Going To California: Fun at Woodflock VI

Happy Me at Woodflock
Happy Me at Woodflock
Floyd
Sumoflam and Floyd at Woodflock VI

What a fitting occasion…it has been a busy month since I got back from California and Woodflock.  But, today is National Pink Flamingo Day…shouldn’t it be a great time to write my final California report…all about the famed Woodflock event in Red Bluff, CA.

The Memorial Day weekend event celebrated its 6th year in 2015.  Known to Antsy McClain fans (aka Flamingoheads) as a Summer Camp for Flamingoheads, Woodflock has grown from 60 participants in its first year to well over 300.  It is held at the Red Bluff Recreation Area on the Sacramento River in an enclosed area, all under Flamingohead control!!

DSC_2860The event includes evening concerts around a campfire, music workshops, games, guided meditations, crafts, etc.  Lots of good food, prepared for and eaten by a variety of Antsy McClain fans from all over the country was also a given.

My trip to California culminated in a three day adventure at Woodflock.  In fact, the entire purpose of my end of May trip was to attend Woodflock and to schmooze with my Pine View Heights cousins.

Sumoflam singing with Antsy McClain at Woodflock
Sumoflam singing with Antsy McClain at Woodflock

Some people reading this may be wondering “What in the world is a Flamingohead?” or where the heck is “Pine View Heights?” All of these and more are borne out of Antsy McClain music over the past two decades.  Antsy began his adventure with the Trailer Park Troubadours back in 1993 and has continued to inspire and humor audiences all over the U.S., Canada and even in Europe.  Pine View Heights is a fictional small trailer park in a holler in Kentucky. Everybody lives in aluminum, has big hair and collects pink flamingos.   And Woodflock brings it all to life in a unique natural setting, right down to the skeeters and chigger bites.

My Kind host Carla Lockwood in her Trailer Park Best flamingo hat at Woodflock
My Kind host Carla Lockwood in her Trailer Park Best flamingo hat at Woodflock

Many of the “cuzzins” as all are affectionately called, are dressed up in their “Trailer Park Best” for the celebrations. There is big hair, pink hair, and sometimes no hair…but nobody cares as they are all there to enjoy the camaraderie that has grown out of a love of Antsy McClain’s unusual and meaningful lyrics and songs (not to mention his amazing artwork, poetry, storytelling and more).

Flamingos everywhere at Woodflock
Flamingos everywhere at Woodflock
Some of the kids made their own t-shirts at Woodflock
Some of the kids made their own t-shirts at Woodflock
Photo ops with trailers (and even a MARDUP license plate from Kentucky - Married Up folks!)
Photo ops with trailers (and even a MARDUP license plate from Kentucky – Married Up folks!)
Crafts abound at camp...we all had fun being creative in music and art
Crafts abound at camp…we all had fun being creative in music and art

IRV2014My days were spent with friends and my nights were spent with IRV…short nickname for Ione’s RV.  Ione Snyder made sure I had a place to sleep while at Woodflock.  It had a good large bed in a conversion van.  And thank goodness the nights were cool.

Ione (L) and Carla (R)...kissin cuzzins!!
Ione (L) and Carla (R)…kissin cuzzins!!

Like Carla Lockwood, Ione Snyder is a gem. She has probably been to more Antsy McClain shows than any other person I know of…well over 100 and counting.  She is the resident Trailer Park Princess and most certainly deserves the crown!!

Dress up time at Woodflock was ALL THE TIME
Dress up time at Woodflock was ALL THE TIME

Though Antsy and the Troubs and their music was the cause for the gathering, once all were there, all the “adults” were like kids again, frolicking around in dress up, blowing bubbles, making tie dye t-shirts, and having a Way Cool World fun time.  Following are a few shots of the fun…

Hats were everywhere...better than the Kentucky Derby!
Hats were everywhere…better than the Kentucky Derby!
Blue hair?
Blue hair?
Flamingo gear abounds...
Flamingo gear abounds…
Pittsburgh Steelers Tattoos... (yes, from lyrics of a song)
Pittsburgh Steelers Tattoos… (yes, from lyrics of a song)
Inasion of the flamingo snatchers!
Inasion of the flamingo snatchers!
Sumoflam and Twyla - BIG HAIR!
Sumoflam and Twyla – BIG HAIR!
Blowing bubbles!
Blowing bubbles!
Yes, even I got dressed up!!
Yes, even I got dressed up!!

And then there were the arts and crafts.  Yes, just like camp when were kids…here are a few samples

Metal crafts
Metal crafts
T-shirt making
T-shirt making
Living the Dream tags...there were also Enjoy the Ride tags and Woodflock tags
Living the Dream tags…there were also Enjoy the Ride tags and Woodflock tags

There was a trailer/cabin decorating contest too.  And somebody even won!!  Lots of fun stuff…and did I mention that TODAY (June 23, 2015) is Pink Flamingo Day?

Trailer full of Love sign...yes, another lyric
Trailer full of Love sign…yes, another lyric
Groundhog dead in the flowerbed... (more lyrics!)
Groundhog dead in the flowerbed… (more lyrics!)
World's Largest Underwear...somebody needed it!
World’s Largest Underwear…somebody needed it!
Flamingo Whirlygigs
Flamingo Whirlygigs
The Party's Here (actually, it was everywhere)
The Party’s Here (actually, it was everywhere)
Decorated cabin at Woodflock
Decorated cabin at Woodflock
Flamingo ornaments abound at Woodflock
Flamingo ornaments abound at Woodflock
Flamingo Lanterns decorated the dining area
Flamingo Lanterns decorated the dining area
Flamingo biking
Flamingo biking
Antsy Fans
Antsy Fans

I enjoyed mingling with the Flamingohead family and seeing all of the fun t-shirts.

Over the years Antsy has designed dozens of t-shirts and many were to be seen at Woodflock among the followers.  Here are a few fun ones.

 

Official Woodflock photographer Ed in his "We're All Gonna Dye" t-shirt
Official Woodflock photographer Ed in his “We’re All Gonna Dye” t-shirt
Donning a Flockstar t-shirt.  All of us were Flockstars at Woodflock
Donning a Flockstar t-shirt. All of us were Flockstars at Woodflock
An oldie but a goodie...the "Everything's a Dollar" t-shirt (and yes, another song)
An oldie but a goodie…the “Everything’s a Dollar” t-shirt (and yes, another song)
There are even hand motions to "Everything's a Dollar"
There are even hand motions to “Everything’s a Dollar”

And there are a goodly variety of wonderful folk….

The famed Sue Butler...coordinator extraordinaire and tireless Antsy McClain helper, supporter and priceless friend
The famed Sue Butler…coordinator extraordinaire and tireless Antsy McClain helper, supporter and priceless friend
"Harry"
“Harry”
Uncle Fred singing songs around the campfire...yes THOSE songs (Like Old McDonald...)
Uncle Fred singing songs around the campfire…yes THOSE songs (Like Old McDonald…)
The Ferreira...another tireless couple of Antsy fans.  Always there to support him
The Ferreira…another tireless couple of Antsy fans. Always there to support him
Kevin brought his harmonica and joined with the band.  Always lots of fun
Kevin brought his harmonica and joined with the band. Always lots of fun
Troy came down from Washington.  He has been an Antsy Traveler
Troy came down from Washington. He has been an Antsy Traveler
Bobby Jack Miller is the Croquet King...Bobby Jack Bobby Jack (yes...more lyrics)
Bobby Jack Miller is the Croquet King…Bobby Jack Bobby Jack (yes…more lyrics)
Kathy...well, she missed the snow... (inside joke)
Kathy…well, she missed the snow… (inside joke)
Bob was the Camp Cook and BOY OH BOY....even the vegan food tasted sinful
Bob was the Camp Cook and BOY OH BOY….even the vegan food tasted sinful
Sumoflam and Bill...twin sons from Different Mothers...and boy were the mothers happy!!
Sumoflam and Bill…twin sons from Different Mothers…and boy were the mothers happy!!
Donna and Linda...the GOOD SISTERS
Donna and Linda…the GOOD SISTERS
Yes...even Santa paid a visit...I think he was Santa...
Yes…even Santa paid a visit…I think he was Santa…

DSC_2845I don’t want to neglect Hilary and Bruce, who did a wonderful job of morning meditation each morning.  What a nice relaxing way to start the day…  Bruce Wandmeyer, of course, is the sax player and slide guitar artist of Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours.  Hilary, his lovely wife, provided the meditation and soothed our souls.

