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Central coast and North Bay

Post #1218 • August 7, 2008, 2:50 PM • 10 Comments

Monday, August 4: A good time was had by all in Big Sur.

Big Sur, California, 4 August 2008

Supergirl on a tree swing, Big Sur, California, 4 August 2008

Big Sur, California, 4 August 2008

After lingering a bit too long in Monterey, an odd little town, we found ourselves playing chicken with the oncoming darkness. Which would come first - a campground, or nightfall? The campground arrived first, barely, and we ended up spending the night at Costanoa and becoming KOA members, which was probably inevitable. This KOA site was an upscale affair with a spa and a fairly tony restaurant on the premises.

Tuesday, August 5: We braved a chilly, gray morning to go down to the beach at Costanoa, and clambered over the rocks facing the ocean. We spotted a white seal sunning himself as best he could, and closer in, we found starfish, purple sea urchins, and a couple of anemones in the tidepools.

Costanoa, California, 5 August 2008

Costanoa, California, 5 August 2008

Starfish and Sea Urchins, Costanoa, California, 5 August 2008

Anemone, Costanoa, California, 5 August 2008

Highway 1 North of Costanoa, 5 August 2008

Highway 1 North of Costanoa, 5 August 2008

Despite some excellent shows at the Legion of Honor, no one on staff knew whether they would have room to park a 32-foot RV, so we decided to push through and cross the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ahab wasn't kidding about the stretch of Highway 1 north of the bridge. Supergirl ably guided us down a crowded, briskly-moving freeway with a vertical drop on the right side that I would normally associate with the Andes. We had already driven hundreds of miles up scenic but trying coastal roads, and not only did we switch to the 101, we met the ensuing traffic jam with relief. We stopped in the KOA campground in Petaluma for the night, which I don't recommend except for the petting zoo. Otherwise it looks like a mini-golf course and the wireless signal is weak.

Golden Gate Bridge, California, 5 August 2008

Wednesday, August 6: We blew out of Petaluma as quick as we could and had breakfast in lovely Santa Rosa. We had breakfast at the Sonoma Coffee Company, and I found a remaindered monograph of works by Bada Shanren at Treehorn Books.

Santa Rosa is also home to the Charles Schultz Museum, which is currently displaying an eminently enjoyable exhibit about comics' ability to communicate motion and mentality using its particular graphic conventions. The Language of Lines included works by Schultz, Mort Walker, Walt Kelly, Bill Waterson, Berke Brethead, and other past masters and present worthies. There was also a recreation of Schultz's studio, the likes of which I have not seen since visiting the Morandi Museum in Bologna.

In the afternoon we went wine tasting in Geyserville. A storefront called Locals Tasting Room featured the combined efforts of ten vinters in the area. I have never detected triple the virtues of a $30 wine compared to a $10 one, but I did here after sampling a delicious Ramozotti San Giovese. Consequently we all but floated next door to Diavolo, ordered pizza, and tried to sober up. Before heading back to the RV and crashing we picked up a Zinfandel by Meeker that Supergirl approved of, and it was delicious, although I was so tight at that point I would have agreed to anything Supergirl suggested, including playing in traffic. I slept off my drunk and Supergirl drove. (Yes, I am the lightweight in this relationship.) Later I experienced a first - a hangover at 7 PM.

The 101 north of Santa Rosa turns remarkably desolate. California has its share of abandoned and dying towns. We saw a small herd of elk near a farm along the way. We spent the night in Benbow, lulled to sleep by crickets and big rigs on a distant highway.

Mileage: 24167. Mileage at Venice, CA: 23506. 661 miles. Posted from a bakery in Eureka, CA.




August 7, 2008, 4:30 PM

I experienced those Andean dropoffs. Never again.

Same goes for evening hangovers. Especially when you are in the city, and you go out in the twilight and have to ask whether it is morning or evening, and someone answers "how do I know? I'm not from around here"



August 7, 2008, 4:55 PM

I wondered if those goat trails they call a highway would make you go plaid. Take comfort you weren't heading south, which would've put you in the cliffside lane. I'm not sure in that case whether I'd rather be the fraught driver, or the passenger with the bottomless view. Whatever, Sonoma grapes sufficiently fortify and reconstitute, eh? Even if they do make you see plaid.



August 7, 2008, 7:30 PM

When I went north on that road I insisted on going south INLAND



August 8, 2008, 7:21 AM

I highly recommend Ridge Geyservellie Red Zin. Most of Ridge's Zins are great.



August 8, 2008, 11:16 PM, what a sublime environment...what until you get to the area with no spray paint and clear-cutting...



August 8, 2008, 11:25 PM

...I hope that our offspring can enjoy it too, but I am afraid that...(you know what I mean...)



August 9, 2008, 3:22 PM

That's quite a big stump
you're on there Franklin...

Looks like safely.

Can't help but thinking of this


Chris Rywalt

August 9, 2008, 4:33 PM

There are some similar mountain roads in northeastern Pennsylvania. Maybe not as Andean, and probably not as barren, but there are still some scary drops off to the Delaware River below.

I remember my father torturing me one time by taking my mom's '69 convertible Cutlass up to the 90s around some crazy curves with solid rock on one side and a hundred-foot-drop to the river on the other. He cackled like a madman.


Chris Rywalt

August 9, 2008, 5:12 PM

Man, I loved that show.



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