Woof Trekking Dispatch #6: Goodbye San Fran, Hello Sunflower Fields and Dozing Dogs (July 2012)

Woof Trekking Dispatch #6: Goodbye San Fran, Hello Sunflower Fields and Dozing Dogs (July 2012)

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Last week, we showcased our time at Fisherman’s Wharf. Today, we will travel further north all the way up to Oregon!

Northern Cali featured

After the Wharf, we drove over to Chinatown for dinner. We ended up at R&G Lounge and were led downstairs to a table near a fish tank. It seemed very authentic when compared with our 2008 trip to China. However, when I just checked out their Yelp page, there was a warning that during a recent health inspection, the restaurant did not exactly pass with flying colors. So that’s something to bear in mind…
San Francisco to Grants Pass - 1

The next day, it was time to say goodbye to San Francisco and we did so in grand fashion, by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. While it would have been nice to see the bridge without fog, it was still beautiful! Apparently, it is only clear of fog 30% of the year, as I discovered when writing our post, Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

Version 2

We drove through Napa and then came upon a long stretch of interstate surrounded by farm land on our way to Redding, CA where our next La Quinta was located. One of the most exciting sights was this sunflower field.

San Francisco to Grants Pass - 4


Days filled largely with driving are a good time for some catch up on beauty sleep. Adventures can really take a lot out of a dog.

San Francisco to Grants Pass - 3

After a good night’s rest, we pressed onward toward Oregon. On the way, we stopped in Weed under the shadow of the awe-inspiring Mount Shasta for some lunch.

We were all excited to get out of the car after a day and a half of driving, so we stopped at Subway and brought our sandwiches to nearby Bel Air Park. That’s where we snapped this scenic photo of Mount Shasta, which happens to be a “potentially active volcano.” Here is the Google Maps Street View position from which we took the photo.

IMG_0544 - Version 2

After eating at a picnic table and a brief walk/run around Bel Air Park, we hopped back into the car and drove around College of the Siskiyous, which was located right next door. Dad loves to drive around a college campus, as you will see again in our next Woof Trekking Dispatch. Everyone caught a bit more shuteye as we crossed into Oregon.

San Francisco to Grants Pass - 5

Finally, we arrived in Grants Pass and checked into our La Quinta. Billy made full use of the window ledge, inspecting the exterior of the hotel for anything that moves. The hotel key had a coupon for a local pizza and beer place called Wild River Brewing and Pizza Co. so we headed over. Dad treated himself to a beer sampler after two full days of driving and we all enjoyed some fresh baked pizza!

San Francisco to Grants Pass - 7

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #5: Blue Mermaid, Rainbow Sequin Man, and Ghirardelli Square, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #5: Blue Mermaid, Rainbow Sequin Man, and Ghirardelli Square, July 2012

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The next stop on our very first Woof Trek was Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. This was another fun stop after our previous adventures at Angel’s Flight, the Pacific Coast Highway, Silicon Valley, and Japantown.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 1

 
The weather in San Francisco can be quite cool and wet, even in summer. Weather.com states that September is actually the warmest month. The day we visited Fisherman’s Wharf, the temperatures hovered around 60 degrees. It was a bit chilly for us desert dwellers.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 2

We had lunch at Blue Mermaid Restaurant, located in conjunction with the Argonaut Hotel. Yelp reviewers rank this seafood spot at 3 1/2 stars. We would tend to agree with this due to some fancy prices and fairly slow service. That being said, the food was delicious.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 3

Pictured above is the New England Clam Chowder. Pictured below is the Manhattan Clam Chowder. Both excellent choices if you decide to go.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 4

One of the most exciting things about this stop was the restroom. With a short jaunt into the Argonaut Hotel, you are in a natty and nautical Blue Mermaid-themed wonderland.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 5

A close-up of the wallpaper brings to mind the intro to a James Bond movie.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 6

After our delicious meal, we headed out to hang out with the doggies. Next, we ducked into Boudin Bakery’s flagship location at the Wharf for a little sourdough treat and some cans of Clam Chowder for home.


We didn’t get a chance to take a self-guided Bakery Museum Tour, but next time we will. It’s only $3. Boudin has locations all across California, so we’ll definitely have to stop there next time we are in LA.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 7

We returned to the Wharf and decided to stretch our legs. Not long into our walk we encountered this colorful character. Oh yeah.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 8

We tore our eyes away from Sequin Man and headed toward Ghirardelli Square. Ghi-rar-delli- that is a hard word to spell. It’s got two r’s, kind of like February, but we digress.

