After 2 years of planning and a 2nd attempt to find it on the Delta, I finally found my Shipwreck! For now it’s the ‘Spud Island Shipwreck’ since there are no markings and I can’t find any information on it. It will officially be the ‘Spud Island Shipwreck’. On the way to the wreck #CaptainBonnie (Bonnie Nasworthy Jones) pointed out a sunken city. I call ‘Jones Track Ghost Town’, an abandoned sunken Ghost Town. It consists of a few floating (or not floating) buildings and house boats abandoned by a man who left them behind to live in Costa Rica. Now the Delta is slowly swallowing them up. It’s definitely a ominous Ghostly scene. I took many photos of both locations. I didn’t get to spend as much time flying over them for my battery only lasted 10 minutes. rrr. Anyway, what a journey! Thank you Captin Bonnie for being such a brave, patient and great caption to get me there and back safely through the twisted and dangerous areas of the Delta and San Joaquin River! Stand by for the video ‘Journey to Spud Island Shipwreck’ and keep and eye out for my photography from the trip. www.PostcardTravelers.com by Stacy Poulos & Eye Fly Cinematography
Take a unique trip back in San Francisco time at the ‘San Francisco History Days’ held every year in March. Here, History enthusiast dress up in authentic period clothing to add to the atmosphere. There are many booths that represent Historical organizations and museums all over the Bay area. Mostly in SF. My favorite booth was the Pacific Bus Museum sense I have already have been there in Fremont. There were representatives from all over. This is a great resource for researching History, locations, actors, etc. there are endless possibilities all at the Old Mint, which is a vault as a perfect setting. “…dozens of organizations celebrating and telling the stories of the City’s unique past. We invite you to meet community historians, archivists, genealogists, archaeologists, researchers, educators, re-enactors, and other history enthusiasts at this FREE, all-ages weekend event at the historic site.’ (List of 2018 exhibitors)
Here is a little teaser video of what it’s like on the inside.
Visit Hiller Aviation Museum 601 Skyway Rd, San Carlos, CA 94070
This is such a great place! Real airplanes hanging from the ceiling. Vintage airplanes and replicas of the first airplanes including ones that never left the ground. In their words: “The Hiller Aviation Museum engages the community in the human spirit of adventure, discovery and innovation. Through compelling exhibits and immersive programs, the museum provides a stimulating environment with multiple ways for public audiences to experience the adventure of aviation, its future promise and its history in California, and to use aviation as a gateway for exploring science, history and technology.” I’ll say! This place is great for kids and adults. Check out my live mini tour video and bonus video flying inside a PT-17 in a Air show for the Tuskegee Airmen. PT-17 were there Trainer Planes.
I have a lot of History with flying and I have a correction to make about this video, my grandfather George Stein worked for Hughes Aircraft where was one of the 3rd persons to fly over the Atlantic Ocean in the China Clipper (not 42nd as I stated in the video). He also worked on the Space Shuttle for NASA and engineered and modified old bomber aircraft planes so they can add new technology computers to them. His Company was Stein Engineering. At one point we had a wind tunnel built in our living room for NASA. As a child the 1st Airplane I flew in landed in the water; Catalina Seaplanes, I’m in love with them! Of course after I flew, in many commercial airplanes that landed on the ground. As a young adult I flew around Catalina Island in a Cessna 150 sword fish spotting, the Pilot let me take hold of the rains. Later I was one of the independent camera at the 1 Air Show Honoring the Tuskegee Airmen and interviewed the 1st Black Pilots of America and the 1st Black General of America Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Which also landed me to have the honor of Flying in the lead Airplane with the president of the Confederate Air force Milo Tichacek in his PT-17 (see the bonus video inside that flight!). Then I flew in the nose of a B-25 Bomber the gunner seat. Eventually upside down in a P-51 and a an old Beechcraft. I’ve also flown in the channel 5 helicopter, and a police helicopter. Whew! So as you can imagine I had the aviation bug all my life. Eventually I took a lesion with California Airways with Keith Amaro and got to fly over the Golden gate bridge in a Cessna 172! Basically; lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky …and lucky!!
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.
Monterey’s Tasty Olive Bar has 70 varieties of olive oils and balsamics that you can taste before you buy free! Many of the infused Olive oils are the same olive oil base with different flavorings. The olive oils come from two different hemispheres in Tunisia and Australia, and the balsamics are aged the traditional Solera Method from Modena Italy. Each container tells you the mix of oil and acidity. Although I’m not big of infused flavorings, the ones I tried are rich in flavor. I’m a straight olive oil gal. I like the kind that has a natural nutty flavor to it. My favorite Olive Oil is ‘Koronieki olive oil’ extra virgin from Greece. They do not mix their oils with any other oils like big grocery store chains do. Hold on, I’m not done… You may get dizzy with so many varieties.
