Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Point Reyes National Seashore and Santa Cruz, CA.

Forming clouds in the valley near Interstate 5 on the way to my brother's house.
 
Had the opportunity to travel north to visit my brother and his family for the Thanksgiving dinner. The next day, we drove to Point Reyes National Seashore via Muir Woods. A long and winding journey through the mountains and the Pacific Coast Highway 1 with spectacular scenery.
 
Sunset at Muir Beach Overlook.
 
Muir Beach Overlook
 
Initially, planned to take the kids biking thru the national park but we ran out of time. Weather was perfect for kayaking- calm, sunny and cool. So, we ended up kayaking across the Tomales Bay from our hotel in Inverness for oysters since that's one of their famous local delicacies. Most families came prepared for a picnic at the oyster company's picnic ground. Not knowing beforehand that it's a DIY oyster feast, we had nothing as the oyster company only sells oysters, cocktail sauces and charcoals for the BBQ grill. No drinks, silverware or any other food. My husband had to beg for a beer from somebody. Borrowed an oyster shucker, lighter and tongs, off we went to find a table to do our own shucking. Mind you, it's a workout to shuck 60 oysters. Threw some oysters on the grill and the rest we ate raw. Very fresh, sweet and briny with a little squeeze of lemon juice.
 
Tomales Bay
Families of jelly fish out for feeding at Tomales Bay.
Approaching Tomales Bay Oyster Company and its picnic ground on our kayaks.
Raw oysters, 2 lemons, an oyster shucker, tobasco and cocktail sauce.
Oysters on the grill
 
Post- oyster, it was time to drive to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. Such scenic drives, we were pleasantly surprised by the beauty.  
 
Aren't these the luckiest cows in California? Enjoying the blue sky next to the Pacific Ocean?
 
Scenic drive on the way to the Point Reyes Lighthouse
 
The picturesque Pacific Coast as seen from the path leading to the Lighthouse
 
Easy 303 steps down to the lighthouse but trekking back up was a workout.
 
Even little cutie needed to stop and stretch herself  half way up the hill.
 
Point Reyes Lighthouse itself was unimpressive but the coastal view made up for it. Took some nice pictures of the Pacific coast and trekked up the hill back to the parking lot. My leg muscles still ache 2 days later.
 
Went to Drakes Bay Oyster Farm to see how oysters were farmed but they're closed for the holiday. These threaded oyster shells are in preparation for reproduction, I guess. To me, farming oysters takes knowledge, hard work and some help from mother nature to create the perfect conditions for them to grow.

Drove to the Earthquake Trail at the park entrance. Learned that Point Reyes used to be in between Los Angeles and San Francisco 20 milllion years ago. Due to the platonic earth movement, it is now located northwest of San Francisco. Amazing facts!

Dinner that night was at a restaurant near SF's Fisherman's wharf. From there, we drove to Santa Cruz for the night. Our hotel was right across the beach. Another beautiful sunny day. Perfect day for biking along the coast. Took off in our bikes and we thoroughly enjoyed the trails. I must say, even though Santa Cruz is well known for its surf waves, it's a paradise for cyclists. Miles and miles of flat coastal trails on the cliff with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. One of the best biking trails I've ever been on.

Seals stretching beneath Santa Cruz Wharf

                                                             Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Statue of a male surfer overlooking a prime surfing spot
Very cool!
Surf city comparable to Huntington Beach, CA ?

Crawling through the traffic on the way back was torture. What should've been a 6.5 hours drive turned into 10 hours with one hour break for dinner in between. We reached home at 11pm that night, totally exhausted! Nonethelss, it's still a wonderful roadtrip.

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