Fort Bragg, California: Roadtrip to see gardens and coast
May 24 - 27, 2016
Bob, Shirley, Adele and Reenie
(All of whom contributed photos below)

Adele and Reenie contributed letters describing their memories which have been included below and can be seen as they were originally written at:

Adele's Memories
Reenie's Memories

The four of us decided we wanted to see the gardens and coast near Fort Bragg, California, particularly the wonderful botanical garden south of Fort Bragg and the beautiful town of Mendocino.

Immediately below are favorite photos, followed by a day by day narrative with lots more photos.

We all wondered how different the sea coast might look between high and low tides. So we made a point after having seen it in the morning at low tide of going back in the afternoon for high tide. Not only did it look different, note for instance the tunnel in the background is much more filled with water, but seals had arrived in the afternoon, as can be seen in this video.

Low Tide

High Tide

All videos below look a lot better if set to maximum resolution (1080P) and full screen when YouTube begins playing them.

Day 1: May 24 (Tuesday), Santa Rosa to Fort Bragg, California:

Reenie and Bill stopped at Bob and Shirley's, helped load car, all drove to Adele's. Bill took Adele's car back home, we loaded Adele's baggage into the car, and took off. Several comments were made about just how much luggage and food we had - perhaps enough for a month, rather than 4 days. Although it was Reenie's car, she let Bob drive.

The drive went smoothly through California's pretty countryside on a day with beautiful, beautiful white, puffy clouds in a blue sky.

When we got to the small town of Willit's, we stopped at McDonald's to use their rest rooms and their parking lot for a tailgate picnic, not eating any McDonald's food, just the tasty, healthy food we had brought.

We stayed at Bob and Shirley's favorite motel in Fort Bragg, the Colombi Motel on Oak Street. Adele and Reenie had a room with a kitchen. It was room 7, the same room Bob and Shirley had in the past. We know that for certain, because when we search Google for Colombi Motel, a photo Bob took of Shirley years ago sitting in front of room 7 pops up. This time around, Bob and Shirley took room C, which does not have a full kitchen, but does have a microwave and refrigerator. Both rooms are quiet with an enclosed garage on either side separating the rooms from other rooms.

Because we had now gone more than an hour without eating, we all went into Reenie and Adele's kitchen and ate a tasty lunch provided by Reenie and Adele, then went to our separate rooms to sleep off the tiring activity of the day.

After the naps, Reenie placed dinner in the oven on low heat and we all hopped into the car and drove to the MacKerricher State Park near the Pudding Creek Trestle, where we walked along the Trestle, looking at and taking photos of the beach below. It was fun to watch 2 very small kids as they played near the water's edge.

(We actually did not pull in at the park entrance, instead it is much more convenient to park at the The Beachcomber Motel, which has a path that leads right to the Trestle and also one down to the beach below. Rooms at this motel cost about $100 more per night than those at the Colombi).

After walking on the Trestle, we walked a very steep, sandy path down to the beach. Here is a video from the beach.

After walking along the beach for a while and enjoying the crashing sound of the surf, we decided to walk along the Pudding Creek. Bob had some difficulty at one point, as he forgot to notice the stream did not move in a straight line and also found he could not walk on top of the water. Adele reached out a helping hand. One of the most noticeable aspects of the walk were the strata along the cliff wall on the other side of the creek.

We went back to the car and drove through Fort Bragg in order to visit the coastal cliffs near Todd's Point, at the south of Fort Bragg. It was beautiful to walk along the cliffs above the ocean. Many wildflowers were on display.

Reenie was becoming concerned about the dinner in the oven, given that almost 2 hours had passed. Shirley, Bob and Adele all wanted to stop at Safeway to pick up more groceries. So Bob dropped Shirley and Adele off at Safeway, then dropped Reenie off at the motel, then drove back to Safeway to join in the shopping. Bob was disappointed that Safeway had no apricots, no crystallized ginger, and no cherries. Life is so hard!

But soon thereafter, back in the kitchen at the motel, all together again, is such a fond memory as Reenie so aptly puts it in Reenie's Memories: "Crowding into our little kitchen with lots of yummy food, talking and laughing:  mini-candles, white wine in plastic cups, Adele's table cloth, blueberry crumble,  cantaloupe, Cow Lick ice cream, and ginger candy! (was there food other than dessert??)"

We toasted to a glorious day with wine Adele had brought, then Reenie served an absolutely scrumptious Shepherd's Pie casserole accompanied by a spinach, blueberry, tomato salad.

As shown in the 3rd photo Bob shamelessly ate more than anyone else, then offered to help clean the pan by carefully removing every last drop of the dessert he could find.

As bed time approached, Bob and Shirley returned to their motel room, while Reenie and Adele stayed in theirs.

A memory for Reenie: "Talking late into the night with Adele, a slumber party with a good friend."

Day 2: May 25 (Wednesday), Fort Bragg, California

We spent most of the day at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden, described in Reenie's Memories:

"Being completely surrounded by Nature's beauty at the Mendocino Botanical Gardens, then arriving on the bluffs overlooking the water's edge, the glorious blue expanse of the sea spreading out as far as you could see.