Pressed every week are there specialties oils; white and black truffle oil, sesame seed oil, roasted almond oil, seasonal pumpkin seed oil and my favorite for the day; buttersquash seed oil. Which has a really unique roasted taste to it. Now that I have it, what am I going to do with it? The owner said it’s great for roasting vegetables on a BBQ or adding to mash potatoes. They have a sleek 200 ml bottle that they will bottle your favorite on the spot for around 13 bucks. Specialty oils are more and other sizes are available.
As far as the balsamics I liked the ‘Cranberry-Pear White Balsamic Vinegar Condimento’ and the ‘Pomegranate-Quince White Balsamic’ was best. They are open everyday at 10:00am to 8pm and will give you a free taste with bread and education about the oils.
Not so deep in the woods of ‘Scotts Valley’ is a lush forest of Mossy trees in Felton, California. The broken ones that lay across the ‘Fall Creek’ of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park trail and forest floor are as full of moss, as the ones standing tall gasping for sunlight. We took a short hike about 3 miles round trip the day after Thanksgiving to work off the trimmings.
I can only equate my experience to the lush forests as the forest on the Hilo side of the big island of Hawaii; Lush. I learned one time in a movie you can tell which way was ‘North’ since the north side doesn’t get as much direct sunlight (If it gets any at all). Of course this is scientifically confirmed (not) with wiki answers. I suppose it depends where you live. “In northern latitudes, the north side of trees and rocks will generally have more moss on average than other sides (though south-side outcroppings are not unknown). This is assumed to be because of the lack of sufficient water for reproduction on the sun-facing side of trees. South of the equator the reverse is true. In deep forests where sunlight does not penetrate, mosses grow equally well on all sides of the tree trunk” -IndianaHoosier / yahoo answers. Unless your in the middle of ‘Fall Creek’ where the sun can only peak through for short moments to some spots of the valley floor, there’s no way of telling which way is north, because moss grows every where, all sides. All kinds of moss and fungi. Until you get your blood flowing from your hike, you are going to be chilly, chilly as the damp, cold and dark environment it takes to grow moss.
I was with my cousins, my youngest cousin 13 years old taking photos, as I was; at the Intricate details from banana slugs that stood out like a sore thumb in the dark fall colors, to the contrasting images of various mushrooms and fungi and yellow fall leaves. In fact if you’re a science teacher and want to take kids on a nature walk to point out different fungi as a challenge this is a great spot. I don’t know much about fungi accept to avoid it. But I had seen more than a hand full of different types. The valley floor is sound deadening, quite and peaceful. If you settle down enough to listen, your own voice sounds different to yourself, you can hear crackling of wood from settling trees, creek beds trickling, and water drippings, distant visitors approaching. Once in a while you may hear a wrestling in the trees; hopefully not the native bob cats.
I don’t have a lot of experience hiking but the worst hike I went on was when I went 7 miles; a great deal of the hike in the heat of 90 degree weather 75 percent of the time in direct sun. We internally begged to get to the next little oases of shade to gather our strength to carry on. I can see having the ability to hike twice as long here because you are covered by trees. I think that’s the trick. Water and shade! I can’t imagine this would be a tough hike in 90 degree weather being so close to the Pacific ocean and out of the sun.
A mile and a half into our trip we were rewarded with a scene that resembled something out of a Indiana Jones movie; abandon limekilns from the 1870s decaying into the mossy forest. Slightly camouflaged with blankets of live and dead leaves, canopies of moss, rivers of dirt covering what was once tracks of wood beams for a tramway that carried tons of lime from ‘Blue-Cliff’ a 150 foot high quarry to the kilns.
Henry Cowell was from Massachusetts when he was enticed by the lure of the gold rush in California. This rush infused a high demand for construction, eventually he found his riches in the
building materials key ingredient –limestone. The key ingredient used to make mortar for brick buildings. Limestone itself is formed from a bed of sea shells layered and changed from heat and pressure from millions of years ago. More evidence of a even greater History.
Here in lies the lime kilns 1.5 miles into the forest from Felton Empire Road; the graveyard or headstones to an era in California’s History. Lime kiln’s are used to produce quicklime through the calcination of limestone (calcium carbonate). The chemical reaction takes place at 900°C to 1,000°C+. Burning 24 hours a day for 3-4 days. Hard to believe in this cool, thick forest was a thriving / bustling factory that made Codwell the richest man in Santa Cruz at one time, as well as the mortar that held parts of California’s buildings together, still today. A grave site of only remembrance of the road that was once the path way to deliver the lime that built California. It seams now the banana slugs are the rich ones.
