My favorite time of year again! The Most Exciting Travel Show Returns to the Bay Area and I will be there to get the scoop. Tickets are available on line or at the door. My mentor Rick Steve’s will be there to name a few. The interesting thing about going to expo events like these, is how excited you get when you’re surrounded by things you love. Who doesn’t love to travel? This show is at the Santa Clara Convention Center but there all over the USA. Click on the book!
SF / Bay Area: May 21-22, 2022 + Other locations and dates.
Event Description; The Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show is where travel lovers come for travel inspiration, expert information and fun, cultural interaction. It’s where you’ll discover thousands of authentic travel experiences and speak directly to the travel experts who can get you there, give you the inside scoop, and save you money on exclusive travel deals.
Host, Rick Steves’ Europe, Samantha Brown, Travel Channel Host, and Pauline Frommer, Editorial Director of the Frommer’s Guides and Publisher.
Kaboom! I can take this off my bucket list, being directly under the projection of the fireworks at the Aquatic Park Historic District pier! We put-in our boat and launched at Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, California. Hovering under the pier A little too close for comfort, until the fireworks unsuspectedly started. The current kept making us drift quickly away so we hovered under the pier. We even had all our lights off to save batteries, so we were in the dark. The first echoing Kaboom explosionsunder the pier were un-describable. Enough to rattle your nerves! I was deeper under the pier being in the back of the boat looking out at Ghirardelli Square. *In this video I said ‘last time I got in trouble’. It was because I got too close to the Historic boats. There were no signs that I could see at the time. It is kind of roped off with buoys. This time we stayed further away out side the line. One way or another, I recommend this spot. During the day there is a live concert on shore. We had a back stage pass, a nice little additive to the day. The yellow box with the star is where the fireworks barge is. The Teal Green boater is where we hovered until the fireworks started.
However, I don’t recommend right there. Much too close. Instead bring a anchor at least 20 feet long and hover at a safe distance like we are in the photo below. To the left and center of the park here we are look at the Municipal Pier a posed to being under it!
So, planning for next year. I recommend going here. Be more prepared. I do own a kayak anchor. When I looked at the Coast Guard Map it said it was around 7-14 feet deep in the area but there is only one marker and I didn’t think my anchor was that long. Besides it being a pain to add more weight. Next time I will bring one for sure! If your planning on hovering in the ocean, there is always a current. Anyway, below is a live interactive google map with all my notes for 4th of July over the years in the SF Bay. If you click on any icon, it will zoom into that note. When you click on ‘Aquatic Park Historic District‘ And look at the orange line that was our path in 2017. To the upper left of the map are my notes, that little box’ie icon on the upper top left corner opens the notes, click on anything at it will bring you to the spot on the map. Bottom right is the + and – zoom button. You can then close the notes with the left arrow it to get the notes out of the way. I also have a layer of land notes, where I intend to go for a city hike and check out the same area on land someday.
Launching on Hyde Street Pier AquaticPark. I’m not sure you can launch out of the museum. Since the public beach was full of people we couldn’t go their.
History of the 4th –
I think this is one of the safer and best spots in the San Francisco bay to view the fireworks from land or water. If you know the History of the 4th, or Independence Day and the inspiration to our National Anthem, you would know the 4th of July is meant to replicate what Francis Scott Key seen on that fateful day in 1812. He was a British lawyer on the French Ship; HMS Tonnant negotiating a British prisoner exchange were he was to negotiate the release of prisoners, during the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry. (The only other place that can possibly top this spot). Key learned too much about the French’s attack on the British, so they kept him a prisoner as well. So all during that night Key witnessed the fireworks in the bay of Fort McHenry. In the morning when the fireworks stopped, and lack of communication the only way to know who won the battle was the American flag still standing. He wrote a poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, that later became the lyrics to ‘The Star Spangled Banner’.
So why is this the best spot? First of all, the Maritime National Historical Park is situated inside Aquatic Park San Francisco… in the water! There are period ships to set the perfect scenery of what the bay may have looked like. The ships are much younger in the park; like the Balclutha 1886 and the C. A. Thayer 1895 but look very similar. Add a dark sky with a silhouette of the old ships sails from the 1800’s lit up by fireworks, well you’ll get the picture and full effect. A lot of people don’t know this History, so why do I? I wrote a book report in the 4th or 5th grade about it. I found it fascinating that people were so affected and heart felt over a song, it inspired me to want to write music. So now you know. Now let’s let Key set the story and imagine the background.
Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thru the night that our flag was still there. Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
So we won. And every year we celebrate this day in a grand way.
Reason 2, why it’s the best place to kayak on the 4th? The park is protected by a breakwater pier. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t strong currents, but it’s a protected area and larger boats can only go 5 mph. There are actually crazy swimmers swimming at night. There are police and coastguards near by. Of course if you don’t have a walkie talkie that wont do you any good. So it is most watched by land and sea.
Next good reason, the fireworks barge is directly on the other side of the pier and they project the firework into the park. Giving the people on land and sea one hell of a show! Wow!! We hovered under the pier until the fireworks started because the current was so strong it kept making us struggle to stay in one spot. On land you can walk and board the ships.
The depth in the park looks to be 7 to 14 feet deep. Of course I wouldn’t recommend where I was, the first fireworks rattled me to the core. Being under the pier echoed the effect in such away that you felt you were in a war being bombed. Not sure your supposed to be under there but we needed to be protected by the current. Eventually we let loose and drifted to the center of the park facing the fireworks and current. It was foggy as SF is, but it also had a unique effect in it’s self.
We Put-in at Hyde Street Park. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not sure your supposed to. I heard there was a public beach launch to the left of the photo but it was all blocked for pedestrians to view the show on shore. Since we got out next door to the rowing and dolphin club, I assume they assumed we were with them. Frankly it’s not fair there aren’t more safe put in areas for the public to launch. So you might want to try to arrange something or find out the real rules. We parked our car in the red zone on Hyde street, dropped the boat off onto the side walk, my friend parked the truck while I waited. We communicated through walkie takies, which I highly recommend getting water proof ones even if you don’t think you need them. You don’t want to kill your phone batteries trying to communicate and it’s a pain other wise. I will list my personal favorite things kayaking. Eventually we walked the kayak through the crowded street.
So, the park is not that big to explore a whole day, and if your going out side the park it should be done in much better conditions. You can putt around the park and see the ships below, just don’t get too close or they get mad. To the right / east, are docks you can explore. You can go in a area all the crab fishermen dock their boats. There is a lot of untold History in them, some barely afloat. Also before you get in the water you can actually go on these Historic ships for a small fee that supports our wonderful parks.
It was next to the Dolphin Swim & Boat Club and South End Rowing Club. You might want get involved with them to launch your kayak. We technically just walked through the Hyde Street gate and put our boat in. However the gate closes at 5pm, so you have to be out by then, or the gate is locked. You can technically still get out from inside, but not go back in, should you leave something behind. It’s a beach launch and even though it’s a protected area, there is a strong current when it comes time. How ever it’s protected and the current isn’t as strong as out side the park. It’s cool because you kayak next to old ships. Perfect setting for 4th of July. We hovered under the pier until it came time for the fire works. But be aware, even at 9pm at night there are crazy swimmers. We had the best seat in the house, with a back stage pass to a concert and being literally under the projection of the fireworks! Here’s a important notation it’s a beach launch, pretty mild. You go through the gates of the Museum and the gates close at 5pm. Most the people who work at the Museum are volunteers over 90, kidding. I don’t think they care.
However you can still get out because the gate is only locked for people getting in. So if your out in the Bay and need a emergency out, here it is. There is a public restroom.
To take a rest, we ended up landing at the Dolphin Swim & Boat Club. The girl sitting on the beach was really nice and helped pull us ashore until she realized we weren’t members cuz we asked dumb questions. Then her face turned unfriendly like we were on her property and said they don’t take to kindly to non-members. So we went next door, and went out the Row Club doors to the street. Much more friendly group of people. They promised they would let us back in to get to our boat.
