Sunday, 3 August 2014

San Francisco and the Redwoods.

I think I am pretty much over the jet-lag by now and am starting to wake up a a semi-reasonable time, if 0500 can be considered reasonable, but it matches my sleep patterns at home.



Today was our last day at Hotel Boheme and we were leaving S.F. We breakfasted at Cafe Puccini which is on Columbus directly opposite Hotel Boheme. Victoria having eggs over hard while I had a mushroom and Swiss cheese omelette, both served with fried potatoes and French bread.



We checked out of the Hotel Boheme and hailed a cab for the Hertz pickup on Beech Street where we rented our Ford Focus (bargain at £150 for 6 days). I'm not keen on automatic cars but have so far only brak-celerated the once.

From here we drove out to Fort Point, an American Civil War era battery built to protect Golden Gate Bay with excellent views of the Golden Gate Bridge. I'll blog more about that on Scrivsland.




From Fort Point we picked up Highway 101 and were on the way to our next destination. After stopping for fuel at Palo Alto and some pretty bad traffic on Highway 17 we eventually reached the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad just outside Felton.

We had originally planned to take the 14:00 Bear Mountain service but had missed that so instead purchased tiuckets for the 15:30. The place was rammed with parents and young children as they were having a 'Meet Thomas the Tank Engine' day, I iud not realise that Thomas was so big in the U.S.A.




Waiting for the train Victoria and I shared a veggie burger and fries and also had our first Root Beer of the trip. It was really hot again, the car was reading 34C so we also picked up a couple of bottles of water to take with us on the train.

We also got to try an "It's It" Icecream, inagine a giant Tunnocks Teacake with the marshmallow replaced by icecream. Very tasty, but like most American 'snack' food, I could not manage a whole one.





We soon had boardered the train and after raising steam were off. The journey only covers about eight miles but is a fantastic experience as the 100 year old wood burning steam train with the strange bevel geared drive arrangement of a Shay locomotive (I has to Wiki that) climbs up Bear Mountain through sone fantastic scenery in the Redwood Forests. The journey passes over a wooden trestle bridge and negotiates a pair of switchbacks before reaching the summit and you are allowed out to stretch your legs. At the top the track loops and then you are heading back down the way you came one again enjoying the fantastic Redwood forest. On the way down you are on the other side of the track so get the opportunity to catch anything you may have missed on the way up.




This is a great experience that I would highly recommend if you are near the area. On the walk back to the car we had another first while we shared a 'snow cone'. Imagine a 'jubblie' being made in front of you with the same 'no flavour after a few sucks icy-ness'.



We then completed our journey at the Fairview Manor Guest House in Ben Lomond, a wonderful place with a really friendly and helpful owners.

Thay evening we set out on our final adventure of the day and fulfilled one of Victorias ambitions of vsisting the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz, scene of the Lost Boys.




Taking Gail, the landladies advice we palked up on West Cliff and walked past the wharf and down onto the Boardwalk. We took in the sights,sounds and smells as we meandered among the stalls and hoardes of people there on a Saturday evening. We had hoped to ride the Giant Dipper but the queue was horrendous so we instead fulfilled another one of Victorias dreams and queued fifteen minutes for a Funnel Cake. Imagine a cake batter deep frieed like a doughnut about 7' in diameter, very tasty, but you could not manage a whole one.



We managed to avoid any Vampire encounters although one young girl did tell her parents "they are here"



I think my diet today has been sadly lacking in nutrients.

Walking back up the West Cliff we picked up the car and after a slight diversion onto Highway 17 - whoops - we were back at Ben Lomond and crashed out after another day of adventures.