America 2017: Day Five (25 October)

It echoes through the factories up in Michigan
It bounces off the levees, and rides out on the wind
Clear out to California, and back on up to Maine
Don’t matter if you’re rich or poor, a sinner or a saint
Every night, everybody, everywhere
Is praying their American prayer


                                                         – Dustin Lynch

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Oakland, California

We have arrived in Oakland, the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, and also the largest city in the East Bay area of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, after a couple of great days trekking up the California coast from San Diego.

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Carmel Beach

Due to rockslides affecting the Pacific Coast Highway, we were on Interstate 101 for most of the day, which meant we unfortunately missed out on seeing some of the most spectacular vistas that the PCH has to offer. But taking the 101 through the agricultural heart of California’s Central Coast was very interesting, and I think Dad was glad to have seen all the farming. He certainly seemed very impressed!

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We made two detours, firstly to the charming Carmel-by-the-sea and then at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. Both are very pretty seaside towns that are popular with tourists and holidaymakers. The wharf in Monterey reminded me very much of it’s bigger cousin in San Francisco, with the same sorts of seafood restaurants and whale watching cruises, all with a very touristy bent.

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Fisherman’s Wharf was our lunch stop, and there are literally dozens of seafood restaurant alternatives along the wharf. You walk down the wharf and they’re on both sides, scattered in amongst chocolate shops and other places.

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We had lunch at Crab Louie’s, which featured a very memorable lady out the front spruiking. She came from Virginia, had very definite views about everything, and a cutting sense of humour to go along with it. She was very adequate lunchtime entertainment, and the food – I had a cup of creamy clam chowder then calamari and chips – was also very good.

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Beautiful Carmel

On our way back to the car, we walked up to a viewing deck with a nice view across the water, and were lucky enough to see otters swimming through the water and sunning themselves.

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Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey

We’re staying in an Air BNB rental in Oakland, which is about a mile from the local train station, Fruitvale. From there to the waterfront in San Francisco it’s about a twenty-minute train ride.

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After shopping at a nearby Safeway supermarket, we had a great pork stir-fry, washed down by some alcohol – Bud Light for the boys, and mum finally cracked open her jumbo bottle of California Merlot that we bought in San Diego – then watched Game Two of the World Series (baseball’s championship series; Los Angeles vs. Houston – and an episode of NCIS.

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Sea otter

Tomorrow, we’re heading downtown tomorrow on what promises to be another spectacular weather day – still very warm – for a cruise on the Bay and one of my favourite things to do in America: bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge.


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