcatraz from here.

Look, there’s the red bridge. Either it rusted or the guys who named it were smokin’ something from Acapulco.

I spotted the real Twin Peaks. Wonder if there are any employees in that building wearing plaid.

The top of that hill – you know, perspective is something that doesn’t get enough credit. I think about the Earth being just an atom in a molecule, like our solar system, just a piece of a cell in a giant organism, in a – you get the drift. Perspective, right? And there we are, on Twin Peaks, with a thousand other tourists, like bed bugs crawling around on Stormy Daniels’…..(That’s dot, dot, dot, dot, dot for you Colbert fans).(Dot)

Speaking of all the tourists up there, I accidentally got Ariana Grande and her body guard in this shot – I swear it was accidental, the camera was in wide-angle mode and I couldn’t really see what I was shooting with the sun glare:

Hold on. My sharp-as-a-tack staff just pointed out that it was not Ariana Grande but that teenager we had seen up there with so much glittering make-up on that four people were treated for temporary blindness when they looked at her. One of those alternate facts.

Next stop that day was to one of the oddities on our agenda, The Wave Organ. No joke. Some guys who survived the perspective-altering era of San Francisco thought it would be a good idea to build pipes into the end of a jetty so we could all listen to the sea play music. Hey, we didn’t realize that the Audium experience (you can look that one up) was only available on the weekends – and sold out, so we settled for this:

They did seem to gurgle a bit and for a second I thought that they may have all had some of those Nova Scotia Oysters, the ones we heard the CDC says are making people sick. These poor dudes and dudettes tried to calm their bellies with a whole load of Pepto-Bismol, and it worked for a couple of them. The guy on the end, not so much, and asked if we’d leave him alone.

At least the northeastern part of this thing is low and out of the wind.

To Andrea’s left is the plaque the certifies the creators of this place. Certifies them as….(dot, dot, dot, dot)

The reflection of an old guy with a cane and camera really screwed up this one up.

We asked Luna if she was ready to go but she was grooving on sounds from those holes in the wall behind her – more organ pipes.

One of the organ pipes was getting married and got dressed up:

Just so that you don’t miss the experience, in case you never make it to this example of the confluence of art, nature, and science, we recorded a few moments of this achievement.
Here’s Andrea taking a video of a pipe.

I’ve chopped my own video down to 17 meg. With all the photos, I can’t send this to the website via email in this post, but it will go in a separate post, SF Part 2 & 1/2 – The Wave Organ Concert. And, with no internet right now, I can’t look anything up so I just hope you can access it. Riveting stuff!

From this little point in the harbor, we had a view of a barge that gave new meaning, or perhaps clarity, to the term “poop deck”.

The best time for experiencing the haunting rhythm of the Wave Organ is high tide and we arrived right at the peak on a full moon day. The parking lot got some of it as the sea wall was breached.

Something caught my eye moving under the bridge. That bubble right in the middle and under the bridge is the sail of a windsurfer. Cool location to do your thing.

(If you didn’t find Jesus in the Banana Museum, you might not spot this guy either. By the way, you can find Jesus in the International Banana Museum photo on the second shelf to the right of center. If you didn’t find him then, go back and look. I don’t want you to go through life and not be able to say you found Jesus. Here’s another clue:

Now if those people down at the VA ask if you found him, you don’t have to give them the Forrest Gump wise-ass remark, “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him.” But I digress.)

A short walk back in from the Wave Organ is The Marina Lighthouse:

That’s kind of funny because we are now in The Lighthouse Marina and RV Resort in the Delta Region (with no internet and thus providing me lots of time to extrapolate on what’s going on). Just to the left of the lighthouse is a freighter coming into the harbor. Just to the right is Al Capone’s old home, Alcatraz.

So, there you have Twin Peaks and The Wave Organ. We skipped Fisherman’s Wharf and a billion tourists but just at the edge of that mania we stopped at a small place called Crabsters and picked up a lobster/crab roll and clam chowder. When we were in Chinatown we brought home what the shop called “dumplings” but we call them big, fat rolls stuffed with some meat that tastes like moo shoo. And in Haight-Ashbury,

because parking was limited and we had Luna, we ate a slice of really good pizza in the car. I went into a rock & roll stuff shop, no records, and almost bought a 1000 piece puzzle of this:

I thought it might be too easy and passed.