I love a hike that has a appreciation for History, beauty, nature and a sense for adventure. As my cousins move on through the forest trail and I take photographs of all the intricate details, I think how blessed I was to have been gifted with this kind in attention to details, so many details. As I wonder, and I wonder. Looking for what is disguised or swallowed by nature. Shortly up the road I finally under stand what ‘Powder Magazine” meant on the map, as I thought it was strange to have a path named after a magazine? ‘Powder magazine’ was actually a housing for the explosives they used to break up the limestone. Like any mystery, the poorly labeled map only becomes a treasure map of what only your imagination can fly from when you are actually there discovering for yourself. For a short run it’s a great and adventurous hike. Of course you can carry on up the hill and make it a 7 mile if you want, but who knows what’s up there. Who knows what is buried underneath the discarded limestone.
The park features Redwood Grove, Douglas fir, madrone, oak and a stand of Ponderosa pine. The northern area (Fall Creek) is 2,390 acres, with about 20 miles of hiking trails. The tallest tree in the park is about 285 feet tall and about 16 feet wide. The oldest trees in the park are about 1400 to 1800 years old. Zayante Indians tribe of the Ohlone people once lived in the area, where they found shelter, water and game. (And moss).
For the details; there are no bathrooms and the trail head parking lot is hard to find so it’s best to set your milage counter before you start down Fleton Road. By Stacy Poulos
Ok Here’s the thing, I got my ass kicked yesterday. The good part about every mountain, is it hides the next mountain and valley you must walk through. So, when you think you have concord an extraordinary feat in your life, to walk the miles you have, you come to another clearing where you have an even longer and harder distance to go. Shit! I was thinking about an analogy of what I went through yesterday, when I was driving over the San Mateo bridge and seen a tiny distant light across the bay to my left thinking, that is where I’m going… in my car. Yesterday, it was on foot, times 10. That light was like the people ahead of me near the bend of the trail. Really!!?? ….that’s where were going! Again!!! Shit! I kept thinking, obviously I have no concept what these maps mean, or what 6.6 miles is in people feet walking. I was just proud as a graphic artist, I was able to highlight the proposed trail on my map. (I think my guide, who has the body of Jack LaLanne, also has no concept what a 4 in difficulty, means on a scale of 1 to 10 to out of shape people), like what 4 beers is to someone 180 lbs, is a lot different to someone 110 lbs. I guess it’s all relative, and I really need to qualify the situation a little better, if I live. People who make up these numbers should consider the delusion of out of shape people, who think they can hike. He was just concerned that it was 94 degrees high noon heat in the thick of it. Humm. [Thats it! …in my own mind… You think only ‘heat’ is the issue here, as I pant, grasping my stomach wondering what Turkey Vultures gonna get me when I’m left behind. As people drop off in the shade to bring there huffing down to a point of manageable blood pressure after a hiking some horrendous incline at a 500 feet incline back out of Devils Hole.] “Only 200 zig zag feet in elevation to go, he says” but look theres a shady tree up ahead.] Deeeevvvviiiils Holeeee, That! Should have been my first clue when I read the map. [“Oh good, Devils Hole sounds mysterious, this is going to be a great adventure. Wooo hooo, here we gooooo.”] Now I know why they call it Devils Hole, sounds like fun, but to get there, and out of there, you will feel like you have gone to Hell and back.
So, all kidding aside (not), it was; beautiful scene, after beautiful scene. Amazing this is in the heart of the East Bay surrounded by rural areas and city life. You couldn’t see any homes once you got to the other side, but a lake (San Leandro reservoir) with lots of green trees and brush, a few mountainy rocks and 60 miles in the distance you could see San Francisco smaller than a inch.
I chronicled my trip in photos, so when they found me dead underneath a poison oak plant, they would know how far and why I had past out. Besides our fall back group having fun plotting out how we were going to hold down the leader and kick his ass, if we lived to see the end, who now looks like a dot, on yet another ridge we must conquer. I thought to myself, self, thankfully America has the foresite to preserve these areas. And even though I’ll never see Devils Hole again, unless it’s on a post card, in my nightmares, or from a helicopter. I want to figure out how I can support State Parks more. If we’re to stupid to not enjoy them, we should at least make sure they are their for those who do.
If you’re an in shape experienced hiker, you may like this hike. Our leader is a great guy and super nice. Maybe a little delusional about his numbers. I’d go to this kind of hike at any point …for a mile and that would be pushing it. Unfortunately you have to go to Devils Hole, to get to ‘Sycamore trail’ which is the best of all the trails. It was the most interesting to see, but the most treacherous elevation hike. It was under the most brush, which made the 94 degree weather not so bad for the hardest part.
