The SF Loop

When driving north to San Francisco, I usually take hwy. 101 up, and take it back. It’s usually a 1 1/2 to 2 hour trip one way. But about a week ago, the traffic was so heavy that it took me 4 hours to get to San Francisco, and I so wanted to avoid the traffic jam, that decided to take the Coast Hwy. 1 on my return south. It’s a longer trip, but really lovely along the coast with much less traffic, especially when you get through Half Moon Bay.

Anyway, I drove the “loop” twice last week; the second time it was because I would’ve been leaving the City at just around 4:30 p.m. which would put me into the bad traffic again. Here are some photos from both trips, combined.

Note: on the first trip, I stumbled into Miette, at Oakland’s Jack London Square — the folks who produced the charming French Pastry book of the same name. I only learned about Miette from the two blogs, Athena Plichta photography and East of Eden Cooking, who regularly post their “monthly Miettes.” I wanted to take some photos of their goodies, but had forgotten my camera, so I’ll just say that the pistachio macaron was scrumptious, and the complimentary “brut” chocolate wafer and lavender shortbread were tops, and give you the Miette link, HERE.

Going slow on the Central Freeway, top of a building’s art moderne facade.

From the back landing of my son’s apartment, a view of the foggy Richmond District.

A friend and I strolled around the Haight-Ashbury. Same old thing — hookahs, glass beads, and rolling papers.

The old victorians are still painted in bright colors, but many are behind iron gates.

The walls in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood are full of murals, and this one is particularly striking.

I could’ve taken the 280 Exit south–which is a relatively nice ride–but I wanted to get off the freeways, so I headed for the Coast Highway.

Back on the Coast Hwy. 1, things get calmer. I can stop at Mezza Luna in Half Moon Bay and get a latte for the drive home. And I can also take a break at the half-way point, and walk around Pidgeon Point Lighthouse and Hostel.

The view south from Pidgeon Point is gorgeous.

A little further south, I stopped at the Pie Ranch, thinking I might grab a slice. But (despite the open sign) it was closed.

Just outside the front door of the barn, however, I was greeted by a guy named Chris, who invited me to their potluck and barn dance. He was the official “greeter.” The band was already there, setting up inside the barn, he said.

The Pie Ranch, by the way, is more than just a pie or farm stand. Their mission is “to inspire and connect people to know the source of their food, and to work together to bring greater health to the food system from seed to table.” They grow crops for pie ingredients, and raise farm animals like chickens (for eggs), cows, and goats. But they also work to educate the community about sustainable farming and healthy food.

The food looked tempting, and it sounded like fun, but I wanted to get home before dark.

Another 30 miles or so to Santa Cruz, then another 20, and I was more or less home when I saw the smoke steam stacks of the power plant, crossed the bridge over the Slough near Moss Landing Harbor, then turned east.