It was a beautiful sunny day for the drive up the Pacific highway. Brown pelicans, white pelicans, scoters, California gulls, godwits and cormorants greeted us. We stopped at a lighthouse and overheard a person saying he had just seen an elephant seal. We passed towns with pretty-colored homes, and ominous-looking sandy cliffs cordoned off at the bottom for fear of earth and rocks sliding onto the road. The car slalomed down exciting narrow mountain passes. It took longer than the two hours predicted because the heavy traffic slowed to 25 mph in some places.
Day 14, Jan 30, 2010: Pebble Beach to San Francisco
- We went straight to the Legion of Honor fine arts museum for lunch. In the entrance courtyard, ‘The Thinker’ by Rodin was alone until we disturbed him.
Then we looked at its medieval and baroque paintings and sculptures by masters such as Giotto, Giovanni, Titian, Tintoretto, El Greco, Cellini, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Eyck and Van Hals.
The building is a three-quarter-size replica of the Legion of Honor palace in Paris. We photographed the Golden Gate bridge in the distance.
- We drove along El Camino Del Mar Drive past bicyclists, beaches, sailboats and surfers to Fisherman’s Wharf. This area, ten times bigger than Ottawa’s Byward Market, has dozens of seafood restaurants, old ships, the Ripley’s ‘Believe It or Not’ museum, a wax museum and a submarine. You get a startling view of Alcatraz Island and can take a ferry over with a return ticket! A lot of sea lions used to loll around the Wharf but have moved a few blocks away.
- San Francisco is scenic; the row homes are colorful, tidy and beautiful and the street cars are quaint. Priuses have taken over this city – even the taxis.
- We followed Embarcadero Drive to the downtown area and found a room at the Galleria Park Hotel for the night. For dinner we walked over to an alleyway with six restaurants, each with a hostess luring us in. After walking down the line getting the menu spiels, we chose a salad topped with crispy chicken cooked with a brick on top of it at an Italian restaurant. We ate outside under the warmth of a suspended heater. It was hard for us to believe this was January.
We walked to Union Square and had a breakfast of panini with egg and tomato, superlative orange juice and coffee at the Emporio Rulli. Its doors opened onto a big art exhibition and beautifully blooming shrubs and trees. Macy’s, Saks and Neiman Marcus look onto the Square, as does the Westin St Francis Hotel (behind Marg in the picture).
- The morning after the devastating earthquake in 1906, the chef of the Hotel served breakfast outside in the Square to anybody who had survived. We looked at the hotel’s antique, non-ticking grandfather clock – apparently the famous saying, ‘Meet me at the St. Francis,’ was inspired by this icon.
- We looked at the little brick Frank Lloyd Wright building on Maiden Lane, which was a prototype for the Guggenheim in New York.
- We had coffee at Café de la Presse and went to City Lights Bookstore on the corner where beatniks and, most famously, poet Jack Kerouac hung out in the 60’s. It was the first all-paperback bookstore in the US.
- After arranging to leave copies of A Book of Kells at City Lights on consignment, I caught Tom craning his neck to see the top of the ‘pyramid’ skyscraper.
- We couldn’t leave San Francisco without Tom’s driving the Prius down Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. It was hair-raising.
- This is a great town with a great climate. The people unanimously all wear jeans everywhere. They are very nice but not too openly friendly, going about their business with big-city reserve (almost like us Canadians!)
- On our way back down hwy 1 we dropped in to say good bye to our wonderful hosts at Pebble Beach. This is how the entrance to the exclusive ‘movie star’ dream house, ‘Heaven Can Wait” looks from the outside. The ocean-cliff view is reserved for the insiders and their superbly pampered, very appreciative guests.
Happy Reading & Traveling from Cozy Book Basics and Bliss on Wheels!
We are octogenarian writers who like to travel by car and share our adventures. We hope you enjoyed our notes and pictures of this cross-continent road trip as much as we enjoyed it on wheels six years ago.