We just wanted out of the water to rest. We just weren’t sure where to go, so we can come back to our boat. I just think it’s pure BS. 4th of July, land of the ‘free’ BS. Land of we own this, get the f’ off. When it comes to boating it’s dangerous to send boaters back out that need to rest. Or set their lights or get out of rough waters. We had struggled for a long time against the currents and wind, we needed to rest. I’ve got nothin’ for people that don’t help, sorry I disturbed your cozy picnic. I mean we are loaded down to kayak, do we look like we want to stay here? All in, all. There were only 4 kayakers besides us, anyone who really kayaks wouldn’t go out in, apparently, gusting winds which I wish they would say MPH, which is 16.1 to 19.6 MPH. Gusting means ‘gusting’ temporary burst of wind. Ok got it! Ya, so I’m learning as I go. Anyway, take that off my bucket list.
Anyway, once parked we went across the street to the fancy Blue Mermaid Restaurant. I looked like a Uni-bomber with my kayak vest still on, walkie talkie, pilot knife. I had coffee while my friend had oysters and beer. Absolutely beautiful restaurant. I must go back. Anyway, all in all it was such a great evening. After the hair raising fireworks, Instead of leaving immediately, we loaded up the car with the boat, parked then went to a bar Jacks Cannery Bar for a night cap to let all the traffic go away. Sucks having to drink expensive beer (cash only) out of a plastic cup, when you just risked your life, I don’t know how many times… welcome back to land. But there was a mixed group of out of town’ers fun to chat with.
Below I listed some of my favorite things kayaking.
#1 My Kokatat MsFIT Tour PFD – Women’s Life vest.
I love the walkie talkie pocket and the front stretch mesh pockets to stow essentials. The pocket are not water proof. But when I do put things in the pockets, they are in plastic in need be. The deep-cut neck and armholes maximize range of motion for my arms, there is a difference! I used to kayak with a ‘water ski jacket’ and it gave me rub burns under my arms. Your life vest is –your LIFE Vest! It’s a investment. Having things on your body and not hanging from your neck it super important. If you capsize you have less to get hung up on. Chapsitck and sunscreen and cell phone is in the pocket! However, getting back in the boat you have the pockets to contend with. Kokatat is a great brand, when I went to The Travel Show, a pro Kayker had one and she gave me a personal tour of her’s and she swore by it. I had my eye on it the first day I seen one. They are all very adjustable in size. I have a Large. You can say I’m smitten by mine. It also has a ‘Strobe lash tab’ I guess thats what they call it. Anyway, you can attach other things to it, for me I have my Rambo ‘NRS Pilot Knife’ which I love. There is Reflective tape on the back and chest. You never know when you will be out at night fall.
I will get more into products I love in a dedicated blog
My NRS Pilot River Knife (Rambo) knife is always ready for action. It’s 3 inch stainless-steel blade with blunt safety tip has both smooth and serrated cutting edges; matte finish with a are hole in the handle that serves as a valve wrench for an oxygen tank a bottle opener is built into the handle. Comes in handy for many uses.
Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Talkabout Waterproof 2-Way Radio (Pair)
This is one of my favorite products. You think, everyone has a cell phone why not just call? You don’t want to ware out your cell phone communicating out on the road, trail or water. I use them everywhere! Hiking, kayaking. Used them in Europe to talk to my friends. Hands down best buy. They have a charging case so you just place them in the cradle after a long day. My mom got me mine for my birthday. You don’t want to dial and wait to ring, you want to send your message.
Ad a whistle to your vests, (super important) and your good to go! The whistle replaces a horn on a boat. I’ve actually been hit by a big boat, not dead on but swiped the side of my kayak. Having a whistle can help you let them know you are their since we sit so low in the water.
I’m always astonished how much rich History, or HerStory, there is right under our noses in the San Francisco Bay Area. I explored the waterfront area of Richmond by land and sea in search of what was once the largest Winery in the world when the California Wine Association moved from San Francisco to Point Molate Richmond after the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906. It remained the title of “World’s largest winery” for 12 years!! (1907–1919). Until prohibition crushed it’s demise and was shut down in 1919. Really, THE largest? Over Italy and France? Yep, it’s true. Now it’s an abandoned ghost town once called “Winehaven California” (It is in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places) and it’s castle remains in tact north of the Point Molate Richmond. Stenmark Drive is the last exit before you get on the Richmond Bridge and it is littered with a extraordinary and riveting California History.
If you walk on Pt. Molate Park Beach facing the water Winehaven would be to your right, around the corner less than a mile away, you can’t walk to it on the beach, but you can see it. If continue to drive on Stenmark Dr you can see the backside through the fence from the road. There is a bit of a battle to what they are going to do with the area. In my humble opinion, it is rare to be able to boast the ‘largest in the world’ of anything, let alone the most prestigious commodity of wine! So. I say restore the castle and keep boasting! But there’s more.
Winehaven 2036-2040 Stenmark Dr. Near Point Molate Beach Park Richmond, CA
From that same beach, to your left walk 1,000 feet towards the Bridge to Point Castro and there is a 200 foot shipwreck, with half sticking out of the water even at high tide. (There are actually 3, if you look at Google Earth. 5 If you look at lowest tide.) With the completion of the bridge in 1956 the car-ferry service and inner city railway that resided there eventually rendered the pier useless and became a fishing pier. After years of lack of maintenance, it is now a barley recognizable battered pier. This once thriving corner of the Bay, is now a water front ghost town, mostly restricted from the public. For me, it’s a photographers dream. There is a public park you can enjoy where you can see the shipwreck. A 160-foot medium-endurance cutter patrol vessel ‘The USCGC Hermes WPC-109’ it was a Thetis-class coastal patrol ship in service from 1932 to 1958. It was assigned to San Pedro, California, and spent World War II watching for Japanese submarines, as well as escorting convoys out of the harbor. After the war, it was used as a stationary training ship. And was to serve as an enforcement vessel for Prohibition. A model is on display at the LA Maritime Museum. Hermes also served to deliver an important marble Cabrillo monument January 1937 to the San Miguel Island in the Southern California. In honor of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (Portuguese: João Rodrigues Cabrilho; c. 1497 – January 3, 1543) who was the First European explorer in California where he laid to rest. And yet another part of our Rich History.
The Hermes vessel was decommissioned November 2, 1948 and sold May 16, 1958. Eventually laid to rest where it is now, Point Molate. She still sits with her bow in the air above water, surrounded by unnamed shipwrecks beside her, slightly below the water line. You can see them on google earth, and on a lowest tide you can see them even more. It is a dangerous area with pilings sticking up.
Just know it is windy out there facing the Golden Gate. If it’s a date night you can start here and work your way back to end up at the wineries near, The Riveter Rosie Museum. To me it’s crazy this area is not as explored as it should be. And I pray they do not develop this but to bring back what was there.
Point Richmond Pier
Next stop is Miller / Knox Regional Shoreline at Point Richmond on Canal Blvd. At the very point, is a gutted out building. And a fishing pier which. Along side the new fishing pier is a dilapidated pier that used to be a commuter ferry service to the San Francisco Ferry. You can see where the train rails lead to the terminal which now are broken and lead underwater. I actually kayaked under it. Besides being broken-down and battered, it is clear there was a recent fire that further damages the battered pier. For me, it was the highlight of my 2nd kayak trip. It is said, it is at ‘Ford Point’ however you can’t find it on the map. Something I have found over time, places are renamed and it really depends on who you ask. It’s name came from the historic Ford Plant. But you put in ‘Point Richmond’ and you will find it. There is a whole walking tour of the area with points of interests. Across from the Museum is R&B Cellars where you can wine and cider taste and have a bit to eat while you enjoy the Bay view.
Now it’s time to warm up and get out of the wind. Working your way back go to see the inside of the SS Red Oak Victory ($10 donation to get in, mostly Closes at 2pm). I have not been inside yet, however I have been under the massive destroyer it in a kayak. It’s A original ship made by the Rosie The Riveters. If you aren’t familiar who Rosie is, during WWII all the available men were summoned to fight the war with no one left to build the Ships and Airplane’s. So women were summoned to come work in the shipyards. There is a famous print by Norman Rockwell that advertised “You can do it” to encourage women to join the movement where the women, who other wise were expected to be housewives were summoned to work in the shipyards. Back in those days it was ludicrous a woman would do a “man’s job”—even if they wanted to. Rivets are basically like ‘a nut and bolt’ a all in one, permanent mechanical fastener that holds metals sheets together to make airplanes, ships, bridges and such. They did more than assembled them with rivets, they welded and did all types of non-traditional jobs. It was war-time and Richmond area was the largest producer of war time products. The rural City of Richmond exploded. Now the whole area is dedicated to preserving this HerStory.
After seeing the ship, go to the Rosie The Riveter Museum, it’s very tactile with life size people to give you a sense of that time. Maybe even go home with a lunch pail. Especially if you have kids, they should see how woman contributed to the war effort. The Museum is free but if you can spare it, donations are always appreciated.
Now that you’ve had a day of HerStory, reward yourself at the Assemble Restaurant you basically get to eat and drink in the boiler room of the Ford Assemble plant.
Assemble Restaurant @ The Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way S, Richmond, CA 94804
Now you have a choice to call it a day and watch the sunset there, or go back to see the sunset over a Pirate Harbor. Yep, a pirate harbor only you me, John Wayne and and a few others know about. If you continue on back on Stenmark Dr. past Pt. Molate Park Beach make a right onto a dirt road to San Pablo Yacht Harbor or they like to say San Pablo Pirate Harbor. They have developed the area in such a what that its very artiest friendly environment.
Follow the ‘Point San Pablo (Pirate) Yacht Harbor sign. There are is a public bathroom and public kayak launch. But this little eccentric cove has a long History. Is was originally made by By Captain Raymond H. Clark in 1939 lined up about 9 ships on both sides to create a breakwater Harbor eventually overtime the ships were covered with dirt. And yes, that’s what you walk on.. shipwrecks. Fascinating. At sunset, at least on this day was a golden calm. At one point in History that area was the setting of the movie ‘Blood Alley’ with John Wayne and Lauren Bacall!
Update! There is a quaint restaurant you’ll have to figure out what they have there now. Here is a link: https://www.pspharbor.com/ I promise you explore this area by kayak, car or foot, you will not be disappointed!
Point San Pablo Yacht (Pirate) Harbor
Many buried ship wrecks
1900 Western Drive, Richmond, CA 94801
1955 ‘Blood Alley’ with John Wayne and Lauren Bacall partly filmed at Point San Pablo Harbor.
What!! Some of Alaska’s Inside Passage under 60 dollars! Not kidding. Travel and Adventure Show Video
At the top of my Bucket List: Alaska. When I looked into it, there is just ridiculous prices to experience it. So I buy lottery tickets and hope for the best. Postcard Travelers is all about crafting your own experience to get the best out of life and travel. Looking for the postcard picture perfect experience, maximizing my budget. When I met Lorene Palmer of Alaska’s Inside Passage I told her ‘You are my new best friend!” And pulled over my colleagues at Comcast Chabot 27 to interview her. You must listen to what she says. [Video Link]
You can go from some of the most insanely beautiful locations in the world… the Inside Passage for under $60.00. What!! That’s right. Like we have a public bus and BART system, Alaska has a waterway transit system ‘The Alaska Marine Highway System’ (AMHS). It only makes since for the local community to be able to get from one town to the next. Not like you can drive over a glacier to get home. Example Juneau to Sitka is a 9 hour ferry ride around $53.00! Woot, woot, woot!
You can thank me later. Come to find out my mom took this transit system when she went to Alaska and drove her camper on the boat a bit more than just going on the ride. There are cabins you can sleep in as well. My fantasy is to, of course, kayak around the glaciers. I never even thought bringing my own car or motorcycle was a possibility. So I am in fantasy heaven working out the details! In the meantime, here is the interview with Eddie Hazzard (Chabot 27) at the Travel & Adventure Show and link to http://www.alaskasinsidepassage.com/ please let us know about your experience if you happen to go before me. Tips please! XOXO
One Month to Live Author Patricia Schultz gives us 5 places to go. -PostcardTravelers
Patricia Schultz is the Author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers; 1000 places to see before you die. She gives us five Hot Tips if you only have a month to live. You wont believe what she says! Host; Photographer, Filmmaker Stacy Poulos www.PostcardTravelers.com
Get the book: http://1000places.com/
Music; Connie M. Gaxiola