Ron Horii's Travel FAQs
Replies to the Bay Area Backroads Message Board - 2001

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Contents - 2001

  1. Day trips/parks around San Jose
  2. Grandma Goose Bomber Flights over Bay Area
  3. Palo Alto Old Maritime Radio Station
  4. Roller Blading trails near San Jose
  5. Big Sur Websites
  6. Pt Lobos
  7. Walking Paths in the Bay Area
  8. Need birthday suggestions
  9. Auburn Day Trip
  10. Skyline to Ridge Trail
  11. Oyster
  12. Water Temple
  13. Bike riding on backroads
  14. Day Trip Using Public Transportation Only?
  15. Flight simulators
  16. Picnic spots
  17. Scenic drive
  18. Edgewood County Park Wildflowers
  19. Getaway??
  20. Almaden Quicksilver
  21. Need ideas quick! Fun, cheap ideas
  22. Employee picnic
  23. Any good beaches around?
  24. Suggestions for wedding pictures
  25. Kid Friendly Resorts and other day trips good for kids
  26. Haunted hotel
  27. Camping for 6/8-6/10?
  28. Petrified Forest
  29. Caves
  30. Lighthouses
  31. Samuel P. Taylor State Park
  32. Clear Lake
  33. Hiking Food

In Reply to: Day trips/parks around San Jose, posted on February 24, 2001

Q: I will be in the south Bay Area during the 1st part of June...I'm going to San Francisco one day and would like to see some whales or country/parks for a day trip. Any suggestions?

A: See my hiking page for parks:

See the Santa Clara County parks page:

No whales in SJ unless one swims up the Alviso Slough. You need to go to the coast. Take Hwy 9 from Saratoga to Santa Cruz. Stop and see the giant redwoods at Henry Cowell State Park in Felton. See the Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz. It has a real whale skeleton. You might be able to see whales from the cliffs there with binoculars. The Santa Cruz City Museum has a full-size concrete whale in front. Go to the Santa Cruz Harbor and ask about whale-watching tours.

I was just kidding about seeing whales in the Bay. By strange coincidence, a pod of whales was spotted in the Bay just south of the Dumbarton Bridge yesterday. See this story:

Who knows. If they keep swimming south, they just might end up in Alviso.

By the way, there is a bicycle/pedestrian path along the south side of the Dumbarton Bridge, so you can go up on the bridge and look for whales. See:
You can also go to the end of the Dumbarton Pier, which is a remnant of the old bridge on the Fremont side. 

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In Reply to: Grandma Goose Bomber Flights over Bay Area, posted on February 28, 2001

Q: Old WWII bomber (B-52) - with Grandma Goose Cookies logo on it - you can sign up for a ride over the bay area on this plane - I think it leaves from Moffet - anyone know of this?

A: A B-52 isn't a WWII bomber. It's a 1950's Cold War-era jet strategic bomber still in use by the Air Force. I doubt they'd give rides in it.

I remember there was a Backroads story about Otis Spunkmeyer Airlines, which gave rides in an old DC-3 from the Oakland Airport:

I heard they stopped, though. 

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In Reply to: Palo Alto Old Maritime Radio Station, posted on February 28, 2001

Q: There is an impressive antenna farm located in the Palo Alto Baylands near the Palo Alto Airport. It is merely described as an "old maritime radio station" on their website for the wetland park areas off of Embaradero Road. I would love to know more about this closed station's history. If you know of who to contact, it would be great to get a tour to photograph the grounds, interior, etc. to post to a website.

A: I don't know if this is it, but it sounds like it. Check it out:

You can get close to the radio station from the Bay Trail. See: 

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In Reply to: Roller Blading trails near San Jose, posted on March 01, 2001

Q: I want to know if there are any roller blading trails in the Bay Area.

A: I'm a bicyclist, not a skater, but many of the paved multi-use bike trails are excellent for roller-blading. The best are the Stevens Creek Trail, the Los Gatos Creek Trail, the Alamitos Creek Trail, the Coyote Creek Trail, and paved sections of the Bay Trail. See these links:

Miles of trails are under construction, with some complete, in downtown San Jose at the Guadalupe River Parks and Gardens:

If you don't mind driving a little, the East Bay has some excellent trails: the Alameda Creek Trail, the Iron Horse Trail, the Lafayette-Moraga Trail, and the Contra Costa Canal Trail, among others.


