"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Downtime at the Coast and a Birthday

Coloma, CA
Ponderosa RV Resort 

Once all the fun at the Italian Festival was over we drove down I-80 back to Placeville.
Our friends, John & Tina, also joined us a couple of days later.  The cool, fall weather has arrived and made for a nice hike along the river.

We enjoyed the week back and now we'll head towards Napa for our son, Shane's wedding later in the month. 
As we pass through the Delta waterways we see some folks out fishing.

It's very windy in this area where the mountain rivers feed the valleys before heading into the ocean.

Russian River, CA
Russian River Resort
This is the second time we've been to this park.  It's a great location but a very small, tight park.
We've got a few days here before the wedding and we'll celebrate Steve's birthday. The next day rained heavy so instead of hiking in the Redwoods we drove over to a brewery for an early dinner at Wolf House Brewery.  We split some wings, coconut shrimp and a beer brat.  Great food.  The beer, not so much.

Steve has always wanted to grill up a Tomahawk Steak so we had that and some Lobster for his birthday dinner.
Funny story.  We were at Walmart before coming here and Steve came over to me all excited about what he found when he was looking for cake mix.  When he first showed it to me I was confused and said, "you want a Barbie cake"?!  He looked just as confused then proudly said, "No, it's a Dolly Parton cake"!  Steve LOVES banana cake.  So I made it.  It was actually very good.
He's 8+ years old  :-)
Happy Birthday!!

The next day the weather was beautiful so we took a ride to a winery then later another brewery.
The grounds are beautiful here and they also have a herd of goats that they use to make their delicious cheeses.

We did a wine/cheese pairing with a side of Truffle Devil Eggs.  All were so good.  We bought some wine and a beautiful large Olive Wood board for Shane & Lindsay.
The goat barn.

They also have beautiful gardens with flowers, vegetables and herbs.

We also bought a few chesses.  They were so delicious!  A blue and a parmasean type.  No goatie taste.

Inside they had the pictures of the girls with their names and other info about them. They do offer tours of the barn and cheese making.
Outside you can pet and feed the "Gramma Goats" that are past their prime and no longer used for milking.  This is their retirement area.
Our final stop was the Anderson Valley Brewing Co.  Steve loved their beer and bought a few 4-packs.  This is a very small town and it turns out, a hanging-out place for the locals to watch football.  They all brought potluck goodies and invited us to stay and join them.  It was a nice night.

Our final day before moving to the wedding venue in Napa was to take an all-day drive over the Coastal Mountain Range via 128/Mountain View Road/Hey 1 to the coast to visit a lighthouse.
The few roads over the coastal range are very steep and windy. 16%?!  It took 2 hours to get there.  It's been many years since we've driven over these mountains.  Very pretty but so windy Steve had to drive very slow so I wouldn't get car sick.  With the dually we couldn't go very fast anyway.  Good thing almost no one drives these roads.  
The Point Arena Lighthouse coming into view.
Point Arena Lighthouse, erected in 1870.
This 153 year old beauty located on the Mendocino Coast ties for the tallest at 115 feet. Destroyed by the 1906 Earthquake, it was rebuilt in 1908. There are more than 40 lighthouses in California.  We have been to about 1/2 of them.  This is one of several lighthouses that you can actually rent a room to sleep in.  In this case, they have a few cottages.
The only thing left after the earthquake that was intact was the staircase.  It is the only original part left.  The bottom step is marked with the builders name, Calvin Nutting & Sons.  1869.
The view from the top was beautiful but very cold!

Fresnel Lens                                                            LED Array
The beautiful Fresnel Lens was made in France and is now appraised at 3.5 million dollars! It now sits in the on-site museum.  It was replaced in 2015 with an 8-Tier VLB-44 LED Array.  That array is the above picture on the right.  It's about the size of a football!
We took the $10 guided tour to go up to the top.  You can walk outside up top on a small balcony.
I love the colors of the outside brass doorknob discolored from the sea salt.  It was a nice short visit and we had a great time.  Next we drove the short distance to the town of Point Arean for lunch.

More views of the lighthouse from a few pullouts.

The Point Arena Pier.
The colorful town of Point Arena.  There isn't much to it except a couple of simple places to eat, a few small stores and some other empty buildings.

We decided instead of going back the same way we came, we'd drive a bit further south and head back inland on a different road.
Along the way we pulled over at this small, private beach.  We had it all to ourselves!  We walked it and just soaked in the views.
Cute walkway down.

There was a small creek that fed into the Pacific.

At the far end we watched this Falcon just hovering in the strong breeze, waiting for a snack to appear.  He stayed there quite a while.
Watch this 15 second video and see this guy just hovering around!  I think it's a Falcon?  Anyone know?

It was time to head out as we'd be back on very curvy, steep roads and we hoped to return before dark.

We took Stewart’s Point/Scaggs Springs Road back. As soon as you climb a bit you're back into the Redwoods.  This road started out very narrow but was in decent shape.  It was another 2+ hour drive but it was very pretty and again, we were alone almost the entire drive.
Just as we approached Lake Sonoma on the other side the sun was setting with some spectacular colors.

We have kayaked this lake before.  It's a very busy place in the summer but not a soul here in October.
After watching the last of the color leave the sky from the marina, we drove the final 22 miles to camp.  Tomorrow we'll spend a few days in beautiful wine country in Napa and Yountville for our son's wedding!


  1. Lots of interesting stops and beautiful scenery. Great pics!

    1. Beautiful country. Fun to go from Sierra Nevada mountains to valley, to wine country, to Redwoods in the Coastal Range to ocean and back in one day!

  2. Very cool. And now I know what you got for Lindsay and Shane as a wedding present! Have you ever considered posting a map with the route highlighted for all the road covered in your blog post?

    1. Shhhh. :-) just something we had to pick up when we saw it.
      Sometimes I’ll add a Re-live (app) map, but not often. I’m usually better at including all highway/road names. Maybe I’ll go back and add them before I forget?

  3. Beautiful. Love your pictures of Arena Lighthouse, especially that doorknob! Happy Birthday to Steve, hope he enjoyed his Dolly cake!

  4. Slowly getting caught up with blog reading! Such a beautiful part of the state and your pics are wonderful. Those gramma goats won the lottery with that lovely retirement home :-)

    1. It was a fun side trip to our sons wedding. It was fun to explore more in wine country then the coast.


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