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Quintessential Tours Clients - The Wieringas

About the Wieringas   |  About their Trip   |   Letter from Linda  |  Photos
TRIP SNAPSHOT
Trip Length: 5 Days
Pickup Date: October 1st
Drop-off Date: October 5th
Rough Distance Traveled: Miles: 759
Pickup Location: Avis Rental Car, San Francisco
Drop-off Location: Queen Mary Cruise Liner, Long Beach Harbor
Overnights: Yosemite, Monterey, San Simeon
Group Size: 4 adults
Vehicle: Passenger Van
Guide: Jeff Lowe
 
WHERE DID WE TAKE THEM AND WHAT DID THEY DO?  
Photo: Jeff Lowe
San Francisco Several nights before we joined them

Dirk and wife Linda and Dirk's parents, Gene and Marilyn had spent a few nights in the San Francisco area before we joined them.

Since the Wieringas had already seen a bit of San Francisco and wanted to get to their mountain lodgings near Yosemite National Park before dark, we gave them a quick tour of some of the city's highlights they had not seen.

San Francisco Highlights
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Enjoyed city and bay views from Coit Tower which sits atop the highest hill in downtown San Francisco
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Linda and Marilyn especially enjoyed shopping on Pier 39 after everyone enjoyed a nice meal on the pier
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The marina district offered wonderful views of Alcatraz before seeing the sights in Golden Gate Park
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Stopped for great views and photos at Fort Point directly under the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoyed unsurpassed, close-up views of the world's most famous bridge and the entire city of San Francisco
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Jeff guided them to a very special family-owned creamery, Fenton's in Piedmont where everyone enjoyed massive portions of home made ice cream for dessert
Photo: Jeff Lowe
Yosemite 2 nights

The Wieringas stayed the first night at the Hotel Charlotte B&B in Groveland which is an historic 1848 goldrush town near Yosemite National Park. The Wieringas settled into their rooms after enjoying a good meal at the historic saloon across the street.

Jeff guided the Wieringas in Yosemite in perfect weather and everyone was stunned by the natural grandeur of Yosemite with its wateralls, river, meadows, trees and history. Before heading to their hotel for night two, Jeff timed the tour perfectly and the everyone got to witness the gorgeous orange sunset light as it bathed majestic 8,842' high granite mountain, Half Dome.

The next morning we guided the family back into Yosemite to see the giant redwood trees at the Mariposa Grove.

Yosemite Highlights
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Gene and Marilyn and Dirk and Linda standing arm-in-arm, hugging as they gaze in amazement as the orange light of the setting sun bathed Half Dome
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Everyone enjoyed a delicious, gourmet lunch in the grand Ahwahnee Hotel dining room with its soaring beamed ceilings and giant windows framing wonderful views
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Dirk studying a very alive but very still squirrel and wondering if it was stuffed and placed there for tourists
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Watched a family of dear up-close and personal as they strolled through the Curry Village apple orchard.
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Reveled in the solitude of the forest and gurgling waters of the Merced River at Happy Isles
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Watched daring rock climbers ascend the towering 3,600' granite face of Yosemite's El Capitan
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Strolled through the giant redwood trees which can be 2,700 years old, 325' tall and 90' in circumference
Photo: Jeff Lowe
Monterey Peninsula and Big Sur 1 night

Before leaving Yosemite, Jeff knew a family Italian cafe. We enjoyed a great meal (with homemade bread) and headed toward the coast. This part of the trip took us through the Central Valley which grows 80% of America's produce. Jeff pointed out various crops. Jeff knew just the place to stop for fresh pie, coffee and other treats, Casa De Fruta in Gilroy.

We arrived "home" at a resort set in the sand dunes on the shore of Monterey and settled in. Bright and fresh the next morning everyone enjoyed a relaxing tour of Monterey's shops and pretty scenery. We enjoyed seeing the crashing surf, sea lions, shorefront Victorian homes, and famous golf courses including Pebble Beach while seeing the mansions along the 17-Mile Drive.

