Monday & Tuesday, September 12 & 13, 2016

Monday morning, we went to Costco and NAPA for some supplies for the camper and truck. Following that, we picked up Roxy from the camper and headed to the Golden Gate Bridge for photo opps and information. We are staying in Novato, CA, which is only about 30 minutes away from Salsalito where we catch the ferry to San Francisco. In Novato the weather was clear and sunny; we were comfortable in shorts and t-shirts with the temps in the low 70’s. In Salsalito it was cloudy and cooler so we began wearing our sweatshirts; as we drove up the hillside,we were adding hoods and anything else we had with us, which wasn’t much. Very hard to imagine how the weather can be so different in such a short distance! Even though it was still cloudy we were able to get some better pics of the bridge.


Laura was wanting to walk on the bridge, but between being cold and tired, she decided it wasn’t the best thing to do! ¬†We headed back to the camper.


We purchased our tickets for Alcatrez over the Internet a couple of weeks in advance and knew this would be a full day! We were glad we had been to San Francisco a couple of days earlier, giving us a feel for the area and experience with the transportation systems. We were navigating like ‘pros’!

The tour was phenomenal, leaving us all feeling creepy, dirty, and unsettled.


Leaving the grime behind us as we rode the ferry back to the mainland, we enjoyed a wonderful meal at Bubba Gump’s!


Sunday, September 11, 2016

After a slow start this morning, we headed to Santa Rosa’s wine country.  Connie was looking for De Loatch wines for a friend so we headed there first and an older lady welcomed us at the door. We explained what we were looking for and they didn’t have any. She explained the wine tasting prices and we said it was a bit expensive. She agreed with us and continued to talk about their wines and sharing some various wine tastes with us. She would come and go, also working with customers at the tasting bar. We had such a good time with her. We ended up purchasing a couple of bottles. She suggested a couple of other nice wineries to visit that were in the Russian River area. They were the Hook & Ladder (the de Loatch wine was purchased and the son went out and started his own winery – he had been a San Francisco firefighter) and the Harvest Moon. Harvest Moon was a small winery that grew, harvested, and made their own wines, specializing in Zinfindels. Another very nice lady, Gretchen, shared her wine information with us and we enjoyed our visit her very much. 

Upon Gretchen’s recommendation, we headed to Graton for lunch. She suggested a small cafe that used a lot of home-grown and local products called Willow Wood. It was a delicious lunch/dinner!

Today has been a totally different experience from yesterday. No crowds, traffic, or crammed-in trolleys! Just very friendly people sharing their knowledge of wines and the area. 

Headed to Trader Joe’s! Connie has never been in one. I’m sure we will find some cheeses or chocolates!

Northwest 2016

One more note today, we have failed to mention the fifth member of this travel team and that is our busy backseat navigator . . .

ROXY!! She has a hard job making sure we are going in the right direction at all times. Her pay is a bite or two of eggs just about every morning! She now has her first t-shirt from California –

Have a good day and Roxy wishes all a good night!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

We journeyed out this morning thinking we would try to get some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the fog was rolling in at 11:30 AM. Time for Plan B. 

We went to Salsalito to catch a ferry to San Francisco. After a wild ride through the residential streets of Salsalito looking for a Parking Lot #4, we found the lot. it was exactly a 1 mile loop from where we were parked while deciphering three different GPS’s. Remember, the driver is navigating a rather large truck on these narrow, very steep streets! We all had a good laugh when we realized what we had done!

 Arriving in SF by ferry, we quickly found a small hamburger cafe for lunch and planned out the rest of our day. The cable car ride was a must for Ron, so after finding the Millenium Building that is becoming an American ‘Leaning Tower Of Pisa’, we boarded the cable car headed to Fisherman’s Wharf. Each stop the car made, at least more six more people boarded. After making several such stops, the cable car was becoming quite packed. We looked at each other wondering how many more times we were going to be making more room for more people! By the time we reached Fisherman’s Wharf, the cable car was pact so full we were feeling like sardines. We decided we would choose a different mode of transportation on the return trip. 