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In Reply to: Big Sur Websites, posted on March 04, 2001

Q: Where can I find websites about the big sur's history, geography, interesting facts etc.?

A: The Backroads stories are good. They've been to Big Sur a lot. I have an old Webpage on state parks with links to the Big Sur area. I haven't updated it in a couple of years, but most of the links are still good:

Here are some more links:
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce:


Natural History Of Big Sur (book):

Pelicannetwork - Hwy One in Big Sur:

Pelicannetwork - Eco Guide to Big Sur:

Go - Spotlight Big Sur:

Big Sur: California State Parks System


Guestlife Monterey Bay - Big Sur:

Webtraveler Big Sur Virtual Tour:

Big Sur Geographic Overview:


The Central Coast Bioregion:

Wild Coast And Lonely: Big Sur Pioneers (book): 

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In Reply to: Pt Lobos, posted on March 09, 2001

Q: We are going to Pt. Lobos tomorrow for the first time! I've downloaded wonderful info from their website, but are there any other tips/info on what to expect?

A: Check this out:

Go early in the day. The park opens at 9 am. They only let a limited number of cars in at a time. If you don't mind walking, park outside and
walk in. You can also bike in. Once you get there, hit the trails, starting from Whaler's Cove. Bring your walking shoes. The best scenery has
to be seen on foot. There are no food concessions in the park, so bring your own. Take the trails that follow along the coast. The shear cliffs,
cypress forests, deep blue coves, and tiny islets make for spectacular scenery. Inland, the forests are draped with Spanish moss and colored
by red algae. There are great tidepools around Sea Lion Point, where you can spot sea lions lounging on the rocks. Make sure you go all the
way to the end of the park road. This is a nice place to picnic. Some of the best scenery is just south of here. Take the Bird Island Trail.
Walk down to China Beach. See Bird Island, the grottoes, and sea caves in this area. Watch for sea otters in the kelp beds.

Point Lobos is relatively compact, so it's easy to see everything. Nowhere else will you find such awesome coastal scenery in one spot. 

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In Reply to: Re: Walking Paths in the Bay Area, posted on March 11, 2001

Q: What fantastic walking paths in the Bay Area can you recommend? We've been on a few up in Santa Cruz mtns..

A: There are lots of places. You can see some on my hiking page:
and biking page:
If you like photography, here are some great viewpoints:
and beaches:
and the Bay Trail:

Some of my favorite places in the South Bay are Santa Teresa County Park:
and Almaden Quicksilver County Park:

One of my favorite places is the Pt. Reyes/Tomales Bay area in Marin County:
With over 140 miles of trails through a tremendous variety of terrain, you could explore it for days.
Nearby are also some very scenic places: Bodega Bay, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Bolinas Lagoon, Audubon Canyon, Stinson Beach, Muir Beach, the Marin Headlands, Rodeo Lagoon and Beach, Muir Woods, and Mt. Tamalpais. If you search the Backroads past stories, you can find lots that they did on this area. Also see these:

Here's a great guide to viewing the flora and fauna of the Bay Area:
and if you like wildflowers, here's a hotsheet:
Here are some guided photo walks (for a fee):
and a photography discussion group: 

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In Reply to: Need birthday suggestions, posted on March 13, 2001

Q: Coming to the Bay Area to help a friend celebrate their birthday. Looking for some unique, fun, adventurous indoor and outdoor suggestions (activities, places to see, eat, etc.) for birthday celebration in early July.

A: There are a number of possibilities, but a novel idea just hit me: Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy should be open by then. Check it out: 

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In Reply to: Auburn Day Trip, posted on March 23, 2001

Q: I spent a day in Auburn last weekend and fell in love with it. I would love to spend some more time at other "mining towns" with that same type of charm. However, since I'm relatively new to this area, I don't know of any other towns like Auburn. Any suggestions? 

