Bays to Beaches Part 2.
In my last post, I left off while on the boat tour of San Francisco. The city is on a peninsula with the San Francisco Bay on one side and the Gulf of Farallones on the other side. A water tour is a great way to see city by boat and the endless blue skies and bay.
My last image in the part 1 post was of Alcatraz Island and the infamous Alcatraz Prison home to Al Capone and Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. The island, a part of Golden Gate National Recreational Area, is a popular tour destination. I wondered why people would go there, since there were so many people i.e. prisoners who tried so desperately to escape.
My boat tour of the bay took us past tall ships in the harbor with their masts silhouetted against the sky. The tall ships, the popular maritime sailing vessels of their day, contrasted with modern shipping vessels and trawlers in bay.
I saw the red spanning structure of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a suspension bridge 4,200 feet long that was completed in 1937. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
As boat motored back to Fisherman’s Wharf, I watched the sun setting on the San Francisco skyline.
A friend and I had arranged to leave the city and take a road trip down to coastal bays and beaches.
The next day I woke up early, checking out of my hotel, and met up with my friend for breakfast at a coffeehouse. Then we went to a Caltrain stop to ride public transportation to the Burlingame station. I stayed in Burlingame on a prior visit to the area. It’s a pretty town located near the airport and the San Francisco Fish and Game Refuge. The hotel in Burlingame was less expensive than one in the city. I used Caltrain service to go back and forth between the two towns. I found it to be clean, convenient and cheap.
My friend and I picked up our rental car in Burlingame packing it with supplies we would need for our trip down the coast–sandals, sun lotion, swimsuits, hats, towels, bottled water, map and music for the road. We rode on this trip, but there are bike trails in the area. Once we were packed and ready to roll we drove south on Bayshore Freeway 101. We found our connection west to link up with the Pacific Coast Highway 1. It is an excellent highway to ride for a road trip along the California coast. We headed north to the first town, Half Moon Bay.
Half Moon Bay
Although the town is less than 40 miles away from San Francisco, it felt like a world away from the frenetic pace of the city. I’d always wanted to visit Half Moon Bay with the crescent-shaped bay and perfect climate. The historic downtown, founded in 1874, still has whitewashed buildings from the early 1900s.
Half Moon Bay is a casual combination of beach town with horseback riding and surfing popular local sports. The beach is composed of four beaches (Dunes, Francis, Roosevelt and Venice) extending for more than 4 miles. We ate lunch in town before spending the day exploring the park and staking a place on the sandy beach. I didn’t know that the beach was part of 181 acres of state park providing camping and RV sites with hookups. I want to go back and camp out on Francis Beach.
Moss Beach is one of the foggiest cities I’ve ever been in. The fog rolls in off the ocean and covers the hillside like an icy, white blanket. It was so thick that everything around us disappeared.
So we stopped at the Moss Beach Distillery for a beverage and soaked up some history. The Distillery used to be a popular placed during the Golden Days of Hollywood. The place has a resident ghost to go with the Hollywood history. Her name is the Blue Lady. I felt a damp chill come over me as we sat on the back patio, but I think it was the fog that enveloped us.
Pacifica is what I imagined a coastal California town would look like with its beach and rocky Sweeney Ridge and Montara Mountain. It has a temperate climate and abundant natural beauty. It was where we ended the day on the beach with beverages watching the sunset.