For some one like me, I would take a trip like this if it was a 4 day hike. Hike camp. Hike, camp. Not all in one shot. We started with 47 people, all grouped up for the first quarter mile. Then our group spread out about a quarter mile apart in smaller groups. Me, taking up the tail with the fall back group, another couple who had a baby with them, and with another experienced woman hiker of this Trail with a old and slow dog. (My buddy). Who eventually split, before Devils Hole. (Our “Half Way point”). Obviously a wiser woman. ..another clue what was to come.
Being a mother Bear instinct myself, I was concerned for the momma and the baby, since I was huffing and puffing and had all my limbs to break a fall, she had to care for her daughter with one arm to protect her. There were a lot of situations where we had the luxury of two arms to get through some sticky situations and her only one.
So what else can I say? 24 ounces of water is not enough. I was out of water, when I got out of Hell. Once out of Hell, I would have paid $20.00 for a bottle of Ice cold gatorade. Luckily I had to new fallback people that were generous and well equipped that shared theres.
Before, I froze 3 mini 4 oz. collapsible containers, to keep my sandwich cool till lunch, great idea, BUT I think I miss read that to, it was more like concentrate, yuck. I thought of many inventions along the way, like a hat fan you clip on the brim of a baseball hat that is solar powered facing your face. Miniature handy wipe bags you can reseal.
At first I think, ‘what are these people doing bringing ‘back packs’, were going for a ‘walk’. Then I was jealous of all the amenities they had. Like our leader had an inflatable seat cushion to sit on. It was handy when we were in Hell lingering around having lunch, looking at Heaven. In light of wanting to sit along the hike, I thought an inflatable pair of shorts would be handy. Also the babies momma could have used a unit to keep her baby on her chest like she did, but not with such thick material and something to keep them cool and secure. One gal brought crackers and espresso beans to share, since I missed my espresso in the morning I indulged. She said she froze them so they wouldn’t melt. She’s not the only one who froze something, one man who supplied me with water after I ran out in Hell, froze his gatorade the night before. We ended up having more people join our fall back team who were welcomed with open arms. Especially with extra supplies!
And for the record, if your going down and not in the direction of your car, your gonna to have to go up. In our case, up, and up, and up and up! If your wondering what those skinny unmarked lines that connect in circles from large to small around the trail you are on, they are mountains, the smallest circle is the tip. So, in conclusion, when you see several small circles on your trail, they will be the mountains in your way you will have to hike on, down, up and around. “W” means water incase your from Europe and think “W” means Water Hole as in bathroom. Ironically what seamed to be a little trail of Heaven on our last stretch, a easy paved road that seam to go straight to the parking lot, was the hardest stretch. Because of the steep decline put a lot of awkward pressure on your knees and jams your toes to the tip of your shoes. Even though I knew none of the 47 people I started out with, it was probably better that my friends bailed on me, they would have kicked my ass. I’m sure in a few days I’ll think I had fun, and forget I was paralyzed from the pain the next day and walked like a penguin with a stick up my butt for a week.
But you know, I wanted my ass kicked really, I deserved it for letting myself get so out of shape in so many ways, when I’m a born athlete. I’m not going to be my true potential God intended me to be, if I let myself go so much as I had. I’m just not someone who can go to a gym andbreathe the air of others sweat, focused on just the workout. If God intended us to keep our bodies in shape at a gym,he wouldn’t have created the great out doors. So in a way, my leader was a Saint that took us in and out of Hell. The Hell we live for not getting out and seeing the world and respecting our bodies. Days like these, you think about who your are, and how you pollute yourself with unnecessary crap. (Maybe 6.6 was a little dramatic for my first day out) rubbing the skin off the back of my feet, jamming my toes and knees. Straining every muscle I have, especially the one between my ears trying to find a way out, a kebab I can jump on to kebab down the hill instead of walking it. A helicopter to pick me up and take me home to my mommy.
“All ails fails, read the directions” is our family motto. As I go back to review the website to see where I may have missed something, I read the the leaders profile for the 1st time. He says: “My experience level with hiking is very advanced – numerous hikes more than 12 miles, many with many, many thousands of feet of elevation change. …and am always pushing my hiking further – literally. That being said, I love to introduce new people to the sport, and can enjoy anything from very mild to ugh! level hikes. Between hiking, treadmill, and trail running my goal is to get in at least 20 miles a week of cardio, shooting for 25+ though!..” Well. Sigh! There you go. I followed a psycho hiker. Thank you!! I now have a Callus on my foot named after you.