A: Placerville is a lot like Auburn. It's an historical town with an excellent historical museum. It also has a hard rock mining tunnel that you can go into. It's called the Gold Bug Mine in Bedford Park. You can see a picture of the mine and some other pictures of Gold Rush towns here:

Other nice Gold Rush towns, all along Hwy 49:
Nevada City, Coloma, San Andreas Jamestown, Sonora, Jackson, Angels Camp, Murphys, Columbia, and Mariposa.


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In Reply to: Skyline to Ridge Trail, posted on March 26, 2001

Q: Does anyone remember the name of the State Park in which the Trail known as "The Skyline To Ridge Trail" is located?

A: Are you sure you don't mean the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail? It goes through Big Basin State Park from the mountains down to the ocean north of Santa Cruz.

There's also the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which runs through a whole series of parks along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains and around the Bay Area.

There's Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, which is at the junction of Skyline Blvd. and Page Mill Road.


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In Reply to: Oyster, posted on April 01, 2001

Q: I am a oyster lover. My friends tell me there is a place in North Bay that I can find cheap oysters to eat. I think it is a oyster farm or something like that. Can anyone tell me where the location is?

A: There are several places to get oysters around Tomales Bay and Point Reyes. There's the Hog Island Oyster Co. in Marshall. See;

There's Johnson's Oyster Company on Drake's Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore. See:

Also see: 

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In Reply to: Water Temple, posted on April 01, 2001

Q: I was born and raised at Hayward, and one of the most beautiful sights I remember is a water temple (I think). I don't remember the name of the site but it seems that it was south, east, or southeast of Hayward. Can you help me locate it because I would like pictures, if the Temple is still there?

A: This is the Sunol Water Temple in Niles Canyon. It's reportedly in sad shape. See these links:

On the other hand, the nearly identical Pulgas Water Temple is in great shape, surrounded by a beautiful park, and easily accessible along Canada Road north of Edgewood Road, off Hwy 280. It is a popular spot, perhaps too popular. Teens were using it as a hangout, so they restricted parking to limited hours during weekdays. It is easily accessible by bike or foot, however, anytime. See: 

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In Reply to: Bike riding on backroads, posted on April 02, 2001

Q: Does anyone know any way to ride your bike from Concord to Berkeley in the shortest way possible?

A: The easiest way is to ride to the Concord BART station and take the BART, which allows bikes, to Berkeley.

Otherwise, these Websites may lead you to people who can suggest some routes and maybe ride with you:

Also try this:


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In Reply to: Day Trip Using Public Transportation Only? posted on April 06, 2001:

Q : Trying to go away this weekend from SF, but we don't have a car. Any thoughts on a fun day or two reachable by BART/Muni/GG Transit/other?

A: See:

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In Reply to: Flight simulators, posted on April 16, 2001

Q: Does anyone out there have any info on where the general public can go to, in the Northern CA Bay Area region, a flight simulator for an hour or two?

A: There is (or was) a place on Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View, a block east of 101, that had fighter plane simulators. It was called the Magic Edge, then later Fightertown USA, but the last time I went by there, they were closed. It's mentioned in this article:
Here's some more info:

There is a place in Southern California that has flight simulators:

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In Reply to: Picnic spots, posted on April 19, 2001

Q: My son's fist birthday is coming up soon. Where is a good picnic place for his birthday party? We're looking for something not too far from San Francisco. 

A: Try Coyote Point Recreation Area. See:
It has lots of picnic areas, several playgrounds, a great museum and zoo, and a wading beach. It tends to get crowded on sunny weekends, however.

Another good place is Junipero Serra County Park. It has picnic areas overlooking SFO and the Bay, with some nice playgrounds.

If you don't mind crossing the Bay, Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley is a great park, with train rides, a merry-go-round, pony rides, a petting farm, a swimming lake, a playground, and lots of picnic areas.

Also, don't forget Golden Gate Park.

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In Reply to: Scenic drive, posted on April 21, 2001

Q: My mom is turning 73, and she loves to sit in the passenger seat and ride for the day (round trip) from the bay area? Any ideas???

A: Here are some:

I updated this Web page above, adding a really scenic drive from San Jose to Napa and back, taking the scenic backroads all along the way. I wouldn't recommend taking this whole route in one day (I've never done it), but it gives you some ideas of some scenic segments to take.