After a few raindrops, the scenery got even more spectacular as we headed down world famous Highway 1 through Big Sur on our way to Hearst Castle.

Monterey Peninsula Highlights
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The Monterey resort hotel was a luxurious treat
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Shopped the art galleries of Monterey though rain stopped gallery shopping in Carmel
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Enjoyed stunning vistas and photo ops at every turn on Highway 1 from Monterey and through Big Sur to San Simeon near Hearst Castle
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Linda was very brave and enjoyed the Big Sur drive despite a bit of a fear of heights
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Despite a closed road, Jeff was able to get everyone to see McWay Falls as it dropped onto the beach and into the turquoise surf
Photo: Jeff Lowe
San Simeon 1 night

Just outside our next stop, the Wieringas got to see the mammoth elephant seals at the area rookery. Piedras Blancas. We then checked in early to their shoreside, quaint hotel where they relaxed a bit.

Jeff picked them up for their night tour of the opulent Hearst Castle. After the tour, which Linda said was not preferable to the day time tour which she had taken before, everyone was hungry. Jeff knew about an excellent local pizza joint where we picked up some pizza and beer.

Bright and early the next morning the tour continued with a nature stroll before shopping in the quaint village of Cambria and then heading south toward Los Angeles.

San Simeon Highlights
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Admired the crashing Pacific surf and nature while on a morning nature walk Jeff guided at Fiscalini Nature Preserve
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Saw giant elephant seals at Piedras Blancas rookery
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Admired the crashing Pacific surf and nature while on a morning nature walk Jeff guided at Fiscalini Nature Preserve
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Laughed and took photos of the anti-Hearst Castle, Nitwitt Ridge in Cambria
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Good pizza, good beer, good laughs, good pinochle
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The men's waterfall urinal at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo
Photo: Bob Cunningham
Los Angeles/Long Beach We dropped them off to stay for several nights

Since Dirk and Linda had been to Los Angeles several times, they didn't need our services to introduce the city to Dirk's folks. Jeff was still able to provide a whirlwind afternoon and evening tour after arriving from San Simeon.

Sights included a cemetery where lots of famous people "live", Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and the Hollywood sign, the skyscrapers of downtown LA, and Wayfarer's Chapel before dropping the Wieringas at their hotel in Long Beach, the historic ship, The Queen Mary.

Los Angeles/Long Beach Highlights
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Marveling in the all glass Wayfarer's Chapel in Palos Verdes.
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Dirk got to see the grave of one of his favorite stars, Marilyn Monroe at the cemetery where Jeff pointed out graves of many famous people
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Saw the Hollywood sign up-close and personal
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Strolled Rodeo Drive and visited the hotel in the Richard Gere/Julia Roberts movie "Pretty Woman"
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Everyone saw the handprints and stars of famous people along Hollywood Blvd
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Dirk and Linda found the perfect angel snow-globe for a loved one at Wayfarer's Chapel
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Stayed at the unique Queen Mary which is loaded with history
ENDURING MEMORIES

Jeff writes: The Wieringas were wonderful folks to guide! We got along well from our first email contact to our meeting in San Francisco. They made the tour "easy" if there can ever be such a thing.

I was particularly touched at how well they all got along. They were always making little comments that gently teased or joked and always in great fun. Witnessing (and photographing) Gene and Marilyn standing, hugging as they watched the warm sunset glow on Half Dome was a truly touching sight. And Linda and Dirk doing the same albeit with Linda clinging tightly to Dirk due to her fear of heights.

I was touched that Linda trusted and believed me when I told her throughout the tour, that I would never put her into a dangerous situation or location. Despite unforeseen challenges facing Dirk related to their car rental in LA, he rolled with the punches and things worked out as I got them to a different rental car location. The Wieringas showed super, positive attitudes and their easy going approach made the tour one to truly remember.

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