1981 – California Trip

The GF had a convention to attend in San Francisco and a friend to see in San Diego and I had relatives to visit in Anaheim. My aunt picked us up at the airport and we stayed with her and my uncle while we were in SoCal.

My uncle – who ran a place called The Cycle Shack – let us borrow his El Camino (a very cool vehicle that you’ll see in the Disneyland pictures). We left it at the border for a quick look at Tijuana and then visited the San Diego friend, the San Diego Zoo and Olvera Street – the oldest street in LA.

At the Zoo:










I specifically told her, “Do NOT pat the goat’s butt or else its ears and horns will fall off”. Kids………


On Olvera St:

The owner doesn’t seem to appreciate my addition to his sign.



Somewhere outside of LA – Rancho Palos Verdes, I think – this scene caught my eye. I never got to see the rest of that building, but I’m hoping it was a residence.



In the same area (it was only 3 shots later), I saw this. Again, I’m not sure of the actual name of the town, but whatever it is, I’m renaming it “Redundancy Heights”.

I’m guessing that the Pacific Ocean wasn’t big enough for them.



Since I was a kid (when Disney World didn’t exist), I always wanted to go to Disneyland…………too much Mickey Mouse Club, I guess. We borrowed the El Camino one last time and headed on over there. The GF took a shot of me with the car in the Disneyland parking lot. This is for Uncle Billy and Aunt Marilyn.

We stayed all day and I shot the nightly Main Street Electrical Parade. We beat it back to the Aunt & Uncle’s in time to see the Disneyland fireworks from their pool.





According to his shirt, Terry’s got a pretty nice job:











So now it was time to head up to San Francisco. We rented a Thunderbird – only cool cars for us on this trip!

First two shots:

On the way north, the GF drove as I took shots out the window. Moving at 60mph, you better get it right the first time. If not, there’s no going back.

I think I did OK.

The first shot was a “time-of-day” shot…………a few hours earlier would have shown no shadow and no real reason to take the picture. By the way – I have no idea where these scenes are located and I’d love to know what structure is inside the second picture. I’m not even sure if they were before or after San Luis Obispo as you head north, but I’m leaning toward before. If anyone knows the answers to any of these questions, lemme know.






By the time we were approaching the San Luis Obispo area, we decided to stop at a place called the Chuck Wagon (“All you can eat!”) for dinner and to ask where we could find a local hotel for the night. BTW – the Chuck Wagon doesn’t exist anymore, so I’m glad I took this shot:



The waitress told us that there was some event going on nearby and every hotel room in the vicinity was booked solid. After looking at our glum, tired faces, she said, “Hang on a minute” and walked away.

A few minutes later, she came back with armloads of blankets and pillows. She then said to take them and drive back down the highway to a certain exit and then drive under the highway toward the ocean. There was a beach there that we could park on and sleep in the car! That’s where I took the below picture of the T-Bird. The only catch was that we would have to return the blankets/pillows the next morning………….when we would be there anyway for all-you-can-eat breakfast.

Pretty good deal, huh?




Once again – no idea where this is, so I’ve named the road the Drive Into The Mountain Highway:




From Wikipedia:

“Standing on a granite hillside off California’s scenic 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, the Lone Cypress is a western icon, and has been called one of the most photographed trees in North America.”

Too bad that the weather conditions weren’t great for photos that day.




The first sign of San Francisco was the one for Candlestick Park (and the sight of the stadium). That was the home of the baseball Giants and the football 49ers. I’m glad I managed to get a picture of both the sign and the stadium in one shot as the car was flying down the highway.




The next signs were the actual sight of the city and the lanes directing traffic to various parts of it.

We were in the right one to get us to the St. Francis Hotel.





This shot is of me and the GF in the St Francis Hotel. If it’s not obvious, I’m the one on the right.




While the GF was at her convention, I got to wander the city with my other GF – my camera. It’s the best place I’ve ever been to do something like that. There are SO many cool and interesting things to shoot. I got a lot, but barely scratched the surface. If you love taking pictures and you have a year or so to spend, SF is the place to do it.

I’m showing what I shot when I was just walking around in no particular order because I have no idea what I shot on which day.











I found this online. It’s what the previous shot (333 Broadway) looks like today. Look at the second-floor framework…………identical.





In Chinatown:



crooked Lombard Street:









Maybe I should have introduced myself first:




Standing in the street, I have my choice of three different types of vehicles to get hit by:





(Back to Chinatown) I was looking for this slide for a long time, since it was one of my favorite SF shots. After I found it, I looked online for similar shots……..there must be a lot of pictures of this place online, right?

I couldn’t find a single one until I stumbled across a book about gas stations called “Fill ‘Er Up” and all it shows in the 1966 pic (following mine) is the pump area and not the cool-looking station. Boo! Hiss!











I DO remember that on the third (?) day, I hooked up with an old friend from New Jersey named Charlie who volunteered to be my tour guide for the day. We hit Baker Beach (he’s the one I surprised when he exited the beach Port-o-John). The shot after that I think was taken from where he was living. If you look closely in that third shot, you can see what looks like a hawk to the right of the Golden Gate Bridge.







He also took me to The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park (next 3 shots) – a place I didn’t think I’d like, but I was wrong. The story and more photos can be found on my site in the California listing.






Just north of Ocean Beach sits the Cliff House restaurant:




On a non-convention day, the GF and I decided to go to Muir Woods on Mount Tamalpais, AKA Mount Tam, just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County (the two spider web shots).





On the way there, we had to go through Rainbow Tunnel soon after crossing the bridge. We didn’t know about it and I wasn’t ready to shoot when we approached it, so I had to shoot it through the T-Bird’s rear window on our way back.

The tunnel has since been renamed the Robin Williams Tunnel.



I had hoped to get one of those low-cloud shots from Mt. Tam of SF’s tallest structures poking through the clouds, but ’twas not to be.

This was taken on the way back to SF:



One evening, we got to take a great boat tour of San Francisco Bay.



We cruised under both bridges, but when we went under the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge, I got a shot of a submarine doing the same thing. No one knew which sub it was or why it was there and there was nothing about it on the news.



I also got a nice shot of a sailboat that seemed to be close to tipping over (with the Transamerica Pyramid building in the background).



Remember an old Burt Lancaster movie called “The Birdman of Alcatraz”? I not only photographed Alcatraz Island, but I also got a shot of the BIRD of Alcatraz.





Finally, after passing under the Golden Gate Bridge, I got this shot before we docked:



Back on land, we went to (and I shot) a couple of dives on Pier 39:





Back at the hotel, I called my home answering machine to check my messages and found one from a publicist urging me to call her ASAP. When I did, she said she wanted to hire me to be the official photographer for a big country music concert at Shea Stadium in New York………….in a couple of days.

That meant I had to leave SF a day early and that the GF and I both had to fly home alone.

I JUST made it back in time only to find out that the show had been suddenly canceled.



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