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Subject: Edgewood County Park Wildflowers, Posted by Ronald Horii on April 21, 2001

Edgewood County Park in the hills above Redwood City is one of the best places in the Bay Area to view springtime wildflowers. I visited the park at the end of March and took pictures of the wildflowers and trails. I put them on this page:

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In Reply to: Getaway?? posted on April 17, 2001

Q: My boyfriend and I are planning a 5-day trip sometime in June. We would like to go somewhere scenic with lots to do since we have 5 days to spend. Please help us, we have no idea where to go!!! Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

A: If you go down the coast, you may face the infamous "June gloom" in many places - overcast and fog along the coast. On the other hand, this is a good time to visit the Sierras, either the eastern or western side. On the western side, you can travel up Hwy 49 and stop at the many historic Gold Rush towns along the Motherlode. On the Eastern side, you can travel along Hwy 395 and take side trips up into the lakes and resorts in the Sierras or into Nevada. Or you can do both, crossing over from one side to the other at Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, or Tehachapi.

Another alternative is to go up the Central Valley, stopping off at Sacramento, Marysville, Colusa, Chico, Red Bluff, Lassen National Park, Redding, Lake Shasta, Castle Crags, Mount Shasta, the Klamath River, then into Oregon to Ashland and Crater Lake. It will be warm in the Central Valley, but you can go swimming. If you go up to the mountains, like, Lassen, Shasta, or Crater Lake, you're likely to find snow. You can keep going up further through Oregon or come back down along the North Coast and see the giant redwoods.

My travel page may give you some more ideas:

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Subject: Almaden Quicksilver, posted by Ronald Horii on April 30, 2001

This Sunday's Backroads story on Almaden Quicksilver County Park and New Almaden was an excellent introduction to a true backroads gem. It's hard to believe so much history and rugged, scenic open space is just minutes away from shopping malls, homes, and Silicon Valley industriesBackroads did a good job showing the highlights of the area, but there are still more secrets for visitors to discover. The county park alone is huge - almost 4 Golden Gate Parks can fit into it. With 29 miles of trails, some climbing to nearly 1700 feet, it would take days to explore it all. I've been hiking there for years, and there are still places I haven't seen. For more details and pictures of the park and New Almaden, see this Website I made:

By the way, Doug was brave to go so far into the San Cristobal Mine. Did he go in all the way? It gives me the creeps every time I go in there. One time a bat flew over my head while I went into the tunnel entrance without a flashlight, which scared the heck out of me. There's a picture of the mine tunnel here:

The official park page, with trail map, is here:

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In Reply to: Need ideas quick! Fun, cheap ideas, posted on April 29, 2001

Q: Hello, I just got married and have a couple extra vacation days. My hubby is from Oregon, so I'd like to show him around the Bay Area. Any cheap, fun ideas out there? Something that wouldn't require a lot of driving would be good. 

A: That's easy. The easiest way to see the Bay Area (particularly the Bay itself) without a car and for little money is to hop on a bike (or walk) and take the Bay Trail. See:

One of my favorite sections is the ride from Redwood Shores to SFO, which is about 30 miles round trip. It can be broken into smaller segments. Coyote Point is along this route and is a good destination in itself. Another is to take the Stevens Creek Trail to Shoreline Park in Mountain View and the Palo Alto Baylands. One of the best, longest, and most challenging rides is from Menlo Park's Bayfront Park, over the Dumbarton Bridge to the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Newark, through Coyote Hills Regional Park, then up and down both sides of the Alameda Creek Trail to Niles Canyon, then back down to the Bay. A nice short route, which takes you along the edge of the Bay with some little pocket beaches, is along the San Leandro Shoreline to Marina Park.

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In Reply to: Employee picnic, posted on April 30, 2001

Q: Anyone have suggestions for approx 30 people for a day trip?