Bruce Wandmayer played some soothing sounds from his dobro.  Relax....
Bruce Wandmayer played some soothing sounds from his dobro. Relax….
Hillary brought comfort to the souls
Hillary brought comfort to the souls

AntsyTroubs1And, finally, we enjoyed the music of Antsy McClain, the Troubs and a menagerie of others who brought their t-bones, mouth harps, ukeleles, stringed thingies and more.

This was why we were all here. We all share a love for Antsy, his music and his antics.  And each of the band members in attendance were also a delight.

We sat around the amphitheater one evening to hear the stories behind Antsy’s upcoming new album, we requested songs, we sang along, we danced.  It was time to be happy and relaxed. And we were.

Singing around the campfire at Woodflock
Singing around the campfire at Woodflock
Flamingos....even on guitars
Flamingos….even on guitars
Everyone's a fan of Antsy McClain
Everyone’s a fan of Antsy McClain
Antsy serenades us in an afternoon session
Antsy serenades us in an afternoon session
Pondering the meaning of an Antsy song??
Pondering the meaning of an Antsy song??
Aunt Beulah and her roadkill overcoat
Aunt Beulah and her roadkill overcoat
Antsy's songbook....
Antsy’s songbook….

And here are just a few more fun shots from my three days at Woodflock…I enjoyed the ride and now I have fond memories….

"Loose Bruce"
“Loose Bruce”
Kevin
Kevin
'nuff said
’nuff said
Enjoying Antsy McClain
Enjoying Antsy McClain
Enjoy the Ride
Enjoy the Ride
Finally got to hang with Pam
Finally got to hang with Pam
Lovin' on Bruce
Lovin’ on Bruce
Antsy McClain signature geetar
Antsy McClain signature geetar (and that is Edgar Cruz’s signature there too)
Smiles everyday
Smiles everyday
Flamingo Hats!
Flamingo Hats!
Hmmm....what's that lyric again?
Hmmm….what’s that lyric again?
Men with Hats...we can dance if we want to...but only at Woodflock
Men with Hats…we can dance if we want to…but only at Woodflock
Yes, Antsy Was Here
Yes, Antsy Wuz Here
Goofing around with Antsy McClain
Goofing around with Antsy McClain
Hanging with my good pal Uncle Fred, who kindly took me back to the San Francisco airport after Woodflock (and early in the morning)
Hanging with my good pal Uncle Fred, who kindly took me back to the San Francisco airport after Woodflock (and early in the morning)
Sleeping in IRV...yes, I just woke up...
Sleeping in IRV…yes, I just woke up…but I was a Happy Camper (notice the flamingo pillow case!)
Max plays a mean ukelele and sings a mean tune
Max plays a mean ukelele and sings a mean tune
Mike was the mustache winner (of course)
Mike was the mustache winner (of course)
Sumoflam doing his selfie thing...(photo by Ed Townsend)
Sumoflam doing his selfie thing…(photo by Ed Townsend)

The trip to California was amazing.  I loved every minute of it.  I want to make sure to once again thank Carla and Ione for their kindness, generosity and amazing flamingo hospitality.  Thanks to Ed…my partner in Men with Hats and good friend and photographer. Thanks to the other Flamingoheads for their familial friendship. Thanks to the Troubs for being the best musicians in the world.  And biggest thanks to my dear friend, long time pal and practically a brother…that sweet guy known as Antsy McClain…without him, Woodflock wouldn’t be.

Seriously living the dream with Antsy McClain...at Woodflock and beyond (photo by Ed Townsend)
Seriously living the dream with Antsy McClain…at Woodflock and beyond (photo by Ed Townsend)

 

 

 

 

 

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Going to California: Santa Rosa – Ukiah – Red Bluff

Goofing around at Carla's house with her pink flamingo hat and a few Antsy McClain posters
Goofing around at Carla’s house with her pink flamingo hat and a few Antsy McClain posters

Day 2 of my Woodflock trip started off nice and slow.  No hurry so I was able to sleep in over at Carla’s doublewide in Santa Rosa.  Woke up to a beautiful morning in the trailer park.

Soon, Carla and I were on the road heading north.  She decided to go through Ukiah for a more scenic route (and likely to appeal to my wanderlust!)

In good hands with Carla!! Standing with Agraria by Larry Kirkland
In good hands with Carla!! Standing with Agraria by Larry Kirkland

Santa Rosa is home to a couple of quirky roadside attractions, so we stopped at these on our way out of town.  The first of them was a big hand in front of the mall.  Reminded me that I was in good hands with Carla!!

The Hand statue is actually titled “Agraria” and is by artist Larry Kirkland, who is originally from California but currently has his studios in Washington, D.C.  It was commissioned in 1996 and is made from the same marble quarry that Michaelangelo used centuries ago.  Kirkland has done commissioned works all over the world.

Back side of Larry Kirkland's "Agraria"
Back side of Larry Kirkland’s “Agraria”
Front side of Larry Kirkland's "Agraria" in Santa Rosa, CA
Front side of Larry Kirkland’s “Agraria” in Santa Rosa, CA
"Guardian of the Creek" - a big fish in Santa Rosa, CA
“Guardian of the Creek” – a big fish in Santa Rosa, CA

After the big hand, we visited another site, a big mosaic fish in a park. Entitled “Guardian of the Creek” this one and a half ton fish by Santa Rosa artist Mario Uribe. It is 13 foot high and covered in mosaic. It is surrounded by a 30 foot diameter mosaic map of the Santa Rosa Watershed. The large rainbow trout has become an icon and reminder of the restoration efforts by the city to nurture the creek habitat to a more natural state. I really loved the colorful mosaic…certainly one of the nicer big fish statues I have seen.

"Guardian of the Creek" by Mario Uribe. In Santa Rosa's Prince Memorial Greenway
“Guardian of the Creek” by Mario Uribe. In Santa Rosa’s Prince Memorial Greenway
Detail of Park Bench at Prince Gateway
Detail of Park Bench at Prince Memorial Gateway
Another portion of lovely park bench in Santa Rosa, CA
Another portion of lovely park bench in Santa Rosa, CA
Sumoflam at the base of "Cyclisk"
Sumoflam at the base of “Cyclisk”

Another Uber Quirky Attraction in Santa Rosa is the 65 foot tall obelisk completely made from junk bike parts.  The artwork, entitled “Cyclisk.” It was created in 2010 by Petaluma-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector and weighs about 10,000lb and is made from roughly 340 recycled bicycles collected from local nonprofit community bike projects. It took nearly four months of welding to manufacture.

A conglomeration of old scrap bicycle parts makes up the "Cyclisk" sculpture
A conglomeration of old scrap bicycle parts makes up the “Cyclisk” sculpture
"Cyclisk"
“Cyclisk” by Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector – 2010
US Highway 101 heading north into Mendocino County
US Highway 101 heading north into Mendocino County

These three unique pieces of art really made the entire trip worthwhile in and of themselves! But, there was much more to be seen on the way to Red Bluff. We took the scenic route up US Hwy 101 through Geyserville and Hopland and then up to Ukiah.

Needing to Pee?

Roadtrips always have their surprises, and this one was no exception. As we approached the small town of Hopland, once a thriving agriculture area known for hops, the first thing I see is the big red sign shown to the left. No joke! I’ve never seen a sign like that before!

IMG_2911.JPGTurns out that the sign, and the others that followed it, were to get one to stop at Real Goods Solar, a store that sells off-grid living items including solar panels, bee keeping equipment, hemp products, composting toilets, etc. Founded in 1978, The Real Goods Store is the original purveyor of Solar Living goods. Originally envisioned as a one-stop-shop where people could find everything they needed for their remote homesteads, the store began with the sale of the first retail solar panel in the United States and the humble goal of changing the world.

