Our drive down the coast

Mendocino Travel Blog

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View at one of our stops

We checked out of the Ocean View Lodge this morning, stopped for gas, and ate breakfast at a restaurant called "Perko's" which we were unsure about initially, but I said it was probably the Fort Bragg version of "Perkins", and it kind of was.  I had an omelette with mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach, and I think it was one of the best combinations of flavors I've ever had in an omelette!  The veggies were all fresh, even the spinach, and it was so good.  Jesse got "splatter cakes" which were like thin pancakes (not exactly crepes) rolled around a cream cheese filling and topped with strawberry sauce.  Delicious!  I can't wait to try making them when I have a real nonstick pan or skillet in my kitchen.

The plan was to take our time and make as many stops as we wanted, and we pretty much did just that.

Me and the coast
  Several times we stopped just to hike to the edge of a bluff, freeze our buns off, and hike back to the car.  I kept hoping the sun would show up!  Other times we turned off for a specific 'attraction'.  It was windy, slightly rainy (more like misty), and cold.  But it was our one chance to see this part of the coast, so we were determined to experience it fully.  :)

We turned off at a sign for a 'light station' and wound our way along a little road till a little parking lot appeared.  The sign said it was a half mile hike to get to the station, which we did not feel like doing in the rainy wind, but as we were turning out of the parking lot, we saw a road which took us all the way there.  We parked in a handicapped spot (c'mon, there were like 10 spots, all handicapped, and no handicapped people out in the rain and no sign of any other cars that wanted to park there) and walked to the station, but it cost $3 'per family' to get in and we had no idea if it would be cool or not and Jesse didn't want to risk it :) so we skipped going inside and I just took some pictures.

Crashing waves
  It was utterly freezing in the wind out on the point, so I immediately agreed to head back to the car and keep driving.

After leaving the light station we drove down the same road, the opposite way, to see Russian Gulch.  It was a secluded beach area that reminded me a little of China Cove in ____ park, but the colors were so muted because of the rain and clouds that it didn't really appear that pretty.  There was a cool bridge over the cove (Hwy 1, actually), but the pictures didn't really turn out because of the lighting. 

When we got to Mendocino, past the light station, we wanted to check out the overlook, which we had read about in the Mendocino magazine thingy.

I loved the way these waves came in - curved!
  We accidentally drove through the neighborhood around the town (the houses looked newer and very nice), and then through the historic district/downtown area, which looked so quaint and cute!  I wished we had time to get out and shop at all the little stores, but I knew Jesse would have rather eaten his own shoe, so I didn't even suggest it.  I thought maybe we'd get to come back some day and stay in one of the Bed and Breakfasts or Inns we saw nearby.  Right as we pulled up to the overlook area, the sun came out!  For a few minutes, we got to see blue sky and feel the warmth of the sun, and the colors in the Pacific became brilliant again. 

After we left Mendocino, we hit a few more stops.  One place had an actual lighthouse (not a light station :) that you could climb up in, but we weren't too excited about that since you couldn't see anything because of the rain at that point.

More giant rocks
  Then we got to the entrance and you had to pay $5 per adult, so that clinched it for us - no lighthouse climbing!  Instead we drove back down the little road that had brought us to the lighthouse, which ran along the edge next to the ocean, and stopped a couple times to dash out into the mist and take pictures.  Jesse spotted some seals lounging far below on the rocks, and we also took some pictures of some natural archways in a giant rock.  

At another stop, we drove down another long road to find a beach we had seen a sign for.  On the road there, we saw a bunch of cows right up next to the fence, all lined up eating from a long trough.  All their heads were down, munching, and it looked so cute and funny!  There were a few cows who couldn't fit it, and they were standing in a single file perfect line, waiting their turn!  We had a good laugh from that.

A light station we stopped at
  At the end of the road, we found a beach with real sand!  It was one of the only actual beaches we encountered on our trip.  It was completely deserted, except for one person waaaay down the beach, and it was littered with huge logs and pieces of wood.  We could see rainclouds in the distance which gave a cool effect.  I also took some pictures looking back toward the mountains, which had rain clouds over them too.  And I saw a plant with green leaves that looked like roses!  They grew in the shape of a blooming rose!  Jesse couldn't have cared less, but I documented it with a photo.  :)

On the way back down the road, the cows were still eating, so I pulled off to take a picture.  When I ran up to the fence, though, most of them looked up to see what I was doing, which ruined the effect of the picture I was trying to take, but was adorable nonetheless.

Fun sign at the light station
 

I pulled off at one overlook with a biggish parking lot and a big cliff-field (the road is next to the field, which actually, once you get to the edge, is a cliff overlooking the ocean.  So, cliff-field), and we hiked along the trail to get to the edge.  This one was very open-feeling, no trees or anything.  There was a very specific trail you had to keep to, and there were little signs everywhere asking you to stay on the trail because of endangered plant species that you might accidentally trample.  We *mostly* obeyed, except when Jesse spotted a tiny waterfall on our way back.  It looked like barely a trickle on the next cliff over.  We tried taking a few pictures, and were careful not to trample anything that looked endangered.

