Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grandfather Tree Stop

Continuing on our Northern California drive, we suddenly came across this interesting novelty shop right off the highway.

Big signs and colorful characters in the front grab passers-by like me.

Some mornings I feel like the bear on the right needing coffee.

More painted wood carvings are situated in the garden and you can see the store nestled all the way in the background.

But, the main attraction on this stop is the Grandfather Tree.
Can you believe this tree is 1,800 years old?
It was just a seedling in the year 200 A.D.?!

This is the full height of the Grandfather Tree, but it's more like a Great-Great-Great-Great-Great,...Grandfather Tree.

Here is a bear that works for a living.

Seating for the whole family.

The novelty shop sells various touristy items, wood carvings, plants, ...etc.
It was worth a stop if you happen to drive through the Redwood Highway.

- Karen

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Drive-Thru Tree Park

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- Karen

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour Flyover

Last Friday, September 21st, California got its first and last glimpse of a space shuttle pass over its skies. Space Shuttle Endeavour was being flown over various sites in California before its final resting place at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

The space shuttle was scheduled to make a low-level flyover of Moffett Field nearby to where I live. I got up before the break of dawn along with thousands of other viewers to make it onto the former naval base.
Everyone who visits here is always awestruck by the historical Hangar One.
Built in 1931, it is one of the world's largest freestanding structures covering 8 acres (3.2 hectares). In 2003, they discovered lead and other toxic chemicals were leaking from the paint of its outer covering. It was de-skinned completely recently and unfortunately, they ran out of funding to put on a new covering at this time.
With the two people standing by the hangar, you can appreciate how large this structure really is.

The eager crowd gathered at the runway gate entrance hoping to get in early to stake out a good vantage point.

Once we found a spot we liked beyond the gates, we could see the sun just coming up behind the buildings.

The local media was everywhere as this was a once-in-lifetime sighting for many.

Many local food trucks were invited to the base to feed hungry spectators.

At 7:30 a.m., I was wondering where was everyone.

At 9 a.m., another 90 minutes before the space shuttle's appearance, the field was packed.

At almost 11 a.m., we finally spotted the historic flight over our heads. A 4+ hour wait for a 5 second show was worth it.

- Karen

Friday, September 21, 2012

Along the Mendocino Coast

This was my first time driving northward from the San Francisco area towards Oregon. We typically saw coastlines like this.

Every so often, there are beaches you can stop off and enjoy the views or go kayaking.

At the more popular beaches, you can find mobile businesses such as this one where tourists can rent wetsuits and kayaks to join a sea cave tour.

In the town of Mendocino, California about 160 miles north of San Francisco is the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. It became operational in 1909. The lens was originally powered by a kerosene oil lamp! Initially, the lens rotated by means of a clockworks mechanism and the light keeper would crank up the chain onto a drum every 2 hours. The clockworks were replaced with an electric motor and the oil lamp with a light bulb when electricity was introduced at the Station in 1935.

In the foreground, you see pictures of the Head Lightkeeper, First and Second Assistant Lightkeeper's residences. On a cold and rainy night, it is a long walk to the lighthouse way in the distance.

If you are interested in seeing some old Point Cabrillo Lighthouse photographs, go to this link.

- Karen

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Reno Balloon Race

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- Karen

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Skunk Train Depot

Aside from being a popular coastal town for tourists, Fort Bragg is also famous for its Skunk Train. With a large amount of trees in the area, the railroad was built for the logging industry in the 1880's.
Passenger service started in 1904 with steam engines until 1925 when diesel engines took over. Originally named the California Western Railroad, it was eventually renamed to the "Skunk Train" when people said "you can smell 'em before you can see 'em."
You can see an old 1965 video about the history of Fort Bragg and the Skunk Train.

We arrived into town as the sun was setting and no train service was in operations for the rest of the day.
Typically, the train leaves from Fort Bragg once or twice a day and returns back in the afternoon.
Many people make it a day outing for a ride through the the redwood forest, over bridges, through tunnels, and pass-through open meadows.

The empty train platform in the early evening.

I spotted a few old trains in the railroad yard.
They seemed to be out of commission or waiting to be restored.

Not far away is a mural depicting the days of the California Western Railroad painted by Prete Giacinto in 1993.

- Karen

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Downtown Fort Bragg

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- Karen

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Bigfoot Lives?

I have been on road trip vacation for the last week so I apologize I have not been able to update my blog or visit yours.
During our drive northbound on Highway 101 from the San Francisco Bay Area towards Oregon, we encountered this catchy named store in Garberville, California. Of course, we had to stop to take a look.

The legend of the ape-like creature Bigfoot or Sasquatch is believed to live in the foresty area of the Pacific Northwest. This gift/plant store is appropriately located on a lonely and wooded narrow two-lane highway.

The interesting wood carvings along the roadside made it a worthwhile stop whether or not you believe in the legend.

- Karen

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Monster Fly

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