Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy New Year..........

Happy New Year from Mendocino!
What's that you say?
I'm a little late?
Why, yes, yes I am!  But I'm here and I have pretty, pretty pictures so you'll forgive me.  Made it back in less than a month - not too bad I think as we continue to "clean up" from the holidays, being gone and back to school and activities with full force.
All the visitors had left and I spent New Years Day taking down the Christmas tree and all the decor that came with the season - the house now looks quite plain.  The family agrees that it looks better with all the greenery and baubles.  However, I cannot live with permanent dust catchers and will strive for a decorative look that does not require reindeer and green boughs wrapped on every railing.
The next day we headed off to Mendocino to spend the rest of the Christmas break with my "since we've been 13 yrs old" friend and her family.  Her husband spent Jr High/High School years living there and it's a place they enjoy.
We decided - we enjoy it to. 
Mendocino the town is not what I remembered from a long ago camping trip up the Northern Coast of CA prior to kiddos.  It is a very small, Victorian era town that sits on a point.  The cliffs that extend out from where the town is situated are called the Headlands - where J used to run for gym during High School.  We were in awe a little at the thought of living there as a kid - one had to create their own fun - good or bad.  Outside of Fort Bragg, there's not much in the way of 'civilization' out there.  I mean, our cell phones hardly worked at all except when in town!  I could get used to that....
Most people hear about Mendocino and think "P-t (marij-ana) capital of the US."  That would be the reputation for the county - it gets its name from the tiny little town.  The county itself is very large and most of it uninhabited/hard to get to places.  That, combined with the climate, lends itself to this controversial 'crop' of which we did not see nor encounter during our visit.  I can head over to Berkeley if needed and buy from the store.....NOT!  Girlfriend and I are still on record as being of the few individuals from the 80's who never tried the stuff. 
The drive to Mendocino?  Not easy.  You are either on Highway 1 winding along up the coast or you have to take the few roads from 101 that cross over - all of them through redwood forests (beautiful!) on, again!, winding roads.  We took an alternate route home which was more windy than the route there.  Stopped midway for Rachel (not fully sick but close) but have to admit that even I who tends to have no problem with roads was a bit tired of the curves.
Each family had rented a house - we thought we were next to each other but found we were separated by a few coves.  Just north of town in the Point Cabrillo area.  We picked up the keys in town, got some groceries and headed to our home for 4 days.  This was the view that greeted us:
Can you believe we left to go to our real home at the end?  What a wonderful way to start out and we enjoyed every single moment of being on the edge of the Pacific.  We had a mix of days - sunny, cloudy and a little drizzly.  It was all good.  Including our first sunset:

We headed over to Van Damme State Park which starts along the coast where Little River runs into the Pacific and winds around the interior Redwood forest.  So many cool things grow in Redwood forests: moss, ferns, all kind of fungi and - redwoods. S is demonstrating the proper way to take pic's of mushrooms growing on the side of a dead redwood:
So I had to take a picture too.  I love it!
Here we girls are walking across the bridge courtesy of photographer B (S's son) - he and Rachel share a B-day (different years) and while they may not always care for it, there are times we discuss the similar traits of our Aug. -- babies.  This picture is missing a VIP - S (S's daughter) - who stayed at home as her arthritis was flared up.  It s-cks to be 18 and live with this disease.  Always praying that relief is around the corner.  And do we have enough S's to go around?  Do I look short?  I think I'm starting to look short....
OK - so B is really, really into skateboarding.  It's pretty much the focus of his life and not in a negative way - he's really good at it.  Competes and has won cash and product prizes, etc....  So I laugh when he says that we need to bond over skating because I won't be on a skateboard anymore - ever.  That time passed about 25 years ago.  So we enjoy discussing camera's and photography and messing around with pictures.  He was shooting film only this trip so was being very cautious.  I'm still learning on my new SLR so played around a bit with the shutter speed.  We both groused about not having a tripod when we should - so much to carry.....  This pic didn't turn out too bad:
Girlies on the beach:
Another incredible, yet different sunset:
Another state park, Russian Gulch:
Pretty hard to keep them on the ground if there are rock walls to climb:
Playing with the camera and all the art in nature items:
Hanging out on the deck in the incredible sunshine watching whales migrate by (saw them every day), the surf crash and a bit of reading:
Our last morning looking at the Point Cabrillo lighthouse included some heavy surf - pounding waves.  The sea can be absolutely mesmerizing.  This is Northern California on the coast.  Take a look at a map and see how much space is between San Francisco and Eureka (northern CA city before Oregon).  It's a lot of coastline and much of it is inaccesible - reminds you that not everything is at the tip of your fingers.  Not even in CA.  I like that.
We're definitely going to do this again!  And a huge Thank You to our friends (especially J) for sharing this place with us!


Katherine said...

Wow, you're right, beautiful pictures! Thanks.

Susan said...

Beautiful!!! thanks for sharing :-)

Judy said...

So awesome! I may need to get more specifics about this place. Sounds like a perfect place for us!