At Fisherman’s Wharf we walked to Pier 39 to see the seals. They put on a fine show for us, sunning, pushing on each other, and letting out a bark every now and then. 

We stopped at See’s candy store and a few tourist shoppes before heading back to the ferry and our truck. All in all, it was a fun first day in the city of San Francisco! 

Friday, September 9

Sonoma Wine Country today – we stopped at the Cornerstone Sonoma Visitor Center to pick up some information and suggestions of how and where to start our vineyard visits. She was very helpful and set us on our way to Sonoma. 

Our first stop was at Shug Vineyard and Winery where we enjoyed a tasting. We then headed into Sonoma, one of California’s oldest towns. Several of the buildings still in use were built in the mid-1800’s. 

There we went visited a couple of cheese tastings, and purchased some to enjoy back at the camper, along with a chocolate tasting, also two small purchases,  and  wine tastings at Rouche, ?, and Cline. 

We ended the day with leftover pizza from the night before and made plans for tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 8

Traveling today to San Francisco, I am still thinking about the trees in Founder’s Grove. I feel like I am leaving an old friend behind. I doubt I will ever be in that grove again, but I will always remember the quiet sounds snd the gentle breeze made among these majestic trees. The stories these trees could tell! 

Much of the grove makes a land where child-like fantasies could easily be created and played out ever so safely. And then, you come upon the wreckage of two to three large felled trees and the devastation they caused: splintered wood large enough to make many, many telephone poles and the stripping of thick  bark 30′ down the base of another large tree standing 300 + feet away. Standing beside one of these fallen trees, it is easy to see that their diameter is well over 14′. 

Just awesome!!

Thank you for listening to my thoughts and rambling – just wanted to be able to recall yesterday in a little more detail.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WOW!! I never thought trees could have such an impact on me! We journeyed into Humboldt Redwoods State Park which is part of the Redwoods National Park today, and we were awed by these majestic trees!

 Not only were the trees amazing, but the ground they grew on was covered in small fields of shamrocks and ferns that grew up to four feet tall! We went on various trails today and ended by taking a trail in the Founders Grove. The trees are over 350 feet tall, weighing as much as 1M pounds! – think they make a noise when they fall?! I believe the earth would even tremble!

Standing beside, in, and under these trees, I could almost feel and sense the life in these trees! They towered over us and grew so perfectly straight and tall. It was an enchanted forest for sure! Then to witness the huge scars and the burls that grew from natural and human stressors, brings tears to ones eyes. Many times, the whole inside base of the tree would be hollowed out by fire, but the tree  would still be thriving; standing, and growing as tall as the unharmed tree that is within 7 feet. 

Love to all – headed to San Francisco! What a change that will be!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Today we headed to Humboldt’s Redwood State Park outside of Fortuna, CA. We drove the Highway of the Giant Redwoods (the old 101), a beautiful auto tour drive among trees that grew over 350′ and were 300-600 years old! We stopped at some of the markers along the way and enjoyed a couple of short hikes through the pine scented terrain. We couldn’t help but think we were in some type of magical playground, bringing back childhood memories of skipping, running, and hiding throughout the enchanted forest!

In the picture above, I’m sitting on the inside of a fallen redwood. 

After we finished the auto tour we wanted to find The Lost Coast and ended up in Eureka, CA, at the Lost Coast Brewery and Pub! We enjoyed our dinner and then ‘googled’ The Lost Coast and learned it consisted of three small towns and the area became ‘depopulated’ I believe in the 1930’s. So much for our adventure!! 

Tomorrow is ‘maintenance day’ (laundry and oil change)! Oh yes, we are thoroughly enjoying this weather – 75 H and 50’s+ L. Clear and sunny skies!!  We did have some fog and clouds move in late this afternoon. 

