Flora, Fauna, and even Merry Weather

Trip Start May 14, 2009
Trip End May 29, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, May 23, 2009

The theme for today was flora, fauna, and the merry weather. :D

We woke up this morning to the first really good weather the entire
trip, meaning no fog.  But boy did I have a hard time moving.  It's a
good thing the weather was so beautiful, or I might not have gotten
moving. :D

Outside, we got our first good look at the garden outside our building,
and boy was it nice.  For whatever reason, Mendocino is a town of water
towers and windmills, and we had 2 towers and a windmill visible from
our garden.

We got some of the stuff packed up, then headed down to the restaurant
for breakfast.  The food wasn't that great (wasn't bad, but wasn't
great), but the victorian decor was great.

After breakfast, then packing up and getting out of the room, we
wandered around Mendocino for a couple of hours.  The view in Mendocino
is great, of a nice cove with the typical rocks out off shore.  And the
cute 1800s style buildings made Main Street rather picturesque.  It
would have been moreso without the cars lining the street, of course. ;)

We stopped in at the visitor's center and found exactly what we were
looking for in the way of books and such.  And a very, very
enthusiastic and sweet docent / guide / volunteer.  She helped us find
where to get some more batteries for mom, and directed us to the craft
show that was in town for the day (which we visited).  And, to
something very dangerous (and our next stop)...

The Mendocino County Botanical Gardens.

With the rhododendrons in peak (or at least near peak) bloom.

We stopped at the cafe long enough for a (rather poor, actually) german
sausage, then spent the next 2 hours on the first half of the trails in
the garden.  Which means we traveled less than half a mile... No, it's
not that hard to get around... unless you are like us and LOVE to take
flower pictures.  The trails were gorgeous, at least around the
rhododendrons; and the front garden; and the heather garden; and the
succulent garden; and... and.... and...

So, our "brief stop" ended up taking us until 4pm.

And by then, the waves were really picking up when we got to the coast
a little farther up the road (and I do mean a little... just a few
miles north of Fort Bragg).  So, we stopped for just a couple

Once again, we hit it just right for the tide.  Most of the waves were going down as we left the pullouts.

So, here we were, still not to highway 101, still haven't gone through
the Humboldt Redwoods, with only about 3 hours left of sunlight, and
about 6 hours left of driving.  At least we got past the worst of it on
highway 1. BOY is that twisty, and windy, with little or no shoulder,
and really steep drop offs, and rarely a guard rail.  Not a problem for
me normally, but when tired....?  And fearing more of the road might be
that way?

We decided to change the trip a bit.  Instead of going all the way in
to Redding, we'd stop for the night at the first place we could find.

Since we made that decision, when I saw the "world famous drive through
tree" in Leggit, I had to pull in just for the fun of it.  And fun, we
did have.  I'm not sure what it is about driving through a tree that is
fun, beyond that, well, you're driving through a tree.  *A* tree.  As
in one.

I saw the huge trees last year, but this was still something else. 
There is just something about the giant redwoods that is ultra
impressive, even after having seen them last year.  And I don't know
why, but some parts of this trip feel like a nostalgia trip... visiting
the old tourist traps that still bring them in today, like the Mystery
Spot and now the Drive Through Tree.

Of course, there was another attraction at the tree... or at the gift
shop, rather.  The wild goose that had decided it likes standing right
at the door of the gift shop and looking at itself in the glass door. 
He was a sweet thing for the most part, but I know they can be MEAN and
with little provocation, so I relatively kept my distance.  I think I'm
one of the few people who would go around the counter inside to the
other door instead of walking past him.  But I spoke to him (yes, I
talk to animals...), and got him to pose.

So when a group of early 20-somethings, 3 rowdy guys and one girl, came
up and were pestering the goose, I wasn't sure what to make of it when
the goose decided to come to *me*.  Was this going to be looking for
sympathy, or redirecting aggression?  I don't speak goose as well as I
do cat :p (AKA, I don't know all the warning signs of trouble about to
come from a goose...)

I got in the car, but the window was down so I was still talking to him.

He drooped.  Apparently, he wanted sympathy and for me to make the mean
boys stop.  Well, they stopped, if only because he wasn't in their
sight any more.  (And all they were doing was making noises at him, but
still, that's pestering).

So then he discovered hey... our Explorer is a nice shiny red!

He apparently liked red.

And we had to leave.

I didn't want to hit the guy, so when he didn't move after I started
the car, I was outside shooing him away.  Or, going on a literal "wild
goose chase".

I finally got him away from the shiny that was our bumper and
headlights, but when he waddled away it was with what sounded like a
very pathetic whining honk.  Silly goose.

While we were in the open field by the drive through tree, I was able
to get us a reservation in the next town up the road, Garberville.  
Mom wanted me to try and find somewhere slightly higher quality than
your average motel 6 if I could, but really I was going for what we
could find that was clean, safe, and available.

The first place I tried wasn't available.  That was the Sherwood Forest
Motel, selected purely because it had at least a decent rating on the
google maps available on my phone, and was the first one to come up.

No luck, but they suggested the Benbow Inn.  As soon as the guy
mentioned that hotel, I remembered it being recommended by the group on
the Trip Advisor forums.  Low and behold, they had two rooms
available.  So we took one.

Since all I had from the forums was a name (I never looked it up since
we weren't planning on staying here), I had no idea what to expect
other than "it's a good place to stay."

Little did I know we were ending up at what is probably the only 4-star resort within 100 miles. :p

This place is fantastic.  It's a historic inn, built in the 1920s in
the style of an English manor house, complete with tapestries on some
of the walls, and wood carving on the ceiling beams, molded plaster
coats of arms and such on the ceiling, etc etc.  Considering our love
of England, this was perfect. :)

The lady who checked us in was a riot, joking right along with us.  The
porter who helped us up with our bags (we're on the 3rd floor) was
really sweet.  And we got in just in time to get dinner as well.  And
dinner was fantastic.  We both had the rib eye steaks, the special of
the night.

Tomorrow, we're definitely going to spend some time getting pictures
here.  I'm very glad we decided to not push it and instead spend the
night down here.
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