A couple of photos from my recent road trip in the Sportsmobile up to Mendocino.
Just after Christmas we packed up the Sportsmobile and headed out for a road trip. We wanted to visit the Solar Living Institute up in Hopland so that set our first destination.
After touring the site we filled up on BioDiesel and drove over to our camping spot for the night. Just a short distance away is Cow Mountain Recreation Area. This B.L.M. (Bureau of Land Mismanagement) site encompasses around 52,000 acres. During the steep and narrow dirt drive up to the top you would think that half of that is covered with shotgun shell casings. All along the way were piles and piles of shells.
At one point we came across a ranger hanging out in his 4×4 parked at an overlook. As we pulled in we smiled and waved. He just gave us a snarl and then drove off. I guess he was just jealous that our rig was way cooler than his!
The overlook had a great view east and south towards Clear Lake. Not a bad spot if you ignored all the shell casings.
The sun was dropping and the temperature was quickly chasing after it. We continued on to the Mayacmas campsite turn off and dropped down a twisty 0.7 mile descent. At the site we circled the first loop of camp spots. One of the spots contained a tent, flap open, with a blue tarp hanging out. But no other sign of anyone staying there. No car, nothing. Hmm, ‘how about checking the other spots’ we thought.
Dropped down to the next loop and circled that. On the low side of the loop there was a deep mud hole. Our rig has manual locking hubs so that prompted me to stop and toggle rather than risking having to swim in the soup. Once locked in we easily cruised through the goop and up and over to a fairly flat spot. Set up camp with just enough time to do a short hike out the ridge to see the sunset.
After a lazy rise the next morning we headed out for a hike. There’s a great trail that starts out near the campsite entrance and then works its way down the ridge to the creek below. There it crosses the creek and continues up the opposite hill. We followed it up to and just past where it junctions with another trail. Time was flying by so we turned around and headed back to the campsite.
I have to admit that the area around the campsite and the trail we took were a heck of a lot nicer than the shotgun shell covered grounds we passed on our way in.
Back on the road we were thinking food and beer. Or maybe just beer with a touch of food. And what just happened to be nearby? Boonville and the Anderson Valley Brewing Company!
In town we parked and did a few shopping chores. The folks at the post office and the hardware store were great and people you would wouldn’t mind dealing with everyday. There’s a taco truck at one end of town which I had visited many times in the past. So we walked over and ordered up our fill of tacos and a burrito. Mmmmm.
But that just made us more thirsty. So off to the brewing company we go. Lots of good beers on tap but the IPA is still my favorite. I being the designated driver only sip a few samplers to wet my thirst.
Now quenched, it’s time to get to the coast. Hairy dog needs some beach time! Onto 128 we go and off to Hwy 1. At the coast we head north. We pass up Albion, Little River, Mendocino, and Casper. Then just after Fort Bragg we get to MacKerricher State Park. Here we find a nice spot to camp along with a great beach for Hairy dog.
Lots of beach time for Hairy dog that evening and in the morning. He attempts to get his fill munching on who-knows-what items found on the beach. We divert those attempts as best as we can.
The bikes begin to call us back to get out and ride. There’s a route we’ve taken before that loops inland and then back to the coast. But we need to head south for the start of it. We pack up and head down to Van Damme State Park where we park, unload the bikes, gear up, give Hairy dog a piece of dried carcass (a treat to some), then ride off. We end up in the town of Comptche before turning back to the coast. At one point on the return we reach the edge of Van Damme SP and a trail head. We’re on the cyclocross bikes and without hesitation jump on the trail and ride down through the park back to the campsite.
The next morning our stomachs were calling out for a “real” breakfast. Mendocino and it’s great little cafes would be the answer. Into town we drove to a great cafe that had the double cappuccino and breakfast burrito combo I had been craving.
Satiated and caffeinated, it was time for a long stroll on the coast trail. Hairy dog agreed. The coast on the edge of Mendocino is beautiful. The wave action was not extreme that day but was putting on a nice display.
It was getting late and time to move inland. Plus the cold gray coastal weather needed to be replaced with some sun and warmth. But there was still enough time to drive southward on Hwy 1 before heading inland on 116 at Jenner.
And being that it was also New Year’s Eve and we would be joining friend’s for dinner and “celebration”, we couldn’t drop in without a few bottles. Quickly solved by a stop at Joseph Swan Vineyards for a bottle or two or 12 to help celebrate the New Year.
That night was filled with good food, drinks, laughs, and hanging out with friends. It was a nice way to finish our trip and 2006.
I wish you a happy New Year and best wishes in 2007!