Then I read The Sierra Clubs description “About this Trail… This is a 6.3 mile long loop hike to Devil’s Hole over Rocky Ridge. Enjoy lung-busting climbs to rocky ridges offering breathtaking 360 degree views of Ramage Peak at 1401 feet, Mt. Diablo at 3849 feet, the Ohlone Ridge out beyond Livermore, and Grizzly and Volvon Peaks dominating the Berkeley Hills horizon. Enjoy the wild life, eagles, hawks, and buzzing buzzards (turkey vultures, cousin to the more glamorous California Condor) patrolling the deep blue skies, bobcats and mountain lions skulking about or sleeping nearby in the sandstone cave outcroppings.” Blah, blah, blah.. “Change in Elevation: 1200, Elevation at trailhead: 1080, Highest Elevation: 1960 (Why my knees and butt-tox hurt) Lowest Elevation: 1080” .. eeeexxxxaaaccctttly!!
Thank you my fearless leader for taking the brunt of our commiserating I loved every minute of it. I think all the new comers miss judged the ‘4’ in difficulty and probably didn’t read your personal profile. Then again they were probably like me, wanted the inspiration of a group to go on a journey. No matter how difficult. If I go with this group again, it will be on a ‘1’ difficulty for a mile. His next trip is to be a 10 mile hike… Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve… I’m out! ‘But there’s a cave… ‘nope, I’m out!
I love a great discoveries! Today I toured the ‘Jack London Square bay’ taking photos on a Kayak with a friend. We went in the public entrance at Jack London Square, free to launch my own kayak, and my friend rented a paddle board $15.00 an hour at “California Canoe And Kayak” which was very helpful and lots of cool stuff to buy. We parked our car for $5.00 for 12 hours a block away takes cash and cards.
After, my friend wanted to go a restaurant ‘with a view of the water’ and we were too dressed down from paddling to go in any of the fancy restaurants, so we poked around and found ‘Miss Pearl’s Jam House’ Cuisine Inspired by the Caribbean Islands. It looked fancy, but we asked if it was ok the way we were dressed, and they welcomed us with open arms. When I saw ‘gumbo’ on the menu I knew that’s what I wanted. I am always excited and leery about restaurants that claim to make ‘Gumbo’ I’ve had the best ‘Gumbo’ in the center of New Orleans. And I haven’t come close to what I’ve experience yet and that’s always a disappointment when your pallets been so sophisticated. So I took a chance. I ordered the “Creole Gumbo” (Pulled chicken, Andouille sausage, Tasso ham, Gulf Prawns, and Okra, floating around a cup steamed rice) ($18.00). I’m not a huge fan of Okra, so I asked them to use a little less, and dice it. They were happy to accommodate me and my ‘high maintenance’. It was soooo good, I am trying to figure out when I can come back again. I forgot to ask for extra sauce, as I do for everything I ever order, but it came plenty saucy already- woo hoo extra bonus! The meats were of high quality had a great texture and flavor.
My friend had just a few appetizers, very tasty ‘Rosemary Polenta’ ($4.00) and ‘Seasonal vegetables’ ($4.00) which happen to be ‘Young Broccoli marinated in fresh (un-refrigerated, huge difference!) potent Garlic cooked absolutely perfect.
So as the sun fell on the water, we enjoyed a superb 2008 Petite Sirah; R&B Cellars Pizzicato, Napa Valley’s; Rock Wall Wine Company ($9.00 glass). www.rbcellars.com From a very fun and knowledgeable waiter and staff that checked in often. They went as far as letting me in the kitchen to get a photo. If you didn’t get the window view, the restaurant is uniquely designed with beautiful mosaic sea shell tiles on the wall. If you go into the bar, they have live music as well, and a nice atmosphere. I’m definitely coming back soon. Problem is, there looks like a lot of good stuff on the menu, but I think I’ll have the gumbo again, and warm up to the chef for the recipe.
Caio’ for now. -Stacy
Miss Pearl’s Jam House
Cuisine Inspired by the Caribbean Islands
One Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
Jack London Square
at the Water Front Hotel
Telephone: 510.444.7171 http://www.misspearlsjamhouse.com
A Superb Stake & The Maltese Falcon At John’s Grill In San Francisco
-By Stacy Poulos
63 Ellis St., San Francisco, CA 94102
(between 4th St & Market St)
Neighborhood: Union Square
(415) 986-0069 www.johnsgrill.com
When you’ve been around since 1908 you know someone has carried on the torch. After spending 3 day’s at a MacWorld convention I thought I’d treat myself to a great meal. As I walked down Powell Street I passed by an officer and said “I know you must know where a good place to eat a reasonably priced steak is around here”. He pointed right up the street to 120 Powell at ‘Tad’s Steak Restaurant’ and said you can get a good steak for around 15 buck’s (almost with a New York accent). So I went in that direction, before crossing Ellis St, being a good citizen looking both ways before I crossed the street, to my right ‘John’s Grill since 1908’ caught my eye. It rang a bell for me, so I thought I’d peek in and it was the home of the movie ‘The Maltese Falcon’. It’s a little more spendi for my budget. But as a filmmaker, I couldn’t help but want to sit in a room where Sam spade from the movie sat and be inspired by History. Why not spoil myself once in a while.
