Welcome to California

Actually it has taken more than a few days to get here…with some internet issues along the way…but here are some pics and tales from our travels so far.

Roadtrip Poynter/McKenney

Day 1       Saturday Jan14   to Portland
headed off the Sunshine Coast on the 8:20 ferry Saturday morning – after much deliberation about the oncoming weather…SO glad we did. There was already 6 inches of snow in the valley on the way to the US border – and the storm chased us all the way to Portland.

Day 2     Sunday Jan 15  to Crescent City
Instead of spending the leisure day in old Portland we had anticipated – we departed in the morning with a few little flakes coming down and revised our route to head south on I5 through Grants Pass and then out to the coast. Ironic that the driest and sunniest part of the journey was up in the inland mountains (where we were worried about the high passes..) Now I hear it is -10 degrees and still snowing in Vancouver and the coast – and they have closed some of the highways leading east.
Whoo Hooo! we escaped ! I figure we are Storm “racing” instead of chasing ;-)

tunnel on hwy 199 from Grants Pass to the coast.

And after a rather nervous drive through the winding valley out to the coast – rain/snow/sun we descended into darkness through the towering Redwoods and then burst into the light again just in time to catch the sunset at Crescent City. Pretty amazing coastline – and the winter storms have made the light even more dramatic.

See the video – Welcome to California – of our arrival out at the fabulous rocks, surf & sunset in Crescent City
(this is my first attempt at uploading a video so bear with me if it is a little odd)

Day 3     Monday 16 @ Crescent City  CA
and then the sun came out. Spent a lovely relaxed day in Crescent City. I was down at the water to watch the dawn 6:30am – and as usual it was well worth getting up early and facing the windy water. Did some sketching and started a watercolor from the car, while the light changed, and the fishing boats slid further away from their harbor…their lights on the sea were quite lovely.

With the tide well out we were able to walk all around the marina and parkway waterfront path and then right out to the Battery Point lighthouse. Quite a wonderful spot. Brian had a little rest on a bench while I did some sketching. I will try to post most of the sketches as I go along…some are still in pencil or pen & ink stage…and I may update them as I get the watercolor work finished. Just not enough time while we are on the road. I would have to get up at 4:00 to get all the work done!


    

Had a little hike up at the outlook over Crescent Beach – there are fabulous pullouts and views everywhere – but as you can see you have to be very aware of the Tsunami warnings – LOL!

Day 4    Tuesday 17  To Eureka CA
We have been one step ahead of the storm until today. Stopped along the highway for the view at Klamath River Outlook (trying to spot some whales – migration time for the ones that have wintered down at the Baja) and tried for the scenic drive along the coast of Redwood State park, but it was closed. I had feared with the winter season and the economic woes here in the US many of the “services” would be affected. Road maintenance, park staffing and campsites. We have been on the internet to try and stay current – but things are changing day to day – and now with the big storm lots of flooding and power outages along the coast.

Had a late afternoon stroll through old town in Eureka; eclectic shopping at Kokopillali and a well spent hour at the Eureka Books (used and first editions) Now we have enough reading matter for months! Fabulous dinner at the Lost Coast Brewery Cafe (Artichoke-bacon-basil crusted Halibut with Risotto – OMG so tasty) and sampled some of the local brews after getting past the big spider that decends upon you as you come through the front door ;-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5  Wednesday 18 to Mendocino CA

Stopped in a couple of great little towns aside the route – cheese factory, meat market & bakery in Loleto
and great coffee in the Avenue of the Giants at Miranda – so we are all set for groceries. Had an amazing and dramatically foggy walk in the Redwoods at Founders Grove. Although we are used to really large trees – this place is astounding. A VERY winding drive through the last of the coast range back out to the ocean. (GREAT State campsite at Westport!…not camping this time with the crazy stormy weather but something for the future) We were surprised and pleased with Fort Bragg…hadn’t expected the quaint old town and river port…and landed safely at the Sea Gull Inn in Mendocino.
Made great sandwiches in our B & B, and Brian came in with handmade chocolates from next door. (a dangerous location!) A lovely little victorian B & B with fabulous garden. Tree ferns, Calla Lilies and Tibuchina blooming. (garden envy) Many lodges, B&B and Inns nearby – not far from the grassy overlook and the crashing surf. Brian thinks I always haul around too much packing…but he doesn’t seem to mind the chai tea in the mornings and fresh homemade lunches. Nice evening coffees at the Mendocino (really old) Hotel

Day 6  Thursday 19 to Napa Valley

An early morning start found me at the Cabrillo Point Lighthouse at dawn- painting in the car – and then an incredible drive and gusty walk along the Mendocino State Park. DO NOT MISS THIS if you are ever here! Only a few hundred feet from town…the cliffs, rock formations surf and views are breathtaking.
Heading for Napa Valley hoping for some warmer weather – but it looks like more rain for the next week. Too bad – we will have to stay inside and taste wine. that should be really hard to take.

Petrified Forest was really good – I always am a bit skeptical of these roadside “attractions” but at 3 million years old – these stone trees are almost unbelievable – photos next time. all for now.

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