Hey guys. I'm just overwhelmed with this trip. It's been challenging and a growing process and has just been so.... blessed. I can't imagine spending these weeks any other way. For those of you who are following this blog and our story I hope I communicate this all accurately and in an accessible way to you. Hope you find this all informative and inspiring and learn along with me and that you see these updates as a sharing, instead of a showing. I love these weekly updates and have been so pleased I've been able to stay consistent.
Also it occurs to me: if you are one of those people who's always looking for someone else to follow on instagram, my feed is here. It's updated somewhat frequently :) You may even recognize a few of the images ;)
Onward. Here we go. Day 14. As stated last week, we are now in California, consistently making our way down the coast. We are in S.F. as of Sunday, and the following descriptions of the last few days will give you an update on our trip.
(But quick, first, an update on Day 13! On Tuesday, after we left the cafe, we ended up hiking a small peak in Crescent City and SAW A WHALE. He literally was showing off just for us. It was unexpected, unplanned, and totally worth the cold burning wind on our faces.)
Day 14 was last Wednesday. On Wednesday we got serious about our surroundings and went for not one, but two hikes. The first was listed on a guide as Rhododendron/Brown Creek/South Fork trail. It was about a 3 mile hike, was supposed to take about 2 1/2 hours. But a miscommunication and lack of map led us to follow the Rhododendron only trail, which was about a 7 mile trail. We ended up having to turn around, fortunately we weren't too far along. We were exhausted and tired by the end, but that didn't dampen our stalwart spirits. We went for another 1.6 mile hike down to a beach, climbed some rocks, and spent our last night in the Redwood Forest.
Day 15 we left Elk Prairie Campground mid-morning and began meandering to Santa Rosa. We took a relaxed little stop in Eureka, an under-rated little hippie town about an hour south of Crescent City. We visited Old Town Chocolates and Coffee and indulged in a few truffles, a smoothie, a bagel, and some wonderful espresso. I picked up a pair of sunglasses at a small boutique and He and I both got a new book to read for our trip - I picked up "The Sun Also Rises".
Then we continued down to our AirBnB place in Santa Rosa, enjoying the beautiful views in the Avenue of the Giants (and stopped to drive through a tree!) and the rolling, vineyard-covered Mendocino county along Highway 101.
Day 16 We wanted to go wine tasting. We took some sound advice to avoid the larger, crowded, snooty wineries and focus on the smaller, intimate ones and get some tours.
Best advice. We did a little research in the morning and went to the lovely Artesa Winery in the early afternoon. (Dropped the under-age brother off in Sonoma first.) Enjoyed returning to the sight of streetside fruit-stands and purchased a bag of cherries to match my red dress.
We also made new German friends at the bar and shared our stories that had led us to the same spot regardless of the distance.
Day 17 Our Airbnb host was absolutely lovely and shared an excellent secret with us - a little secret that goes by the humble name of "Preston Family Vineyard".
Preston was the first of 3 vineyards this day. Preston was definitely the favorite of the day, with their fresh artisan bread and olive oil straight from their own olive trees, and meandering of the secret gardens. We basked in the 90+ temps and feasted on our loaf and drank our wine and water and sat in the lawn chairs and explored the old brick ovens and met friendly bartenders and I had to prove I was over 21 almost every time and we smiled a lot and took pictures and asked questions and smiled more.
Next on our list was Zichichi Family Vineyards, (wine tasting straight out of the barrel!) and the last was Yoakim Bridge, which was endearing for it's small vineyard and vintage Airstreams, but the favorite was still Preston.
And then we hung out with my Trista friend and visited Bodega Bay and attended my first Mass and ate at Hopmonk and had olive oil ice cream. And life was good and sweet.
Day 18 We went to church with my Trista friend and drove to San Francisco - but not before we made one more winery stop, and it is between Korbel and Preston that my affections are tied. Korbel vineyards were perhaps the most informative, with a full tour of their historical winery and then: champagne tasting.
Then we went to San Francisco and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (and back!) and then went to Chinatown and of course we went into the first establishment we found that sold Bubble Tea and then we went to my childhood home and had an evening in with old friends and good memories.
Day 19 Ah. Yesterday. Yesterday is one of the days I will remember my whole life and will look back on with nothing but a breaking fondness and an exploding heart. I will only show photos instead of trying to explain. Our stops included Ocean Beach, Chinatown, and Pier 39.
Day 20 Today has been relaxing. I'm photographing our dear host family tonight (our old friends!) and have spent the morning reading my book (in bed!) grazing on fruit and flax bread and talking and now sit in a cafe with an empty coffee cup, happy stomach, and full eyes. Tonight on the menu is dancing, old friends, and mexican burritos.
Tomorrow: Homeward bound.