In June of this year we set off on a northwestern road trip with our traveling buddies, Lew and Louise, to include the northern coast of California, the southern coast of Oregon, a bit of Nevada and Lake Tahoe, the Sonoma and Napa wine country, ending up with a stay in San Francisco and visit of points of interest in the Bay Area.
California (part 1)
We picked up our friends at San Francisco’s airport and immediately began driving north for our first stop in Mendocino (which is also the town that provided many of the exterior scenes for the fictional “Cabot Cove” of the Murder, She Wrote TV show). Between traffic, road work, and some twisty mountain and coast roads, we arrived just 30 minutes before our dinner reservation at the MacCallum House B&B where we also stayed for two nights. While we were there we toured around this very artsy town and also visited the nearby Point Cabrillo Light Station Historic Park.
Two days later we were on the road again, headed for our next stop in Eureka. The last several miles of CA 1 was particularly twisty causing queasy stomachs for some of us; we were glad when we finally reached US 101 to continue our trip north. We stayed at the Inn at 2nd and C Streets in the Old Town section of Eureka. We did walk around Old Town and enjoyed a couple of very nice meals there. We also toured further north a bit to the coastal town of Trinidad where we came across a marina and some playful sea otters.
After two nights in Eureka, we headed north again, this time into Oregon.
Our goal on this stretch of the road trip was Coos Bay (as well as noting that it was Father’s Day). Along the way, we stopped off at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint where we hoped to see some interesting sand painting of labyrinths in addition to the scenic nature of the park. Sadly, we never saw the sandy labyrinths even though we returned the following morning to try again. However, the sun finally decided to show itself on our second day in the area after several days of overcast and fog.
Coos Bay is also very close to the southern end of the great sand dunes that line much of the Oregon coastline. We took a ride north to the trail head for the John Dellenback Dunes where I took a hike for some photos starting with a bridge across the Eel Creek, then about half a mile through some woods, and finally onto the dunes.
Our original travel plan had us driving roughly east to visit Crater Lake National Park and then an overnight stay in Klamath Falls, OR. However, due to the heavy winter and late snow, the northern entrance to Crater Lake was still closed and we would have been forced to do a lot of additional mountain driving (plus the fairly long drive from Klamath Falls to Reno, NV, our next planned stop). Instead we left Coos Bay headed east on OR 42 to connect with Interstate 5 and head south back into California.
California (part 2) and Nevada
The drive east (especially through the beautiful Lassen National Forest) and then south on the Interstate was fairly easy (except for a couple of major stops for road work on the Interstate, particularly one near Lake Shasta that caused an entire hour delay). Our goal was Reno but the drive was too long to reasonably complete in a single day. Instead of Klamath Falls, we over-nighted in Redding (where the temperature was 106 – as they say, a very dry heat but nevertheless a very HOT dry heat). The next day we reached Reno where we dropped off Lew & Louise at Harrah’s to visit with some friends for a few days while Billie & I headed up to Marriott’s Timber Lodge at South Lake Tahoe.
We stayed at the lake long enough to move out of our suitcases for a while (and to catch up on some laundry). Mostly we just took it easy but I did get out one morning to make a few photos.
After a few days, we drove back to Reno to pick up our friends and and then headed west for our next stop in Sonoma where we enjoyed some wine tasting (we bought a case of Ed’s Red from the excellent Adastra Winery and had it shipped home). And after two nights in Sonoma, we headed for our last stop at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.
We had great access to San Francisco restaurants and general site-seeing of the area. Two of the restaurants we specifically tried were the well regarded Boulevard (very over-rated, we thought) and the (excellent) French/Basque Fringale. On the second day in San Francisco, Billie and I returned temporarily to our home and dropped off the rental car; then brought one of our cars back to the city to use for the remainder of the stay. On the third day we took a day trip to Monterey and spent some time on Cannery Row and then drove over to Carmel to look around there. During that visit we noticed that Billie was having some difficulty getting around, mostly easily out of breath.
Eventually, her chest also started complaining and it finally became evident that her body was sending her all sorts of warning messages. With the help and encouragement of our traveling friends, we checked out and headed directly to our home town and the Stanford Health Center Emergency Department where she was immediately admitted with a suspected heart attack. A few days later she had very successful cardiac artery bypass surgery (and will spend the next several months recovering).
As you might guess, my focus during those last few days of the trip was primarily on Billie and not on photography; I had put my camera gear away. Aside from the exciting (not-in-a-good-way) end to this trip, we all enjoyed most of it.
As usual some of the photos on this blog are also visible at CedBennett.Photography at larger sizes and higher resolution. Please feel free to comment in the section below or on the photography site.