Goodnight all!!

Saturday FUN for the Four!!

After getting Irv’s leg checked, we had breakfast and then headed to take a four-wheel tour on the sand dunes! The Oregon National Dune Forest is 62 miles long and at some points as wide as four miles. The highest dune is 500′ above sea leavel. Let those dimensions sink in to your visual mind! Now, take a dune buggy ride with a skilled dune driver, add four retired adults to a beautiful cool day in the sun and you have the ride of a life-time! Better than any roller coaster! You may even experience a nice derm abrasion for a facial!! The only thing that could have made it better, from what we hear, is a little wind to smoothe out the ruts. 

Recovering from our ride, we went to the beach in the evening to watch the sun set. Beautiful!

Sunday, we had a delicious breakfast in town and then came back to the camper and set a plethora of mouse traps!! 

Once we had all the traps set, we headed to Heceta Head Lighthouse and the Sea Lion House. The lighthouse was a half-mile easy walk with wonderful views of the ocean. We stopped on the way back at the Sea Lion caves but opted not to pay to view their caves. Hoping to see some on our own.

Returning to the camper, we enjoyed a delicious steak dinner prepared by Irv on the grill!

Loving the dunes, we traipsed back up the steep hill to the dunes to see, yet, another sunset from the dunes before we left! After a fairly windy day, the dunes were totally different from two days before. A very unique and changing landscape. 

This area was certainly a surprise to all four of us! We are on the road today, Monday, September 5, headed to the Redwood National Forest. 

Pictures to come, but some have been posted on FB already. Love to all and thank you for your prayers. 

August 31 & September 1, 2016 – Wednesday & Thursday

Wednesday morning we left Glacier National Park and headed toward the coast. Wednesday we stayed in Cheney, WA. The campground was okay but we were right next to about four parallel train tracks – and boy were they busy! Laura made Ron go with her to walk Roxy because she was convinced there must be ‘hobos’ jumping on and off the train cars! Lol. Also, Roxy did not care for the concrete angel that was watching over the ‘pet walk!’ Mexican for supper! We also gained another hour today! That second extra hour seems to be hard for us to adjust to.

Thursday we were up a little earlier and on the road to Troutdale, OR. Finding a place to get gas and to make sandwiches, the guys decided to switch drivers. Seeing a little smoke way ahead of us, we began guessing what and where it might be. Coming closer to the smoke, we realized the traffic was quickly coming to a standstill and there was no traffic coming from the other direction. As we stopped in traffic, emergency trucks were splitting the traffic to get to what we thought was an accident. As time passed and word came back through the line of backed up vehicles, the accident involved an RV. The smoke was growing thicker and thicker, and we were seeing more flames climbing up the mountain side and across the top of the ridge on our left! We now had a full-fledged grass fire heading in our direction! We also saw flames on our right, between our lane and the river. Connie and Laura decided they needed to be prepared to do some walking so grabbed their tennis shoes from the camper – they were traveling in flip-flops. 

A door of a van sitting next to us opened and out piled, one by one, what seemed to be a middle-school aged soccer team! They were going to practice soccer on the other side of the road! We were beginning to get nervous and they were going to have a soccer game in the middle of the road opposite our lane!! 

Just about the time Ron came back from taking pictures of the fire – of course! – the traffic slowly began to move. Two lanes merging to one; they were getting us out of harms way. Once moving, we saw that traffic going the other direction was being diverted at a previous exit. The cause of the fire was a fifth wheel trailer – the only thing left of the trailer was its charred frame. The truck had somehow unhitched from the trailer and pulled safely away from it. 

We were very glad to be on our way and airing our truck out from all the smoke! So sad for the family that lost their fifth-wheel, but glad they appeared to be safe. 

It so dry here. 

There is also a train in this picture!

Love to all! Headed to Florence, OR tomorrow to spend Labor Day Weekend.