Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

May 24th- We toured the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens…47 acres of beauty…and a lovely 1/2 mile stroll to the sea.


The Garden’s signature plant is the Rhododendron…..and they were in full bloom!





So many different varieties….so many different colors…..Breathtaking!


The more formal gardens give way to a more woodland setting as you go through the garden gate……



I am not sure what these unusual looking red and purple flowers are, but they were so vibrant as to look artificial.


The Botanical Gardens even had a section for vegetable gardening. It made me miss my garden back home….but gave me lots of ideas and inspiration for another time.


Finally ….as all things here seem to ……..the path led to the sea……

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Watching The Coastline

May 22-25th -There were a number of places along this section of coastline where we could park and hike a section of coastal trail.


Jade enjoyed these outings, too, as the coastal trail was part of the state park system which allows dogs on the trails.


We spent some time each day just enjoying watching the waves crash on the rocky shore and seeing what we could see…..


If you look closely in this picture, you can see a small opening in the sea cave where water flows through…surging with each wave.


These craggy inlets zig and zag along the shoreline.

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A flock of pelicans flew over…….

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These seagulls and cormorants nest on this bluff.

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This was one of the most fascinating things that we saw…..a sea otter and a seagull…IMG_5408 (1)

Cooperating…or playing….as they fed. The little otter was swimming around the seagull, and would surface with a fish. Then, they would share…….. This happened repeatedly over the 15 min or so that we watched.     : )

While looking for opportunities to enjoy the coastline, we hiked out to Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1909. In a nearby cove rests the remains of the “Frolic” shipwreck. An interesting tidbit - The Frolic was shipwrecked in 1850, but before the owners could salvage the cargo, the Pomo Indians found it. The Indians removed most of the cargo and the Pomo  were later found wearing silk shawls, with the remains of Chinese ginger jars and housewares in their homes.


There is just something about lighthouses that seems so…..romantic. I guess it’s the idea of living right by the water….and keeping watch….always keeping the light lit to guide the way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


May 22-25th - It is good to have a few days of ‘quiet time’ ahead of us …….to reflect on our visit and family and life in general….. as we start this next section of our travels. I find myself not wanting to move on, knowing that from here we will be heading further away and to more remote country as we turn north ……on to Alaska. As if to foretell this, we go from the easy cell phone and internet access in Oakland, to no phone reception or internet at our campground. Fortunately, we have a phone signal in Mendocino, but I am disappointed with not being able to have easy, long conversations when I want to. This feeling ‘out of touch’ only deepens the lonely mood that I am in……


So…..Mendocino seems like a just right town for my mood. It is a quiet, picturesque small town with white picket fences, cute old buildings, and wonderful flowers and a ‘New England’ charm. So much so, that the Television show Murder, She Wrote, which was set in Cabot Cove, Maine, was filmed here.


We spent a good bit of time just strolling the streets of Mendocino…..


These little stores all front along a boardwalk and are just across the street from the ocean……Note the water tower in the background….there were many of them in town, some turned into little studios or guest houses. It seems that Mendocino sits on an aquifer, and the residents all built water towers with windmills to pump the water up to the tower. They had running water long before they had electricity.


The gardens out in front of each little shop were amazing!


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The flowers….so pretty…Spring really is the time to see this area!  It certainly helps to lighten my mood……

This statuary of “Father Time and the Maiden” sits atop what is now the bank building. It was carved by Erick Albertson for the Masonic Temple from a single piece of virgin redwood.


It depicts the “Angel of Death, the Hourglass of Transience, the Weeping Maiden, the Anointment of Her Hair, the Acacia Branch, the Sacred Urn, the Sundered Column, and the Book of Light. These are all drawn from mythology and symbolize a particular rite of passage in the Masonic Order”. That’s all I know about it…but it seems pretty somber. Maybe a fitting symbol of my mood……..

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saying Goodbye…….and on up the California Coastline

Monday May 21st- Our last day visiting……tending to chores, laundry, oil change in the truck, and cooking up a pot of soup for supper with leftovers for the freezer for Laura and Dave…….making memories and not knowing how to say ‘goodbye’……

Laura began her classes for the Bar Exam Review today. She will be in class 4 hours each day, 5 days a week for the next 6 weeks, with 4 hours of homework and studying each night. The Bar Exam will be at the end of July, so keep her in your prayers.

Knowing that Laura and Dave will be able to join us for 2 weeks in Alaska after the Bar Exam makes the leaving a bit easier……just a bit. But it is hard…hard to hug goodbye and head back to our camper, then get up and drive off in the morning.  And, yes Laura, I know that we could all move to California….   ;- ) We love you guys and really appreciate the hospitality and wonderful visit. Study hard….and see you soon……

Tuesday May 22nd- We packed up the camper and drove north from Oakland on Hwy 101, along some of the same road that we drove going canoeing on the Russian River. We enjoyed some stunning scenery as we drove through the Sonoma Valley and wine country.  Then we headed west on Hwy 128, through hills and curves and redwood forests and vineyards and such beauty!

We are staying at Van Damme State Park, just a few miles south of Mendocino.


The coastline is beautiful….grassy meadow giving way to rocky cliffs….


Waves crashing over the rocks……



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bay To Breakers

Sunday, May 20th – Months ago, when we were planning this visit for Laura’s graduation time, Laura mentioned that the Bay to Breakers race was the following weekend and she thought that it would be fun if we all ran (or walked) in this race. Now, we had heard of the Bay to Breakers for years……but had never seriously considered running it.

The Bay to Breakers is the largest footrace run in the US with over 50,000 participants and more than 100,000 spectators, and this year is the 101st year of racing the 12 km (7.5 miles) across San Francisco, from the Bay to the Pacific Ocean (the Breakers).

We said “Sign us up”, then started training……Fred running, me walking….only hoping to not injure ourselves in the effort. But, good intentions……well, you know….and we have been on the road for two months…….So, with the race day upon us, Fred opted to keep me company walking, while Laura and Dave planned to run/jog the course.


We spent Saturday night at Laura’s, so we could be up bright and early. We caught the 6:20am BART into San Francisco for a 7am start time. This is the ‘corral’ where we lined up.


People like to dress up for the Bay to Breakers…..running or walking in costumes. The less imaginative just go naked…..It was kind-of odd, I thought that the naked people might be like ‘streakers’, running through the crowd and causing a stir, but some ran, some just sort of strolled along….and no one paid them any attention, not even the police. It IS San Francisco, after all!   ;- )


Once we were given the ‘go’, it took us several minutes just to cross the start line…..


Crowds of people to watch, plus a tour of downtown San Francisco made the time pass fast.


You never know who might be walking in the Bay to Breakers…..Nero…Wonder Woman….and even Elvis…or several Elvis's….


A sea of people walking up the hill…..Even with this many walkers, Fred and I were able to maintain a pretty consistent pace. Laura and Dave were jogging this race and had taken off at the start.  We did not catch up with them during the race, so it was a good thing that we had decided on a meet up place afterwards .

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The Pacific Ocean….. the breakers….. in sight….


And the finish line   : )   That is me (Sue) on the right in the blue shirt. Fred and I finished the 7.5 miles in 2hr 10 min, feeling tired but otherwise in good shape.


We met back up with Laura and Dave, who had run the course in 1hr 35min 04sec. It had been quite an experience! Colorful……..and VERY San Francisco……