I will say, as frugal as I am, I have a very sophisticated pallet for a great quality steak. My mom spoiled us with her restaurant sized indoor grill and teated us to a good T-bone or New York steak once in a while. Not to mention, we got our meat from cows my step dad’s family had raised in Portland Oregon. So trust me, I know a good quality steak. I start out on a steak adventure very skeptical, that it will be near as good as what I have grown up to know. A great steak needs just salt and pepper. Sometimes a hint of butter and garlic.
Going in a fancy restaurant as a single female alone, isn’t always a nice greeting. I was pleasantly surprised all the way around. The first thing I thought about when they sat me down and brought me bread and butter, was the great tasting San Francisco sourdough bread (my best friend in Alabama makes me bring her a loaf when I visit). Most restaurants have this chewy bread. Even if it’s freshly made nothing compares to a SF sourdough bread crust. It has its own taste and texture. Even though there’s a “Sam Spade’s Chops (Broiled lamb chops)” on the menu, I had myself a nice Medium rare New York USDA Prime or Certified Black Angus, the finest available. Corn-fed in the Midwest, it is specially selected for the highest quality and naturally aged for maximum flavor and tenderness steak. Yummy! Perfect flame broiled on the outside and rare on the inside. The flavor of the meat was superb, As I enjoyed live jazz filling the air.
33 bucks for the steak includes seasonal vegie, a baked potato and roaming around the unofficial museum of San Francisco’s rich History. On the walls are many famous people who have visited including the late Jack Lalanne who said my newest favorite quote “The worst thing you can do to your body is not use it”. I sat across from the 1984 Olympic Torch. You know they have to know someone to have that. It’s a different experience than going to a museum and observing, than actually sitting where films have inspired a part of your career. Before I left, I got my photo taken next to the Maltese Falcon and Emmy Award to inspire my next generation of filmmaking with a great meal underneath my belt and new technology to expand my horizon.
A Superb Stake & The Maltese Falcon At John’s Grill In San Francisco
Oakland Greek Festival is my favorite of all Festivals. Always the 3rd weekend in May, like a lot of events, but I always find room for it. I have been to Greece and I am Greek. My Grandfather or Papo Achellies Poulos played the Oud (Greek guitar) and was best friends and played with Marko Melkon in the 1950’s. When my Grand Mother, or Yaiyai, Maria Stevens, or Stavos, herd my grandfather was coming to America she went down to the ship yard and woo’ed him over to marriage. Maria was coined the Grandmother of Greek cabaret in the 1950’s ‘Variety Magazine ‘ and started Belly dancing in the United States. She entertained thousands, including Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis. I have a tambourine (pictured below photo by Lynette; gildedserpent.com) made by Greek prisoners, signed by famous Belly dancers in the 1950’s. I also have an original menu from one of her restaurants. I have a very rich and interesting heritage, including my Yaiyai got arrested during prohibition for serving alcohol. Go Grandma
The marriage wasn’t a match made in heaven but lasted long enough to bare 3 children my dad; John Poulos (A Bay Area Bartender and President of Entertainment East Magazine pictured below), twin brother Alex Stevens (President of East Coast Stuntmen’s Association. People are most are impressed when I tell them he was the stuntman for Frank Sinatra (pictured below), when I was a kid I was enthralled by the fact that he was the Ware Wolf on ‘Dark Shadows’ (pictured below). How cool is it to say your uncle’s a Ware wolf? I was young enough at the time to believe he really was one. They also had another daughter… my Aunt Ann Poulos, who I never got a chance to meet. There is a lot of rich Greek/American culture running around the festival behind the scenes that makes me feel at home. Some familiar with my Papo and my Yaiyai. As for my Uncle, he always says he’s “Practically Famous”.
The food is the best! Gyros in Greece are much different, they don’t have ground meat, but they are excellent just the same. They serve; Gyros; ground meat, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce -yogurt, sour cream, garlic & cucumber, served with pita bread), Spanakopita; Spinach & feta pie in phyllo, Tyropitakia; Feta Cheese Pie Triangles in phyllo, Loukaniko; Greek Sausage; Cooked on grill with oregano and lemon), this year they added a treat; Avgolemono Soup; Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. All of which I eat on my first day! I’m still full. It’s not everyday you get this quality of Greek food in one location. These are not trained professionals in the kitchen, they are authentic Greek grandmothers showing off their talents (maybe with a little grandma to grandma, or yaiyai to yaiyai competition) in the kitchen handing down there skills and tradition to the next generation.
