Fire Evacuation from Oakmont to Inn at the Tides, Bodega Bay
Because of the spreading California Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties, late in the evening we left Oakmont and drove to Bodega Bay where we had managed to get a room at the Inn at the Tides. Oakmont is a neighborhood in Santa Rosa, CA, with over 3,000 homes. It is right next to Highway 12.
As we began driving out of Oakmont in heavy traffic, Bob suddenly realized he had left the computer - an essential piece! - back at home, so with some maneuvering, we got back to the house, got the computer, got through the Oakmont traffic jam, and were on our way.
Driving along Highway 12 as we left we could see flames along the ridge that is part of Hood Mountain Regional Park. This fire that blazed in both Napa and Sonoma counties would come right down to Highway 12, across from Oakmont. Six homes in Oakmont were destroyed, but because of the fire fighters, over 3,000 homes were saved.
This is the first time we had ever driven at night to Bodega Bay and it seemed so strange. We arrived at Inn of the Tides just before midnight and were able to check in.
In the morning, as we looked out our window, we could see just how smokey the atmosphere was, even out here at the coast.
For lunch we drove out to Bob's favorite eatery, The Spud Point Crab Company, where Bob bought his favorite sandwich - the incredibly delicious crab sandwich - and Shirley bought their "World Famous" clam chowder. As always there was a line. Everyone was wearing a mask, both for the corona virus pandemic and for the smoke polluted air.
We then drove out to Bodega Point, where one can park and overlook the ocean while eating in the car. Shirley's chowder included a bag of small crackers which, it turns out, birds - including this brewer's blackbird - love to eat, even if you throw them on to the car hood.
After finishing our lunch (and feeding the birds), we walked along the coast, which of course is beautiful, with lots of pelicans. We could even see all the way back to Bodega Bay.
That night we watched the sun set in the murky skies.
In the morning from the back door of the Inn, overlooking the parking lot, we got a view of both wildlife (an egret?) and domesticated life, including calves, in the pasture that surrounds much of Inn at the Tides.
We then drove over to a nearby neighborhood, Bodega Harbour, and found a nice place to sit on a bench which overlooks Doran Beach and a large golf course (see the first two pictures at the top of the page). Next we went to a wharf back at Bodega Bay.
Bodega Bay/Doran Beach
Today for lunch, rather than getting crab sandwiches, we found a place that served veggie sandwiches, bought a couple to go, then headed to Doran Beach to picnic and walk. We both thought of our friend Adele, who has walked this beach many times.
Bodega Bay/Salmon Beach
We decided today would be a good day to go up to Salmon Beach, north of Bodega Bay, and we did see lots of interesting things on the beach. We were a bit concerned about the bodies we found, but decided not to the call the police to investigate, figuring the vultures could take care of them:
After Salmon Beach we returned to Bodega Bay, bought veggie sandwiches (we have a favorite place now for getting deli sandwiches - Diekmann's Bay Store). While at Diekmann's we ran into two of our neighbors, Marilyn and Frank, who also had evacuated. Then we found a nice place to sit on the wharf, where we could eat our sandwiches and, of course, feed birds. In the distance we could see sea lions on a pier and we would later visit them and take this video.
Later, when we returned to the inn and looked out the window, we saw deer busily eating away.
Bodega Bay to Inn on the Russian River, Monte Rio
We had been unable to reserve a room at the Inn past Friday, so we had made a reservation at the Inn on the Russian River in Monte Rio (which is not far from the larger town of Guerneville) for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. We also made reservations for the following week back at the Inn at the Tides, fearing the evacuation orders would not be lifted, given the status of the huge fire.
Before leaving Bodega Bay, not surprisingly, we went to pick up lunch at the Spud Point Cafe - crab sandwhich and clam chowder. Then we drove north on Highway 1, but rather than going east on Highway 116 directly to Monte Rio, we decided to keep going north to Jenner, where we found a nice bench to sit on and watch the river as we ate our lunch. After that we continued north for a couple of miles to a turnoff with a view from above of where the Russian River enters the Pacific Ocean. In the past at this turnout we had looked down on a beach filled with sea lions but, alas, today we only saw lots of birds and a few people.
We then drove to Monte Rio and checked into the Inn on the Russian River, which is right beside the Russian River with very nice places to sit and observe the river.
We had hoped to visit Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, which is a truly wonderful forest of giant redwood trees, but it had been closed down because of fires earlier in the summer. However, we had a good time visiting and walking around Monte Rio. At one point we crossed a bridge that gave a good view up and down the river. While on the bridge, Bob saw a guy on the beach below throw a large piece of wood into the river for his dog to chase. The dog clearly had no intention of doing so and Bob yelled that down to the guy. The guy then told his dog again to go get it and the dog did. Bob gave him a thumbs up.
We also visited the historic, now closed, Monte Rio theater. There was quite a mural along the side of the theater. The front of the theater still has film posters from long ago (as Bob looked at them, an owl studied him closely). Also on the side of the building there was a charming pig statue with many flowers, which attracted many insects.
We drove the short distance to Guerneville and walked the town. We also walked over an old bridge, which gave a nice view down the river. Then we found a park with a path through some woods near the river.
Guerneville has an elevation of 35 feet, as the sign shows. While we were walking in the park in Guerneville we found a tree with signs marking water flood levels, a couple as high as and higher than 48 feet, and these signs only showed flood levels through 2006. We also saw another mural and as we checked it out, a blue jay checked us out.
Today we visited Guerneville in the morning. We saw flowers and a fascinating fence covered in shells.
Next we drove to Sunset Beach Regional Park which is on River Rd, where there is a nice forested path, although it was further from the river than we would have liked. There were a couple of places where it went down to a beach, but the beaches were already pretty packed with people.
We then returned to our inn and relaxed in the backyard, getting to see the head of some strange beast poking through the vines as it was about to enter the yard. We also enjoyed watching people paddling up and down the river.
Monte Rio to Oakmont
The evacuation orders were lifted, so we returned to Oakmont. We had in fact reserved a room to spend this week back at the Inn at the Tides, but we cancelled that reservation and the Inn was kind enough to waive the cancellation fee, given our evacuation situation.
As mentioned above, 6 of the more than 3,000 homes in Oakmont were destroyed by the fire. Here are pictures followed by a map of the six (3 single family homes and a triplex), their addresses and the estimated worth of the home before burning according to Zillow (from which I also got the before burning pics). Total estimated value of the homes had been $4,160,705.
As of October 12, after burning for two weeks, the Glass Fire covered 67,484 acres and was 96% contained according to Cal Fire.
|5964 Stone Bridge Road: $1,297,333|
|5970 Stone Bridge Road: $699,366
[This home had been put for sale by Century 21 Valley of the Moon on 11/26/2019 for $799,000, had pending sale for $699,000 on 9/3/2020 and listing removed on 10/1/2020]
|6363 Meadowridge Drive: $745,974|
|Triplex - 177/179/181 White Oak Drive: $505,881/$434,792/$527,389|
The following is part of the City Of Santa Rosa Damage Assessment Map. I have added the address labels of the six Oakmont burned homes.
The following fire map is from ABC 7 news webpage (scroll to bottom of web page), copied on Tuesday, October 13. All of the shaded area below the Glass Fire label is the Glass Fire area. I added the Oakmont location label.
Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA