Round Hill (Tahoe)

Our host, Steve, came up to Tahoe for a short visit recently.  We were happy to see him and, frankly, just to have some company after 4 months of solitude.

Directly across the road from Steve’s house is a prominent landmark called Round Hill.  It’s a small hill right on the shore of Lake Tahoe, perhaps 300 feet high at its peak.  We were on the balcony looking at the hill and realized that in the 10 years Steve and Wende have owned the house, they had not yet hiked to the top of the hill.  So, the next day we did just that.

20200723_105036

It’s not a particularly difficult hike.  It begins on the north side above the Round Hill Pines Beach.  As you make your way up the trail, you start to get a nice view looking north along the shoreline and a nice view of Steve and Wende’s house.  The trail continues around to the east side where you get good views of the mountains and the town of South Lake Tahoe.  Then around to the south side of the hill you will have a stunning view of the entire south half of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains.  At the peak you can choose which portion of a 180 degree vista to focus your attention upon.  We enjoyed it so much we did it again a couple of days later.

20200723_104556

We enjoyed Steve’s visit and our daily walks/hikes, particularly the Round Hill hike.

San Clemente, CA

(Click here for more photographs.)

For those of us old enough to have been around during the presidency of Richard Nixon, we would recall that when the Nixons were able to take a break from Washington, they would head to San Clemente, CA, to “The Western White House”.  They owned an oceanfront estate there called “La Casa Pacifica”.  We weren’t able to stay at that particular property but we followed the Nixons model and took a short break in San Clemente, located about midway along the Pacific coast between LA and San Diego.

San Clemente, CA

We’ve driven past San Clemente many times, traveling on Interstate 5 to or from San Diego.  This time we wanted to take a couple of days to explore this beautiful town and the surrounding area.  We enjoyed some fresh Pacific seafood and some nice hikes.

One of our special outings was to Mission San Juan Capistrano.  Many people know of the “miracle” of the swallows that return to this town every year on March 19th.  The story behind this is that a pastor of the mission was walking through town when he saw one of the shopkeepers using a broom to swat away the birds that were nesting in the eves of his shop.  He considered the birds to be a nuisance and wanted to get rid of them.  The pastor said, “Come on swallows.  I’ll give you shelter.  Come to the Mission”.  Since then the birds have returned to the Mission every year.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was established on November 1, 1776.  This is one of the 21 missions that would ultimately be established to expand the territorial boundaries of Spain and spread Christianity to the native peoples of California.  After 1812, the Mission began to decline.  Subsequently, it was sold at auction and was a private ranch property for 20 years.  Eventually, after California became a state, President Abraham Lincoln returned the property to the Catholic Church.  Today you can see the results from many years of preservation and restoration efforts.

Oakland, CA

(Click here for more photographs.)

Next up on our mini-vacation to the San Francisco Bay Area was a quick stop in Oakland to visit with Valerie’s cousin, Marcy and her significant other, Marc.  They have an apartment near Jack London Square in Oakland.  This part of the city is very lively with lots of restaurants, breweries and other activities.  Their apartment is in one of the recently completed buildings nearby.

Waterfront at Jack London Square

We started our visit with a stroll around Jack London Square and they treated us to a wine tasting at Rosenblum Cellars, a winery right on the Oakland waterfront.  Afterward, we had a terrific brunch at Fat Lady restaurant.  In the evening we went to a nearby brewery that was having a comedy night with 5 local stand up comedians.

We started off our Sunday with a nice hike in nearby Redwood Regional Park.  This a huge park with miles of hiking and mountain biking trails in the hills east of Oakland.  There are some nice spots with good views to the west to Oakland and the San Francisco Bay beyond.  After working up a good appetite, we had brunch at one of their favorite spots, the Chop Bar which very recently moved to a new location which is just downstairs from their apartment.  Quite delicious.

Our time with Marcy was all too brief but filled with fun activities, food and beverages.

Next:  Oakley, CA