Leaving town we passed by city hall. I thought the architecture was cool from pictures I’d seen. You gotta be high – altitude – to get a good view of the whole complex. Down below, too many buildings get in your way. There’s a lot more to it than this.

I really do have an appreciation for man-made structures. Just a bigger appreciation for Nature Made. That reminds me, I need vitamins.

We took a rest one day and drove a mile or so down to the Pacifica Municipal Pier. It is the only pier on the West Coast (I think that’s what a campground dude said) that you can fish off without a license. You may have noticed it in a previous photo:

It’s about a quarter mile long. Looked like they were catching stripers (funny how spell-checker wants to make that stripper now) and crabs (funny how that word works better with stripper than striper). Dungenous Crabs are the rage here. Anyway, the pier was neat. Big waves relentless. The ocean is relentless.

We were warned about swimming near the pier:

At the end of the pier we could see our RV on the waterfront:

And, of course, there was a sunset.

Take a break. I know how exciting this is. Part three soon, but don’t miss Part 2 & 1/2.

Greetings from San Francisco

Actually, from Pacifica, a few miles south of San Francisco.

RV Talk: We’re in San Francisco RV Resort, a Thousand Trails “Collection” park, an Encore member. So instead of whatever price they charge everyone else, it costs $20 a night to have your windshield facing the ocean. And a constant 5-15mph “breeze” off the water – the windsock on the cliff is almost never without air and usually at a 90-120° angle off the water – the wind whips up the cliff, providing good conditions for new-age aviators:

Now the negatives:

1. A near constant 5-15mph breeze off the water that makes a 70° day feel like 60.

2. 99% chance the cliff you are on will collapse when the San Andreas Fault is tickled again, make that 100% if an alien ship crashes into the cliff below us. Look at those odds – this is insanity:

Unless you have a parachute.

3. And the sites are extremely tight:

Back to plusses, it’s a short walk to a beautiful “multi-purpose trail” to the north of the park with nice views. This looking south:

Then north:

This was our sunset the first three nights:

And this guy apparently likes the view from the edge:

Pretty damn cool when the sun dips beneath the clouds, which it has done every night so far. Thursday night we had about an hour of varying “heavens”, you know, when the sun peaks out from the clouds and it looks like rays from Gort. Sorry, young-uns, the first ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ was better. Michael Rennie would not have gotten his role in ‘War Games’ had it not been for his link to anti-nuclear arms in the best sci-fi movie of the ’50’s. (No, ‘Forbidden Planet’ was not better.) Now, if they had ever made Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘Childhood’s End’ into a movie…..

But, I digress.

Shall we take a few moments to enjoy the last few minutes of the nuclear clock?

That was in Golden Gate Park, near the entrance (this is at the entrance:)

to the de Young Museum (and this tall monstrosity is it:),

currently featuring the exhibit, ‘ The Cult Of The Machine’, presenting works of the Precisionists. If it sounds like I know something about art, forget it. I know something about Art. But, to further enlighten you with my memory of what I just read moments ago, a ticket to this museum will also get you into one we visited earlier in the week, The Legion of Honor.

That’s ‘The Thinker’ on the pedestal and from this position he is more known as ‘The Stinker’. Such is my knowledge of art.

Let’s go back to the area around the de Young Museum. Next to it is the Japanese Tea Garden. Across from the museum is the California Academy of Science. Between the two is a circular fountain in which we found, down on his luck, Tony Bennett, looking for coins.

A few minutes later, Andrea gave him the remains of our lunch, a very spicy, curry chicken dish. He thanked her, ate it, and ran for a bathroom.

Behind that fountain is the California Academy of Science. We considered coming back with our Luna for that, but their planetarium show this month is about underwater life. What’s with that? I want to see stars and space stuff, or Rick Wakeman in concert, or a Floyd Laser Light Show. We’ll pass. Looking north from that fountain, another fountain:

Let’s go back to The Legion of Honor with some great views of the city and harbor – even Luna thought so.

Right after we went out a northern exit we saw the Golden Gate Bridge. Nice viewpoint:

Zoom a little:

Then I switched to wide-angle mode. Usually, wide-angle is a bit distorted. This one worked better. I liked it.

We went to Chinatown on Thursday:

Luna photo-bombed this one:

That’s our blue Jeep on the right with the pointy building in the distance. “Pointy”. Such is my knowledge of architecture.