A: Where are you located, how far are you willing to go, what kinds of activities do you want to have, do you want it catered, and how much do you want to spend? Those are the considerations. Ideas can range from a city park where you bring your own food to a commercial establishment where everything's provided. Here are some ideas:

Paramount's Great America, Santa Clara
Marine World, Vallejo
Saratoga Springs, Saratoga
Coyote Ranch, Coyote
Bonfante Gardens, Gilroy (opening June 15)
Casa de Fruta, Pacheco Pass
Roaring Camp, Felton

China Camp State Park, San Rafael
Angel Island State Park
Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley
Golden Gate Park, SF
Lake Merced, SF
Lafayette Reservoir, Lafayette
Cull Canyon and Don Castro parks, Castro Valley
Lake Chabot, Castro Valley
Garin Regional Park, Hayward
Junipero Serra County Park, San Bruno
Coyote Point, San Mateo
Edgewood County Park, Redwood City
Shoreline Park, Mountain View
Fremont Central Park
Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont
Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Sunnyvale Baylands Park, Sunnyvale
Grant Ranch County Park, San Jose
Lake Almaden Park, San Jose
Lake Cunningham Park,, San Jose
Alum Rock Park, San Jose
Villa Montalvo, Saratoga
Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos
Anderson Lake County Park, Morgan Hill
Uvas Canyon County Park, Morgan Hill
Coyote Reservoir, Gilroy
Mount Madonna County Park, Hecker Pass
Henry Cowell State Park, Felton
Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz
Sanborn-Skyline County Park, Saratoga

Catering and planning:

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In Reply to: Any good beaches around? posted on May 03, 2001

Q: I want to take my girlfriend somewhere, and I'm thinking like a remote beach that not too many people go to that is really beautiful. Are there any around Santa Cruiz or somewhere within a 2 hour drive from Sunnyvale?

A: Here are some nice beaches:

Indian Beach at Tomales Bay State Park requires a short hike from popular Hearts Desire Beach so is much less crowded. There are other beaches on the shores of Tomales Bay, some reachable only by boat. Kayakking is a popular activity in the calm bay. The beaches on the Point Reyes side are windier and wilder, but wider. The beaches extend for miles and are less crowded the farther you go from the parking areas. Limantour Beach is particularly nice.

Closer to Sunnyvale, try Wilder Ranch State Park. You can walk or bike along the cliffs to some remote pocket beaches. See:

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In Reply to: Suggestions for wedding pictures, posted on May 10, 2001

Q: I will be getting married in August 2001 in San Jose and I'm trying to find a nice scenic area within SJ to take wedding photos. Can anyone help with suggestions?

A: Villa Montalvo and Hakone Gardens are excellent and popular locations. Some other ideas in the South Bay, depending on your tastes:
Japanese Friendship Gardens, San Jose Historical Museum, Kelley Park
Overfelt Gardens
San Jose Municipal Rose Gardens
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens, San Jose
Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos
Sanborn-Skyline County Park, Saratoga
Hellyer County Park
Penitencia Creek County Park and Gardens
Sunnyvale Baylands Park
Saratoga Springs
Alum Rock Park
Lake Almaden Park
Cupertino Memorial Park
Santa Clara Central Park
Mission Santa Clara (Santa Clara U.)
Stanford University
Children's Discovery Museum lawn
Rosicrucian Museum
Winchester Mystery House gardens
Emma Prusch Farm, San Jose
Shoreline Park & Rengstorff House, Mountain View
Ardenwood Historical Farm, Fremont
Fremont Central Park
UCSC Arboretum, Santa Cruz
Henry Cowell State Park and Roaring Camp, Felton
Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz
Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz

Here are links to some gardens:

You could also visit some professional photographers in the area and ask to look at some examples of their work, showing different locations. 

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In Reply to: Kid Friendly Resorts and other day trips good for kids, posted on May 19, 2001

Q: Does any one have any information about real kid friendly resorts near by or other kid friendly day trips an hour or so away? Also any kid-friendly bed and breakfasts in SF? Thanks.

