The Big Views

This is going to be a hasty post, as we’re camped out in the library in Mendocino, and they close in an hour. Must hurry!!

It was both sad and a relief to leave San Francisco – loved having the city sights to see, but there was added stress in that we couldn’t ever quite agree on where to go, what to see, and whether to walk, ride, or bus from spot to spot. Guess we are just better off when we hang out in the woods.

So, we crossed the Golden Gate with the Fireball in tow – MUCH less stressful than cycling across! Our destination was Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Marin County. 20160327_144936Once again, it’s one of the older campgrounds in the State Park system – it was crowded, but so pleasant. Lots of campers, but no generators – kids on bikes and campfires. Just what camping should be. Our campsite even had its own personal redwood tree, or redwood-in-training, as it was less than 200′ tall.















The first day, we decided that we needed to cycle to Fairfax to visit the National Museum of Bicycling, and the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Lots of crazy stories about the startup days of mountain bikes in Marin County, home of Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Ritchey (of frame-building fame), and so many other greats. The Larkspur Canyon Gang, as they were known started with mountain bike, downhill racing time trials. From there, they never looked back.

Check out the gigantic chainring on this downhill bike – 66 teeth!20160324_140019Or, this Cannondale which was specifically built for the World Championship Downhill Mountain Bike races.20160324_140525Nearby Point Reyes (Rye’ Ess) National Seashore was our destination for the next two days. Fierce winds slammed us around the first day – gusts of 40+mph made photos blurry, and breathing difficult. The Lighthouse there was especially in a gusty location. 20160325_133632Check out the hair of the woman standing next to John!20160325_134328We went back a second day to hike out to Tomales Point, the northernmost point of the Park. Everything is so unbelievably green and lush.20160326_15093820160326_15191520160326_153818Dairy farms have been on this peninsula for more than 150 years, and the pastures now are home to several family-owned organic farms. Wildflowers of every color and variety wave in the wind – iris, calla lilies, a few leftover California poppies, and white, yellow, and purple tiny ground flowers of every sort.20160329_11064520160326_142710These Queen Anne’s Lace are on very hearty stalks – some were over 1/2″ in diameter. The damp ocean breeze curves the cypress trees (where they exist) to form natural windbreaks.

While we were at Point Reyes, we also explored the Earthquake Trail. The story is in this single photograph. The fence here was one single piece, until the 1906 Earthquake caused one section to jump 16 feet! In the middle of these two pieces the San Andreas Fault runs. John tempts fate here by putting one foot on each side of the fault. Amazing.20160325_120823Before leaving the area, we had one more day to hike, so we climbed up to an old fire outlook in the hills surrounding the Park. Amazing views.20160327_12282420160327_12223220160327_121948Pushing northward to Mendocino, we passed Fort Ross State Historical Monument. 20160328_11470320160328_120743This compound was built in the 1830s by the Russians, as part of a chain of supply posts for their Alaskan fur-hunting settlements. Did you know that Russian sable is actually sea otter? (I thought it was a mink-type of animal). The entire compound is encircled by an eight-foot fence, and is well fortified.20160328_11492020160328_120422Our current campground is at Russian Gulch State Park is Mendocino. Getting here was a chore for me – Route 1 is a twisty-turny road, not a happy place for one who so easily gets carsick.20160328_110509 I fortified myself with Bonine, but was still fairly green after hours winding our way north. Thank goodness for stopping often to soak in the gorgeous views.

We’ve hiked and biked here. Today, we got to watch a pod of whales make their way north. For the first time, they came out of the water time and time again – it was magical to see.

Going to quit now and just fold in a few photos. They’re going to toss us out of the Library soon, and we have no access of any sort at the campground. It’s REAL camping.20160329_17070720160329_16431520160329_12453220160329_12310520160329_111157

We did have one ‘incident’ involving some of the local population. Right after we first got camp set up, I noticed a huge banana slug near the picnic table. It was about 5″ long, and as big around as my pinkie finger. John grabbed and stick and commenced to fling it into the bushes, but it got away from him, and he flung it right onto my neck. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

It’s going to be hard to leave this beautiful spot. Mendocino is the perfect beach community. But, we’re stalking the Coastal Redwood, and there aren’t any here. We’re going to hike another day, then push north again on Friday.

8 thoughts on “The Big Views

  1. Now this is the California that I’d like to see! I loved the views out over the ocean along with the wildflowers! Your photos were excellent, they really make me want to see these same sights for myself.

    I hope that you’re able to enjoy them, after a day of fighting car sickness then being “slugged” by John. ;)


    • Thanks, Jerry. You would love this wild coastline. There are many large offshore protuberances, and the waves just pound and swirl around them. I could simply sit all day, watch and listen. This is a very easy spot to do nothing!

      So glad we are only moving every four days or so. When we plot our route, and Google tells us that it’s a hundred miles, and our estimated travel time is 3+ hours, I know I’m in for it. Bonnie is my lifeline.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Judy, I’m wondering if your Queen Anne’s Lace could actually be cow parsnip. QAL has feathery carrot looking leaves. Love your pictures!


    • Not familiar with cow parsnip. We seem to have moved out of the area where it was so prevalent, so I can’t check the foliage. Thanks for the info – will be sure to seek some out and report back to you, D’nise. I just figured it was QAL sturdy enough to withstand the pounding of 40 mph winds. We noticed that all the wildflowers at Pt. Reyes were close to the ground. Lots of stubby little iris, and even the CA poppies were lowslung. Adapt and overcome!

      Thanks for checking in – see you at BRR?


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