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Thursday, March 12, 2015

California Road Trip - January 2015 - Part 4 - The Road South

We made quite a few stops on our journey home from San Francisco, and spent 2 nights in Santa Barbara along the way.  See Part 2 of this series for the California Missions that we visited, including the Santa Barbara Mission

We stopped for a few minutes at the intersection of CA-154 and US-101 to get a picture of this sign.  California Highway Patrol Officer Jim O'Connor was a good friend when we were growing up. He was riding in a 4-man formation with 3 other CHP motorcycle officers around a sharp curve on CA-154 when a car crossed the center line and struck him head on. He died at the scene, in November of 1990. This interchange was dedicated in his honor last year.

We didn't find all that much to do in Santa Barbara, so after breakfast on Friday we went to the Zoo, and then the Mission.  But, first we had to stop for breakfast. We went to the original Sambo's (founded 1957), which is right down on the beach.  The building may be newer, but they still have some of the original artwork hanging there.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is small compared to the one in San Diego, but it is nicely laid out, and a pleasant place to spend a morning.

They have a big collection of reptiles and insects.

I thought this was a helpful graphic.

The baby anteater was cool. That's his mother he's crawling over. She's trying to take a nap.

Synchronized ducks.

They do have a few big cats, which are always my favorites.

It took a while, but I did even find some tigers.

Click here to see more images from the Santa Barbara Zoo.

California Road Trip - January 2015 - Part 3 - San Francisco

We spent 3 nights at the Chancellor Hotel on Powell Street in San Francisco.  It's in a perfect location for exploring around town, most of which we did on foot - although we did ride a cable car one day.

We spent most of one day wandering around Golden Gate Park - the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers, and other areas nearby.

Here's the Japanese Garden, one of our favorite spots.

Going up and over this bridge is tougher than it looks. It's quite steep.

The Conservatory of Flowers is California's first municipal greenhouse, completed in 1879. It's patterned after the Conservatory at Kew Gardens, England.

We've been to the San Francisco Botanical Garden a few times now, but only this time did we learn that many of the limestone walls that frame different parts of the Garden were originally part of the construction of a Cistercian monastery founded in 1188 in Santa Maria de Ovila, Spain. Apparently William Randolph Hearst bought the monastery buildings in 1930, and had them disassembled and shipped to California with the idea of putting them back together as part of a retreat in Shasta County.  Things didn't go quite according to plan, and eventually the City of San Francisco acquired the stones, and they wound up here.

The Botanic Garden has a huge variety of plants, and looks different depending on what time of year you visit.

San Francisco is a great city for walking. We like to start out from our hotel just off Union Square, head through Chinatown out towards North Beach, and then down to Fisherman's Wharf and back. There are lots of things to see along the way, and always a few places to eat as well.

Heather got some advice from Confucius before we left Chinatown.

Something about this mural caught my attention.

From Chinatown we stepped onto Columbus Avenue and into North Beach, the Italian section. Of course we had to stop for a cannoli and some coffee.

The old Cavalli Italian bookstore is now a cafe. We had heard that the cannoli here were the best in town, and I think that is right.

We walked up Lombard Street, the Crookedest Street in the World, and watched the cars driving down. There are steps on either side of the street itself, so you don't have to worry about getting run down by a disoriented tourist.

Fisherman's Wharf has lots to look at.

There is a big warehouse-type building on one of the wharfs that is now a huge collection of old arcade games, all of which you can play. Lots of fun stuff, including my new favorite game, Whac-A-Mole. I've heard the term for years, and this game has been around since 1976, I can't believe I've never actually seen one before.

Apparently Heather still had some lingering doubts after listening to Confucius, so she got a second opinion.

After wandering around Fisherman's Wharf, we hopped (well, actually we had to wait in line quite a while) on the Cable Car and rode back to Market Street near our hotel.

We walked over to the Financial District for our last dinner of this visit to San Francisco, at one of our favorite spots, the Tadich Grill.

We had a great time in San Francisco.  

Click here to see more images from our stay in San Francisco in January.

California Road Trip - January 2015 - Part 2 - California Missions

We stopped to visit four different Missions on this trip. On our way north we stopped at the Mission San Carlo Borromeo de Carmel, also known as the Carmel Mission.  On our drive south we stopped at the Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission San Miguel Arcangel, and the Mission Santa Barbara.

The Mission San Carlo Borromeo de Carmel was founded June 3, 1770.

Click here to see more images from the Mission San Carlo Borromeo de Carmel.

On our way south from San Francisco our first stop was the Mission at San Juan Bautista, which was founded June 24, 1797. The Mission sits on the edge of the only original Spanish plaza left in California. There are 30 historic buildings in a 12-block area, allowing for a fairly good feel for what it might have looked like in the 1850's. You can still see a section of the original El Camino Real, which happens to run right along a portion of the San Andreas Fault.  Parts of the 1957 Alfred Hitchcock film "Vertigo" were filmed at the Mission.

Here's a view looking out from under the portico arches across the Plaza.

This building is almost literally on top of the San Andreas Fault.

Click here to see more images from the Mission San Juan Bautista.

Further south, and right off Highway 101, is the Mission San Miguel Arcangel, founded July 25, 1797.

Many of the Missions have museums which detail the history of the area.

According to the curator of the Bigfoot Museum in Felton, both the Spaniards and the grizzly bears factored into why we don't see Bigfoots as much any more, at least in the daytime. I'm not sure if this is a grizzly or a black bear (and we didn't spot any Bigfoots), but it seemed appropriate to get this picture after we heard his story.

Click here to see more images from the Mission San Miguel Arcangel.

The Mission Santa Barbara was founded December 4, 1786.  It's been rebuilt a few times over the years.

Click here to see more images from the Mission Santa Barbara.

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.