We finally got a peak at a sunset Thursday night:

That’s the Pacific Ocean Mountain Range in the distance. Wait, my editors are correcting me. Those are just more clouds. Such is my knowledge of topography.

Friday’s adventure was to The Giant Camera,

which was pretty cool. We got a 33% discount for being seniors. Paid two bucks apiece. We were the only ones inside, with Luna, in a 15′ diameter room. The guy who runs the place, a US Parks employee with quite a title, ticket-taker and giant camera operator, turned on the camera. That prism on top rotates and houses a lens

that reflects its images down on a giant wok.

That’s the ocean with a rock to the right. The image constantly changed as the lens rotated. Very cool, worth two bucks. The walls had a few old holograms, too:

On the way out, Parkman pointed out some pictures of the original amusement park on the site, as well as a copy of the oldest photograph known:

And from there, the deck below the Cliff House restaurant, the views were nice:

Of course, we had to go check out a windmill, in Golden Gate Park:

Friday night, the clouds on the horizon were the only ones in the sky until the sun dropped into what we had thought was the horizon:

And then the nuclear clock hit 12.

Such is my knowledge of photography, celestial events, and the fate of the planet. You kind of wonder that if Philosophy is the love of knowledge, and I got a degree in it, why doesn’t knowledge love me back?

And that’s all I got for now. We have few more days of this. Expect more from SF.

Catching Up With The Odyssey

For some of you, it’s been a long time. Last time I posted anything we were on our way from Glacier National Park to Banff. Then I just lost it for writing. My damn back/hip/leg thing put a damper on everything. Lost my sense of humor for a while and if I can’t get that working, well, f it. My problem.

There are some new people on the address list. The addresses are always blind-cc. Brandon, Dr. Ford, Paul and Jackie, cousins who have not gotten one of these, and anyone who doesn’t want yet another email, please let me know if you’d rather not get these and I will remove you from the list. Hoping you’ll find some entertainment.

New format now. I’m not going to litter your in-box with 20 megs of pictures anymore. From now on, these emails are to let you know that a post has been added to

For the new people, we have been travelling the country in The Odyssey, our 42′ motorhome, since August 2014. These posts have evolved from a few emails to select groups, depending on the content, to postings on the website where I cleaned up some of them. The editorial staff here can be tough. The posts document our travels and sometimes contain tips for RVers, but mostly contain photos and “color” commentary of our journey.

So, it’s now April and we are on the move again on the Pacific Coast and I said f it to my f it. In the last few weeks I’ve created posts to fill in the missing months and get back to the present. They are all out there now.

The posts contain a bunch of photos and provide a lot of so-so commentary, which you may ignore and get a mulligan for disrespecting my attempt at entertainment because I was working on getting my ju-ju back. Maybe I was taking Rachel too seriously. Really, there aren’t many lunatic ravings so just enjoy the photos.

Anyway, here are the catch-up titles, in chronological order, of the continuation of the Odyssey’s trek over the last nine months now.
1. Odyssey Vacation Part 4 – July 2017
2. Odyssey Vacation Part 5 – Summer 2017
3. Southbound Odyssey – Uh-Oh! – October 2017
4. Gold Canyon, Superstition Stuff, the TSA, and OTB – November 2017

5. The Apache Trail – 11/14/17
6. Phoenix Christmas Lights – Dec 2017
7. Ramblin’ Roads RV Park -January 1, 2018
8. The Fountain of Youth RV Resort – 1/2-2/2/18
9. Salvation Mountain & East Jesus
10. The International Banana Museum
11. Desert Hot Springs – 2/2-3/5/18
12. San Diego – 3/5-3/22/18
13. The West Coast Adventure Begins – Lancaster, CA – 3/23-3/26/18
14. Rancho Oso RV Resort/Santa Barbara- 3/26-4/2/18
15. Morro Dunes RV Resort, 4/2-4/5/18
16. Yanks RV Resort, Greenfield, CA, 4/5-4/9/18
17. Santa Cruz Ranch & RV Resort, 4/9-4/13/18
18. Delta Shores Marina & RV Resort – 4/13-4/23/18

Just go to if you need something to read on the train, the toilet, or anyplace you have some time where you can’t come up with something better to do.

