northern california
Alcatraz/ Santa Rosa /Fort Bragg/San Francisco
the Adventure
Starting Off
As with most of my explorations, this one started with just a vague game plan. Head north, see Melanie, go to Alcatraz, then head north some more. I booked a room in Santa Rosa through AirBnB at a place described as a “garden oasis”. After that I was pretty much freewheeling it...
I made the reservations for Melanie and I to take the boat to “The Rock” at 3:55 in the afternoon. I was hunting that magic hour when the photographer has little to do except point and shoot and spectacular results just fall out of the camera. This would be a recurring theme on this trip. I keep thinking the sun is going to set at around 5:30PM. #Dumbass. By the time we were forced off the island at 6:10, the sun was still high in the sky, ruining all my sure to be award winning shots. I know what you’re saying, it’s a poor craftsman who blames the sun, yeah, whatever.
Santa Rosa
Julie’s house was as advertised on AirBnB. It was hot, in the 90’s, as I arrived around 6PM to the garden oasis. Julie and I had talked on the phone but she was not home when I arrived. The garden in the back yard was very inviting. It was very relaxing to sit and watch a huge tree sway in the Santa Rosa sirocco. It was mesmerizing. Santa Rosa was OK, I did find an interesting part of town by the railroad tracks (of course) and planned the next day around hitting that magic hour of light to capture a section of abandoned warehouse walls propped up with sticks.
Fort Bragg
Off to Fort Bragg. The drive was tough, about 50-60 miles on a twisting two lane road. I felt oddly comfortable, and lucky, in Fort Bragg. In a word, if this is a word, it felt serendipitous. I arrived, found parking right away in the middle of a cute little town of shops, art galleries and restaurants. Craving something healthy to eat, I found a fantastic little Japanese place. As I’m eating I hear a train whistle. I'm intrigued and surprised. This little seaside village has train sounds? After lunch I take my camera down towards some abandoned warehouses towards the ocean. As I round a corner I’m not more than 50 feet from the business end of a steaming, huffing, puffing locomotive right out of Hell on Wheels. SCORE! Not only that but parked next to it are some beautiful old rusted dilapidated railroad cars. My 3 days in Fort Bragg were filled with moments like this. Except for one. Once again thinking the sun was setting at 7PM #InNeedofAlmanac, I head for the beach to get some great sunset shots. It was the freezing wind that punished me for my mistake. I got some good shots, but just after I left, and I'm thawing out in the McDonalds drive through, I'm facing one of the more spectacular sunsets in recorded history; a swath of orange and brilliant purples. The woman behind the counter looks up and says "Nice sunset" to which I reply, "Yup".
San Francisco
As with the rest of this trip, things just fell into to place in “The City”. The drive from Fort Bragg to SFO was intentionally difficult. Instead of backtracking, I decided to take PCH for most of the drive back to San Francisco. The Motel 6 in the city was in a very colorful part of town. It was a great mix of skid row personalities, young urban hipsters and cool professionals. It was exactly what I was hoping for, including a great city view from the motel window. The next day, Sunday, was Fathers Day. After grabbing Starbucks and reading the Sunday paper I explored Nob Hill. As I’m sitting on top of a hill with an incredible view of the Bay Bridge, my phone rings. Melanie is in town with her mother and they want to take me to dinner for Fathers Day. #luckybastard. That’s the kind of trip this was.