Moments, in words and photos, of our ~7000 mile, 11 day trip across the USA and back in a 1965 MGB roadster.
The series begins here posted originally 8/6/13
Short on Time? –> Just visit the photos.
Thanks! And, comments are always appreciated
Approximate route covering the first 7 days
Saturday Aug. 19th, 1967 442 miles (711 km) over 16.5 hours.
San Luis Obispo to Near Turuck Lake, Rt 132, (Yosemite Blvd.) California
After yesterdays long day in LA, and stopping on the side of the highway at 1:30 AM, we awoke around 9 AM just south of San Luis Obispo where US Rt. 101 separates from California Rt. 1. Known also as the Cabrillo Highway, Pacific Coast Highway, and Big Sur Coastal Highway (further north,) it is an impressive roadway, “famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA…” See more information here, credit Wikipedia
Although the sun was shinning inland, fog would greet us at the coast
Just past Morro Bay, fog permitting, we would begin ~140 miles (225 km) of awesome scenery.
At first, breaks in the fog would tease us with every mile
Forays to the water’s edge were the best: Craggy rocks, rushing waterfalls, pools of life-harboring seawater …, all there to explore
In the MGB, the twisting and turning, rising and dipping road was a driver’s delight, and sightseer’s dream … all along the rocky cliffs of the coast, with spectacular views, unusual variations of vegetation, birds, and sea life the likes of which we’d rarely seen before.
Cactus? Plentiful along the coast
Clear pools like this would fill and empty in seconds with every wave. The sights and sounds of the rushing sea water with its cool spray was exhilarating
Rt. 1 passes inland for about 12 miles (20 km) at Big Sur, where there are a few rustic lodgings, food opportunities, and a rare gas station. At 11:45 AM, we fueled up here amongst the coastal redwood trees, had a few hamburgers, and continued exploring the now sunny coast. With cameras in hand, Tom and I would often descend to the water’s edge, and climb 50 or 75 foot (15 -22 m) outcroppings.
We had most of the pathways and climbs to ourselves, but some, like this proved to be an explorer’s paradise.
Note there are three people in this image.
Frequently, the sand was very different from the New Jersey Shore: NO FOOT PRINTS!
Tom taking the picture: Big Sur – Sand, Sea and….Me
We had made many stops, climbed many rocks, and were ready to move on after exploring the coast for hours, as it was time to bring up the pace towards San Francisco. Skirting Carmel and Monterey, we headed inland to Rt. 101 where the bright sun was once again baking hot. Late afternoon led to the first views of “The City by the Bay.”
Candlestick Park on San Francisco Bay, while Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” was playing on the radio
Lyrics: “behind the stadium!”
In minutes, it was clear (no pun intended) that low lying, fast moving fog was obscuring parts of the cityscape and we were headed for it. Rt. 101 would soon assume city street persona complete with an unexpected chill as we followed its signs towards the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. Naïve to west coast weather patterns, the quick change from hot 90’s to 60’s (F) – sun-burn lotion to sweatshirts – was a un-expected.
Clear skies were giving way to fog rolling in over parts of the city
Parking near the south end of the enormous suspension bridge, we actually couldn’t see much of it. In fact, possibly as a result of the fog being sooo dense, just maybe …, we didn’t see the little turnstile and coin slot right in front of us, with its little sign …, its annoying little sign, right there demanding $.10! We thought…“WHAT?” and unashamedly hopped over it to begin our long walk across the bridge. Our despicable actions may have been related to all our money being a quarter mile back, in the car!
As the fog occasionally thinned, we could see the water and ships below. The height above water at center span is 270’ (82 m.) In shorts and sweatshirts, it was freezing up there and returning to the MGB, we put its top up for warmth.
The two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge are ~750’ (227m) above sea level, but you could hardly see them today!
Note: The bridge was our furthest point west, 2568 miles (4133 km ) as the crow flies, but 4295 miles (6912 km) in the MGB.
Driving through the northeastern part the city with fun steep streets, interesting houses and neighborhoods, and the Marina district – brought us to Fisherman’s Wharf with its sea lion covered docks, boats, trendy seafood restaurants and people.
Tom stopped the car in a pedestrian walkway so I could get this picture, somewhat to the dismay of waiting tourists
The panorama of restaurants and attractions at Fisherman’s Wharf
Near there, we rode the Powell/Hyde cable car up and down the streets through part of the city and back. The San Francisco Cable Cars are a treasured step back in time, offering transportation and tourist wonderment in a city of engaging architecture and hills, cut terrace-like to accommodate the grid streets. Lyrics from Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” and even the “Rice a Roni” jingle ran through my head.
Turntables enable the conductor, and many times the patrons,
to manually turn the car around
The sounds of the clanging bells and clanking wheels over the tracks; the semi-open wooden and steel cars; and the playful antics of the “driver” pulling on the long lever in the middle of the car to brake, or engage the cable below the street … was magical. And then there was the turntable at the end of the line!
The Streets of San Francisco
It’s about 4 miles from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Haight/Ashbury district. Commanding so much attention in recent months, we wanted to see what the “movement,” and hippie counter-culture was all about, and extend our LA experience from last night. Scott McKenzie’s song and lyrics: “If you go to ‘San Francisco’ be sure to wear a flower in your hair … you’re sure to find some friendly people there,” proved to be just that. It was a mecca of quiet, peaceful but raggedly, long haired young people; some sitting confidently on stoops, or wandering – drifting along Haight Street between Ashbury and Golden State Park a half mile west; and some looking – well, a little lost within themselves. Tom was behind the wheel as we slowly followed the endless stream of cars, even casually being approached several times by guys coming up to our little car with offers to buy, or sell grass or pot, or what-ever.
We parked by a diner near the park, and after covering up against the cold and damp night air, walked back a few blocks encountering occasional street musicians, and orators; then others just sitting and seemingly contemplating something (or nothing.) Some were sleeping, – just there, wrapped up against the cold, misty air. Small shops sold household goods, some sold psychedelic paraphernalia, some gave out free coffee. I bought a hand made straw daisy for $.75, and it would adorn the MGB and go back to New Jersey.
Overhearing conversations, the hippies seemed to be here for a hundred reasons; and also for only one: to express a want for social and political change in light of changing attitudes, and the troubling, ongoing Viet Nam war. PEACE AND LOVE? Here? Now? No doubt. But it was also sort of soft veneer, and of all the places, this was probably its epicenter. Of note, there was little, if any, visual police presence.
Hunger brought us into the diner, and cheeseburgers fit the bill. We felt gluttonous.
After 2 hours in the district, it was 10:45 PM, PDT, and we were worn down and tired, but decided to head out of the city to a warmer and drier climate for the night. Soon we were across the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, heading east. Two and a half hours and 135 miles later, at 1:30 AM, we stopped and slept on the banks of the Tuolumne River, about 28 miles east of Modesto, California.
See Day 8 here: http://wp.me/p37YEI-S1 Yosemite Park, Mono Lake, crossing Nevada and Utah to Wyoming: