Thursday, August 28, 2014

The San Francisco Bay Area

We stayed in Petaluma, which is about 30 miles north of San Francisco, while spending some time in the San Francisco Bay area. Petaluma is close to Sonoma so we were compelled to do some more wine tasting. We find the Sonoma area a bit more laid back than Napa, and they have some lovely wineries and excellent wines.

Beautiful setting and some very nice wineries. The tasting rooms weren't crowded which is always nice since we like to talk to the people behind the bar. It seems we always learn something new about the wine making process.

One of the reasons we stop in the Bay area is to visit our very good friends Kathy and Dan who live in SF. They are in the North Beach area and we're able to walk from their place to some excellent restaurants, and it's also a short walk to the Embarcadero. Plus they provide us with off-street parking which is a big deal in SF. As we explored the Embarcadero one day we got some great views, including Alcatraz out in the middle of the bay. One of these days we'll take the tour.

We strolled along the piers which have lots of restaurants and tourist attractions. We came to Pier 39 which has a herd of sea lions and an interesting story. A few California sea lions began hauling out on Pier 39′s K-Dock shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake hit San Francisco in October 1989. By January 1990, the sea lions started to arrive in droves and completely took over K-Dock, much to the exasperation of Pier 39′s Marina tenants. The Marina Staff turned to The Marine Mammal Center, an organization devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals, for advice about their new tenants. After much debate and research, the experts from The Marine Mammal Center recommended that the sea lions stay in their new found home.With a plentiful supply of food from the Bay and an environment protected from predators, the Pier 39 Marina proved to be an ideal living situation for the sea lions. They seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Since Kathy and Dan enjoy wine-tasting as much as we do, we had to make time for it. We went to the Sebastopol area, northwest of Petaluma. It was a lovely drive to some new (to us) wineries. A bit of the bubbly at Iron Horse . . .

and some more fine wines at Hartford Family Estates. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

After we left Petaluma we went to Carmichael, which is just outside of Sacramento, and visited our friends Ken and Kris.

We met Ken and Kris in Mexico and have enjoyed their friendship, so it was great to stop and spend some time with them. Wonderful hosts, showed us around the area, and Kris and I were even able to spend a bit of time floating around their backyard pool. We were entertained by Ken play his Blues harp with a local band one night which was lots of fun. For those followers who like food pictures - you know who you are - here's one of the fabulous breakfast Ken made for us. Yummy!

Our route, Ukiah to Petaluma 76 miles, Petaluma to Carmichael 96 miles.


  1. We are looking forward to exploring the San Francisco area in November for 4 or 5 days before we head on to Mexico. We are hoping to take in the tour of Alcatraz while we are there. I think maybe we will just have to check out the sea lions at Pier 39, now that you have told us the story about them. Glad you had a good time there.

    1. The SF area is great and I'm sure you'll love it. If you plan to go to Alcatraz I'd suggest getting your tickets well in advance - they were sold out when we tried to go. Might not be as bad in November but it's worth checking it out ahead of time since you can buy the tickets online. I hope we'll see you in Mexico this winter!