We arrived at the shopping center and popped into a little pet boutique, YAP, that featured clothes mostly for smaller dogs. A very cute store! Then we headed over to the main event: the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop and Café!

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 9

Izzy, happy to hang out in Ghirardelli Square!

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 10

When we visited in 2012, the café was quite cramped. Thanks to Google Maps, we now know that the Shop and Cafe has relocated next door and has expanded a lot! The previous spot is now occupied by Jackson and Polk, a lifestyle boutique, and Vom Fass, offering oils, vinegars and liquors. What a difference 4 years makes.

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Woof Trekking at Fisherman's Wharf

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #4: Japantown and Lombard Street, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #4: Japantown and Lombard Street, July 2012

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Our fourth dispatch from our very first Woof Trek is from San Francisco. You can check out our previous entries in this series here. You can check out our new book, Woof Trekking, on Amazon and Kobo.

We started off the day by going to Japantown, located in the Western Addition district of San Francisco. Prior to 1906, there were actually two Japantowns since San Francisco was the main port of entry of Japanese immigrants, but after the 1906 earthquake only one survived. According to Wikipedia, Japantown in San Francisco is the oldest enclave of Japanese residents in the United States.

The earthquake of 1906 is an important time in our own family history because both of our maternal great-grandfathers witnessed the destruction caused by the earthquake as they were arriving by boat from Japan (our grandma’s father) and from Hawaii (our grandpa’s father).
san francisco, japantown peace plaza, peace pagoda
We found a nice parking spot at the corner of Sutter Street and Buchanan Street and walked across Sutter to wander around.
san francisco, traffic light, street sign
Our first stop was the Japantown Peace Plaza. This Plaza holds several events throughout the year marking Japanese holidays. At the heart of this Plaza is the Peace Pagoda. The Pagoda was built in 1968, designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi and was a gift from the people of Osaka, San Francisco’s sister city in Japan.
san francisco, peace pagoda, japantown peace plaza
After walking around the Peace Plaza we ventured into the Japan Center East Mall. We went into a couple of shops, but our favorite was Daiso Japan. They had all sorts of household items but the most impressive section was these colorful containers, arranged in perfect order. It was quite the sight to see.
daiso japan, store, japanese, store, Japan Center East Mall
While walking around the mall, we stumbled across this fabulous mural of Japanese umbrellas.
Japan Center East Mall, mural


After doing some shopping, we hopped back into the car and set off to see Lombard Street.
san francisco, cars, road, hill,
This street is dubbed, “The most crooked street in the world.” It is located in the Russian Hill neighborhood. We took the slow, winding route down the hill. You can’t go too fast with all the switchbacks in the street. In the distance, you can see stately Coit Tower. You can also see Yerba Buena and Treasure Island further out into the bay, accessible via the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
san francisco, cars, road, hill,
The homes lining along this street seemed quaint. This the biggest and probably the oldest bougainvillea we have ever seen! Very beautiful in full bloom.
bougainvillea
san francisco, cars, road, hill,

Another shot, a few turns down the street.

san francisco, cars, road, hill,

You can take a virtual tour of Lombard Street on Google Maps.

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Woof Trekking Japantown and Lombard Street

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #3: Apple, Duke of Edinburgh, and Oyster Point, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #3: Apple, Duke of Edinburgh, and Oyster Point, July 2012

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It’s #TravelThursday! Today we present Woof Trekking Dispatch #3! In our last dispatch, we travelled on the PCH and through Carmel-by-the-Sea.

We left our hotel in San Jose and started the leisurely journey toward San Francisco. Our first stop was the Apple Campus in Cupertino. We were pretty excited, since we are Apple fans, but to be honest, there wasn’t much to see. The store on site (The Company Store), looked just like the one in our local mall so we didn’t spend much time there. Maybe when they open their new Campus 2, there will be something more exciting to see.

computers, silicon valley, cupertino


We stopped to grab lunch at the Duke of Edinburgh Pub and Restaurant. We got our order of Shepherd’s Pie to go and went on a hunt for a park to enjoy our meal with Izzy and Nana.

restaurant, pub

restaurant, pub

We ended up finding a park nearby called Ortega Park. There was a shady picnic table and then took a lovely stroll with the pups.
silicon valley, cupertino

After lunch we drove around the Stanford campus and spotted the famous Hoover Tower. It is named after Herbert Hoover, our 31st President, prior to him becoming president. It contains materials relating to 20th century history that Hoover had collected and then donated to the university to found a “library of war, revolution and peace.”

stanford, university

Our final stop of the day was Oyster Point, a local marina. By this time of day, the wind had picked up and the temperature had dropped. We were freezing and Izzy looked hilarious with her fur plastered to her face.

boats, bay area, south san francisco,

Here is a map of all the locations featured in this dispatch.