A: I can't help you with resorts or B&B's, since I don't go to them, but you'll find ideas for day trips on my old Website:
I made this when my kids were younger. Since then, a few new things have popped up:
The Chabot Science Center in the East Bay hills
The Sony Metreon, Yerba Buena Gardens, Zeum, and Museum of Modern Art, all in the same area.
The Hiller Aviation Museum at the San Carlos Airport.
Crissy Field, San Francisco 

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In Reply to: Haunted hotel, posted on May 20, 2001

Q: I saw a Backroads show a while ago that ran a story about a Gold Rush town that had a haunted hotel. The proprietors commented that an apparition was often seen walking down the stairs. I checked the website, and found a story about the Cary House Hotel in Placerville, but I don't think that's it. Any comments would be appreciated.

A: The only story I remember about a haunted hotel was the Boulder Creek Lodge:

It's in the Santa Cruz Mountains off Hwy 9, so it's closer to the Bay Area than the Gold Country. 

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In Reply to: Camping for 6/8-6/10? posted on May 21, 2001

Q: I'm trying to plan a weekend getaway for 5-10 friends. Looking for a place closer than Yosemite where we can camp, hike, bike (many skill levels), and bring the dog. Wanted to do Pt. Reyes but that's booked solid on weekends through mid-August. Any other suggestions would be really appreciated.

A: Did you try the Olema Ranch Campground? It's in the Olema Valley near the Bear Valley entrance to Point Reyes. That's where I usually stay when I go camping at Point Reyes. I was able to get a campsite there on Labor Day weekend with only a few days notice. They have a couple of huge meadow overflow areas for latecomers. To get the best spots, which are in the trees near the shower rooms, reserve early. You can see them, as well as other places to go camping on my family camping page:
Olema Ranch has its own Website now:

My friends are going to Spring Lake in Santa Rosa soon, so I made a Web page on camping at Spring Lake as well as things to see and do in the surrounding areas: 

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In Reply to: Petrified Forest, posted on May 26, 2001

Q: Is the Petrified Forest still around? I believe it was located somewhere near the Russian River area.

A: It's been around for millions of years, and it's still there. It's between Santa Rosa and Calistoga. It's closer to Calistoga. You'll find directions
and a link here: County
Farther down on the page, you'll see a couple of pictures of it: Napa Pix

They mention it in the Backroads story on Calistoga: 

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In Reply to: Caves, posted on May 26, 2001

Q: Any *real* caves near San Francisco area? Sizeable ones with large stalagmites and underground ponds? Would appreciate links to such attractions.

A: Unfortunately, there are not many caves around the Bay Area. There are sea caves along the coast, but they're small. There are lots of tunnels and mine shafts in the Santa Cruz Mountains and at Almaden Quicksilver Park, but most of them are closed. The only caves with limestone formations that I know of are in the Sierras or the Cascades. The ones in the Sierras are California Cavern (which has an underground lake), Mercer Caverns, and Moaning Caverns. These are in the Gold Country around Sonora and Angels Camp. There's also Boyden Caverns in Kings Canyon, which has a little stream running through it.
See here for more info:
There's a picture of California Caverns on this page:
Crystal Caves is in Sequoia National Park:
A newly-opened cave is called Black Chasm Caverns near the Gold Country town of Volcano:

Up in the Cascades, there are caverns formed from Lava tubes. There are some by Mt. Shasta and Lava Beds National Monument. Shasta Caverns is up by Lake Shasta. Farther north is Oregon caves. See:

There are caves in Pinnacles National Monument south of Hollister, but they are formed from fallen rocks. The Bear Valley Cave is huge and has a creek flowing through it.
There's a picture of the Bear Valley Cave in Pinnacles National Monument on this page:

Other cave links:

In Reply to: Re: Caves on May 27, 2001 at 21:59:56:

       I did some more research. I had a feeling there were some secret caves in the Bay Area. Here's one at UC Santa Cruz, which the University
       would probably prefer to be unknown:
       Look at this map:
       Vandalism, littering, alcohol, and drug use are major problems. Here's an article about clean-up efforts:
       Other Santa Cruz caves, including a bigger one that is supposedly off-limits:

       More cave info:
       Tom Stienstra's Top 10 Cave Explorations:

       For serious cavers:
       National Speleological Society:
       Western Region:
       Diablo chapter:
       San Francisco Bay chapter:
       Motherlode chapter:

       The Cave Page:

       National Caves Association (public caves):

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In Reply to: light houses posted on June 01, 2001 at 20:57:36:

Q: I saw a show within the last year about a light house in the north bay that could be visited. I now live in OK but am going to be visiting back there soon and would like info, or show transcript. I seem to remember that one had to walk down from cliff and small walkway to get to the light house.

