North on 101

Volume 7, Issue 64; 16 Apr 2004; last modified 08 Oct 2010

A photo essay north of San Francisco.

Last weekend, I drove up 101 to visit an old friend. I made my way leisurely north, pausing to take pictures along the way. Mostly warm and sunny, warm to a New Englander like myself, anyway, I have to say California has this weather thing down pretty good.

The drive from Mountain View up to San Francisco was the usual depressing slog through urban sprawl. The roads are less crowded these days, not a good economic sign, but the smog seems worse. Maybe it was just a bad smog day, but the distant haze just isn’t supposed to be grimy brown.

Things improve at the Golden Gate, which just begs to be photographed.

The Golden Gate Bridge in Fog
The Golden Gate Bridge in Fog

Farther along, the landscape opens up. The grassy hillsides are dotted with big, twisted oak trees. It’s a landscape that I find really appealing, even more so later in the season when the hills are uniformly golden brown. I have yet to take a photograph that I think really captures the mood. This one doesn’t.

Oaks
Oaks

Eventually I passed through Sebastapol, familiar to me from my O’Reilly days. I wonder if the Aroma Coffee House is still there in Santa Rosa. I planned to swing by and get a Double Mad Max on my way back, but I took a different route. Damn fine coffee.

Sebastopol
Sebastopol

As soon as you head off the main roads, you start to encounter small vineyards.

Sonoma Vineyard
Sonoma Vineyard

And California Poppies, if you’re lucky.

California Poppies
California Poppies

I don’t think any trip to the bay area is complete without a walk on the beach. One of the obvious deficiencies of digital imaging is the lack of tonal depth. I swear there were vastly more than 16,777,216 shades of gray in this scene.

The Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean

I took a more scenic route back towards San Francisco, avoiding 101 as long as practical. A missed turn took me through the town of Two Rock. I was very pleased to discover that it really has two rocks.

Dos Piedras
Dos Piedras

An historical marker explains that the landmark is “Dos Piedras,” erroneously translated into “Two Rock,” and that the main indian trail from Bodega Bay to the inland valleys ran between them.

Passing back over the GGB will bring me back into the concrete jungle.

The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.