There is also Souvlakin; marinated chunks of meat on little skewers Chicken and beef, Greek Halloumi; cheese grilled, topped with capers salad dressing, Dolmathes; stuffed Grape leaves, Greek salad; lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta cheese, vinaigrette, and to my surprise they had a Greek salad in a pita with my favorite salad dressing ‘Greco Fusion’ from Elio’s Family Restaurant (The Eliopoulos’s) they now bottle and sell. Ironically they had an AD at the Gyro booth for the dressings that I made (Photos, layout and printing). They happen to be a customer of mine, I made the restaurant and the dressings website and eliosdining.co
I’m not even going to start with desserts, but mention my favorite; Baklava; flaky fillo filled with ground walnuts & cinnamon, topped with homemade honey sauce. Yummy! Maybe on Sunday. You might even run into Dee Andronico volunteering, she is one of the founders of Andronico’s markets; also another client of mine. A few years ago I was honored to make a video of their 75th year History, played at the prestigious Paramount theater (Pictured standing with Bill Andronico President of Andronico’s on stage), my first video on the silver screen.
If you end the day with a Greek espresso be prepared to have something that resembles mud in the bottom of your cup, Greek style they don’t filter out the grounds. When you go to a Greek festival be prepared to do as the Greeks do. What I love about the Oakland Greek Festival is the atmosphere, they import a Mykonos type windmill as you walk through the front door, the center piece is the beautiful Greek Temple, with rows of pillars, Greek blue windows. Inside the temple is one large room where a wispier will echo throughout the temple, religious icons painted on a copper sealing. Not many know but the rocks are also imported from Greece.
You can dance to several bands, watch period dressed Greek dancers, while you sip on a Imported Greek wine or American/Greek wine made in California; Lolonis, they even have Retsina – defiantly an an acquired taste. Or if you prefer there is micro brew, and Mythos; a Imported Greek logger. And of course, there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages including a Iced Frappé coffee. Lots of vendors selling Greek Imports, cloths, jewelry, religious icons, paintings, photography, tee shirts, music, etc. There are also cooking demonstrations, if you want to try your hand in cooking Greek style.
The people are fun to work with, they are all members, or friends of the church and volunteer (Like I do). I always volunteer to bartend, proceeds go to build their church, it’s a great cause, and event, usually packed out.
The Oakland Greek Festival is as close to Greece you will get in America. You can get discount coupons from there website www.oaklandgreekfestival.com/ Elio’s, and Luke’s Grill in San Leandro www.yelp.com/biz/lukes-grill-san-leandro havesome Greek dishes for those of you who crave Greek food in between Greek Festivals. Or you don’t have a Yaiyai to whip up something for you. The next festival up, local to me is the Castro Valley usually in October. The Festival’s sometimes hosted in Hayward at the Centennial Hall. I prefer when it’s out doors in Castro Valley at their church,but with the weather so unpredictable it’s a safer bet for them inside.It’s another place to enjoy great Greek food, family and entertainment.I typically bartend there too. Hey, it’s easier than working the salad bar like I did one year. www.cvresurrection.org
Greeting from Catalina Island this photo was taking this morning in the City of Avalon. There will be much to tell about Catalina I was conceived here along with my two brothers. This is a story about how my parents met on the island. Right now I’m interviewing my mom about how she moved here when she 19 years old.
From the book “Life In A Nut Shell” …
By Stacy Poulos 1996
One of my favorite memorable childhood adventures was when I was 12 years old. It was a life-changing year for me. My mom and I went to Catalina Island for the summer. It wasn’t the first time I had been there. I was actually conceived there, conceived in love. My mom met my very handsome dad and fell in love. They both lived on the island for a few years but chose to live and raise their children on the mainland. Whether or not the marriage lasted through my first birthday, I was still conceived in love, conceived in the American dream of white picket fences and having a dream life with children. I consider Catalina my birthplace because of it, even though I popped out of my mother’s womb on another island 400 miles away up North in Alameda. Catalina is where my seed was planted. It is where my heart lies.