A: There are 2 lighthouses in the North Bay that you can visit. One is the Point Bonita Lighthouse on the Marin Headlands in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is closest to San Francisco. It is reachable by going through a tunnel and crossing a long, narrow suspension bridge crossing over waves crashing on the rocks far below. This is not recommended if you have acrophobia. The other is the Point Reyes Light Station at Point Reyes National Seashore. It is reachable by walking down 300 steps, so your legs should be in good shape. Point Reyes is one of the foggiest and windiest points on the coast, even when the inland areas are warm and dry, so be prepared.

       Here are the Backroads stories on them:

       Here are some links on them:

       Point Bonita:

       Point Reyes:

       Both and other lighthouses:

In Reply to: Re: light houses on June 19, 2001 at 22:09:44:

Q: Just wondering about Bay Area lighthouses. location and possible web sites or any other interesting sites to see around the Bay Area. Someone told me about a lighthouse where you can occasionally see whales... a name would be really helpful.
A: I think almost all coastal lighthouses are good places to see whales. The earlier notes talked about the Point Reyes, Point Bonita, and the East Brother lighthouses. Here are some more:

       There's a hostel at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse north of Santa Cruz:

       South of San Francisco, the Point Montara Lighthouse also has a hostel:

       135 miles north of San Francisco on Hwy 1 is the Point Arena Lighthouse and museum. Lodging is available in one of 3 1400 square foot 3-bedroom keeper's homes :

       The Point Cabrillo Light Station near Mendocino is good for whale watching:

       In Pacific Grove is the Point Pinos Lighthouse:

       On the Big Sur coast is the Point Sur Lighthouse:

       More on California lighthouses:

       As for other things to see in the Bay Area, that's what Bay Area Backroads is for. Check out their past stories and watch the shows.

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In Reply to: Samuel P. Taylor State Park posted on June 16, 2001 at 13:27:41:

Q: I am interested to know if anyone knows the location of Samuel P. Taylor State Park. A buddy said there's good camping there, & I want to go there the weekend of the 22nd of June. 

       It is in West Marin County, 15 miles west of San Rafael on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. just east of Olema and Point Reyes National Seashore.
       It has campsites along a creek, shaded by tall redwoods. See:

       This is a very popular state park. If you don't already have reservations, you may be out of luck. Don't worry, though. Olema Ranch Campground is just a few miles away in Olema and has more room.

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In Reply to: Clear Lake posted on June 17, 2001 at 19:16:39:

 Q: I am planning to take my whole family (around 20 people) to Clear Lake around July 6 - July 10.  Does anyone know where we can find information of the clear lake? We are looking for a place where we can do horseback riding, boating(?), and fishing altogether in one place. We are open for lake front camping sites or cabins.

A: I haven't been to Clear Lake since I was a kid, but here are some links that may help you:

       Here are some links for general info on the Clear Lake (Lake County) area:

       Specific places

       Horseback riding:


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In Reply to: hiking food posted on June 24, 2001 at 14:38:13:

Q: I am going on a day hike with some friends in the bay area. Can you suggest some good lunch ideas? What types of foods will stay good  for 4 hours or so without spoiling?

A: I like to travel light. I don't believe in hauling around a refrigerator and stove. When I go day-hiking, I take Power Bars, jerky, trail mix (nuts and raisins), or sometimes rice crispy bars, along with lots of water. I also take Lifesavers, Mentos, or other hard candy. Do not take a tuna sandwich. Do not take caffeinated drinks, because more goes out than comes in. 

Those little Hickory Farms sausages would probably work, but they're high in cholesterol. Packaged cheese sticks would also be OK, but would tend to get soft on a hot trip. Those little snack-size fruit cans would be good if you don't mind the weight. (Fruit roll-ups would be lighter.) The same with the small cans of Vienna sausages. 

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Created 6/3/01, update 11/18/09 by Ronald Horii