Part 13: Bend, OR to San Diego, CA


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The Trip

We traveled south and west from Bend to Grants Pass, OR to see our buddy Mark.  Mark has a great place on the banks of the Rogue River, but it was very hot.  Summer was had finally come to the Pacific Coast.  We stayed several days and then motored south to Petuluma, CA.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The journey from Grant's Pass, OR to Petaluma, CA took several days at "Thor speed", but we did meet our objective in time to meet with our friends Kevin and Kirsten.  Kevin had never been to the Point Reyes lookout, so we loaded up in his diesel Expediton SUV and headed west.  We arrived in the middle of the day and the weather was as nice as could be expected from this location: mostly clear, but high, cold winds.  From the point, we got a clear view of the wind-swept beaches to the north.  The beach area was within the National Preserve, so there were no beach-goers nor any homes.

Approaching the actual point, the wind was so strong that it made walking difficult.  The shelter was right next to the high point on the cliff.

This area is remote, but back in the day it was really remote.  A cistern collection mechanism for rainwater had been constructed to provide water for the lookouts and lighthouse crew.

Access to the Pt. Reyes lighthouse was via a set of steep stairs built into the cliff.  The stairs were about 350 steps, but the entire area was closed due to the high winds.  To the best of my knowledge, Pt. Reyes lighthouse is still active.

In front of the shelter area was a nice map of the area.  Pt. Reyes is on the Pacific Plate and the San Andreas fault runs right through the center of Tomales Bay (the narrow channel running from upper left to lower right).

Strong westerly winds are a noted feature of this area.  Trees have been bent in response to the constant prevailing winds.

As we were leaving Kevin and Kirsten's ranch we passed a gaggle of wild turkeys in a driveway near US-101.

The weather was actually quite nice the morning we departed.  We got a nice view of the Richmond Bridge that crosses part of San Francisco Bay from San Quentin to Richmond.  Our travel path took us through the belly of Oakland and finally spit us out at the south end of the bay on US-101.  We would travel US-101 for the next several days to reach San Diego.

Kathleen spotted this "bird island" near Pismo Beach.  Our destination for the night was Atascadero in the central coastal region of California.

In Atascadero, we stayed with our friends John and Judy at their beautiful ranchette.  The morning of our departure we were having coffee outside on the patio and I spotted  some bees working the poppies.  Above, an industrious bee  does a face-plant into the guts of the bloom.

There were a number of poppies in bloom and many bees were working the blooms.  Note that there is hardly any pollen on the bee's rear legs, the usual collection and transport mechanism.

By the time that we reached the northern reaches of the L.A. basin it was late afternoon.  We decided that we were close enough that we could make it home that night so we steeled ourselves for a transit of the L.A. basin in heavy traffic and proceeded ahead.  We were pleasantly surprised that the traffic was much less onerous than expected and "only" took several hours cross.  Above, Kathleen grabbed a shot of the sun setting over Cardiff, CA just north of our home.  A fitting "welcome home" for the end of a long trip.

This was a long trip, even by our standards.  While we did not get a chance to see much new territory, it was wonderful to connect with our friends.  We made a change at the last second and decided to make a speed-run across the L.A. basin in the late afternoon rather than adding another day and traversing during the day.  We were lucky that the traffic was accommodating as there were only a few slow sections in the usual places.  It is great to be back home, but we arrived to weeds 5 feet tall in my backyard.  Rains during our absence did its job, growing a bumper crop of unwanted vegetation.

Thor performed well but we did uncover a design deficiency with the Lance slideout mechanism.  I will cover this issue and the mitigation in a separate web page.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2023, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.