Scrap metal “Horn Serpent” at Real Goods

Indeed, the place was so unique that it deserves its own blog post (which will be the next one after this). Suffice it to say it was quirky fun! Read all about soon!

Of the many unique things available for viewing at Real Goods, I have to admit that the scrap metal sculpture entitled “Horn Serpent” by Upper Lake, CA artist Diego Harris was the best.  Many know that I “collect” scrap metal art from around the country.  In fact, my most visited post is my “Yard Art” post which features scrap metal art found all over the country.  This one is now part of that post as well.

"Horn Dragon" by Diego Harris.  Currently on display at Real Goods Store in Hopland, CA
“Horn Dragon” by Diego Harris. Currently on display at Real Goods Store in Hopland, CA
Ukiah, CA
Ukiah, CA

From Hopland it was on to Ukiah. I have now been to three towns that also are names of Doobie Brothers songs. The other two are Blackwater, MO and China Grove, TX. Yes, I collect (and visit) town names from songs.  Still gotta make my way to Lodi, CA and LaGrange, TX, to name a couple of others.

Carla with some fresh California strawberries
Carla with some fresh California strawberries

Before we got to Ukiah actually, Carla decided that we would make a stop at a Strawberry Stand along the way.  I think we stopped at Saechao Strawberry farm, on the Redwood Highway, another name for this portion of US Hwy 101.  These strawberries were AMAZING!!

They were sweet and luscious.  Who needs candy or cakes when you can enjoy the wonderfully aromatic freshness of these strawberries!

Sumoflam enjoying an amazing California strawberry
Sumoflam enjoying an amazing California strawberry
California Strawberries!
California Strawberries!

With strawberries in hands (and mouths), we passed by Ukiah on US Hwy 101 and made it to Calpella. From there we headed east on CA 20 through some beautiful hill country and then on to Clear Lake (actually, to the small town of Upper Lake, CA).

CA Hwy 20 goes through scenic hill country
CA Hwy 20 goes through scenic hill country

CA 20 is dotted with many small lakes and a number of scenic views.  It is MY KIND of back road highway, with a variety of things to see along the way.   Lots of beautiful scenery and vistas on this drive.  I was so glad we came this way.

Upper Lake, CA
Upper Lake, CA

We finally stopped in Upper Lake, which is a rustic little place nestled in the upper reaches of Clear Lake. The town of Upper Lake is the gateway to the Mendocino National Forest and is a fun little town.  In the middle of town sits an old hotel and also a quaint little outdoor saloon/eatery.

Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, CA
Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, CA

The Tallman Hotel was built in the 1890s and is now a 17 room luxury hotel/bed and breakfast place.  It fits in nicely with the rustic, old west style of the town.

Next door to the hotel is the Blue Wing Saloon and they have a number of nice outdoor dining tables.  The property also has some unique art…yep, more scrap metal art and an array of lovely flowers in the gardens.  It would be a fun place to just chillax for a couple of days.

Taking a selfie with the "springy lady" in the courtyard area of the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, CA
Taking a selfie with the “springy lady” in the courtyard area of the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, CA
Rustic old motel chairs...reminds me of the 1960s..Upper Lake, CA
Rustic old motel chairs…reminds me of the 1960s..Upper Lake, CA
Welcome to Upper Lake, CA
Welcome to Upper Lake, CA
Old Town Upper Lake Antiques
Old Town Upper Lake Antiques
"Christmas" Carla (her birthday is on Christmas) poses with a singing cowboy in Upper Lake as we think about Antsy McClain
“Christmas” Carla (her birthday is on Christmas) poses with a singing cowboy in Upper Lake as we think about Antsy McClain
Old fashioned architecture on a shop in Upper Lake
Old fashioned architecture on a shop in Upper Lake
Carla photo bombs me on my selfie of Terry Church's "Moth to a Flame"
Carla photo bombs me on my selfie of Mendocino County artist Terry Church’s “Moth to a Flame”

And, I couldn’t forget this sign which gave me a chuckle….

DSC_2510Heading southeast on CA 20 we skirted the northern part of Clear Lake.  It was a lovely day and so we had some wonderful views of the lake.  Plenty of birds in the water.  I saw grebes for the first time…a really nervous bird.  Also saw a cormorant in flight.

