i never completed my journal for this trip and TWJ has been nagging me. Normally I would have kept a daily record but this time I got too tired and lost the momentum so have had to write it up based on a few notes, emails home, and memories helped along by our photos and videos. None of which are very satisfactory but do bring back some vivid memories of places and people. TWJ does not have the same memories, probably because he was busy driving so much of the time.
July 18th, 2009.
We left Garberville with two nights left before due to fly home. We drove about 25 miles to the little town of Leggett where we turned toward the coast and suddenly came upon the sign for a Drive-Thru tree. It cost us $5 but is something I've always wanted to do. What a hoot. The wing mirrors almost touching the inside of tree. We had accidentally or fortuitously found Chandler Tree long after I had given up hope of seeing one of the 'Drive Thru' redwoods. It was this area where we saw tree houses. Redwoods which were large enough to make a dwelling inside the trunk.
From there we drove what I thought was a river bluff but was in fact the coastal range. We went up and up on this narrow road, reminding me of our roads at home but much more of it, about 22 km of narrow road with double yellow lines. I've since read that we topped out at 4000 feet. That's high. I was glad we didn't meet too many large vehicles. Because they used the whole of their side of the road and some. We knew we were close to the coast when we noticed the smokey mist in the trees. Sure enough we reached this rugged coastline to find it in fog and the wonderful views veiled. It was all quite bleak.
At Fort Bragg we looked for somewhere to lunch but decided to go on to Mendocino. Mendocino is a beautiful town with pretty houses and gardens but we didn't stay as this was Saturday and the town was crowded with a full on Farmers Market. I was a little disappointed that we didn't stop for a walk around but parking was impossible to find and TWJ was tetchy. We ended up a little way down the road at Little River. There was a deli, cafe, grocery, postshop on the side of the road overlooking the sea.
We sat at a large window overlooking the sea and watched a cloud bank roll in until we couldn't see the rocks in front of the window. Something to do with inversion. When the inland temperatures become warm meeting the cold sea there is coastal fog while a few miles inland basks in 80' plus, (over 27'C). The sea must be cold along this coast until well down toward Los Angeles.
We stopped at a lighthouse but did not go in, charges we didn't want to pay again. We took photos of the rugged shore and watched a mole or some little animal that burrows everywhere. The were so many holes we had to watch where we walked but the mole was cute digging madly, making a pike of fresh dirt. Then he stuck his head out to spread the earth around.
This road was spectacular, driving along the coastline sometimes at sea level others high above with steep drops down to the sea on my side of the car! The road wound along beside the sea demanding a lot of concentration by the driver. Sadly most of the time we were in mist with a few stunning views to whet our appetite for more. I had hoped to stay at to Bodega Bay but we decided we'd gone far enough when we got to Jenner and turned inland again. it was Saturday and all accommodation seemed to be taken so we ended up back in Santa Rosa at the other Motel 6. We went down the road for tea and cherry pie was on the menu. Well I've never had cherry pie and I saw they had a special. We bought a whole pie and took it back to our motel room for supper. We had Cherry Pie for supper and Chery Pie for breakfast, Oh My Goodness! It tasted so good but I'd hate to eat it as a regular thing.
There was no reason to stay in Santa Rosa after doing our laundry. Which was interesting because the laundry was next to the little cafe we'd eaten in on out first night out of San Fransisco, 4 weeks earlier and was now closed. One of the few signs we saw of the tough financial climate. Finally we hit the road into San Fransisco where another adventure was waiting for us thanks to the GPS. John knew which road he wanted to take from Golden Bridge but GPS had another idea and as we felt safer following it we did. Unfortunately it was taking us to the wrong end of the street, miles past where we knew our hotel to be. We re-routed the GPS using our little knowledge of the city. There was so much traffic, everyone and his dog and kids were on holiday. We ended up driving right into Union Square and back towards Fishermans Wharf but ended up in dead end streets where parks blocked our way. Finally we turned off the GPS and worked it out for ourselves. I wasn't terribly happy with the area but we were just around the corner from some nice shops and restaurants in Chestnut Street.
We spent the afternoon walking around the marina. While there Emergency and Firetrucks came in sirens going. Men and women jumped into wetsuits and took off on their rescue jet skis. It was all a lot of excitement for some time as someone had reported a yacht capsized. The winds can be 'exciting' in the Bay. We never did find out whether there was someone in deep trouble or whether it was an over zealous caller.
Sunday was our last day in USA and I wanted to do so many things but TWJ was very nervous that we would be late getting to the airport. We stored our luggage at the hotel and ordered the airport shuttle for late afternoon before returning our rental car to O'Farrel Street. We stopped at a nice Italian style restaurant for lunch then headed for some serious shopping. I wanted a pair of walking shoes. I don't think the centre of a city is the best place to look. We ended up in Norstrom and I reckon we paid too much but it's done now. We stopped for a Haagen Dazs icecream and joined a man sitting alone. We had a great conversation when we discovered he was an Eskimo from a remote part of Alaska.
This time we were even more concerned by the lay-abouts, beggars, homeless etc we saw. It is quite distressing,because as strangers in the city we don't know the history behind such misery. We provoked an angry response when we didn't give money to a rough looking man who gave us directions to the bus stop we were looking for. We hadn't understood him anyway.
Of course we were early for our shuttle so stood about waiting on the street for ages. So sad to be at the end of out trip but also glad to be going home. We are tired of travelling.
The final leg of our trip was uneventful. Jay, our daughter, met us at the airport. We had breakfast at the Papakura Autobarn cafe and were home a couple of hours later.