We left Pismo Beach (see Part One of our trip) on Tuesday morning and made our way first to Monterey, CA to the Monterey Cemetery. My brother passed away in 2015 and I hadn’t been to the graveside since his funeral, and hadn’t seen his marker. I left some rocks I had painted and flowers. Then we went over to my sister-in-law’s house for a short visit and lunch with the family.
We arrived at Half Moon Bay State Beach Campground in the late afternoon and got set up just in time for dinner. It was SUPER windy and cloudy! Check out our little pop up blowing up like a puffer fish!
You can see the grassy areas aren’t really green, it’s more like dry grass and weeds. Fortunately our dog isn’t very fussy and she will “go” anywhere, but we did have to check her paws for burrs and foxtails.
There are fire pits and picnic tables at every site, though we didn’t use them – Just too cold and windy. There are also toilets and showers (quarter-operated and on a timer). Like most state parks, nothing fancy, but I was grateful for a shower after a longday in exploring San Francisco. More about that below.
Despite the wind and weeds, you’re still on the beach. It’s really beautiful, and just a few steps down to the beach. No doggies allowed on the beach, though, so Mickey & I just hung out on the stairs. Look at her ears blowing in the wind!
It probably wouldn’t have felt so cold if not for the wind but, it’s still vacation, and hanging out in the pup ain’t bad either.
The next day we drove an hour to San Francisco. We knew we wouldn’t be able to do and see everything, so we had a list of what we really wanted to see: Lombard Street, Chinatown, and to ride the cable cars.
Lombard Street, “The Crookedest Street in the World” – We had to do it!
Before our trip I did my research on whether dogs could ride the cable cars and found that they were allowed. Things went well for our first 3-4 rides, then the next conductor said dogs were not allowed. I thought he was joking so I laughed. He was not amused and wanted us to get off. After I explained that I had read they were allowed, we bought a full day pass, and we’d been riding the cars all day, he very reluctantly said she could stay, and I promised she’d behave. She’s a very friendly cockapoo and rode like a little champ!
We did have a little excitement on the cable cars. Just after it made a turn and started up the hill, it got stuck! WE WERE ON A HILL AND STUCK! As unsettling as this was to us, it seemed to be no big deal to the conductor. After a few minutes a city truck appeared that PUSHED us around the hilly corner and we were back on track, literally! Look closely and you can see the driver of the truck that is pushing us!
Chinatown was interesting with all the typical souvenir shops and culture. Our son bought a few “treasures”, then we had a late lunch, grabbing some authentic Chinese food and eating at a little park nearby, Portsmouth Square. There were lots of elderly people there playing cards (serious games for what looked like serious money!) and others practicing Tai Chi.
We had parked near Fisherman’s Wharf, so we were also able to squeeze in a visit to Ghiradelli’s (Yumm!) and a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Here’s an obvious bit of advice: Don’t forget where you parked! (Duh!) I was sure we were “there” and we wasted an hour taking a cable back “there”, only to realize we had only been about 5 blocks away BEFORE we took that last cable car ride. Oy!
After a long day and a bit of commuter traffic, we got back to Half Moon Bay in time for dinner, a beautiful sunset, and a good night’s sleep before our departure the next morning.
And of course, on our last morning, the sun started to come out!
On to Yosemite! Part 3 coming soon!