A solitary grebe sits in the lake
A solitary grebe sits in the lake
A cormorant glides across the waters of Clear Lake
A cormorant glides across the waters of Clear Lake
Then there are the human types that glide across the water on their skis
Then there are the human types that glide across the water on their skis
A view across Clear Lake, one of the oldest freshwater lakes in North America
A view across Clear Lake, one of the oldest freshwater lakes in North America

According to some sources, Clear Lake is believed to be one of the oldest lakes in North America. The lake sits on a huge block of stone which slowly tilts in the northern direction at the same rate as the lake fills in with sediment, thus keeping the water at roughly the same depth. Apparently, core samples of the lake’s sediments, taken by U.S. Geological Survey geologists in 1973 and 1980, indicate that the lake is at least 480,000 years old.

We all know who is really Nice!
We all know who is really Nice!

There are a few towns along the lake, but none as nice as Nice…well, at least not in name anyway.

Nice is actually pronounced “neece” like the town in France.  But, to me, the nice guy, it is Nice.  And it is a nice name to add to my collection of unique named towns like Tightwad, Normal, Romance, Success, Friendship, Uncertain, etc.

Wall painting on a rest area in Lucerne, CA
Wall painting on a rest area in Lucerne, CA

Just up the road is Lucerne, named after the town in Switzerland.  The Rest Area at Lucerne Harbor Park, a turnoff by the lake, had a beautiful painting on the back that you can see coming in from Nice.  One of the more intricate wall paintings I have seen.

Full view of the mural in Lucerne
Full view of the mural in Lucerne, CA

This artwork was completed in mid-2009 by muralist Gloria De La Cruz of Clear Lake, CA. The painting depicts the Old Lucerne Hotel and has intricate work of animals and plant life as well.  I really appreciated this one!

DSC_2544After a brief rest in Lucerne, Carla and I were off again, this time to Williams, CA. Williams is at the crossroads of CA 20 and Interstate 5. From what I could see there were two parts to this town…the off the freeway fast food places and the local places in town.

Detail of a mural on the side of a building in Williams, CA
Detail of a mural on the side of a building in Williams, CA

The Old Masonic Lodge has a wonderful mural immortalizing the old Williams Hotel, which apparently burned down in 1913. The mural covers the entire two story face of the building.  Painted by Petaluma mural artist John Ton in 2014.  Folowing are a couple more detailed photos:

Williams Hotel mural by John Ton in Williams, CA
Williams Hotel mural by John Ton in Williams, CA
Second story portion of the Williams Hotel Mural in Williams, CA
Second story portion of the Williams Hotel Mural in Williams, CA
Welcome to Red Bluff, CA
Welcome to Red Bluff, CA

Once the break was over, we were on our last leg of the day…north on I-5 to Red Bluff and to our home away from home at Woodflock. This small unique music festival and Flamingohead retreat is held annually at the Sycamore Grove Campground in the Red Bluff Recreation area along the Sacramento River.  A beautiful little location that gets bedecked with flamingos and Antsy McClain music over the course of three days.

Welcome to Woodflock!
Welcome to Woodflock!

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Going to California – San Francisco to Santa Rosa

WoodflockWoodflock – a relatively unknown destination for those unfamiliar with Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours. For the last six years Flamingoheads from California and other places have gathered in the Sycamore Grove campground along the Sacramento River near Red Bluff, CA to enjoy time schmoozing with Antsy and the band and each other through music, meditation, arts and crafts and food. Held every Memorial Day weekend, the campground turns into a flamingo haven.

Singing with Antsy McClain
Singing with Antsy McClain

I have traveled with Antsy McClain on a cruise to Mexico, I have accompanied him on Field Trips in Kentucky and Texas and have toured with him and the band in Washington, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia and California, but I have never had the opportunity to attend the pinnacle of Flamingohead Fantasy trips…Woodflock. That is, until last week. And what a trip it was!