 Delta Shores Marina & RV Resort – 4/13-4/23/18

So, here we are. Up to date, now Sunday, 4/22. Eighteen posts going out today. Make it nineteen with the “Catching Up With The Odyssey” job.

This is a nice place to relax. Very green and quiet, when the lawnmower guy isn’t at it. We’re about 60 miles due east of San Francisco, 30 miles southwest of Sacremento, and, about 15 miles northwest of Stockton, like you know where Stockton is. We’re on, hmmm, I was going to say isthmus but it’s not a narrow strip of land like our old NY home, Bayville – hello Cindy, John, Jeanine, Jeff – rather, we’re on a peninsula surrounded by a levee holding back water much higher than we are.

You have to go out to the road to see the water:

The address for this park is actually in Isleton, CA. We drove into town for surprisingly good Chinese food. Town consists of one, run down looking block of boarded up shops, many with old time balconies, a few “Antique” shops, a bar labeling itself as also a Casino and Chinese restaurant, and Pineapple’s, the name of the Chinese place we ordered from. Andrea posted some pictures of town. The town’s history is very interesting. If interested, Google ‘Isleton, CA’, the Wikipedia link.

From inside the park, the southern view is some houses on stilts and another RV park, the one we’ll be staying in next month. But, the real picture is of all the geese. Well, look harder.

Yesterday was 4/20 and we originally had planned on driving all the way into Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to join in the day’s celebration on Hippie Hill, and we were prepared, but decided that the drive was too long and crowds would be too big. By the way, when we were setting up in our campsite, I met our next door neighbor – let’s just call him Dude, as in Big Lebowski Dude. We hit it off right away, him noticing my Pink Floyd t-shirt and saying the Roger Waters concert he saw last year was the best ever – Resist, right? He talks so fast I was able to get half his life story in a few minutes. I need to ask him if I can post anything about him and his sister. Very interesting people. We’ll see them again in 11 days when we come back to the RV park down the road.

In lieu of a smokey day on Hippie Hill, we went to another major event in the area, The Annual San Joaquin County Asparagus Festival. Uh-huh. We ate battered and deep fried asparagus and asparagus ice cream and then had had enough asparagus. Nice day to take a walk though:

Or, you could take a ride in a monster truck:

And that’s all for now. Completely up to date. We’re chilling here through tomorrow, then going west through San Francisco to an RV park on a cliff in Pacifica, overlooking the ocean. Can’t wait.

How do you like our bathroom windows? Andrea got into stained glass while we were in Arizona. She bought these pieces of film at Home Depot.

Santa Cruz Ranch & RV Resort, 4/9-4/13/18

The less said about this place the better.

I posted a review on They ask you to post the price you paid before you make your comments and since they won’t allow a zero entry, I put in $1. This is my post :

“Actually free, part of Thousand Trails, but still NOT worth the price. You got slides? Good luck. This park was built before slides and now they have marked out narrow sites with white lines that you are expected to stay between. The fire department requires some magic distance away from the 30 amp electric socket. After getting read the riot act, very nicely, I might add, when checking in, we still ended up in a fierce argument with her when she found we were too much over the line. After I threatened to check every RV in the park to make sure they were in the lines, she gave us a few inches of leeway. She has a truly lousy job. Thousand Trails should be ashamed of themselves. RV’s with slides should not be allowed and at 42′, our MH leaves our Jeep out in the road, but somehow that’s ok. You also park opposite your neighbor. Horrible setup. We test the water. Decent tap water (210ppm) and fairly soft. Thousand Trails is two for two with us so far – two losers. Don’t come here. Santa Cruz is nothing anyway. The boardwalk is seedy.”

The boardwalk area – think Coney Island you east-coasters – was so creepy we didn’t even park. Walgreen’s was our major attraction – lots of prescription refills. As usual, the pharmacist was unsure whether she could fill the Tramadol and I had to wait another day. By now, I know California law regarding prescription controlled substances better than most pharmacists – yes, you can transfer the scrip within the state an unlimited number of times. It can only be transferred from out of the state once. Original paper prescriptions for controlled substances must be written on a special California form. So, I get my original in Colorado, have it filled there at a Walgreen’s, then can refill it multiple times in CA. Now you know the law in CA.

Originally, we thought that we’d use Santa Cruz as the home base for exploring Monterey-Carmel-Big Sur, but, with that horrendous traffic experience still fresh in our minds, we opted instead to go to a state beach and nature preserve just north of Monterey.

We think this was a Northern Harrier.

And the centered dude, an Egret, was photo-bombed by the Great Blue Heron on the right.

Also on our radar for the area was Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Our neighbors, Wendy and Kent, at the god-forsaken RV park, highly recommended it.

This oddly shaped root system of a toppled giant made me think of clouds and how you can see faces and animals if you look long enough:

At first I came up with The Thinker, Fox Version. Then perhaps, a wolf chewing on the leg of a Scottish Terrier?

Good riddance to Santa Cruz. Inland, for a 10 day rest from touristing.

Yanks RV Resort, Greenfield, CA, 4/5-4/9/18

We wouldn’t have driven up Rt 1 in the RV even if the road was open all the way to Monterey. Too extreme for too long. Yanks RV Resort and its excellent reviews came upon our radar and, when I couldn’t get a reservation at a couple of county parks on the way north and was not going to pay stupid prices for an RV site near Monterey, I booked Yanks for a few days. The drive out of Santa Cruz, east through the mountains, rather sucked. Too much weaving back and forth, up and down. Once we got to the 101, it was relax mode:

Having decided on Yanks, we figured we’d drive to Monterey, at least one day, cruise down Rt 1 to Big Sir, and then chill a day. What we didn’t realize was the primary attraction near us, Pinnacles National Park. What? How is it I didn’t know anything about this place?

We looked it up and found some interest – one of the largest congregations of California Condors in the world (California Condors are only found in, you guessed it, California), and a do-able hike that included passing through a cave.

So, let’s go chronologically. We headed for the coast. Our route took us a half mile out of the way so we could drive by the greenhouse-growfield that we were alerted to by someone in the park. Oooh, That Smell! Who sang that?

We got past that skunkiness, which was heavenly – why don’t the stinky candle makers come up with the odor of, say, Acapulco Gold, Cannatonic, Bubba Kush, or Alaskan Thunder Fuck, and, hey, who makes up these names, and drove into the mountains to emerge in Carmel. Carmel, on the weekend, is a cluster fuck. The traffic is horrendous. So don’t go on weekends. Who would want to live here?

Getting past the traffic, we headed south on Rt 1 to Big Sur. We went about 20 miles or so. If we hadn’t driven an hour and a half, the long way, to get there, we would have gone much further. Pretty damn beautiful!

We came upon a few of people who looked like they were rehearsing for that asteroid movie that created killer waves:

Quite beautiful.

And we think we spotted a California Condor:

Though, it also could have been a common Turkey Vulture. We’re going with the Condor gliding majestically around the cliffs of Big Sur.

Next day we drove up the 101 a little bit to Pinnacles National Park. Reading more about the hike to the cave we took off, hoping my friggin leg would hold out. It was a 1.6 miles hike – very short compared to the ones we took pre-surgeries, and 7 miles now seems like the moon – with the first three-quarters a climb among the pinnacles.

Oh, it was drizzling at times.

And then the trail squeezed down into a small stream

that led into the cave:

When we got back to the RV, we read the brochure in more detail – cell phone flashlights are not sufficient and because of scrambling over wet rocks, should be stowed away in a safe place to prevent from breaking. Oh. We used cell phone flashlights.

As we approached the cave, we ran into a large family that had just come out of it. They looked quite disheveled and a bit like deer in headlights. We inquired about the cave, specifically, about my ability to get through it. The mom looked at my cane and said, “No, turn back.”

So we turned back.

Are you kidding me? Tell me I can’t do something? That’s all I needed to hear. Onward into the darkness. And it was pitch black through a lot of it. Using the camera without a flash was not going to work. With the flash, it looks pretty easy:

As we were told, it took about a half hour to go through. With our minimally effective flashlights, we sometimes thought we were in dead-ends, but with some climbing up wet rocks and crawling on hands and knees through one narrow passage, we finally saw the light.

It wasn’t exactly sunlight but we were out.

What a hidden gem. Best surprise of the trip so far.

Glad there were no escaped inmate surprises.

Clint, you can keep Carmel-By-The-Sea and your hoity-toity golf course at Pebble Beach. Onward to Monterey’s northern neighbor, Santa Cruz.