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USA - wine tasting and redwood forest

April 2018

San Francisco Skyline

Undulating San Francisco with the infamous prison island

We spent several days on the large parking area of the view platform Vista Point at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. During our visits to this interesting town using Hop-On Hop Off busses, our vehicle was well guarded by the many tourists taking pictures of the Skyline of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. The sheriffs also had a watchful eye on the place.

Our recorded impressions of San Francisco:


Exiting search for camping spots in the USA

At the Baja California in Mexico we had many camping opportunities, especially on beaches where we could stay cheaply. But now we are traveling the USA again.
Back in the days it was possible to stay over free of charge on the huge parking places of the Walmart shopping centres. Especially at the Westcoast this possibilities are nowadays limited. To blame are the users of these premises themselves for not adhering to waste removal and other instructions.

We met German travellers in Mexico who are traveling south in a truck. They proudly told us that they did an oil change on the parking lot of a shopping centre. What did the Mexicans think when they saw the gringo underneath his truck! Even if he had disposed of the waste oil correctly it was probably not the cleverest thing to do. Such behaviour increases prohibitions. And exactly these people are the ones complaining later!

The work would have cost 25 Euros in a Mexican workshop. And a local would have earned something. It is okay to travel economically. Surely not like this though!

Cirrus Truck Camper at Castello di Amorosa

Monterey – 17 Mile Drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea

After the visit to Monterey we drove along the scenic Pacific Grove. On a private road – 10$ per vehicle – we swerved along the wildly romantic coastline together with many other tourists, passing multi-million-dollar villas. We adored the wonderful landscape, numerous bird species, seals, sea lions and cormorants at many scenic points. Not to forget the golfers, playing on one of the 10 golf courses along the beach.
We strolled aroundCarmel by the Sea, place of the beautiful and rich with chick boutiques.

Bird Rock near Monterey

Casino sleep-over without financial loss

Large, cheap or free parking spots of the camper-friendly casinos are a welcomed change. The spots are well guarded and often much quieter than the up to 100$ campsite. On top the casino restaurants offer varied budget buffets.  

We always win relatively large amounts of money by not gambling! Watching how most people lose their money is entertainment enough for us. Just shortly we wittnessed an especially witty competition. At thirty different stations people had 5 minutes to collect as many points as possible. Consequently, the players hammered crazily with different techniques onto the keyboards.  The one’s typing normally had no chance. The winner received a voucher of 500 points valued at 50 $, which he managed to gamble away in no time.

no risk - no fun

Costly proof of existence for the AHV

Every year the Federal Old Age and Survivor’s Insurance AHV requires and official confirmation that its pension recipients are still alive. We filled in the official document in an American police station and the officer certified with stamp and signature that I was standing in front of him – alive. 

The Swiss AHV officers require the confirmation in its original form and only in German language. No go for scanning and emailing!  Consequently we courriered the confirmation with UPS: cost 142 $.
PS: Next time we will make the effort to visit a Swiss Embassy in one of the towns that signs these important forms and sends them back to Switzerland directly and free of charge.

Edy like always in action

At Napa Valley – wine tasting at more than 300 vineyards

Stop, «do you have an appointment for wine tasting?» No, we just wanted to have a look. Degustation of the normal brands 30-40 Dollar per person, the exquisite once have heftier prices.

Swan beak performance – attack on a vineyard

A lovely photo motive – a spectacular sight – powerfully he beats the water surface with his wings, head lowered and shoulders high – before the attack!
… without words … Brigitte took her heels…

swan attack

Gigantic coastal mammoth trees, the highest worldwide

At the Pacific coast of North California, we visited the Redwood National and State Parks. We marvelled at the protected woods on our way driving through and on long walks. These ancient giant Redwoods, over 2000 years old and over 110 metres tall, grow with time such thick crowns that hardly any sunlight reaches the ground.  On top Roosevelt elk can be seen next to the road.

Redwood Forest

Redwood Forest Drive Thru