Expedition 1 – North CA – Clear Lake, Glass Beach, Safari West

Okay, okay, this is not a REAL expedition. It’s just a small road trip. But one day we will get to real expedition, on a real expedition rig.

This was a two day weekend trip with one night stay in the hotel. The plan was to visit Clear Lake, Glass Beach and Safari West.

Our route:

Our route. About 500 miles.

Our route. About 500 miles.

 

 

Carquinez Bridge

Quick stop before crossing Carquinez Bridge.

The base of our expedition rig.

The base of our expedition rig – 2016 Tundra TRD Pro.

After several hours of driving we finally made it to Clear Lake.

After several hours of driving we finally made it to Clear Lake.

Clear Lake State Park

Clear Lake State Park

Our lunch picnic site

Our lunch picnic site

Both kids are glad to get out of the car and stretch their legs

Both kids are glad to get out of the car and stretch their legs

Someone is especially happy =)

Someone is especially happy =)

There's nothing better than grilled lamb ribs on a picnic after a long drive...

There’s nothing better than grilled lamb ribs on a picnic after a long drive…

We also noticed a trailhead, the entrance was ll covered with green grass and moss. We don't see it often with CA draught and dry grass.

We also noticed a trailhead, the entrance was ll covered with green grass and moss. We don’t see it often with CA draught and dry grass.

Kate immediately decided that we should go there.

Kate immediately decided that we should go there.

One day we should come back and hike it to the end

One day we should come back and hike it to the end

After spending couple hours in the state park, we packed back into a car and moved on. Checked other views on the lake and set the route to glass beach. We had to get there before dark.

We made to the Glass Beach at about 5pm, right before sunset

We made to the Glass Beach at about 5pm, right before sunset

Pacific views are majestic, as usual

Pacific views are majestic, as usual

Glass Beach, CA

Glass Beach, CA

GlassBeach, CA

GlassBeach, CA

And here it is, the reason why this beach is called the Glass Beach.

And here it is, the reason why this beach is called the Glass Beach.

Here's how it looks up-close . Wikipedia says that the glass came from years of dumping garbage into the area of coastline.

Here’s how it looks up-close . Wikipedia says that the glass came from years of dumping garbage into the area of coastline.

Kate started treasure hunting. "This one looks like diamond. This one look like fishtail..."

Kate started treasure hunting. “This one looks like diamond. This one look like fishtail…”

Happy kid

Happy kid

Happy family

Happy family

On the way back we've found some nice flowers that smell like ... garlic

On the way back we’ve found some nice flowers that smell like … garlic

We had a room reserved at Holiday Inn Express, that was about 5 minutes away from the beach. On our way there, we stopped for a dinner at Cafe del mar. The menu surprised us with a variety of organic dishes. They also had a great sangria.

Next morning, we had to wake up at about 6am, to have enough time to pack and have breakfast. We were in the car at 7am. We had to get to Safari West before 10, as we had a reservation for 10am tour. I guess we timed everything well, as we got to Safari West at 9.30.

Tours consist of two parts – walking and driving. The full tour costs around $80 per person. They don’t recommend driving tours for pregnant women and kids under 4, as once you’re on the truck, you can’t get of or use the restroom. Moms with little kids can pay for just a walking tour (about $25) and then hang around until the driving part of the tour is complete (about 1.5 hour).

The walking tour starts with flamingos. Did you know that they can sleep with half a brain only to stay alert?

The walking tour starts with flamingos. Did you know that they can sleep with half a brain only to stay alert?

Then the group went to the aviary. The first thing you notice there are these red birds (don't remember their name)

Then the group went to the aviary. The first thing you notice there are these red birds (don’t remember their name)

While in the aviary, there's a female crane that joins the group. She finds a human male in the group that she likes and follows him. She didn't pick me.

While in the aviary, there’s a female crane that joins the group. She finds a human male in the group that she likes and follows him. She didn’t pick me.

Some baby mammals are also in the aviary.

Some baby mammals are also in the aviary.

Japanese Pheasant

Japanese Pheasant

Angry Bird! No, it's just the giant Pigeon.

Angry Bird! No, it’s just the giant Pigeon.

After aviary the tour goes to cheetahs and some monkeys.

Cheetah sisters

Cheetah sisters

After about 30 minutes the walking tour is over. We’re finally getting to trucks loading zone.

Safari West Truck. It definitely looks more off-road worthy than our Tundra.

Safari West Truck. It definitely looks more off-road worthy than our Tundra.

The truck had to go through the gate to giraffes area. But this giraffe was blocking the entrance. Our guide had to "convince" her to move away.

The truck had to go through the gate to giraffes area. But this giraffe was blocking the entrance. Our guide had to “convince” her to move away.

Giraffes are cute.

Giraffes are cute.

..especially when trying to eat grass

..especially when trying to eat grass

I think this was the closest large animal encounter Kate has ever had.

I think this was the closest large animal encounter Kate has ever had.

There were other animals in the same area too. Here's a family wth baby antelope.

There were other animals in the same area too. Here’s a family wth baby antelope.

Then we moved to ostrich-zebra zone. These female ostrich imagined that the truck was a male and did not want to let it through.

Then we moved to ostrich-zebra zone. These female ostrich imagined that the truck was a male and did not want to let it through.

Ostrich egg omelett? Not today. This is unfertilized egg. The guide said: if you break it, it will stink bad.

Ostrich egg omelett? Not today. This is unfertilized egg. The guide said: if you break it, it will stink bad.

Antelopes and zebras are having a lazy day.

Antelopes and zebras are having a lazy day.

The bull (don't know the right name)

The bull (don’t know the right name)

A tree used by woodpeckers to hide acorns for winter

A tree used by woodpeckers to hide acorns for winter

We've also seen some rhinos

We’ve also seen some rhinos

Safari West Rhino

Safari West Rhino

We’ve seen a lot of nice animals from the truck. I was surprised by the fact that Safari West was all private. They were not getting any help from local government. The revenue from tours, gift and snack shops was enough to keep it running.

We all had a good time there but it was time for us to go home. It took us another 2.5-3 hours to get back to San Jose.

Overall this was a nice weekend adventure, that anyone could do.