Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vacation in Mendocino County

Home.  We are home from a week in a tent near the mouth of Russian Gulch. The boys had a great time.

Anselm took the opportunity to learn how to use a topographic map and a compass.  He completed the requirements for the Cub Scout Map and Compass Pin.  One of the things I did for him was set up a simple land navigation course.  He had to shoot azimuths and walk from point to point until he found his destination.  It was fun for all of us.  Basil went with him and his mother was waiting at the destination point.

Basil kept a diary each day, thus completing the requirements for the Cub Scout Reading and Writing Belt Loop.  He hates writing, so this activity was not much fun for anyone.

We did a in addition to the usual things we do up there, this year we did a couple of different things.  Because it was rainy one day we went to see a movie in Fort Bragg, about 6 miles up the coast from where we were camped.  We also ate at the North Coast Brewing Company Tap Room and Grill.  They have really good food. We also had a 4-beer sampler (you can get a 12 beer sampler) or their 4 darkest beers.  We liked the lightest.  Thy have amazing french fries.  Guess what they do?  They bread them before they fry them!

Oh, talking about the tap room reminds me:  On the way to the coast we stopped in Booneville at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company where Athanasia and I each had a pint and sat in a swing under a mighty oak tree.  When I finished my pint I played frisbee golf with the boys.  WOW! What a hard game.  All the "holes" were par 3 but I didn't make it to any of the baskets in less than 4.  Most were 6 or 7.

On Wednesday, Athanasia stayed in the camp and knit Christmas presents while I took the boys to Portuguese Beach, which I've always known as Driftwood Beach.  But what do I know.  The guide books say it is Portuguese Beach so that is what it must be.

On Thursday Athanasia took the boys to the beach near our campsite while I went into Medocino to mail some postcards and walk around.  I didn't walk around a lot, but I did buy some books for the boys, and I finished "The Loved One" by Evelyn Waugh.  It was funny, but the book was also mean-spirited.  I don't think I'll read anymore Waugh.  I have a feeling that he was a witty man, but probably cruel, too.  While I was in town I saw Mic Fleetwood walking with his arm around a woman.

We drove home the long way, meaning we drove north.  When Hwy 1 gets passes Rockport it turns away from the coast, which the engineers who built Hwy one thought was too difficult to build a highway on.  It must be amazingly rugged for if you see some of the other places they built bridges and tunnels you will understand that those men let little stand in their way.  Now, the area north of Rockport but south of Humboldt County is called the Lost Coast by most people, but the government calls it the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.

  There are a few roads that lead into it, but they are the kinds of roads with big warning signs.  High clearance 4x4 vehicles only.  And don't even think about going in there in wet weather. And did I mention the bears?  People die in there.  Obviously, in our heavy laden PT Cruiser we did not tempt God.  We stayed on Hwy 1 till it joined Hwy 101 in Legget.

In Legget we drove through a 2,400 year old redwood tree.  Really.  Here is the picture.

People have been driving thorough this tree since 1922 but it is still living and full of green.  It is possible to buy potted cuttings of the tree but we contented ourselves with the picture.  It really was a lot of fun.  We mailed some more post cards there and then turned south for San Jose and home.

You know, its kind of funny, but this trip made me feel patriotic.  I felt like I was ding something Americans do.  I'm sure europeans go camping, but do they do it like American's do?  Do they have vast state and national parks?  How can they?  Their countries are so little.  And they don't have the wilderness or frontier heritage American's have.  I'm not running people down in the Old World, its just that they have so many people on such little territory.  I mean, Mendocino County is so big they have at least two county fairs: The The County Fair and Apple Show in Booneville (where they also have the Wool and Fiber Festival), and the Redwood Empire Fair in Ukiah, the county seat.  As a boy I had a lot of fun at the Redwood Empire Fair.  I saw a demolition derby there when I was 11.  As we drove by late Friday night they were having go cart races on the 1/4 mile dirt track.   I bet they have fairs in Hopland and Willits, too.

Oh, speaking of Willits, we stopped there to eat at a place called "The Lumberjack".  HUGE portions of really good food.  Also, they had big screen teevees in the two dining rooms on which they showed timbersports competitions.  That was a lot of fun.  And a little scary.  I was sure someone was going to lose a leg.  They were doing things with chainsaws the manuals very clearly instruct one to never do.  At least the college student competitors wore steel armor on the legs and feet.  The pros, however, wore no protective equipment.

We got home early this morning and didn't do much.  I got a hair cut (I have a job interview the day after tomorrow) and then Athanasia and I went to see the movie Midnight in Paris.

Basil lost another tooth.  It is under his pillow.  I guess I ought to go see if the tooth fairy has stopped by and then go to bed.


DebD said...

sounds wonderful...especially Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. That sounds like my kind of place (except for the bears).

Esme said...

Sounds like alot of fun. I have a picture of Dale and I going through that tree from a long, long time ago.

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