Upon leaving Nevada and entering California there was a tollbooth of sorts. It was manned with official people checking for agriculture and plants. There was a large sign that read “declare all produce/plants before entering.” As I drove up to the man in the booth, he simply waved me through with a smile, welcoming me into the state without any hassle.
As I proceeded down the road, I noticed that there was now greenery and some flowers where previously there was only the desert.
When I arrived at my hotel in Fresno, a homeless man offered to carry in my bags for me. He then went to the front desk to tell the receptionist that a guest had arrived. Had he not looked so amicable I may have been frightened. I did tip him for his assistance, and he was very thankful. He then went back outside to his tent on the far side of the parking lot.
I next headed to San Francisco. This is because I felt that a trip to California would not be complete without a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge. This sojourn would eventually take me over a day out of my way, but it was worth it! When I got into San Francisco, I stumbled upon the most beautiful park I had ever seen, the Palace of Fine Arts. There were people taking pictures, ladies in wedding dresses, and a Colosseum-like structure in the center.
I parked right in front of the Palace and, upon exiting my car, saw that some of the young ladies were wearing spring dresses and walking barefoot in the grass. I leisurely strolled through the garden to the beauty of nature. Some passersby, who seemed to be tourists themselves, offered to take my picture with my camera, and I graciously accepted the offer. The Palace of Fine Arts was breathtaking and awe-inspiring! I imagined that it is what the ancient Greek architecture would look like if I were to visit Rome.
I observed that the grounds of the Palace of Fine Arts were meticulously manicured. They were also designed in a manner reminiscent of a Zen Garden. This is because there was rocks, water, and greenery all combined with a gently looping path that navigated the smooth hills.
As I walked the winding path, I saw turtles on rocks and exotic pelican beaked birds in the water. It was the epitome of tranquility deserving of a Norman Rockwell painting. If I had the time, I would have pitched my easel right there in front of the Palace and began painting a work in the style of my favorite artist, Akiane Kramarik. For now, I will have to return to that thought at a later date because as the water gently rolls past this Eden so must I.
As I passed a joyous wedding taking place it was symbolic of new beginnings, which is exactly what I was headed towards.
The Painted Ladies of Frisco
I then drove to what is called the Painted Ladies. The Painted Ladies are famous beautifully painted colorful houses that stand next to each other on a steep sloping hill. These are also the houses that are shown in the opening credits of the Full House TV series. While not grandiose, they are majestic in their own right. A small green park stands across the street where people sat on blankets enjoying a picnic and the sun. That is where I found a hotdog truck and decided to sit down while gazing out across the grass to the Painted Ladies beyond the hill.
After enjoying an absolutely scrumptious hotdog, I walked across the street and looked at some fine murals that were painted by local artists being Manuel Carmona and Guilherme Lemes. Someone had left books in front of their house in a makeshift library of sorts that read “take one for free!” I selected a book named Brooklyn, because that was a familiar place to me. I sat down in front of the mural and read (pictured below). I later posted Instagram pictures of myself in front of the murals. I was pleasantly surprised when the artists reposted my photos. That led to us having some discussions on the importance of art and its impact on the community.
The people were friendly, and many had dogs that were walking without a leash. One dog ran up to me and I took a few pictures with him. His owner informed me that he likes posing for pictures in the park. I was glad that I had made the dog happy!
The Pacific Coast
I next drove to the Golden Gate Bridge where I parked my car in a public lot. I walked through the area and enjoyed a delicious meal at a small establishment called Angelina’s. The food was exquisite! The chief was obviously a master at her trade, and I would imagine that Angelina’s is a quite famous eatery in the area, although I am not sure. If it is not, then it should be! This is because the food is just that incredible.
I saw some signs headed toward Muir beach and, since it was along the way of my heading to Highway 1, I proceeded to go in that direction. After a short drive, I arrived at the iconic Muir Beach. There were only a few other people in the area. I was amazed at the view of the cliffs from the overlook. The wind was blowing very strong – most likely because of the high elevation.
I thought to myself that it would be the perfect place to build a house because of the beautiful scenery and view of the Pacific Ocean. As I walked down the trail to the tip of the little pinnacle, there was a sign that read “watch out for the birds” and behind the sign was some small shrubs with various birds’ nests. As I stood on the lookout, the ancient Muir Wood trees were behind me and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean was before me. The sun was beginning to set and I thought to myself, this is like the old tree in the sea. As I thought of the Hemingway pun, I fondly remembered Hemingway's Old Man in the Sea. The taste of the salty sea air on my lips must have been precisely what Hemingway was thinking of when he wrote that novel. It was really nice being so close to nature. Everything about the view and the area was enchanting. It must be incredible to live in such an area as San Francisco and have access to such incredible sites on a daily basis.
As I turned around and glanced back at the Muir Wood trees, I observed that they were monstrous and primordial. They grew hundreds of feet in height and they cast a big shadow over anything that was underneath. Anything that would grow under them would most assuredly be cheered and checked by the self same sky (as Shakespeare would say).
I then headed back out onto Highway 1 for an exhilarating drive with the windows down and the wind blowing in my hair. This was driving up the coast as it was meant to be. Classic 70s rock on the radio with the beach on my left and the mountains on my right. I decided to continue my drive up the famous California Highway 1 in order to enjoy the beautiful scenery and open road that traversed the cliffs and Pacific Ocean.
The only thing that would have made the drive better would have been if it was in a corvette convertible just like the one that was driven in the Route 66 TV show. In preparation of this trip, I did watch several episodes of Route 66 and even though that was black and white and made many years ago, I must say that Highway 1 looked very similar now to what it was then. It is unspoiled American history with an open road leading to adventure!