Monday, February 20, 2012

Radio History at Point Reyes

A visit to Point Reyes National Seashore usually includes hiking, spectacular ocean views, wildlife viewing, and spring wildflowers.  However, there is also a bit of radio history at Point Reyes.

If you are driving out to the lighthouse or Chimney Rock on a Saturday afternoon, you may see a sign by the side of the road announcing "Historic Radio Equipment."  Take the turn and you will arrive at the historic receiving station opened by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1920.  Initially, the array of radios captured messages transmitted from around the Pacific Rim and forwarded them to the RCA office in San Francisco.

After World War II, maritime station KPH, started operations in the building.  KPH, which first transmitted from San Francisco's Palace Hotel in 1905, provided telegram services to ships at sea via Morse Code.  Point Reyes was the receiving station for KPH, while the transmitting station was in Bolinas, about 20 miles south of the park.  KPH ceased commercial operation in 1997.

Volunteer Radio Operator

Historic Radio Equipment

Now members of the Maritime Radio Historical Society have brought the station back to life.  Volunteer radio operators have restored much of the old equipment and transmit and receive messages via Morse Code from nostalgic radio operators aboard ships and on land.  The receiving station at Point Reyes usually welcomes visitors on Saturdays from noon until 4:00 p.m.  However, don't make a special trip to visit the station without first contacting the Society to make sure the station will be open.  You can reach the Society at  More information is available on the Maritime Radio Historical Society's website,

If you would like to take a private tour that includes a visit to KPH, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pizza by the Bay in Sausalito

I'd been longing to eat at Bar Bocce in Sausalito as I'd heard the pizza is terrific.  Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to lunch there and was not disappointed.  

Bar Bocce sits on the shore of Richardson Bay just north of the center of Sausalito.  Tables are available inside, but the place to sit is outside by the shore.  (Think of Otis Redding as you sit by the bay as Richardson Bay inspired Otis' most famous song.)  Not only are there tables with heat lamps, but you also can sit by a fire pit or on a wall separating the restaurant from the beach, or you can stand at bar tables and chat with your friends.

Bar Bocce serves about a half dozen exquisite thin crust pizzas, as well as a variety of salads and a few dishes from the oven.  I had a pizza with artichokes, feta, and tapenade that was delicious.  My guest enjoyed tomato soup and a baked salmon covered with shaved brussel sprouts, both of which she said were very good.  The restaurant has a good wine list and a variety of beers by the glass or pitcher.

Most of the folks dining here appeared to be locals as visitors to Sausalito usually don't head out of the central business district.  However, one can easily walk from the ferry terminal to Bar Bocce.  After disembarking from the ferry, walk out to Bridgeway, Sausalito's main street, and turn right.  Walk about 1/3 mile north on Bridgeway.  Bar Bocce will be on your right.  Better yet, take Blue Heron Custom Tours' private tour of San Francisco and Muir Woods, which includes a stop in Sausalito for lunch.  For more information on this tour, and all of Blue Heron's tours, phone (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Tips for Avoiding the Crowds

The latest edition of "Rick's Tips;" Blue Heron's free, quarterly newsletter of fun things to do in San Francisco, the Bay Area, and Northern California; is out.  This edition provides tips for avoiding crowds during your visit to San Francisco.  To see the full issue click here.  If you would like future editions of "Rick's Tips" sent directly to your mailbox, send a request to