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #2: Pacific Coast Highway and Carmel-by-the-Sea, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #2: Pacific Coast Highway and Carmel-by-the-Sea, July 2012

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After we departed Los Angeles, we decided to jump on the famous Pacific Coast Highway (aka PCH) to head north up the coast. This stretch of highway is 147 miles long and runs right next to the ocean, providing some extremely scenic views.

TWITTER PCH WOOF TREKKING

Our first look at the PCH started in Santa Monica, pictured below.

pacific coast highway 1

As we drove along, we watched waves crashing and people frolicking on the beach. We drove as far north San Luis Obispo before we had to drive inland to our hotel in Paso Robles. (La Quinta Inn and Suites Paso Robles – it is one of the nicest La Quintas we have visited in the country! Very spacious rooms and artisanal lotions/soaps in the bathroom!)

First thing the next day, we stopped by Hearst Castle, but there was no way we could go since we had the dogs with us. (The only animals allowed on tours are service animals.) That being said we did stop by, get some brochures and used the facilities in alternating shifts. After that, we stopped by Elephant Seal Vista Point about 5 miles down the road.

pacific coast highway, california
The seals blend right in with their surroundings.
pacific coast highway, california
Do you spy the seals?


One thing to know about traveling along the PCH is that in some of the more rural areas, gas stations are few and far between. So if you plan to take a road trip along this scenic highway, be sure to get gas when it is available. We nearly ran out of gas, mostly because we were kind of balking at the price. California has some of the most expensive gas in the country.

pacific coast highway, california

It’s better to buy expensive gas than run out of gas, pull off the highway and have to call for emergency roadside assistance. You can use GasBuddy or Trucker Path, an app we mentioned in Tuesday’s post, to find gas near you (including the price).

pacific coast highway 6

Billy was not a fan of some of the more curvy sections of the PCH. So if your pet is inclined to motion sickness, you may want to skip the Pacific Coast Highway or other winding roads whenever possible. See our post Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness for more.

pacific coast highway, california
The Bixby Creek Bridge, an extremely photogenic bridge along the PCH.

 

After driving for a couple of hours, we came to the artist enclave of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This quaint little town is about 330 miles north of Los Angeles and 120 miles south of San Francisco. Following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, a group of artists left the destroyed city and migrated to Carmel-by-the-Sea, thus establishing the small sea-side town as a now well-known hub for art and culture.

This was the perfect stop for us to hop out and stretch our legs. It was the first trip to the ocean for both Nana and Izzy.

Version 2

Nana thought it was just ok. ?

pacific coast highway 8

Contrastingly, Izzy thought it was SUPER FUN!!! ?  She loved romping around in the surf.

pacific coast highway 9

We already cover our car seats with towels (so it’s easy to clean up unexpected messes), but we also had the foresight to bring a couple extra towels, so we could wipe off Izzy’s sticky paws.

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Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

posted in: Entertainment, Photography, Travel | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

 

golden gate bridge, san francisco, travel, bridge, tourism

Today is the 78th birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Construction began in 1933 and was finished by 1937. Here are six more facts about the bridge, courtesy of the History Channel.

golden gate bridge, san francisco, travel, bridge, tourism

I visited the bridge in 2012 on a West Coast road trip. We stayed a couple days, but never had the pleasure of seeing the bridge fog-free. Darn it! Why is it so foggy in San Francisco? Here’s the answer. Apparently, the bridge is shrouded by fog about 70% of the year.

I was surprised to read in HGTV magazine last month that the bridge is painted “Golden Gate Bridge International Orange.” It is a special blend created by Sherwin Williams, used only on the bridge.

Orange? I always thought the bridge was red. Some call it “burnt sienna” or “vermillion,” as in this NPR story.

paint, sherwin williams, golden gate bridge, red, vermillion

Sherwin Williams produces a similar paint for us regular folks, called Fireweed (SW 6328, pictured above as downloaded from their website). The Golden Gate Bridge website also provides the CYMK and Pantone color formulas (Pantone 180, which is a darker version of Pantone’s Color of the Year, Marsala).

No matter what the color is called, it is iconic. It is cool to think you can have a little piece of the bridge at home, no matter where in the world you live. Now where shall I paint that Fireweed?

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