Day 21: San Francisco to Shasta
Big Sur—San Francisco—Castle Crags State Park, California
Today felt like a new beginning since Andy and I decided that there was no point in getting angry at one another anymore. From now on there were no grudges, it was as though we had reset our minds last night, forgetting about the things that we found annoying about each other. I think this had been building for a few days and yesterday we reached critical emotional overload, resulting in the explosion.
We were heading for Oregon today. Continued up CA 1 through the residential parts of Big Sur, Carmel, and Carmel Heights, bypassing the Monterey Peninsula. Passed the Del Monte farms growing vegetables like peas and many others, so close to the beach? At Santa Cruz we got off CA 1 and picked up CA 17 north to San Jose. This was a narrow, two lane road that wound its way over the hills against the coast. We got on I-280 north to San Francisco. This was nice as far as interstates go. It was very scenic and is called the Junipero Serra Highway. It goes through the San Francisco State Fish and Game Refuge. It also runs right next to the San Andreas Rift Zone (this is comforting). In this zone are several reservoirs that are supplied by the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct. This water flows from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, over 150 miles away. The aqueduct even travels over (or under) the San Francisco Bay to the east.
Passed by the familiar towns of Mountain View, Stanford, Palo Alto, and San Mateo, CA. Soon we were in San Francisco and off I-280 and onto 19th Street and CA 1 again. We went through the western part of the city with the downtown part to the east of us. This road took us through Golden Gate Park and on Park Presidio Blvd. Then it was into The Presidio, through a tunnel, and joining up with US 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge. On both sides of the bridge is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. We pulled off the highway and parked at a place for tourists located just over the bridge. There were so many people here that it was impossible to get a spot against the wall overlooking the bridge and bay. We decided to walk out onto the bridge. There were a lot of people out on the bridge and bike riders are also allowed to ride across the bridge. Many of them ride so fast that someone's going to get hit one day. We walked out about half way and looked out upon San Francisco to southeast, Alcatraz Island to the east, the Bay Bridge to Oakland, and the interesting design of the Golden Gate Bridge itself. We walked back to the car and left.
By now it was about 1:30 in the afternoon and it was looking like we would be sleeping in California again tonight. We continued up US 101 till CA 37. This road went east over the north part of the bay, the San Pablo Bay (part of the San Francisco Bay) and goes into Vallejo where we got on I-80 toward Sacramento. We traveled on this till I-505 north, which took us to I-5 north. We would be on this road for the rest of the day. It was very flat up here and still grassy and dry too. We were now in the Sacramento Valley and could see the Sierra Nevada Range to the east and the Coastal Ranges to the west.
The dry, grassy hills were slowly becoming pine covered hills until we eventually found ourselves in the lower part of the Cascade Range. Redding was the last large town we drove through before entering the Shasta National Forest and the Whiskeytown Shasta-Trinity Recreation Area which surrounds Shasta Lake. We were now back in the mountains and out of the scrubby, dry climate of the California Valleys. We decided to camp in Castle Crags State Park which was in Castella, CA, just south of the 14,162 peak of Mount Shasta. This was a nice park with nice people.
We ate well tonight; hamburgers, hot dogs, and carrots. I-5 was a little too close, we could still hear it, and an occasional freight train would pass through the area, but it was a very nice park.