Northern California and Redwood National Park
Please click on the thumbnails to view pictures.
First of all, by Northern California I mean anywhere in California north of the Bay Area. This page covers a number of trips we took in the last 7 years.
Point Reyes National Seashore. On the Pacific coast some 30 miles northwest of San Francisco. The area covers not only seashore and beaches, but also forest, open grassland, and coastal wetland.
Those rocky seashore, constantly decorated by creamy waves, looks remarkable.
The Point Reyes Light House has been guiding ships in the foggy Pacific coast since 1870.
The best time to visit is the spring: wild flowers, rolling green grass, wildlife...
On the way northfrom Berkeley, we first entered Napa the wine country. In native Indian Napa means "a land of plenty." The city of Napa was built in the early 19th century, which serve as a distribution center of the lumber and leather business, and later a winter harbor for the gold miners. The winery business didn't started till the later 19th century, but over the years, through the Prohibition period in the 20's and all kinds of ups and downs, today Napa has become the wine country of the US, with some 260 vineries in the Napa Valley.
Here are a few vine yards. Too bad it's winter, no green grape vine in sight, but taste a few glasses of champagne (or should be called sparkling wine in the US) may get you into a better mood.
The brewing process is largely automated. In France, they still hire some guys to rotate the wine bottles every day to make sure the yeast precipitation goes to the bottle neck - I suppose that's why French wine are so expensive. While in Napa, see the last picture, the rotation are computerized.
No grape vine, but this is the season of mustard flowers. Lovely carpet of yellow.
Other attractions. French Laundry and Bouchon (first 2 pix) in Yountville, both own by celebrity chef Thomas Keller, are both internationally renown French restaurants.
This geyser in Calistoga is boasted to be the "Old Faithful of California." Well...yeah, except it's about 1/8 of the size (or 1/512 of the volume). To see my pix of the real Old Faithful in Yellowstone click here. Some interesting pets they kept in their little zoo though. In the last 3 pix is a family of Llamas and a little sheep that'll play dead when it's scared.
UC Davis Arboretum. The University of California at Davis is known for their agricultural programs. Their beautiful arboretum in the campus has collections of exotic plants from all over the world. The arboretum is a heaven for birds, squirrels, turtles, and many other creatures. One draw back though, if you have hay fever like I do, try not to go there in the spring... or maybe just once in your lifetime.
When continue going North, you'll find that both sides of the road are getting greener and greener. River and forests, which you rarely see on the way south, appear. Mout. Shasta, a volcano with snow on it all year long, is quite a view.
Sacramento. California state capital. A small, simple, and old city. Just look at the streets names: Front street, 2nd street, 3rd... crossing I street, J street, K... To enter the city we passed the Tower Bridge over the Sacramento River. The Tower Bridge is a draw bridge that can raise its middle section. Like most cities, the old Sacramento is the more interesting part of the town. The California State Railroad Museum is a must see.
Lava Bed National Monument. Located in Tulelake, CA. Eruption of volcano created an extremely rugged landscape. Look at the lava, can you imaged once upon a time when they were still liquid, they ran and burnt their way across the land? There are lava of all kind of shapes, including cones, craters, and caves. Many years ago native American used these rough lands as their battle fields. The caves are not lighted, so bring a strong flashlight and be ware of bats! On our way out, the car scared a beautiful deer. It looked back at us and disappeared into the nightfall.
Lake Tahoe. Favorite vacation resort for Northern Californians. Great for skiing and boating.
Redwood National Park. Some of the world's tallest trees are here. When we enter the park, we were simply be stunned by the monster redwood trees above us. See how small our car was when parked next to them. Those elks are actually wild elks. The wooden fence is not for fencing them, but to separate the road from their inhabitant area.
Along IS 101. That's on our way back south. IS 101 actually runs across the Redwood National Park. Many sections of 101 have diverged scenic routes into the park. In Crescent City we visited their nice beach and the famous lighthouse.
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