Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday, October 2, through Sunday, October 9, 2011: Heading to San Francisco:
It was drizzling slightly Sunday morning, so we decided to take advantage of the moisture and wash our trailer before we hit the road. It was the first time we had done that in weeks, and the rig sorely needed it. Then we headed for the first stop on our way to San Francisco---Crescent City, California.

Fortunately, the drizzling stopped for most of the 175 miles down the Oregon coast, so the trip was uneventful and filled with scenery. The Oregon coast is very beautiful, with big rocks, trees, and wide beaches. And bicycles. We must have seen dozens of them, heading down the Oregon Coast Bicycle Trail---which is just a narrow lane on U.S. Highway 101. It was a bit scary to pass them.

We arrived at the Crescent City KOA RV park at 2:30, just as the rain resumed in earnest, and settled into a nice site. There is a clear view of the southern sky, so we would have had excellent TV reception, if it had ever stopped raining. We settled in for another non-TV night.

Monday, the rain stopped long enough for our dish to at least find the satellite signal. So we will have TV reception until----maybe---the rain returns and blurs the dish cover again.

In the afternoon, we visited the nearby redwood forest. There are four contiguous parks, one national (Redwood National Park) and three state (Prairie Creek, Del Norte, and Jedediah Smith), preserving the coastal redwoods.

In all, the parks, mostly the national park, run for 50 miles south along the coast, starting in Crescent City. The trees are amazing. They are smaller in diameter than the giant sequoias of Sequoia National Park, but they are up to 70 feet taller---some more than 370 feet in height, tallest of all trees in the world. They average 500 to 700 years old, and some live up to more than 2,000 years. We took a 5-mile drive through the thickest part of the forest, and it was awesome.

The trip to Garberville on Tuesday was 165 miles on winding, hilly Highway 101, much of it through more of the redwood forest. We are staying at the Richardson Grove RV Park, an older, small but OK park. It rained all night, and the place is very wet, though still manageable. We decided to stay just one night in Garberville, to try to get ahead of the predicted continuing rain, so we packed up and left Wednesday morning. The 106-mile leg to Cloverdale was relatively dry, so easy. We are staying at the Russian River Thousand Trails Preserve, on the Russian River right on the border between Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

We are definitely in wine country. There are 190 wineries in northern Sonoma County, alone. It’s a nice RV park and we were able to find a satellite-friendly site. If only the rain would stay away, we would be fine. But, of course it didn’t stay away. It rained all Wednesday night and Thursday morning. We survived, with, of course, very wet (but always happy) dogs.

The rain went away for good Thursday afternoon. Hurray! We decided to take advantage of the nice weather and the nearness of wine on Thursday, visiting the Ferrari-Carano and Geyser Peak wineries, sampling and buying their wares. We had gone to the Ferrari-Carano Winery many years ago, and remembered that it was a magnificent location. It still is.

Thursday, we headed to nearby Healdsburg for a little wine tasting and to walk around a nice town center we had first visited many years ago. The place was much as we remembered. Our first stop was at the Murphy-Goode tasting room. We discovered that brand a few months ago, and have enjoyed some of its Merlots many times since. We walked out with a few bottles.

Our next stop was next door for lunch. We ate at “The Wurst” where I had a delicious Italian sausage sandwich (loaded with caramelized onions and sweet peppers). We then walked a half block to the Windsor Vineyards tasting room. We have been having their wines delivered to our homes on and off for more than 20 years, largely owing to the persuasive talents of their telephone saleswoman Melanie Diamond. When we got to the tasting room, I called Melanie, who then asked the local manager to treat us well. She assigned us a very knowledgeable young man named Simon, who poured and poured and poured. Once again, we walked out with a few bottles.

Saturday was spent housekeeping and making minor repairs around the house. We also stopped at the local market and rented two DVDs: “Bridesmaids“ (advertised as a hilarious comedy) was disappointingly unfunny and even somewhat depressing, and “Barney’s Version” (a Canadian production starring Paul Giamatti) which was very good. Fortunately, we watched “Bridesmaids” first.

Sunday was a decadent day of relaxation for our last day before getting to San Francisco. We rented two movies from the local Red Box: “The Dilemma” was surprisingly good and “Bending All The Rules” was surprisingly bad. We also tapped into some of the Viognier we bought at the Windsor Vineyards tasting room on Friday. Yum!

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