Thursday – Various places

I took a shorter route to get out to the coast Thursday morning, not knowing what the conditions would be like when I got there.  I updated the post I made yesterday regarding the “Thank You” sign to include a photo of the area which recently burned which is only two and a half miles from the thankful woman’s house.

I also drove through the same grove of redwood trees, but stopped to take a photo of the road through them.  This is actually Navarro River Redwoods State Park, a few miles southeast of Mendocino:


When I got to the bridge where the road I was on ended and merged with Route 1 the scene was much better than it was the day before.  Yesterday the area beyond the white vehicles on the right was totally obscured by fog:


And this was what the ocean looked like not far beyond that point:



The visibility was much better, though there were high clouds which obscured the sun.  There was only a slight breeze and the temperature was right around 60 degrees, as it had been on Wednesday.  Inland, before I got to the redwood groves, it was inching up towards 90.

Not far north on Route 1 I came to the little town of Albion.  I crossed a long bridge from which I took these photos.  Looking out towards the ocean:


And looking inland, down at a campground and fishing village:


As I was looking out towards the ocean I noticed a small blue fishing boat I had seen out on the open sea earlier.  It was coming in to unload it’s catch of the morning.  It the first photo it is a little left of the center of the picture.



I stopped further north on Route 1 in Mendocino (see next post) and as I was leaving town on a different street than I had come in on I found this little Bed & Breakfast Inn, perched next to the ocean:



Here is the view their guests can enjoy by taking just a short walk across the road:




Mendocino, California

I didn’t even turn in the access road for this little town on Wednesday because it is closer to the ocean than Route 1 and I assumed it would have been socked in with coastal fog.








And the owner of the silver BMW in this next photo felt entitled to just leave his car parked in the travel lane, blocking 2 or 3 cars which were parked diagonally!  I drove around him when I was coming in to town and it was still sitting there as I was leaving later in the afternoon.  Where is a policeman when you need one (and believe me, I looked for one!).  What a moron…



Point Cabrillo Light Station

I drove right past the road for this place on Wednesday and am glad I looked at my maps and other materials last night or I would have overlooked it again today.  Just north of Mendocino is this little lighthouse which is only 45 feet tall:




As I walked down the 1/2 mile road to the lighthouse this was an inlet off to my left.  You’ll see another angle of it later in this post.


And this was an inlet off to my right:


The lighthouse itself arguably isn’t that attractive up close and looking straight at it:


The real charm shows itself when you view it from an angle:




This is the unforgiving coastline it is warning marine travelers of:




Other vantage points of the left inlet:



And in the upper left side of the next photo, this lone seal found his own personal rock to take a nap on:


Here is the Lighthouse Inn Bed & Breakfast:



And a smaller house next to it which I believe may be rented for your next family vacation:



The Coast on Wednesday – Post 1 of 4

My basic plan for this leg of my journey is to spend as much time as possible along the coast. First I had to get there….

I am staying in Ukiah which, as the crow flies, is about 40 miles inland. It didn’t appear very far on the map but as I learned Tuesday afternoon the road goes over several mountains which means it is winding, narrow and slow. Rather than retrace my steps from the night before I decided to take “The 101” (which runs right next to Ukiah) south to Cloverdale, then take scenic route 128 northwest through the valley and get to the coast near the little town of Elk (population 208). It was a beautiful, sunny day and scenic roads are what I love.

“The 101” and Route 128 were indeed very pleasant to drive. Now that I was in the valley there were numerous vineyards and wineries. Traffic was light and the roads were in great condition.

Shortly after I took the “Thank You sign” photo I posted in real-time yesterday I saw this barn sitting near the road, empty and apparently unused:




After passing through Navarro I drove through several groves of redwood trees. Although it was 11 o’clock in the morning on a bright and sunny day I thought it was a good idea to turn my headlights on as the tree canopy created very dark shade. I didn’t stop to take any photos of the trees as I will be visiting Redwoods National Park very soon and there will be plenty of opportunity there.

When I finally reached Route 1 this is what I saw:


Uh oh. Not wildfire smoke…. Fog.

Route 128 ends at the bridge and the bridge itself, and the road beyond it, is Route 1. The marine layer of fog was still lurking and, as I would find out, would be persistent all day. This was taken from on the bridge, looking west towards the ocean.


I drove south on Route 1 past Elk and soon came to a Vista Point (scenic overlook). I thought to myself – “This ought to be good”


But let me tell you – that photo was taken at 1158am. At 1205, just 7 minutes later, this is what it looked like:



While I had been parked there some other cars arrived and I was talking to other people visiting the area. A couple that had stayed near the Point Arena lighthouse said it was totally clear when they got up Wednesday morning but within a short time the fog rolled in. Then it rolled back out. Kind of a “weather hokey-pokey”.

Well sure enough, a few minutes after I took the two photos above I was socked in again. Such is life along the California coast….

Further down the road near Manchester I saw these interesting topiaries in someone’s yard:




Kind of like a giant caterpillar:


The Coast on Wednesday – Post 2 of 4

When I got to Route 1 on Wednesday morning I drove as far south at the Point Arena lighthouse, south of Manchester. I took this photo of the coastal fog along the two mile access road to the lighthouse off of Route 1. At this point I wasn’t terribly optimistic…


When I parked outside the gate I could see the top of the lighthouse, but by the time I got out of the car and walked to the closest point I had gotten to on Tuesday night this was all I could see:


Today there were some seals napping on the rock below where I was standing.




