David and Hannah each took a week of vacation from work and flew in from Alabama and Kansas, respectively. Both had an intermediate stop in Atlanta, Georgia, and hence were able to fly together from there to San Francisco, where Bob and Shirley picked them up and drove back to Santa Rosa. Everything went very smoothly.
This was basically a day to let Hannah and David rest after traveling all day yesterday. We did visit Ledson Winery and reserved an afternoon slot, but in fact that was later cancelled by Ledson because of the smoke from nearby fires. Because Santa Rosa was so smokey and the air quality low, we decided that on Monday (tomorrow) we would drive from Santa Rosa to Crescent City in northern California. We reserved three nights at our favorite Crescent City motel, the Crescent Beach Motel. The back doors to every room open right onto the beach. The drive there is about 6 hours - so much for David and Hannah getting down time!
As we drove from Santa Rosa to Crescent City on Hwy 101, we passed through the Avenue of the Giants in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, a beautiful redwood forest. We took the time to stop and walk in the magnificent woods. Of course Bob and David had to climb on a fallen tree.
Later on the drive we passed the Elk Meadow Cabins and, sure enough, many Elk were sitting on the lawn, obviously unconcerned about the people, like us, who stopped on the highway across from them and took their pictures.
We arrived at the Crescent Beach Motel, got our rooms, and walked along the beach, which meant we walked out the back doors of our rooms onto the beach. David and I scared off a seagull who was trying to dismember a live crab on the beach.
Seals at Crescent City
We drive towards Crescent City and, about a mile from our motel is a gift shop/art gallery/redwood sculpture stop next to the highway where we park and browse. One statue is of an alien, so naturally we get a picture of Shirley embracing it.
We then drive a little further to a paved pier with restaurants and parking. Once parked we are able to look out onto the harbor where resting places for the seals and birds have been built. One bird spent the entire time we were there with its wings spread, perhaps trying to dry them off.
Then on to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (about a ten mile drive) where we find a very a beautiful path through the redwoods that follows a looping path. Along the way we climb trees, find huge mushrooms and have a wonderful time in perfect weather (unlike the nearby foggy coast, the sun is shining and the sky is blue).
Back at the motel we of course walk the beach some more and David even convinces me to wade in the water.
After walking our own beach, we decide to visit the Lighthouse. Getting to the Lighthouse requires walking over a rocky area which is covered in water except at low tide, so we time our visit to get there about a half our before that low tide.
At the Lighthouse the current occupant stood outside the door and gave a very nice talk about the history of the Lighthouse, its maintenance, the fact that the lights on this and other lighthouses along the coast each had their own unique light signatures (this one's light is off for 27 seconds, then on for 3 seconds). At one point the speaker asked which state had the most lighthouses. One person answered incorrectly, then David stated it is Michigan, which impressed all of us including the speaker, who said few audiences were ever able to get that right.
Walking back across pathway we looked at the various puddles with their small wildlife and saw, across the water, a house that a Big Foot was approaching.
Our next destination was Pebble Beach, just a bit north and west of Crescent City. Hannah and David got up on a nice overlook for the beach. Shirley remembered that this was her mother's birthday and drew a heart in the sand in memory of her.
Today we drove back to Santa Rosa, stopping of course at the redwoods and standing next to a really Big Tree!
Today was the day for Bob's favorite sandwiches: crab sandwich made at the Spud Point Crab Company at Bodega Bay, about a 45 minute drive from Santa Rosa. Among the four of us, we ate 7 sandwiches, along with a few cups of their "world famous" clam chowder. We ate in the car at Bodega Head park, which overlooks the ocean, then walked along the Bodega Head trail until we could hear the seals out on Bodega Rock island (when the fog lifted a little we could just make out the silhouette of the island). Surprisingly, we saw a herd of deer along the coast, which was a first for Shirley and Bob, who have visited here many times. We also saw lots more birds of many types that we usually do not see.
We returned to the car and drove to Petaluma, where David got to meet his friend TJ whom he met long ago in Arizona. They had not seen each other in quite a while. TJ lives near San Jose and drove up to Petaluma for the get together with Hannah and David at the Adobe Road Winery. Shirley and Bob walked around Petaluma, first crossing a bridge over the river, where they got views (and pictures) of the 3 friends, then visiting a bookstore, a park, and other places of interest.
When it was time to leave, Bob got an actual close up picture of the three friends at their table, then TJ headed back towards San Jose and the rest of us to Santa Rosa, where we celebrated Shirley's birthday, which put her in a prime year, ordered a take-out dinner from another favorite restaurant - Yeti (Indian and Nepalese dishes), enjoyed their wonderful Thai Iced Tea, Shirley opened presents and then our friends Reenie and Bill invited us over for a delicious dessert of homemade cupcakes on their backporch!
David had been missing the chance to hike, so in the morning we took the opportunity to hike part way up Bald Mountain in Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park, which is just a fifteen minute drive from where we live. It is a beautiful hike, partly through forest, with views of mountain ridges in many directions. It is still clear that a fire had gone through parts of the park in the last few years. Sadly, we did not see any bobcats (one time I have seen one), rattlesnakes (I saw one with my sister Ellen on the trail once), deer, or a mountain lion (I have never, ever, seen a mountain lion in the wild, but I keep hoping). We did get to see several lizards.
We returned home and then David and Hannah visited Ledson Winery for the second time and this time actually got a table under Oak Trees and tasted wine, while Shirley and Bob went back home and rested. Later, when we picked them up, we checked out the gardens around another winery.
The end of their visit arrives. We stopped at a McDonald's to get some carryout food as we drove from Santa Rosa to the San Francisco airport. David and Hannah then flew together to Atlanta, where they then connected with separate flights to Huntsville and Kansas City. It was so wonderful to have them visit.
Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
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