Tag Archives: Videos

Oddities Found At San Francisco’s Pier 39

Unique Even Among Normalcy

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How much time have we spent in California? A lot. How many times have we been to California? A lot. But each visit brings us new discoveries, which is why we keep going back. Take San Francisco’s famous Pier 39. Of course we’re going to explore such a well-known tourist spot. Actually, a lot of travelers avoid it because it is a well-known tourist spot.

But, being us, we at UWanderings know how to find the hidden gems even in places like this. For those who are missing out, we’re here to help. And so we present to you, our daring and adventurous readers, Undiscovered Wanderings’s stroll through Pier 39.


Water, Meet Massage. Massage, Water.

Ever had a massage from water jets? If you’ve been in a hot tub recently, then the answer is probably yes. But have you ever had a water massage where you can keep your clothes on and stay perfectly dry for the whole thing? That’s what this contraption is for. We found it at Vitality, a hip spa on Pier 39 with a very happy customer base thanks to this and other nifty creature comforts, like the oxygen bars. As for the “Full Body AquaMassage”, as it’s called, you just get inside, under the waterproof barrier, and then water jets shoot at the barrier from an enclosed, watertight compartment. So you feel it, but you don’t get wet. The folks at Vitality were kind enough to give us a demonstration of how it works…


Giant Crab

Did the giant crab thingy at the top get your attention? Good. We really didn’t know what to make of this one, but if you’re on the fritz about visiting Pier 39 because you think it’s too touristy, this right here is all the reason to go. When are you ever going to see another giant crab like this?!  What’s its story, exactly? Abstract art, perhaps? Maybe it’s guarding the place. Who knows…well, someone out there does. Feel free to write us with suggestions if you know this guy’s story, and we’ll update this article.

What is this thing?!?!?!

 


Christmas All the Time!

Yup. We finally found one. A year-round Christmas store. In San Francisco no less. Actually, the guys there told us that the store is a chain, but this is the first we’ve seen of it. This is a dream come true for all of us who not only take joy in getting our Christmas shopping done early, but also for those of us who desperately need to one up our neighbors’ outdoor Christmas displays. Needless to say, it’s got a lot of holiday cheer. As far as Christmas stores go, this is definitely the most vibrant one we’ve seen.


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Top of California: Crescent City

NorCal, Times Two

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Special thanks to the Crescent City Harbor District and Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce for assisting UWanderings with this article.

As we made our way through California last summer, we couldn’t wait to get to the aptly named Del Norte County. Located in California’s far northwest, right on the coast and just below Oregon, this area is famous for its jagged coastline and fantastic views. When you hear the words “Northern California”, your first thought might be San Francisco or San Jose, but Del Norte is a good day’s drive north of Silicon Valley. It’s a beautiful ride up to this remote oasis, especially if you take Route 101 through the redwood forests. There’s nothing else like it on the planet. Seriously.

After a pleasant drive through unfamiliar terrain, we finally made it to Crescent City.

Crescent City is small
, and at first glance resembles, as one local explained to us, an “Alaskan fishing village” more than a typical California city. Its location puts it in rough waters, jagged and cliff-filled coastlines, and a cool climate, where 75 degrees is considered a heat wave, even in August. It’s windy, rain comes and goes, but that doesn’t stop the masses of tourists, backpackers, fisherman, outdoor adventurists, and wanderers from visiting. In fact, that’s exactly what brings them here. Crescent City attracts people from all over the world, visitors and residents alike. The reason we heard most: it’s the best place for the outdoors. No surprise there: plenty of outdoors in this neck of the woods…and there’s a lot of woods! And yes, CC is near the famous redwood tree that you can drive through. 

The most famous place in Crescent City? The harbor (right), which thrives on commercial fishing. Fishing is a way of life here, including at the Gold River Lodge just 20 miles south in Klamath, which we stumbled upon by chance.

The harbor is a must see for visitors looking for amazing views and exploring–no, experiencing–a place with so few equals in the world. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet the local sea lions, who hang out on their very own dock in the middle of the harbor. They were nice enough to say hello to us when we visited (video below). 

The beach may be chilly, and the water’s not so warm for swimmers, but a walk along the beach will clear your head and make your trip feel complete. In a strange way, it felt like the best possible terminus for our cross-country road trip, since we drove all the way from New York. What a difference! With giant boulders sticking out of the coastal waters, you might be on the beach, but you also might be on some alien world on the other side of the galaxy, especially at sunset. That’s how different and unmatched this place is. The background noise from the waves crashing onto the giant rocks and driftwood resting on the beach is oddly relaxing. We knew Crescent City would be different from most places we’ve seen, but it is truly an Undiscovered Wandering, a title we give to places that are so offbeat, so interesting, that we award it with the hope that everyone visits someday.

