2 On The Road Blog

On October 9, 2004 we moved into our Hitchhiker fifth-wheel trailer and hit the road as full-time RVers. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos was described by landscape artist Francis McComas as "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world". Well this point does have some dramatic scenery. We started our hike at Whalers Cove, where scuba divers were having fun. From here we got on the North Shore Trail and started walking the perimeter of the point.

There were a lot of rocks off Cannery Point and the surf was pounding. It was a windy day so the surf was up.

The climb toward Bluefish Cove.

Bluefish Cove



Just to show what the trail looked like.
Looking backward after we started hiking up Whalers Knoll Trail.

This is the view from the top of Whalers Knoll. From this prometory a signal flag was raised when whales were signted and lowered when the boat crew was heading in the right direction. Monarch Butterflies congregate on this knoll from October to March. It was cold and windy this day in late April so it's hard to believe Monarchs stay here in the winter time.
Once we got back down to the North Shore Trail we took a side trail called Old Veterans Trail. This old cypress clinging to the side of the rock is called Old Veteran Cypress. Point Lobos was originally acquired to protect the Cypress trees. Some of the trees and rocks on the norh-facing slopes are covered in an orange, velvety layer of green algae. The orange color comes from carotene. Supposedly the algae doesn't harm the trees.
.. The next trail we hike is the Cypress Grove Trail where we see the prettiest views on the Point.












This rock is home to California Sea Lions. The name "Point Lobos" refers to sea lions and their barking.

Sea Lion Point or Punta De Los Lobos Marinos as seen from the Cypress Grove Trail.
Some other visitors agreed to take a photo of us.

Harbor seals and sea lions were enjoying the beach on Sea Lion Point.
Looking south toward Sand Hill Cove and down to Bird Island.
The information booth at the Sea Lion Point parking area gave us information on the sea lions and seals that are here.

....As we walked the North Shore Trail back to our car, we encountered deer in the trail. They sure weren't bothered by our presence.
When we got back around to Bluefish Cove seals were playing by the beach.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mission San Carlos Borromeo

The Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo (Carmel Mission) was established by Father Junipero Serra at Monterey in 1770 and moved to Camel in 1771. Originally it was made of wood, enclosed by a palisade of poles. On the left of the photo you can see one side of the quadrangle of mission buildings. Within the courtyard formed by these buildings is a fountain. Father Serra died before the present building of stone was erected. From the brochure we were given as we entered the grounds - "The interior walls curve inward as they rise. The ceiling follows the sweep of the walls, forming a beautiful catenary arch. The tower is of Moorish design and holds nine bells, which are reached by an outside staircase. Originally the walls were covered by a lime plaster made from burnt seas shells, and the floor was covered with burnt tile. " Father Serra's body is buried beneath the church floor in front of the alter. "By the year 1823 the Indian population had dwindled to 381. In 1833 Padre Jose Real took charge of Carmel. In 1834 the Mission was secularized, that is, the church was changed in status to a conventional parish. The mission lands were absorbed by the Hispanic settlers, and the Indians were dispersed. Gradually the church and quadrangle fell into ruin. The United States took control of California in 1846. It was not until 1884 that Father Angel Casanova undertook the work of saving this historic landmark. A wooden roof was put on the mission which, although saving the structure, was not in keeping with the original architectual style of the Church."
The gardens in the area before the church have many pretty flowers. We asked a docent what these were called and she couldn't tell us. Later in the day we saw them growing along the highway.
There were many beautiful roses.
I'm assuming these were a type of lily.
Another plant we didn't know the name of.
Nolan in front of what looks like a huge aloe vera bush.
The bell tower from inside the quadrangle.
The fountain in the courtyard.
We didn't take any photos inside the church because there was another tour group in it. Some of the other buildings had historical information.
Now those are some old books.





Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Winchester Mystery House

So have you heard of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA? Well I had years ago and just had to see it since we were in the area. You need to go to www.winchestermysteryhouse.com to get good details but it has this short explanation. "No one has been able to explain the mysteries that exist within the Winchester Mansion, or why Sarah Winchester kept the carpenters' hammers pounding 24 hours a day for 38 years. It is believed that after the untimely deaths of her baby daughter and husband, son of the Winchester Rifle manufacturer, Mrs. Winchester was convinced by a medium that continuous building would appease the evil spirits of those killed by the famous "Gun that Won the West" and help her attain eternal life. Certainly her $20,000,000 inheritance was sufficient to support her obsession until her death at 82!"
While we waited for our tour to begin, we toured the gift shop and the Winchester Products Museum where we found this. Looking at the construction of the house you can see that Mrs. Winchester was both crazy and brilliant. She had innovations built in that were way before their time including radiant heat floors, floating foundation and the rotating washer system for washing the cards.
We were not allowed to take photos during the tour of the mansion but we saw all the highlights including doors and windows opening onto blank walls, a window in the floor and several doors that opened into empty spaces.
Mrs Winchester had many employees to take care of the house and grounds. They were paid well above the regular wages of the time and she provided free housing and education for all of them.









Once we got outside, we took a walk around the grounds. This is the Foreman's House. It had 8 rooms complete with indoor plumbing nd electricity.




This is where the carriage road enters the house. The garden includes plants from over 110 different countries.
The photos they have in the house that show it from the air really show how rambling it is. It used to be 7 stories high but the 1906 earthquake made two towers so unstable that they were torn down.






The greenhouse.
You can see people on the fourth floor balcony. We were there before the tour ended.
The spot with all the windows is the south conservatory.
Supposedly there is a huge Monkey Puzzle Tree on the property but we didn't see it.
There were a lot of calla lilies.
As we moved toward the front lawn we finally got to see a good view of the house. The black area is an area that was unfinished at the time of Mrs. Winchester's death. Look at the tree that is growing up alongside the black area. The next photo is a closer shot.











We didn't see what it was until we got up close. Yeap, the number 13. There are many 13's built into the house because Mrs. Winchester thought it was a lucky number.
This is the main drive as it comes off the street and approaches the house. Mrs. Winchester had 13 palm trees along it.
This is the cupid fountain with the water coming out of a swan's mouth and the mouths of three frogs.
Nolan really thought the hedges must be machined trimmed because they are so uniformally square.
Notice the bushes in the front? They are shaped just like the finials on the roof.

This is the Cherub fountain. The Cherub ( a small boy) is riding a Hippocampus (a sea monster that has the head of a horse and the body of a fish).

It's hard to see this but it's a chart of architectural features of the house.
This photo shows some of those architectural features. If you double-click the photo, it will enlarge so you can see the 'Door to Nowhere". We saw the door from the inside.
There were so many beautiful stained-glass windows in the house, some not even installed. One room holds the un-installed stained-glass and it is called the $25,000 room because it holds $25,000 worth of stained-glass.
Beveled glass is prevalent in the house.
The beautiful front doors were only used by three people... Mrs. Winchester and the two carpenters that installed them. They were installed right before the 1906 earthquake. That earthquake trapped Mrs. Winchester in her bedroom and caused her to board up the front 30 rooms of the house.
Our final look at the house before we left the premises. We toured 110 rooms of the 160 room mansion. It is estimated that 500 to 600 rooms were built over the course of the 38 years of 24/7 construction.