"Enjoying the artistic and diverse sculptures that enhanced the garden, especially the dragon and the gate made from tree limbs."

Videos of the day:
. Coast from Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden
. Green Swallow preening
. Another view of coast at garden
. Sunset

While Shirley and Bob had headed quickly to the coast, Reenie and Adele were focusing initially on the interior gardens.

Shirley and Bob were reminded of their trip to Ireland's gardens when they saw the dragon in the lawn. Shirley posed with it, after having participated in the Mad Hatter's tea party. Twenty minutes later, Reenie and Adele came to the dragon, and Reenie posed.

While at the Botanical Garden we decided to have lunch at the cafe there. Prior to eating lunch, it had of course been necessary to thoroughly research the souvenier shop, also on the Garden grounds. Note the subtle way Shirley is holding her hand, allowing the pretty, newly purchased ring to show. Adele and Reenie each found ear rings in the shop also.



In the afternoon we returned home for naps, a bit of shopping, and another fun dinner in Reenie and Adele's kitchen. However, we were faced with a major problem, pulling a cork from a wine bottle. Neither Bob nor Reenie could get it free. In the end we went to the nearby grocery store and convinced them to search out the right tool for the job and get the cork started. A great success, as Reenie states: "Conquering the cork that refused to emerge from the wine bottle despite our most powerful efforts.  Finding a way!"

We then went to see the sun set over the ocean near Todd's point, best described by Reenie: "Watching the sun set from the bluffs over-looking the ocean, sea birds flying and swooping, smiling faces aglow in the light of the sun's final hurrah."

We then returned to eat a dessert of ice cream, canteloupe, cherries, and candied ginger.

Day 3: May 26 (Thursday), Mendocino, California

We spent most of the day in Mendocino, both at the ocean and walking in the town. Ate lunch at a very nice restaurant: The Trillium.

Videos of the day:
. Mendocino Coastal Video
. Seals on the Mendocino Coast

Adele's thoughts on the Mendocino adventure apply to us all: " The height of the Mendocino cliffs where we watched the power of the ocean doing its work never fails to fascinate me.   The rhythm of the waves at low tide splashing and pounding The rocks far below us with the contrast of the colorful wildflowers surrounding us.   Returning to the ocean to contrast the rocks and water lines at high tide and then again at sunset to view the sun dipping behind the cloud bag emitting such striking light."

"Favorite Photos" at the top of the page include the high tide and low tide photos.

From Adele's Memories: "The attractive town of Mendocino with well kept old wooden buildings surrounded by beautiful and plentiful flowers and a delicious lunch well located with more garden beds and a view of the ocean. The talent and creativity of the artists work as well as the gardens at the Mendocino Art Center was really joyous to our eyes and spirit.   Shirley surrounding the Nile of Persia magnificent stately flower and Adele being hugged the delightful wooden bear and Bob never missing a photo op."

The favorite photos above include Shirley and Adele hugging and being hugged [Click to see Favorite Photo hugs above].


Back in Fort Bragg, Bob and Shirley walk to Cow Lick Ice Cream. Bob and Shirley purchased for dinner, and also for immediate consumption, Mocha Almond and Coffee ice cream. Delicious. After eating, they take a couple of photos in the neighborhood. The lady in the giraffe house happened to come out and seemed quite pleased with our compliments on her backyard animal.

Day 4: May 27 (Friday), Fort Bragg to Santa Rosa, CA

From Adele's Memories about our final day:

"Who can forget the trip home? Glass Beach watching Reenie navigate the rocks.   discovering shells, rocks and tiny pieces of glass washed ashore.

Noyo harbor nestled below the cliffs with the haunting sound of the fog horn.

The Cabrillo lighthouse [See Favorite Photos] and windswept cliffs above the powerful ocean and imagining the lonely life and significance of the lighthouse keeper in former times as the lighthouse is now electrified.

A walk around the Pygmy forest - so unusual and a poverty stricken view of nature.

Our ride home on 128 - the magnificence of the Redwood Forest opening up into the fertile valleys filled with plentiful vineyards followed by a surprising stop at the   Navarro Winery for fun wine tasting and a gorgeous view and a beautiful winding road home." 

Videos of the day:
. Seashore and waves
. Reenie searching for sea water
. Squirrels munching
. Coast near Cabrillo Lighthouse

From Reenie's Memories: "Exploring Glass Beach, watching people hunt for little pebbles of glass, and learning that Adele has a good eye for blue glass!"

Each of us felt we should touch the Pacific Ocean at least once:

Our original plans did not include a stop in Navarro, but Adele remembered visiting there with one of her sons years ago - and purchasing some nice wine. She could not remember what wine, so she decided to call her son, as can be seen here when we were at the Navarro Winery. We all got a kick out of this.

It turned out to be a pleasant last stop of our journey and Adele, after tasting wines with Reenie, did in fact purchase the favored wine. The young lady who served the wine (while Bob ate up all the free crackers he could) was very nice. Shirley noticed that server in fact was featured on a poster nearby and asked if that were her. She said "Yes, I am famous." with a laugh.

Contact/Website Author:
Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
February, 2016

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