Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Folk Art Heaven

Quite a while ago, I read about the folk art sculptures of Patrick Amiot in nearby Sebastopal, CA. Finally - I am close enough to see them!

Although they are spread all over town, there are a lot on Florence Ave, where the artist lives. I'm pretty sure this is his house!

His theme is "From landfill to landmark."

It's amazing how he can use discarded items to create a work of art.

Here's one for us RVers.

This was my favorite one - Noah's Ark, which was in front of a church.

Love the detail on Noah!

And the animals.

Back at Patrick's gallery, there is the perfect "new" rig for the Good Luck Duck. Just needs a little work....

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Walking to San Francisco

From the Marin Headlands, you get a great view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

So we figured - Hey, why not walk across the bridge!

It's a little confusing getting to the right parking lot. We parked at a lot on the west side, then walked under the bridge to this lot, which you can only enter coming north off the bridge. This is the only side you can walk on.

We reached the first tower and stopped to rest and take pictures. Don't worry, I'm not off the edge of the bridge - there is a kind of balcony at each tower.

But if I had the urge to jump, there is help available.

This looks like an old lighthouse, but I really don't know what it is...

It's neat to see the cables that are part of the suspension bridge.

We got a great view of San Francisco. You can see why it is so hilly.

And a pretty good view of Alcatraz, once considered an unescapable prison.

We also saw a tugboat towing a ship into the harbor.

We got about three-quarters of the way to the second tower and decided to turn around. With the sun behind us, the photos are better from here on.

In the middle of the bridge, you get a close-up look at the main part of the suspension.

It's interesting to see the mechanics of the whole thing.

It was a great walk! They're thinking about charging people for walking across, so hurry on over if you want to do it for free!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Getting Close to San Francisco

Moving down the coast, we stayed next in Petaluma at the Elks Lodge. I'm spending more on parking on this trip than I ever have before, but I'm really enjoying it.

Our first adventure was to head out to Point Reyes National Seashore. It must have been milking time, because the cows were headed to the barn.

The highlight here is the lighthouse on the point. Welcome to the windiest place on the Pacific Coast. There is a short hike from the parking lot -

And then 300 steps down to the lighthouse. I hope there's an elevator to bring us back up...

The rocks were covered with what looked like lichen, but was actually a form of algae.

Getting closer!

Made it! The lighthouse was built in 1870 and operated until 1975 when the Coast Guard installed an automated light.

The lens in the lighthouse was made in France and is a "first order" lens, the largest size of Fresnel lens.

After running back up the steps, we went out to the elephant seal overlook nearby. Gee, I was hoping to get closer than this...

But fortunately my camera zooms well. The only seals around now are juveniles, and they don't have the elephant-like nose yet.

The next day we went to the Marin Headlands north of the Golden Gate bridge. This area is the site of many different gun batteries and forts, used for San Francisco harbor defense at various periods in history.

Most were built around 1905. This is Battery Wallace.

This barn was originally a balloon hanger and used in the US Army's brief experiment using tethered balloons as part of coastal defense in 1920.

Battery Mendell had 2 12-in cannons that could hit vessels 8 miles out to sea.

The guns would roll around and disappear after firing to conceal their presence.

The area was heavily used in World War II. And guess who was stationed here? My father, shown here in this very spot.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Moving Down to Redwood Valley

Next, the WINs moved down to Redwood Valley, CA, and stayed for free at the Coyote Valley Casino. In fact, it was better than free because they gave us some free play on their slot machines, and several of us did very well.

Our first stop was a Buddhist monastery, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, in Ukiah.

WINs posing in front of the Hall where the 10,000 Buddhas are.

Overseeing the door to the hall...

On the outside walls of the hall are 4 spectacular large paintings. But I know you're anxious to see the 10,000 Buddhas.

I didn't count them, but inside are many, many Buddha statues of all sizes, each in a separate compartment. Most are in the walls.

Back outside, we saw lots of friendly peacocks, then went to a delicious lunch at their vegetarian restaurant.

The street signs were pretty unique, and we didn't get lost.

The next day we went to tour the Real Goods Solar Living Center. Our tour guide, in the green shirt, was a young lassie from Scotland.

They build their own structures from natural materials, grow their own food, and use solar power for their energy. Young people from all over the world come to learn here.

But here's the best thing! They had several old rusty cars with trees growing up through them!

I thought I was in heaven! I took about a zillion pictures.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Cute Little Town of Ferndale

Phil and I met back up with the WINs in the cute little town of Ferndale, CA.

We all squeezed into a lot at the county fairgrounds.

The Victorian architecture in town is just amazing.

As is the old cemetery, built on a hillside in layers.

And speaking of cemeteries, there is a cow cemetery on the fairgrounds property.

But you had to be a real prize-winning cow to be buried here.

Our first activity was a tour of the Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka.

Owner Eric gave us a great tour. Blue Ox is a fully functioning Victorian job shop which produces custom millwork.

They are now in the process of building a copy of Abraham Lincoln's hearse. They use only very old equipment to do this.

And there is a real blue ox on the premises.

Along with lots of old and rusty stuff. Looks like this guy isn't going anywhere soon.

On another day, we took a very long drive along the coast, past Cape Mendocino. This looks like cow heaven to me.

From there, we went inland and drove the Avenue of the Giants, through all the gigantic redwood trees.

Karen wanted to drive through a tree, but when we found one, it was only big enough for the smallest cars, and no one with a kayak on top.