In May 2014 I took a trip with my wife, Jess, that I would consider a “bucket list” trip that I’ve wanted to take for a long time. We rented a convertible and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to San Francisco while catching a couple Minnesota Twins baseball games in both cities (of course). It was a fantastic trip and was probably one of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken. The Pacific Coast is just beautiful and varies so much from one end of California to the other from the soft warm ocean breezes in San Diego to the majestic redwoods near San Francisco. Our trip started in beautiful San Diego to catch the Twins take on the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
All these photos and more are available in my online archive: California
As always, I encourage you to click on the photos to view them larger.
I had heard that Petco Park was one of the nicest ballparks in the Majors and it did not disappoint. It has a stunning view of downtown San Diego, especially at sunset.
We were only in San Diego for about 18 hours since we knew we had a long drive up the PCH, but before we left I got up at sunrise to take a couple photos from our hotel.
After that it was time to hit the road.
In one day we drove from San Diego all the way up to Carmel, which was about 13 hours worth of driving by way of the PCH. We then spent one night in Carmel and one night in Monterey making sure to visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.
After that it was back on the road once again as we made our way up to San Francisco.
Instead of staying in San Francisco, my wife had the great idea of staying in Sausalito instead. Sausalito is located across the bay by taking the Golden Gate Bridge and it offers some fantastic views of San Francisco. My wife found a hotel called Inn Above Tide that is located right on the water looking straight at downtown San Francisco. I think this was my favorite part of the trip. All of these photos below were shot right from our room.
I’ve actually been to San Francisco before. In 2008, Jess and I traveled to catch Dave Matthews Band play 3 concerts at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. Unfortunately, we really didn’t spend much time in San Francisco on that trip and never went to see the Golden Gate Bridge. I definitely wanted to rectify that this trip! I know that the weather in San Francisco can be very finicky with clouds and fog rolling in regularly. We were lucky enough to catch some great weather with mostly clear skies or at least very little fog. I made sure to take advantage of it and capture as many photos of the Golden Gate Bridge as I could.
Since we stayed in Sausalito fairly close to the Golden Gate Bridge, we decided to rent some bikes from our hotel that they offer for free and ride over the Bridge into San Francisco. I need to point out that I honestly hadn’t ridden a bike since probably before I got my driver’s license, which had to have been at least 15 years before. Needless to say, riding a bike for the first time in 15 years in San Francisco was an adventure! However, I learned by example that the old saying, “you never forget how to ride a bike” really is true, although maybe a little less steady than I remember as a kid. These are the bikes that safely carried us from Sausalito across the Golden Gate Bridge and back.
We rode our bikes up to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre and back.
Of course, one of the reasons we were in San Francisco was to catch the Minnesota Twins play the Giants at AT&T Park. I had been wanting to see this ballpark for a long time. It’s in such a great location right on the water and there isn’t another ballpark in baseball quite like this one. One amazing thing about the Giants is that they sell out EVERY GAME. At the game we caught it was their 271st consecutive sell out! It provides an awesome atmosphere for the game because the fans are so supportive of the Giants. Sold out games also make for better photos of ballparks as well.
After the game we walked around the waterfront area of San Francisco.
Before we left California I really wanted to see some of the famous redwoods, so we drove up to Muir Woods National Monument just north of Sausalito. Seeing those trees was just amazing and it really does feel something like a spiritual experience. There is no way that photos can accurately capture the feeling that you get walking around those giants trying to wrap your mind around that they have been living for thousands of years. As I walked around them I tried to imagine the changes in history that they had lived and continue to live through. So much of our world has changed, but their little world has remained largely unchanged (thanks to important conservation efforts). It was like walking through time. Although no photos can really do the experience justice, I tried my best anyway. Don’t let these photos fool you, it was actually really dark when we were walking through there. We didn’t get there until about an hour or so before they closed, which was nice because there weren’t that many people there and if I remember right I think admission was also free since it was so late in the day!
The drive up to Muir Woods was almost as good as the destination.
One last view of San Francisco before we left.
Of course, I was active on Instagram throughout this trip shooting with my iPhone (always and only iPhone on Instagram). Here are a couple snaps that I shot and edited on my phone, which can be seen on my Instagram feed (@ben_c_krause):
Now you might be wondering why I’m posting photos from this trip in October when we took the trip in May and that would be a fair question. The truth is it just took me a long time to edit the photos among all the other things I was doing over the summer. Also, for some reason I just had trouble working up the motivation to work on these photos. I spent a long time editing them to get them just how I wanted and even then I still wasn’t totally satisfied with a lot of them (not uncommon for me). As I usually do when I travel I shot most of the photos using my Nikon D800 and several of the photos are stitched panoramas and HDR edits. So all of the photos are really high resolution. One of my shots of the Golden Gate Bridge posted above has a resolution of about 13,000 x 7,000. Hopefully I can make some nice prints of some of these photos.
If you’ve made it this far, then I’m impressed and thank you! I hope you enjoyed seeing my photos from our great trip up the California coast.
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