Thursday, April 9, 2009

EUREKA in the rain

Hmmm, north of Mendocino there are redwoods, actually "Redwoods." Big suckers, main attraction, statues made with chainsaws out of former big trees - think lawn gnomes on steroids. Saw a real mill town, Scotia, along the Eel River. The mill stretches the whole length of the town. Like "Sometimes a Great Notion." I'm still looking for Jack Nicholson.

Ended up in Eureka, the biggest thing around, and found all those chain stores we've been missing - Bed, Bath & Beyond, Taco Bell, Borders, Rite Aid, Applebee's and more - just when we were starting to worry they had disappeared! Saw our first Starbucks in days.

We're in the Carter House in Eureka, a classy little B&B with the world's largest wine list. Apparently Mr. Carter loves his wine, and he has a lot of it here in his yummy little restaurant downstairs. Room is interesting with an enormous tub by the windows next to the bed. Maybe we're getting old . . .

Today begins the journey south. Now that we've found "Redwoods" and the "Avenue of the Giants" we've decided to turn around and head back stopping in Sonoma and Sausalito to see buddies. Life is good - even in the rain.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Russian River Bliss and Harbor Seal Maternity Ward

Since last we wrote, we've travelled from Pt. Reyes to Mendocino. Not all that far as the crow flies, but then we don't fly like the crows. Sunday we stayed in Jenner and drove up the Russian River to the Blue Heron for a beer and burger at Duncans Mills. Last time there was 26 years ago with Katherine! Just as wonderful as I remembered.

Russian River wineries - Gary Farrell with exquisite views atop the hill. Merry Edwards with a tasting directed by her 23 year old adorable son. Then a detour and frolic to look for Cobb Winery (tasted at Post Ranch). Off the beaten track, one lane road to remote vineyard. Phenomenal wines were tasted in gorgeous surroundings.

Next morning in Jenner on the shore we saw harbor seals having babies! Big mamas going into the sea to deliver, swimming back with baby seals swimming beside them. Very cool - like a seal maternity ward. A definite highlight. Picture doesn't really do it justice - the little one was just born and came out after swimming in with his mom.

Drove north to spend the night at Sea Ranch - think "Same Time Next Year," the movie. Amazing ocean views, huge seas, with dangerous riptides and "sleeper" waves - don't go body surfing! "Sleeper" waves come with cool warning signs, complete with stick figure guy spinning out of control in middle of wave (that's me). How many signs can say "This is one of California's most dangerous beaches!"

Morning at Sea Ranch - hike along the bluffs. Surprised by: deer grazing and delicately trotting near by; wild irises all around, looking a lot like regular irises, but littler and scrappier; and the big ones - turkey vultures! A whole flock of them hanging out on the cliff while their scout went looking for food. Apparently they are often on the verge of starvation. They seemed friendly.

Drove to Mendocino, staying at Stanford Inn. Got a "couples massage" in the forest room, trees all around. Met a local in the coffee shop who recommended staying here, along with the local pub. Tomorrow's lunch! Dinner at the Stanford Inn is vegan/vegetarian and good. Outside lots of noisy frogs. 

Other big event of the day on Tuesday - we finished listening to "Dreams From My Father" on audiobooks - read by Barack himself. It is amazing! Don't miss it - and it's wonderful hearing him read his own words. What a treat to have a literate President!

Miles Sunday: 93
Miles Monday: 63
Miles Tuesday: 70

(note to Claire: Knees Up was in our room at the Jenner Inn.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Flora and Fauna

joined us today in Pt. Reyes National Park. Gorgeous hikes along the Tomales Bay. Surprised by deer, a gopher looking at us while we picnicked at Heart's Desire Beach (its real name), and huge tides. Sometimes there's water in the Bay, sometimes there isn't.

Nick's Cove is the best. Located in the town of Marshall, pop. 30, (most of them in the bar at Nick's watching the Final Four and eating BBQ'd oysters). We're in the Fly Fisherman's cottage (yes, it has a name). I love it anyway. 

Miles today: 64 (and 14,986 steps)

Friday, April 3, 2009


Thought Chicago was the windy city. Nope, must be San Francisco, even the birds were walking. Walked the beach at Half Moon Bay. Met cousin Nina Jo in SF at the Beach Chalet for lunch - a very cool old public works project building from the '30's. Why can't we have beautiful murals on the walls of all our public buildings? 

Saw NJ's favorite beach - Baker Beach - overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Gorgeous drive over said bridge into Marin County and on to Tomales Bay where now we're looking at the white caps in the bay and the sun setting over Nick's Cove where we are staying. Only a short walk to dinner - BBQ'd oysters across the street!

Miles today: 78

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Seals, Sea Lions and Sea Otters . . .

Beaches today - Pfeiffer State Beach in Big Sur - windy, sandy, beautiful! Pt. Lobos State Park, home to seals, sea lions and sea otters and miles of trails at the ocean's edge. Monterey cypress trees and Carmel Scenic Drive with Frank Lloyd Wright designed Walker house (juts into the sea). 

To reminisce - dinner at Casanova's in Carmel, where Patrick was supposed to propose to me 26 years ago, but didn't (until later that night). It's as charming as ever. 

Nice drive along the beach to Half Moon Bay (probably prettier during daylight). Listened to Barack reading Dreams From My Father. He's good.

Now tucked in at Cypress Inn on Miramar Beach in HMB.

Miles today: 136

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Every good road trip has a lay day....

Today was ours... All day at the Post Ranch Inn. Sigh. Hiking, basking in pools high above the Pacific, massages, staying in a tree house. 

Surprised today by wild turkeys wandering the property.

Miles today: 0