It’s almost midnight as I write this, and maybe it’s because today was the first day of big-city traffic, and not mindless cruising, but my memory of this morning is fuzzy!
We left Fort Bragg this morning, but not before stopping at Starbucks for a quick bite to eat, and a Google maps review of the path we were planning on taking. We were to go about 15 miles south, past Mendocino, and then inland toward the 101. Mendocine seemed more like a tiny little enclave that was just off the road. I couldn’t really make out any buildings as I drove by, but could tell there looked like a cute little downtown. This coastal drive was really peaceful with beautiful weather and slow, leisurely curved roads that weren’t too curved. They passed by lots of fields, farmhouses, and inns. At the turn off, we passed a sign saying that the next 11 miles was a Redwoods forest, known as the Navarro River Redwoods Tunnel to the Sea.” After a mile or two, we pulled over because there were convenient pullouts, there seemed to be some walking paths into the trees, and it was eerily silent. After cutting the engine, we could just stand on the road, with no other cars driving by, and heard not a sound.
As quickly as we exited the redwoods, we entered wine country, the Anderson Valley. It didn’t seem huge, but it was significant, and the slow winding road entered up at the 101 in Cloverdale, where we stopped for lunch.
Once on the 101, it was back to freeway driving and freeway speeds until we neared the bay area, passed San Quentin Prison, crossed the bridge over to Berkeley and made our way down to Castro Valley (near Oakland) to visit friends who were out downstairs neighbors in married housing when Kellie was still in school. We chatted, had an impromptu soccer practice with their two girls, then went out for Thai food and ice cream. Kellie and I then regrouped at Starbucks so that we could choose the best path to drive to Monterey, another 2 hours. There are basically 3 different routes, all the same distance, but the time can vary greatly and it was near the end of rush hour, we thought. We decided to go east to Dublin, then head south to San Jose and cut across a smaller highway…no traffic whatsoever! We’re now in Seaside which is a neighbor of Monterey. Tomorrow we will explore Monterey quickly, and then drive through Big Sur, with lots of easy hiking planned.
NOTE: I really thought Fort Bragg was a cute city. However, my mind is visual and somehow EVERY time, in the last week, when I have meant to write “Fort Bragg” or even think of the name, the city that has actually popped up is “Red Bluff.” Even in this blog, it has happened every time. I apologize to Fort Bragg, for confusing you with a city that I don’t think anyone has ever enjoyed visiting. They couldn’t be more different… tomorrow’s high temp: Fort Bragg 61, Red Bluff 97. Ugh!