So why does this part of California still seem unknown to the mainstream tourist? Maybe because it’s a little out of the way, or because it’s not a big “California city”. Yet for those who endeavor to find a place more foreign, more unique, more unconventional and even unexplored, Crescent City is waiting for you.

There’s so much more to see, but we don’t want to spoil it for you. We’ll leave you with some snapshots to give you a taste. But these pictures don’t do Crescent City justice–you have to visit for yourself to truly appreciate little corners of the Earth like this!

With the breathtaking scenery, endless outdoor options, friendly people and, yes, the sea lions, it’s easy to understand why so many people are proud to call Crescent City and the land of Del Norte home. 

 

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It’s A Wonderful Life Comes to Life

Bedford Falls is Alive and Well in Upstate New York

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How can we forget George Bailey running down the streets of his hometown, screaming Merry Christmas to everyone as he finally discovers his true purpose in life? Where did this miracle happen? Why, Bedford Falls, of course.

Sadly, Bedford Falls is a work of fiction. However, according to legend, it was inspired by a real life town in Upstate New York. Before the film was made, Director Frank Capra was a familiar visitor to Seneca Falls, NY. Long known for its contribution to the Women’s Rights Movement, Seneca Falls is believed to be the inspiration for the fictional town of Bedford Falls. The names are similar, anyway, although we did run into George Bailey himself. See video below:

Bedford Falls, Seneca Falls…OK there’s that. But the layout of each town is nearly identical, the politics of the time eerily similar. And then there’s the bridge. The famous bridge that George Bailey almost jumped off and into the river below. Seneca Falls has one of those, too.

The famous bridge

There will always be skeptics, but Seneca Falls, NY long ago claimed the title of inspiration for Mr. Capra’s mythical town, going so far as establishing a museum devoted to the film. To celebrate, It’s a Wonderful Life actually comes to life each December in a winter festival. Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey—George’s youngest—returns each year for the festival to sign autographs. 

Zuzu–Karolyn Grimes–signs autographs at the Museum, December 2016

And there’s plenty of reenactors to go around—George, Violet, Mr. Potter, Clarence. They’re all roaming the streets of Seneca Bedford Falls one time each year.

 

LINKS
More info on It’s a Wonderful Life Festival
It’s a Wonderful Life Museum

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Looking for Aliens in All the Right Places

Aliens. It was Aliens.

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It’s no secret that Area 51 is a…um…secret, so what’s going on there, anyway? Well, we may never know. The reality is that the UFO phenomenon of the last 70+ years has a strong following in southern Nevada because of this mysterious place, but you don’t need to look there to enjoy the finer points of UFOlogy. You can have all your questions answered–and a bite to eat while you put your feet up for the night–at the Little A’Le’Inn, just a few miles away from ’51.

Our trip to Little A’Le’Inn. It was a windy day, which added some mystery to the ambiance. Learn why it’s called A’Le’Inn–it’s not the reason you think.

Located in the small town of Rachel, Nevada, off highway 375 (the famous Extraterrestrial Highway) and about 150 miles north of Las Vegas, the Little A’Le’Inn is a cozy inn with a bar and grill that will give any visitor the ultimate alien experience. UndiscoveredWanderings was founded to document places off the beaten path; this place is really off the beaten path! But it adds to the authenticity, so the trip is well worth it, especially if you’re on your way to Vegas from the north.

Started around the time of the famous Bob Lazar interview, which opened up Area 51 and its alleged collection of extraterrestrial spaceships to public scrutiny, Little A’Le’Inn proudly embraces the UFO theme inside and out, and throughout the years it’s welcomed visitors from every corner of the earth. Still no word if any ETs have shown up to stay there yet, but they would feel right at home if they ever do.

Inside the main building, with a “Welcome Earthlings” sign-wielding alien out front, you can enjoy the bar and grill, then use the gift shop to add to your collection of UFO memorabilia with every alien-themed souvenir you can possibly imagine, plus some local goods like quilts and even A’Le’Inn’s own brand of red wine. It’s a great stop before you take on Vegas, which is more or less its own planet, anyway. Enjoy!

Little A’Le’Inn official site

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Drifting for Everyone!

It Wouldn’t be a Car Show Without Driving Like a Maniac

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We got lucky. Not only did UW visit Hot August Nightsswap meet on a beautiful sunny day when semi-pros were drifting their cars, but also for an extra $10 and a signature on a waiver form (remember, this is dangerous. See our Terms of Use for more info), we got to do a ride along! No need to really describe it, just watch the videos below. You’ll notice how heavily modified these cars are since they only have one purpose. The car UW rode in was virtually stripped to the frame and rebuilt with a new engine and transmission. It’s an expensive hobby, but a great adrenaline rush. Check out the gallery at the bottom of this post, too. Enjoy.

View from the Front Seat: Drifting in a modified ’93 Mazda RX-7


Some Extra Drifting Clips

Hot August Nights official website

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