Flying on the plane to California
Flying on the plane to California

I departed on a non-stop flight to San Francisco from Cincinnati on Thursday. It was a nice four and a half hour flight with views of clouds until we got over the Rocky Mountains In Colorado and oh what a view. The snow covered peaks and the lakes…phenomenal. We went right over Mount Evans, where I have set foot in the past. How fun.

A view of the Colorado Rockies form the air.  Lovely!
A view of the Colorado Rockies form the air. Lovely!
Riding with Carla and her little dog...we were Enjoying the RIde!
Riding with Carla and her little dog…we were Enjoying the RIde!

I arrived in San Francisco at about 11:30 AM California time and was met there by my Flamingohead friend Carla, a sweet and bouncy young lady of 70. Carla had worked out a few plans for our day and our drive to Santa Rosa, where she lives.

Mural at the Golden Gate Park Visitor's Center
Mural at the Golden Gate Park Visitor’s Center
At Golden Gate Park Visitor's Center in San Francisco.  Nice murals
At Golden Gate Park Visitor’s Center in San Francisco. Nice murals

We left SFO and began our trip north to the city where we first visited Golden Gate Park to see the lovely mural in the visitor’s center, the beautiful flowers and a cool old Dutch windmill. The park is a beautiful inner city park with lots to see, but we had to move on to see some of the other sights. Here are a few scenes.

A portion of the Golden Gate Park mural
A portion of the Golden Gate Park mural
Another section of the mural at Golden Gate Park
Another section of the mural at Golden Gate Park
A vivid painting under a stairwell at Golden Gate Park
A vivid painting under a stairwell at Golden Gate Park
There were also a number of tile mosaics.  This one was at the entrance to the restrooms in Golden Gate Park visitor's center
There were also a number of tile mosaics. This one was at the entrance to the restrooms in Golden Gate Park visitor’s center

In 1901, John McLaren, together with Park Commissioners Adolph B. Spreckles and Reuben Lloyd, convinced the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission to build a windmill 300 yards from the ocean. This windmill could take advantage of the prevailing winds to pump water for the park’s irrigation system.   Completed in 1902 at a cost of $25,000, the North Windmill was designed by Alpheus Bull Jr., a prominent San Franciscan at the time.  Over the years it has had to go through various restorations, but the blades now function, though the pump has long been removed.

Dutch Windmill (North Windmill) in Golden Gate Park
Dutch Windmill (North Windmill) in Golden Gate Park (Photo by Carla Lockwood)
The North Windmill in Golden Gate Park
The North Windmill in Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park runs along the coast and so there are plenty of beach scenes and birds, etc.

A couple sits on the beach near Golden Gate Park
A couple sits on the beach near Golden Gate Park
A hawk or falcon watches the scene on the beach
A hawk or falcon watches the scene on the beach
A young seagull has his own perch on a light pole
A young seagull has his own perch on a light pole
Mel's Drive-in in San Francisco
Mel’s Drive-in in San Francisco

Our next stop was for lunch. What better place than an old fashioned diner. We stopped at the historic Mel’s Drive-in, a throwback to the 1950s both in style and cooking. Every table had a Rock-ola jukebox with 50s and 60s songs. Though working hard to change my diet, coming to this diner was risky…the meatloaf looked fabulous. But, I stuck with a large salad and a couple of rolls. No butter. Great diner atmosphere and what appeared to be great diner food.

Sumoflam at Mel's Drive-in in San Francisco
Sumoflam at Mel’s Drive-in in San Francisco

The original Mel’s Drive-in, built in the 1940s, was used for George Lucas’ classic film American Graffiti. There are now a few in the San Francisco area and even a couple, with the trademarked name and logo, at amusement parks.  Following is a brief portion of the history from their website:

Rockola Juke Boxes line the store and fill it with 50s and 60s music
Rock-ola Juke Boxes line the store and fill it with 50s and 60s music

Following is a brief portion of the history of Mel’s as taken from their website:

DSC_2290“Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs started it all back in 1947 when they built their first car hop eatery, inspired by similar restaurants serving motorists in Los Angeles. With a staff of fourteen carhops covering a 30,000 square foot parking lot, they lured the hungry with a local radio personality broadcasting a live remote. As music reverberated through car radios in the drive-ups, the curb-stepping gals of 140 South Van Ness became a new paradigm for service.