I had been to Catalina many times since the age of twelve. It has always been a faint memory to me where fish really did fly. And the first time I flew in an airplane and it landed on the water, I thought that was normal. Even though the memories of my biological dad were just visits because they divorced when I was one year old. I cherished every picture of my parents together in Catalina. I was blessed by their divorced and by my mom marrying my step dad, who was the calm in my life. Not that my biological dad was a bad man, he just never wanted to grow up and that is still true today. My mom liked to say he was a beach comber. That was OK too because we were blessed with my step dad who took the torch when I was five and raised us as though we were his own. We were lucky.
When I think about it, it was really important to go to Catalina alone with my mom, to bond with her without competing with my two brothers. I felt a sense of maturity and specialness. There is no doubt my mom favors her first born, which isn’t me. Me and my younger brother laugh about it sometimes. But 1976 was my year. My brothers and step dad were scheduled to come when we found a place to stay for all of us. In the meantime me and my mom stayed at the Glenmore Hotel. I remember it as if it was yesterday. At night before we would go to sleep in the tiny bedroom with the shared bathroom down the hall, my mom would instruct me to go to the adjoining restaurant down stairs and have them fill up her thermos with a pot of coffee. I didn’t mind at all. That made me independent and on my own on the big island before she would wake in the early afternoon. She would give me extra money to buy a hot chocolate while I waited for the coffee to brew. I can still hear the sound of the chocolate whipping around in the brewing machine. I remember the super thick white mugs and the canned whip cream on top. No, I did not mind a tall. Many of the old timers knew my mom. When you live on the Island most everyone has two or three jobs, if not more. My mom was a beautician and worked for Lolo’s, which is a barbershop next to the bus depot.
I remember when I was three years old, she brought over two mean baby-sitters to watch us. My youngest brother had just had his first birthday, so he doesn’t remember, but they talked pig Latin so we wouldn’t understand them.
I specifically remember holding onto my mom’s leg crying because I didn’t want her to leave for work, as she walked down the steep hills trying to brush me off so she wouldn’t be late. Normally, me and my older brother Steve would fight. He hated it when I was born because I got all the attention. In fact, you can find 20-30 pictures of him as an infant but only one of me and my face was scribbled on. It cost my mom $150.00 to reconstruct my picture so I had at least one. Once the scribble was off I could see why my brother was so jealous. Even my first picture with Santa Claus had scribbles on my face. But this trip we stuck together in fear of the baby sitters.
If you hold a seashell up to your ear you can hear the sounds of the ocean captured in the spiral of it’s shell. When I think of Catalina, I hear distinctive sounds, see images, and smells. There is this beach on the Island called “Lover’s Cove” and it’s made of millions of small stones. It’s loud because as the water crashes up against the stones, it has a unique crashing sound. As the water seeps back out to the ocean, the stones tumble over each other. It creates a mixture of sounds, like the sound of rain mixed with a gigantic cold Coke-a-Cola being poured into a glass of ice in a hollow echo chamber. If you’re brave enough to get in the water after painfully walking on the rounded rocks, you will be greeted with schools of fish waiting to be fed. If you bring food to feed them they will eat right out of your hand. Lots of them. Enough to scare you,especially since you’re in the middle of them and they’re nibbling at your feet. It’s always fun to snorkel there and watch the tourists freak out when they think they are being attacked by schools of fish. One time I met this cute tough guy named Vinnie, from Brooklyn of all places. He wanted to go snorkeling. I had taken snorkeling lessons and desired to dive someday. I started collecting used scuba equipment at flea markets. I told him he could go with meat the dive park on the outskirts of the Casino. There you will find less fish and more seaweed. Tall forests of seaweed 30 feet high where the tops rest on the top of the water. A little more scary than being attacked by fishes I might ad. We went together. He was so scared he was hyperventilating in the middle of the park and I didn’t have a lot of sympathy. I was gagging on salt water from laughing so hard. He decided to get out and snorkel another day at the kiddies pool at ‘Lover’s Cove.’ Casino snorkeling was for the big girls.
I remember the beauty and the smell of the ocean at Catalina. Mostly from the walkway to the casino. (In Spanish, casino means gathering place). What makes it so special is the walkway to the Casino is romantically lit in the evening. On one side of the stone paved walkway is a small cliff, and on the other side is the harbor with boats and docks that line the harbor before it reaches out to open ocean. At the end of this setting is this huge round building eloquently lit and characteristically balanced with palm trees to accent the ocean. Since there are limited cars on the island, you periodically hear a scooter or a golf cart drive by. Or a small boat(called dingies) cruising around the harbor in the night to get to their Yacht or sailboat. Every once in a while, a water taxi will bring the boat owners home or to the dock for a night on the town.It’s a mesmerizing experience and if you’re with someone with the potential for romance, you get the feeling that it was meant to be.Sometimes it’s just a good place to be in your skin and think about your future, which I did often. It’s a scene you want to see nightly when you have the chance.