I woke up in the parking lot of the Mount Tam state park the next morning. After dawn I drove as far up the mountain as I could, snapped a picture of the far-off Golden Gate Bridge (see below) and began our journey into the city itself. I took the same road down to Stinson Beach, but turned south onto the coastal highway. This is the highway that has been used in many, many movies (Innerspace and Foul Play come to mind immediately) and ads as it is amazingly beautiful and fun to drive as you zig and zag around the bends of the Pacific coast. At around nine in the morning, we were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, heading towards the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. Full disclosure: San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the world. However, it is also one of the most expensive and that coupled with the fact I vowed to myself that I would not linger in places I had been before on this project, I decided to stay only a night. I booked a room at the LaQuinta Inn Airport, (the cheapest place I could find that had free parking and no dog fees) dropped Mavis off and headed into the city to have my iPhone looked at the Apple Store Union Square (it had been acting wonky again) and catch dinner. I got a cheap parking space on Ellis Street ($11.00!) using a parking app and went to the Apple Store to talk to the nerds. The guy I talked to once again told me to reboot my phone (as had one in Salt Lake City) but this time using a backup I had stored a few days before. Ok, whatever. As it turns out, this didn’t help things much, but the guy I talked to was polite and friendly unlike Nerd #1 in Salt Lake City. I left the Apple Store and had a lovely, if somewhat pricey dinner at John’s Grill. Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon used to get soused there, I thought it was appropriate, (plus it was the one and only time I splurged on dinner for myself the entire trip). After dinner I got my car out of hock, drove around town a bit, and returned to Mavis. We left town the next morning.
I decided to take another delightfully zig-zaggy back road (California Route 92) from the airport area back to US 1-the Pacific Coast Highway. I am again amazed at the fun roads that can be found outside of major cities. For those of you who don’t live in the Midwest, and therefore don’t understand this, remember I’m a flatlander; cut me some slack. Route 92 ends in Half Moon Bay. I turned south and continued that day on to Santa Cruz, enjoying a day by the ocean where it wasn’t raining. Nope, no libraries to be had, but a lot of coastal scenery and even another lighthouse, Pigeon Point, (see a photo of it below). I finally made it to Santa Cruz later that afternoon. After passing the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Amusement Park which looked very enticing (but unfortunately closed), I made my way to the Live Oak branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library. What a fun place! I immediately noticed that it fronted a lagoon and there were some very, very loud ravens cawing from the trees nearby. Not exactly my idea of an ideal library, but I didn’t grow up near a beach. I went in and was struck by the architecture of the place, a late 20th Century homage to the earlier Arts & Crafts Movement. I also noticed that most of the signage was in English as well as Spanish and the library had a sizeable Spanish-language collection. I got chatting with one of the circulation clerks, Cathy, who grew up in the area. She said that this location had once been a very rowdy bar (the “Albatross” or alternately the “Sail Inn”) until a coastal storm took it out in the early ‘90’s. The library district purchased the property and salvaged a bit of the architectural details (most notably some stained glass windows, see below) and reformed it into a local library. “She was a bar girl who grew up to be a librarian” Cathy quipped about the building. I can’t think of a better use. I also talked to Jasmine, the reference librarian who helped me find a campground for the night. She had recently gotten her MLS from San Jose State University and was looking forward to her career in the library. Both Cathy and Jasmine looked happy and well cared for. Bravo, Santa Cruz!
Picture Gallery below (click to expand): A.-B.) The view from atop Mt. Tamalpais. If you squint, the first photo features an outline of the Golden Gate Bridge. C.) A view from the road to Stinson Beach. D.) Along the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) to San Francisco. E.) The road to the Bridge in Marin County. F.) Union Square, San Francisco decked out for Christmas. G.) My drinkie winkie at John's Grill, a 1738 Sidecar. H.) This is the California Beach I think of. (On the road to Santa Cruz, near Pescadero.) I.) The lighthouse at Penguin Point. There's a B&B there. J.) "Look" it's Santa Cruz! K.) The roller coaster at Santa Cruz. L.) The Live Oak Library. M.) The library is "Open/Abierto". N.) A view of the lagoon from the front porch of the library. O.) The trees where the very, very loud ravens lived. If you look closely, you'll see them. P.-S.) Interior of the library featuring the stained glass windows from the former bar and the inclusiveness of a well-loved library.