Okay, i know some of you have been waiting to view the photos taken in my recent trip to USA, so im gonna try to fit all the best photos from this trip into one post. I took more photos on this trip then any other trip I’ve ever taken, so it’s gonna be hard to narrow down enough for a blog post. Most likely i might have to do it in sections. It might be a little bit till I get to Part 2, I’ve been really busy and haven’t really had time to put it all together. It will probably be a big one for sure. First, I’ll give a little recap of what went down.
This blog post covers my trip in California, San Francisco via the Pacific Coast Highway and in Los Angeles (LA) for the scenics. San Francisco presents the world with a multitude of activities from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the most popular activities takes no money and very little effort. Watching the sea lions at Pier 39 captivates young and old. The sea lions, or sea-lebrities, have been hanging out at Pier 39 since the 1990s.
We arrived in San Francisco on a sunny bright afternoon. We went straight to our hotel, The San Francisco Inn on Lombard Street. After unloading our luggage, we hit the streets headed out for some urban adventuring.
Our first stop was to the Pier at the end of Van Ness Ave for some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the city of San Fran. One of my main destinations was to head to Pier 39 where the Sea Lions have taken over the docks. So we headed down Jefferson St towards the Sea Lions, passing through fishermans wharf and a few shops on the way. We finally made it to Pier 39, it was pretty crazy how hundreds of these Sea Lions were fat and happy just laying on these docks all day.
There’s no lack of entertainment at Pier 39. Musicians, street artists, jugglers, even a high-dive stunt team perform on the pier’s three main stages, adding a carnival dimension to the nautical atmosphere.
Managed to locate The Monterey Bay Aquarium from the Phoenix and found my way to Pier 39. There weren't many people around upon arrival. We went straight in to see the nice collection of fish, jellyfish, sharks etc in tanks and two walking tunnels. They specialised in local fish so not much of corals and tropicals, but lots of sea anemones with other fish.
A stunningly clear and warm day in San Francisco, pre-tourist season, is captured in this photo of Pier 39. This positively was the best day for locals to be at Fisherman's Wharf before the crowds and fog roll in.
Pier 39, once an abandoned shipping cargo pier, is the newest of the restaurant-shopping meccas along San Francisco’s northern waterfront. Just east of Fisherman’s Wharf, this pier – the length of three Football fields – embraces many restaurants and specialty shops, and two marinas, as well as a bayside park. Adding to the authenticity of the complex is a two-level arcade built from weathered wood salvaged from the demolition of other piers.
Being at Pier 39 was fully sensory. The barking of sea lions for your ears, the fresh salted air for your nose and beautiful bay views for your eyes.
Marinas flank Pier 39, offering 350 berths to fishing boats, pleasure craft and guest boats. The Blue and Gold Fleet runs bay tour excursions - instructions in windsurfing, sailing and sportfishing are also offered.
Those who are privileged to visit San Francisco never fail to recall with pleasure their stroll along this city’s historic Fisherman’s Wharf. Here they can peer down at the fishing craft gently riding in the calm water or pause to watch fishermen mending a net and listen to shouted Latin-tongued exchanges between the followers of the sea.
Some scenic views taken from the Pacific Coast Highway.
The extreme weight of all the Sea Lions, which weigh about 800 lbs each, were causing some of the docks to be partially submerged. They were mostly just sleeping but every once one would belch out their trademark “AARRFFF” sound and try to bite their own friends.
The sea lions sleep on the docks, having taken over the pier from the boatowners. They nudge each other around on the docks and bark at one another, causing gales of laughter from the crowd. It is illegal to feed or taunt the sea lions. However, the seagulls will be happy to disarm you of your popcorn, cotton candy, or ice cream cone. I am aware that the sea lion populaton can increase to as many as 900, especially during winter season. While Pier 39 has many shops and attractions, the sea lions are really what you will remember.
MAde our way to The Grand Canyon which is just what it implies, “Grand”. For many people, their experience of one of the most visited National Parks in America is a scenic drive through the park, a short hike to one of the many viewpoints, a trip to the visitor center, dinner at the lodge and hitting a shop or two for souvenirs.
I stood at right on top of the hill, snapping breathtaking views of Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Everyone who has seen it say that one needs to experience it to feel the magnificence of this great expanse of nature's artwork. Pictures do not do justice to its beauty, but we all want to engrave this memorable experience into something that is hopefully more lasting than our human memories.
If your vehicle has a sunroof, targa top, or is a convertible, this is a drive that you’ll really enjoy with the top open. The smells of fresh mountain air spiced with pine and cedar are intoxicating and the ability to see above as you drive adds an impressive dimension to the experience.
The views from Glacier Point are simply amazing. It’s a photographer’s dream vantage point.
Glacier Point received it's name because glaciers formed this point by moving around the mountain and carving out the point. Glacier Point enjoys about a million visitors a year.
One of the best viewpoints in the world is from the top of Glacier Point. The Yosemite Valley, Tenaya Canyon and all the park high points are visible from here.
Because of its beauty, Yosemite is usually very crowded for most warmer months of the year. Apparently, most people go to Yosemite in the late spring or early summer, because the melting snow creates numerous waterfalls, off the steep rock faces of the valley. There were no waterfalls when we visited Yosemite but it was still amazingly spectacular. It is especially lovely during sunset.
I must say that the mixed blessing of America is that anyone with a car can go anywhere. Travel is mostly about dreams — dreaming of landscapes or cities, imagining yourself in them, murmuring the bewitching place names, and then finding a way to make the dream come true. The dream can also be one that involves hardship, slogging through a forest, paddling down a river, living in a hostile place, testing your adaptability, hoping for some sort of revelation.
My idea was not to linger anywhere, but to keep on the move, as though to create in my mind one long panning shot. I was reminded in this US trip that much of my life has been spent this way — improving the quality of my life. I wanted to see the glimmering spaces in the distances that lay between big cities, the road that unrolled before me.
The roadtrip to America is definitely a mind spiritually-fruitful journey to remember in my life. :-)
A roadtrip to USA - Part 2 - To be continued......
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
That's Life, Capture It! Blog is Pledged to Singapore Memory Project
Browse That's Life, Capture It! Blog @Flickr
Follow That's Life, Capture It! Blog in Twitter