Bridge at Russian Gulch
  :)

That was our last stop until we got to the town of Sea Ranch.  It had gotten more 'misty', not really rain, but enough precipitation to keep us in the car, and to make driving annoying.  It felt like once we reached Sea Ranch we drove forever looking for the Lodge!  Partly because it was so rainy and miserable that we couldn't stop at overlooks, and partly because we were quite hungry for lunch, and partly because I just really wanted to see the place!  But, of course, we finally did arrive.

The property has wood everywhere (the buildings, the walkways, the fences) and modern sculptures as well.  I'm not a fan of modern art, but the slightly eclectic mix they have piqued my curiosity and I actually grew to like the sculptures.

Sunnier view from Mendocino coast
  Most of them look like fat curvy people with little heads, sometimes in twos or threes, doing little dances or something.  They're kind of cute, not obnoxious like most modern art I've encountered. 

The rooms are marked by a painted number by the door; ours is room #7.  I love it!  The decorations are laid-back and the room is spacious.  The view is great, and there's even a window seat with pillows and a throw!  We were upgraded to this room, and now I'm really glad we were (even though I have no idea what our other room would have looked like).

We arrived so late that if we ate lunch we figured we would never be hungry for dinner!  So instead we scrounged the complimentary little packet of delicate cookies and the pack of Combos I had bought at the gas station earlier!  Pretty pathetic, but I certainly wasn't about to pay $5 for a tiny pack of mixed nuts at the gift shop, and they had no vending machine.

Sunny at last!

We read books/magazines in the windowseat for a while, taking breaks now and then to watch the little birds hopping around on the ground outside and then took a nap in the most comfortable bed I think I have ever slept in.  The down comforter was the BEST!  I even searched along under the duvet cover to find the tag (found it! Warm Things, located in CA), because I'm determined to buy one (it was that good).  I've never been a picky sleeper, and don't mind any type of bed - I'm even comfortable enough on the floor.  But I must say that now I am spoiled, and once we settle down for Jesse's school, I am determined to recreate that bedding experience in my own home.  :)

Dinner was as wonderful as I had hoped it would be.  I ordered a baby green salad served with warm goat cheese and piquio peppers, and a shrimp and capers dish which was served with celery root salad and lentil salad.

One of our stops along the way
  I wasn't too fond of the celery root or the lentils, but they certainly weren't bad, and the rest of everything was completely delicious!  Jesse had a chicken dish served over fried sweet potato and sauteed vegetables (including asparagus, which I immediately stole and ate gleefully, much to Jesse's appreciation).  And for dessert, my favorite:  creme brulee!  It was made from scratch, and very good.  Best meal I've had in quite a while - I was impressed!  It was a splurge, but not too bad - about $25/entree and $9 for the dessert.

I could hardly wait to get back to that wonderfully warm and inviting bed to upload these pictures  :)

 

princessbride029 says:
Thanks! Too bad about the weather for both of us.... I guess we'll just have to go back sometime!
Posted on: Feb 22, 2008
paulkernan says:
Drove this very coast in what seems the same weather 2 years ago. Lovely blog with great photos. This is what make TB so good. Go raibh míle maith agat as we say in Ireland. :¬) Paul in Donegal
Posted on: Feb 22, 2008
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View at one of our stops
View at one of our stops
Me and the coast
Me and the coast
Crashing waves
Crashing waves
I loved the way these waves came i…
I loved the way these waves came …
More giant rocks
More giant rocks
A light station we stopped at
A light station we stopped at
Fun sign at the light station
Fun sign at the light station
Bridge at Russian Gulch
Bridge at Russian Gulch
Sunnier view from Mendocino coast
Sunnier view from Mendocino coast
Sunny at last!
Sunny at last!
One of our stops along the way
One of our stops along the way
Me being silly  :)  A lot of the t…
Me being silly :) A lot of the …
Jesse, at the only pygmy forest in…
Jesse, at the only pygmy forest i…
Pygmy forest sign
Pygmy forest sign
Jesse again, at the pygmy forest
Jesse again, at the pygmy forest
Me acting silly at the pygmy forest
Me acting silly at the pygmy forest
Coastal view with lighthouse and a…
Coastal view with lighthouse and …
Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Cool natural archways
Cool natural archways
Cows eating - we saw cows everywhe…
Cows eating - we saw cows everywh…
Me... one of the only real beache…
Me... one of the only real 'beach…
Some pretty leaves that looked lik…
Some pretty leaves that looked li…
More beach
More beach
Beach view
Beach view
Looking back from the beach toward…
Looking back from the beach towar…
View from one of our stops on the …
View from one of our stops on the…
A tiny waterfall!
A tiny waterfall!
Another waterfall view - its tiny!
Another waterfall view - it's tiny!
Our room at Sea Ranch Lodge
Our room at Sea Ranch Lodge
Our view from the window seat at S…
Our view from the window seat at …
Sea Ranch Lodge courtyard
Sea Ranch Lodge courtyard
Me!  In the most comfortable bed E…
Me! In the most comfortable bed …
Mendocino
photo by: mamaniac