DSC_2286At all hours of the day and night, crowds of patrons that fancied dining-in-your-car came early and often. It didn’t take long for the first unit to multiply into eleven! Six Mels became landmarks in the Bay Area with additional cluster achieving their own notoriety in Stockton and Sacramento. They reigned for almost twenty years, until a parade of franchised fast food outlets finally outpaced their service. As the new philosophy of “serve yourself” began to reprogram attitude about dining, Mel’s began its gradual decline.”

A Drive Down Lombard Street in San Francisco

After a good lunch and a break, we drove around town and made our way to Lombard St., the so called Crookedest Street in the World.  The one-way block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets has eight sharp turns that supposedly make it the crookedest street in the world. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and built in 1922, was intended to reduce the hill’s natural 27% grade, which was too steep for most vehicles.  The sign at the top recommends 5 mph. There were dozens of tourists at the top of the road, all along the crooked road and even dozens more when we got to the bottom. A fun little drive, as can be seen from the video above.

Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco
Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

After our little brake infused jaunt down Lombard St., we then meandered around town over to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Following are a few scenes from along the way.

Giant whale mural on a building
Giant whale mural on a building
A look towards downtown San Francisco
A look towards downtown San Francisco
Another unique mural seen along the way
Another unique mural seen along the way
Colorful houses along the streets of San Francisco
Colorful houses along the streets of San Francisco
Another colorful neighborhood with unique fountain art
Another colorful neighborhood with unique fountain art
A gull and a crow converse on a light pole in San Francisco
A gull and a crow converse on a light pole in San Francisco
Bike Rickshaws in Fisherman's Wharf
Bike Rickshaws in Fisherman’s Wharf
A proud seagull
A proud seagull
A skeleton pirate guards the entrance to a shop in Fisherman's Wharf
A skeleton pirate guards the entrance to a shop in Fisherman’s Wharf
Buildings upon buildings in the Presidio District of San Francisco
Buildings upon buildings in the Presidio District of San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the approach from San Fraancisco
Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the approach from San Fraancisco
On the north end of Golden Gate Bridge
On the north end of Golden Gate Bridge

From Fisherman’s Wharf we made our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. There was plenty of construction going on so traffic was slow going. But, once we got to the bridge the fog began to sneak in above the bridge…a beautiful sight. We crawled across the bridge, which was covered in foot traffic as well. Truly a major attraction.

San Francisco as seen from across the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco as seen from across the Golden Gate Bridge
A paddle boarder in the bay with the city behind her
A paddle boarder in the bay with the city behind her

Once across the bridge we found the viewing area which offered not only a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge, but an expansive view of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, Coit Tower and more. And the weather was perfect.

A gorgeous view of the expansive and historic Golden Gate Bridge
A gorgeous view of the expansive and historic Golden Gate Bridge
A panorama of the bridge and the city
A panorama of the bridge and the city
Shrouded in fog
Shrouded in fog

I was last in San Francisco in 2009 with Antsy McClain when he and the band performed at the Great American Music Hall (see video below). But we didn’t have time to stop and enjoy the bridge.  So it was an awesome opportunity.

A pelican in flight over the bay
A pelican in flight over the bay
Headed north on US 101
Headed north on US 101

After the bridge we made our way into Novato to join another Flamingohead sweetheart, Ione, who would be lending me her RV (nicknamed IRV) for the weekend in Red Bluff.  We had some great Chinese food at the China Palace and then joined together for a fun picture to memorialize the occasion.

Heading to Novato, CA on US 101
Heading to Novato, CA on US 101
After dinner photo with Ione and Carla at the China Palace in Novato.  The meal was excellent...the company was amazing!!
After dinner photo with Ione and Carla at the China Palace in Novato. The meal was excellent…the company was amazing!!

After dinner, Carla drove us up to her doublewide trailer in Santa Rosa, CA.  She Lives in Aluminum and is happy there in Lot #36 …see the video below if you don’t get it!! (Taken in 2009 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco…video by Sumoflam)

A nice 2500 mile day!

Next post will cover Santa Rosa to Ukiah to Red Bluff!

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