Point Reyes to Half Moon Bay
It felt good to be hooked up to power and water, hot showers and washers and dryers. After living off-grid in Baja these last eight years we had no dryers so it was a shock removing my now one size smaller cotton shirts from the dryer..oops…live and learn. I still feel like a country mouse visiting the city at times. We look for parks now where there is no highway noise, jets taking off and away from any Fire Stations to protect our sanity;) Olema was lovely but we ended up with a chain smoking Tennessee hillbilly, yup, even more than us;) neighbor that spent his mornings sitting on the back picnic bench 12 feet away from our window coughing up a lung as he continued to puff away and a newborn infant on the other side with equally large lungs 0_0..(it sounded that way..), a small screaming 4 year old hitting everything in sight with a large stick and a pair of parents yelling at him..now I know where those infant lungs came from. We made a point of trying to get out earlier each day to explore..the joys of living close to your fellow human, just barely, beings. We forget somethings after being so secluded for so long, and there are days I’d give my right arm to be that secluded again, but you try to not let it get to you and move on. At least we are mobile and not permanently placed between these last two neighbors. Welcome to the Trailer Park Blues;)
On a better note, what an amazing area, right on the San Andreas Fault and Tomales Bay..home to delicious oysters at The Marshall Store. What a treat to get such fresh shellfish, I nearly didn’t get the picture they were being devoured so quickly! This is cattle country as well, dairy and meat. The dry Fall hillsides are sprinkled with old farms and barns than blend into the landscape. Like many farming areas the ranches on Point Reyes look like they have seen better days. It’s a tough life dairy farming. The east side of Point Reyes is heavily wooded but as you cross over, on incredibly bad roads (no tax base here(?).. and we thought Baja roads were bad at times!) to the West side the trees dissappear and large rolling fenced in fields extend in all directions. Our first day took us North along the Pierce Point Road to McClures Beach and the Historic Pierce Point Ranch. This is raptor country.
Everywhere you looked something was flying or hunting. Redtails, Coopers, Ravens. The road to Point Pierce was pavement that felt like washboard, didn’t know that was possible, the locals must not have any fillings left in place but the drive was worth it. McClures beach is a short walk from where you park down to the ocean through coastal brush and scrub. Quails scurried out of the way and even a beautiful garter snake. A very small stream trickled down the canyon as well. There are Elk herds up here, now I know where they drink. When you look around you don’t think water after the view of these parched hills.
The beach was beautiful. We walked South for quite a ways to rocky outcropping, admiring the bright green anemones on the rocks and watching the fog starting to roll in. It had a mysterious air to it and the temperatures started to drop. Such a changing landscape. We’d stopped in at the Bear Valley Visitor Center and one ranger said the Elk might be rutting so we hiked up from the beach and drove up to the Old Pierce Point Ranch.
Pierce point is an intact ghost ranch, I guess that is how I would describe it. The buildings are there, but there is no sign of life. You can wander through the old dairy barn and peer into other buildings but it has such an empty feel to it. With the fog rolling in and out it had a eerie feel to it..cloud spirits..I think I could have lived here..remote enough for me:)
Beyond the ranch we hiked North but the wind was whipping up and cold settling in, inland had been in the 80’s here it was high 50’s…jacket weather. We spied a few female elk grazing along the hills and watched the fog moving around the old Monterrey Cypress trees. Getting chilled we headed home for the day. A coyote was hunting bedside the road, paying us no mind. I really loved this spot and the feel of the fog. Everything was growing though, if it wasn’t painted, and even if it was, mother nature had spread her hand full of moss and lichen on everything. During rainless summers, fog can account for 1/3 of the ecosystem’s water input..incredible.
Located on the Southern and Western most tip of the Point is the lighthouse. The next day we gathered our strength to tackle the 330 plus steps down and an agonizing 330 plus steps back up;) Ha! It was the trip back up that took some time.
We had also encountered a rare sunny day the ranger had said and Humpback whales could be seen to the south blowing clouds into the air. There were some hefty drop offs and beautiful views. Redtail hawks and ravens were riding the updrafts near the cliffs as deer and their fawns grazed precariously close to the edge.
You could spend several weeks exploring this Point and still not see it all. It is sad there is no campground out at the Point other than walk in tent sites. I was very excited about doing a 4 hour hike into see one of the few waterfalls that fall into the Pacific Ocean, Alamere Falls,but the ranger said with the drought it was nothing more than a wet rock face..:( We’ll be back here I’m sure..have to see that waterfall one day!
The campground was close to Point Reyes Station, a small quirky part tourist part local town. We stopped in Saturday morning for the farmers market before we left to head South. Wonderful fresh apples:) I’ve seen them growing on trees and resisted the urge to pluck a few here and there;) and parking spots that you obviously couldn’t leave your dog at;)
The bridge..I was getting very excited..Golden Gate. We went online and purchased the toll for the truck and trailer, all three axles of us. It has been several decades since I was last across this bridge. Once with my brother visiting Canada and the last time on our trip North and West to Ontario..it didn’t disappoint. Fog was swirling about as we made our way up and over, it just went so quickly! Even the cats were staring out the front window at it. The rest went quickly as well, tunnels and roads, traffic and people, so much traffic! Familiar names of unfamiliar places, Sausalito, Mill Valley (Now who in M*A*S*H is from Mill Valley..trivia question folks!) Oakland, Berkeley..and those bridges…and Alcatraz! Exhausting…hahahaha…for the country mouse. We headed further South as there are really no RV Parks in San Francisco.There was a Park in Pacifica, they were full so we headed to Half Moon Bay to park our rears for a few days in the only spot we could find. Turned out to be just fine..pricey as per the usual California standards. Took the inland route by mistake, the 35 to the 92, not realizing the only road into Half Moon Bay on a Saturday morning was being used by everyone else in the Bay area going to a beach it seemed..we crawled for over an hour to go what seemed were a few miles..a taste of the city and it’s surroundings on the weekends…yikes! But hey, we got a view of the Pumpkin Capitol of the world..it proclaimed that anyway, and yes there were pumpkins everywhere for the upcoming Pumpkin Festival..what else!
We were happy to arrive and stop moving once again. Mike did a fine job squeezing into a narrow spot and leaving the faucet intact on the ground..the Camp folks were there to make sure we didn’t run anything over, seems they have to park some of these big rigs for the owners who are not capable of doing it themselves! Scary..but I’ve heard worse stories from Camp owners needing to vent, once you’ve worked retail you know how to lend an ear;) and we’ll leave it at that for today.
Lot’s of catching up but fun doing it..hope you are enjoying the ride:) Any comments or questions are welcome! Stay tuned for the upcoming..Streets of San Francisco…:)
Saludos amigos I leave you with the Sunset from Half Moon Bay, Pelican Point RV Park, well kind of..their website shows an A Class on the bluff or beach but in reality the Ritz Carlton would be really upset if you drove your rig out there onto their golf course..in reality if you stand on a picnic table at the end space in the RV Park you might glimpse the sunset, easier to take a short walk down the coast access and view it from there;)