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July 11th 2008
Published: June 26th 2017
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Geo: 44.0499, -123.089

We are now in Eugene having spent five enjoyable but frustrating days in the USA. We landed in San Francisco with great expectations. Our Hotel, the Carlton was great and was within easy walking and Cable Car distance of all. The one drawback was that we did not have our luggage. We reported this through American Airlines and expected that it would arrive at any moment. However, we were determined it would not spoil our time here. On the first day we went to Fisherman's wharf. The original areas here were great but the new Pier 39 was much too touristy and over the top for us. We had a great lunch at Fisherman's Grotto, the original restaurant there where I had Dungeness Crab which is a specialty. The huge piles of them outside on the stalls were impressive. We took a small boat ride out on the harbour. This was run by a couple of young guys and was less touristy and significantly cheaper than the alternatives. We went out under the Golden Gate bridge where we were encouraged to "kiss your date under the gate". We then encircled Alcatraz where the various buildings were identified. The next day we picked up our car, a Buick Lacrosse. We drove south along the coast stopping at Santa Cruz where I wanted to see the famous Boardwalk. This was a huge disappointment being a tacky amusement park. We drove on to Monterey, Steinbeck Country. He is my favourite American author and I wanted to see the area he wrote about. Monterey was well presevered. The old Custom House showed how this was once ruled by Mexico until the Americans took it during the American/Mexican War. We walked to Cannery Row which is now modernised but they have tried to preserve some of the character of the place. There is only one small section which is still a fish factory. Still it was interesting to see.
The next day we drove out to San Francisco airport. There we eventually found a Qantas baggage officer and though he tried to fob us off we made it very clear we were not leaving until we found our bags. Once he realised we were serious it only took him 15 minutes to find our luggage!! At last!! We then drove north over the Golden Gate bridge and headed for the Redwoods area. We found a drive through tree and were amazed at how huge these trees are. We stopped for the night st a seaside town, Eureka. This had a great old town area which has been restored. Had a great meal at the Waterfront Cafe with some local Pinot Gris.
Today we drove from Eureka through great country of Redwood forrests and National Parks. We have come to Eugene because it it one of the premium athletics tracks in the country and Fletcher wants to check it out. We had a great meal tonight in Ambrosia's and have finally been able to access the internet to register this blog.
Although we have had some frustrations along the way we are enjoying ourselves immensely, especially the loose agenda and the ability to drive where we want.


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