My 1998 vacation began with a flight to Chicago's O'Hare airport. My time in Chicago was brief,
just long enough to change planes. On the Chicago-San Francisco flight I had the pleasure of
flying on a new Boeing 777. Although I have been to San Francisco countless times before, I
never get tired of visiting here. It is truly the most beautiful city in the United States.
My first stop was the world famous Fisherman's Wharf. The weather was picture perfect,
so I spent most of this day on foot walking all around the city by the bay.
My next stop was The National Maritime Museum at Hyde Street Pier.
San Fransico Bay provides a stuning backdrop for the numerous historical vessels that are anchored here.
Next it was up Hyde Street past where the cable cars turn around.
From there it was a short walk over to Ghirardelli Square, where I resisted
the temptation to purchase some of the many mouth-watering sweets. I turned back east and
headed for the car parked back at the wharf, making a quick stop at The Cannery enroute.
I drove over to Embarcadero Center in the financial district next, passing through China Town
on the way. Sky Deck is a new observation deck on the top floor of Embarcadero One.
This loftyposition provides a stunning 360 degree view of San Francisco.
This view is looking north toward Coit Tower and Alcatraz.
I began my second day with a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Weather was perfect again today as I spent the afternoon looking at
the giant redwood trees in Mount Tamalpais State Park and Muir Woods.
Then it was off to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
I spent considerable time here photographing the spectacular scenery of the
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Skyline, and Pacific Ocean.
I began day three by making a couple of new friends at Golden Gate Park.
These two fellows were quite loud and really enjoyed nipping at my ankles.
The tulips were especially beautiful, they were in full bloom.
I exited the park along the Pacific Ocean near the famous Cliff House.
I stopped here for a while and enjoyed the beautiful weather and watched the surfers trying to catch a few waves.
I spent the afternoon visting various San Francisco landmarks; Lombard Street, Coit Tower, and Pier 39.
After it got dark I headed across the Golden Gate Bridge and did some night photography of the bridge.
On day four it was time to start heading south. Not too far south though.
I spent the day in San Jose. I particularly enjoyed my tour of the Winchester Mystery House.
This usual mansion was built by the eccentric widow of the inventor of the Winchester Rifle.
I continued a little further south on day five. Spending the morning and early afternoon in Santa Cruz.
They were having some kind of surfing competition on this day as the waters were replete with surfers.
Next it was on into Monterey where I spent the rest of the day at the wharf
and enjoying the spectacular ocean scenery along the seventeen-mile-drive.
It was my intent to drive down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway on day six.
But due to the heavy rains caused by El Nino, the highway was closed between Monterey and San Simeon,
so I had to take the boring freeway instead. After arriving in San Simeon I took two different tours of Hearst Castle.
After leaving Hearst Castle it was a short drive to San Luis Obispo for the night.
I hit the road again on day seven. My first stop was the charming Danish community of Solvang, California.
I couldn't resist purchasing a few of the tempting baked goods from their many bakeries.
After Solvang it was on into Los Angeles with a brief stop in Santa Barbara on the way.
Day eight began in Hollywood at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Although I have been here many times before,
a trip to southern California isn't complete without at least a glimpse at the stars footprints.
City Walk was next on my agenda. That's a new shopping and entertainment area at Universal Studios.
Breakfast on board the Queen Mary began day number nine.
Then it was a 90 minute boat ride over to Catalina Island where I would spend the day.
For the first time in over a week, the weather was less than perfect. It was cloudy all day with a few drops of rain.
But that wasn't enough to keep me from enjoying my three tours of the island.
I started with a glass-bottom boat tour, then it was up into the hillside to the "Airport in the Sky",
and finished it off with a tour of the town site.
I took a break from the sight seeing on day ten. I went to the movies and hung out at my hotel near LAX.
I spent the morning of day eleven exploring downtown Los Angeles before driving to Victorville, California for the night.
It was a short drive into Las Vegas on day twelve. I stayed at the Flamingo Hilton this time.
I spent most of my four days in Vegas at the slots. But I did venture outside the casinos occasionally.
On one of my strolls along the strip I visited the new World of Coca-Cola and M&M World.
I got to see them blow up the Aladdin Hotel on my second night in Las vegas.
I took in the view atop the Stratosphere tower.
And spent some time at the Fremont Street Experience.
As the sun was setting I watched the Volcano erupt at the Mirage Hotel.
After Vegas it was on to my sister's in Fairfield, California for a couple of days before returning home.
Pictured above is Chad (brother in-law), Barbara (sister),
Me (before losing 100 pounds in 2002), Jonathan (nephew) & Roudy (cat).