Today the lighthouse was open so I could get closer to it. This was as far back as I could get while facing the entry door at the bottom and I could barely get the whole thing in the picture.


The original lighthouse was destroyed in the Great Earthquake of 1906.  This replacement was completed two years later.

This was taken inside the gift shop. One step further and I would have had to pay $ 7.50 as I would then be in the museum but I just froze in place and got this shot, presumably of the lens used in the lighthouse (or one like it).


Back outside it was still windy, though not as bad as Tuesday. I think the very stiff wind on Tuesday was actually my friend as it evidently cleared the coastal fog away and it was crystal clear everywhere I was all day long.



The Coast on Wednesday – Post 3 of 4

These were taken returning to Route 1 along the access road to the Point Arena lighthouse.  I posted photos from this vantage point yesterday but wanted to zoom in a little on the arch created by a hole under one of the formations using the digital camera.






Further out the access road I stopped again at the same vantage point where I had taken photos of the fog about 40 minutes earlier.  The black spots on the hill in the left portion of the picture are cows off in the distance.



Back out on Route 1 I saw this piece of farm equipment sitting next to a flatbed trailer near the road.  Can you imagine an alien spacecraft landing and thinking this was an Earthling?  “Take me to your leader!”


Further north on Route 1, beyond the town of Manchester, you still had to look down in order to see anything looking west.




The Coast on Wednesday – Post 4 of 4

These first two photos were taken from the same vantage point, looking left then right, along Route 1 just north of the town of Fort Bragg, California.  These are slightly inland but, as you can see, not far from the water (which is where the fog is).  These were taken around 330pm local time.  I stayed in this location for about 10 minutes and could see the visibility towards the house and trees diminish to the left and the clouds encroach further up the hillside on the right.:



Just a little further up the road – right next to the ocean.  The bright white below the clouds are actually the waves crashing up against the shore:






If you look closely at this last picture you’ll see two people standing on a bank out by the water.


A little further north the road turned inland and started to climb a series of mountains, becoming winding and slow.  I also drove through a few more groves of redwood trees, again making the use of headlights prudent even though it was only 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a bright and sunny day (inland!).  I finally reached “The 101” near the town of Leggett and drove south to Ukiah where I am staying for a few nights.  More blog posting and two loads of laundry await me.

I will visit the coastal areas again on Thursday.  Hopefully the fog will have dissipated by the time I get there but we’ll have to see what nature has in store for me.


Point Reyes, California

I passed through this little town several times during the week I stayed in San Rafael and as I drove through for the final time Tuesday morning I parked the car and walked around town a bit (while enjoying more pastries from the Bovine Bakery!).










Marshall, California

This post is partly about the little town of Marshall and partly about oysters.

Friday, July 6 I arrived at the “Marshall Store,” a small, unassuming bayside restaurant which came very highly recommended.  Their specialty is BBQ oysters, although that isn’t what I had.  I arrived at around 445 Friday afternoon and while ordering learned that they would be closing in 15 minutes at 5pm so I put in both orders, with the more complicated one to arrive after the first.  The meal was yummy, albeit pricey.  When I got home I told my Airbnb hostess where I had eaten and she said “Oh, were they dollar oysters??” to which I replied, “Oh no, they were definitely NOT dollar oysters”.  All told, with no drink but with tip, the dozen oysters set me back $ 54.79.  Now I don’t normally eat oysters (I guess I now know why…) but this was a special occasion at a place which has a great reputation.

Remember – the two keywords are small and unassuming.  The little shack with the “Closed” sign would normally be somewhere else.  As you can see, Route 1 passes just outside the front door.  This is a tiny place with mostly outdoor seating.


The double doors are to the kitchen, the white door on the right goes in to the order counter and a very small seating area.


Friday night I ate outside, in the cold wind, at the corner of the deck as seen on the extreme left of the photo below.  Most of these photos were taken Tuesday morning.

Eating outside was my choice, to get the true ambience of the experience.  I’m not whining about the cold wind, just stating a fact.  There was hardly any indoor seating anyway.


Here was the view I had Friday night as I waited for my oysters to arrive:




So I had my oysters and went on about my business.

As I drove through Marshall Tuesday morning on my way north to Ukiah I stopped at a little park before getting to the town of Marshall.  It was there that I saw these signs:



And here was the Bay the signs were warning about.  Tomales Bay.



The restaurant sits along Tomales Bay, with the land in the distance being part of the Point Reyes National Seashore (which I have been to but haven’t posted anything about yet).  Further up the road was this establishment, which supplies the Marshall Store:


Now I don’t know exactly where they get their oysters but I saw some boats getting ready to harvest some oysters just up the road on Friday morning….

This was a small residence and dock before I got to the restaurant.


Now I feel fine, and I’m not making any accusations, but I think I may be done with oysters for a while…


Further up the road, but still in Marshall, was this establishment – which was getting ready to open for lunch:







Across Route 1 from this establishment sat this boat, the “Black Pearl,” which looks like it has seen better days…