To celebrate Bob's birthday, Shirley and Bob decided to visit San Rafael for a couple of nights, including on Friday taking a ferry to visit Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay.
So on Thursday morning we drive to San Rafael, where our first stop is to look at the Panama Hotel where Bob had found a room. Although we could not visit the room that morning, it looked like it was going to be quite nice. And when we did go into the room in the afternoon, it was indeed very nice: a balcony with table and chairs, a living room with a futon/bed, a bedroom with a queen size bed and TV, a small kitchen with fridge and microwave, and a bathroom with a tub/shower, sink, toilet and bidet.
After stopping at the Panama Hotel, we drove to the 11 acre Marin Art and Garden Center. It is beautiful. It also has a nice visitor center where Shirley found two gardening books to buy.
We then drove to a nearby Whole Foods grocery store where we bought lunch and ate outside, each of us throwing bits of food to begging pigeons, who pretty much rejected what we had to offer.
We drove back to the hotel, rested a bit, Bob re-reading his current favorite book, In Order To Live [A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom] by Yeonmi Park.
After resting we walked into downtown San Rafael. There seemed to be so many stores shut down, out of business. We did, however, find an ice cream shop which had cups of both vanilla ice cream and mango sherbet. As we sat outside eating, a man came up and talked to us the entire time we ate. When we finished our desserts we continued walking and Shirley showed what a fashionista she was.
The weather throughout the day could not have been more perfect - 70's, often with a nice breeze. A very enjoyable day.
First thing in the morning we drove to Tiburon so we could take the ferry to Angel Island. We arrived well before the ferry was to take off, parked in Lot A - the cheap parking lot, $5 for all day - furthest from the ferry dock (1/2 mile), walked to the dock, then walked around Tiburon for a bit. The weather was once again perfect. In fact, we both realized we had worn too many layers so transferred them to the backpack. We found a nice bench to sit on for a bit. We also got to see a sculpture and a new building being constructed.
The ferry arrived and we were the first to board and we went to the upper deck, sat on a bench looking directly out, realized we were in the stern, so moved to the front of the ferry where we found another bench facing forward and had it to ourselves.
The trip across the bay to Angel Island went smoothly, with of course very nice views, looking both back to San Rafael and across to the Golden Gate Bridge.
We arrived early to Ayla Harbor on Angel Island, so walked around a bit, including visiting three homes built long ago to house soldiers and now used to house employees (such as those working at the visitor center) living on the island. We were amused by an "Out of Service" truck seemingly parked beneath a fallen tree.
We got in line to board the tram, got seats on the side that would be overlooking the shore and bay, and had a very nice hour to hour and a half long trip around Angel Island.
A few times we not only stopped, but got out and walked around.
One of the first stops was at Camp Reynolds, which was originally set up in 1863 as a protection against the possibility of Confederate forces somehow threatening the San Francisco area. By 1900 the entire island had become militarized and was used in both World War I and II. It was also used as an immigration station and a prisoner of war processing facility. In 1946 the entire island was shut down from a military standpoint. Definitely a worthwhile, educational and enjoyable trip. And we even got to see a seal.
Soon after the tram ride ended we caught the ferry back to Tiburon, again sitting in the front. This time the ferry pilot, who was just behind us with the window open, told us we would get a nice "salt water face wash" sitting there, and in fact at one point a splash of water did come up. These pictures are leaving Angel Island and arriving at Tiburon.
Once back in Tibaron we decided to go to Lola’s Taqueria. We went in, ordered, then went outside and sat on a bench awaiting our lunch to be prepared. A guy was sitting not too far behind us who played a ukulele and sang beautifully. Both songs were love songs - Norwegian Wood and Gerry Rafferty's Right Down The Line. They were so romantic we looked at each other and had to kiss.
Our lunch became available, we walked to a place with tables, sat down and ate. Shirley then told Bob to look the other way, and then lit a candle in a muffin she had brought. Happy Birthday!.
Oddly enough, some birds joined us, and stayed around, perhaps because we fed them. I reminded Shirley about our tram guide who warned about feeding wild animals because on occasion this could lead to getting attacked. He was talking about coyotes, but who knows.
We returned to our car and drove a long and winding road back to our hotel. We rested, then went walking in the local neighborhood. We visited a nearby park and saw huge balls of fruit lying around, which Shirley immediately identified as Monkey Puzzle tree fruit.
After visiting the park and as we were walking back we met two people (Chris and Kris?) sitting on their front porch. After talking a bit, they invited us into their backyard where the wife gardened. She and Shirley talked about gardening. The couple traveled between here and Boca Raton, Florida, where they also had a home.
It was getting late and starting to darken, so we walked back to our hotel, watched a bit of TV, worked on this web page, then went to bed.
Today we finish our vacation. After getting up, visiting the dining room to get our breakfast and eating in our room, we packed the car with all our stuff. Then we drove to Sausalito, found a parking space in a lot on shore, and walked the town.
We began our walk among the yachts, after first unsuccessfully trying to avoid a Dead End. Among the yachts we saw what looked like a home moored to a pier. We walked pass that all the way out to the end of the pier until we came to a stopping place saying "Private Residence". The residence looked like a version of the Indian Taj Mahal. After taking several pictures we walked back to the boardwalk and continued along past all the piers.
We came to a pretty fountain which had an elephant statue on each side.
The views across the bay to San Francisco were clear, with the sun sparkling on the water. Lots of boats sailing on the bay.
At one point we saw a few people staring down at the shore rocks. Turns out there were at least three small crabs on the rocks, which drew the attention of both children and adults.
Sausalito is built on hillsides rising up from the ocean with many, many homes. Just out of curiousity we took photos of what turned out to be a three story building of three residences (485 Bridgeway), each residence occupying one story. Zillow currently estimates each residence as being worth about $1.8 million. Each is 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and just under 1,400 sq ft.
We continued walking through Sausalito, stopping at an art store, admiring the chandaliers in another store, and simply enjoying ourselves. We got back to the car and drove to Mollie Stone's market where we bought lunch (two small salmon cakes, two potato somethings) and figs then drove to nearby Dunply Park to eat. We got to see two women paddle boarding in the bay.
Although no birds came to beg food, we did see two birds near us diving for food.
Both of us decided it was time to start home and we did so, making a brief stop at a pull-out overlooking China Park State Camp. Shirley took over driving and Bob spent most of the rest of the time sleeping. Upon getting home, we both took long naps. Our neighbor Donna had dropped off figs from her tree and Bob picked figs from the tree Shirley has grown. All those figs were far better than the store bought figs. A wonderful end to a wonderful trip.
Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA