Leave Oakland around 11:15. Reach Boonville ~1:45; busy town, Mendocino County Fair in progress. Bigger than I remember; no Horn of Zeese. No parking either, so drive on to Philo, stop at grocery store for snack, coffee, change drivers. Pause for tasting at Navarro Vineyards, buy olallieberry-zinfandel jam. Also a Riesling and "Navarrouge" red.
Head off 128 up Flynn Creek Road to Comptche. Creek burbles, birds sing, and signs warn of "buried fiber optic cable". Ah, wilderness.
Comptche very small. Store is closed and gas pumps (labeled "Arab gold") are out of order. Sign on gate says "The last car that parked here is still missing". Store owner obviously not a people person.
West of Comptche, roadside greenery extends right up to pavement like Oregon, or Olympic Peninsula.
Weather has been light rain off and on; now foggy. Sun emerges at Highway 1. Head north into Ft Bragg, find Atrium B&B; seems a nice place, on highway but not too noisy.
Dinner at Silver's (was The Wharf) in Noyo Harbor; good food & view. Joan orders fish taco, and I have halibut just for the -- no no, bad ronks, don't say it, there is a time and a plaice for everything.
Afterwards, walk out to Glass Beach just at sunset. See a green flash! Lasted only a second, but dramatic sight.
Monday, September 20
Visit Glass Beach after dawn; high tide. Take downtown history walk; find courthouse at 363 Main Street.
Drop into Tangents toys & novelties store, ask about item in window. Memorable response: "Tony, would you show this gentleman the inflatable turkeys, please?" Pass on IT for now, but purchase ball-point pen in form of lit cigarette.
Go for coffee and scone at Headlands coffee shop; it resembles Lulu Carpenter's on Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz IMHO.
Maddened by caffeine, return to Tangents and buy inflatable turkey; but draw the line at battery-powered yodeling pickle (tempted, though).
Visit Otis Johnson Wilderness Park (thanks to jef for tipoff): redwoods, banana slugs, fuchsias in abundance.
Drive down Highway 1 to Mendocino Coast Botanic Gardens; walk out to coastal bluffs and sea from more manicured gardens near highway; dahlia section in full bloom. Sign on path bridge: "No coins necessary to operate creek". At coast, watch waves crash against cliffs; never get tired of sight. Return, buy succulent for home at garden shop.
Back in Ft Bragg, walk to Piaci for pizza and beer; pesto/prosciutto/pear pizza interesting, but pear is lost in stronger flavors. Poppy Jasper Amber Ale from Morgan Hill a hit.
Later, dinner at Heron's in Noyo Harbor. View like Silver's, menu briefer. Chowder good, shrimp louie OK at best; prefer Silver's.
Tuesday, September 21
Down Highway 1 to Jughandle State Reserve, follow Sea Bluff loop path out to coast and back.
At Russian Gulch park, main up-canyon trail is closed. Trek to Devil's Punchbowl, a giant sinkhole with 2 arches open to the sea.
Raven's at Stanford Inn is closed for lunch, only serves breakfast and dinner, odd for a resort. (Didn't care for Stanford Inn generally; it seemed cold and inhospitable.)
Lunch in Mendocino at Mendo Hotel, walk around town; a busy bustling place on a Tuesday afternoon in September. J visits yarn and fabric shops (or shoppes), I pick up a couple local-history books (e.g., Mendo in the Depression years), head out to bluff trail circle around town.
Head south to van Damme State Park. Can't hike Spring Ranch trails due to road work (must follow pilot car), so turn up airport road to Pygmy Forest, hike loop trail there through dwarf trees, return to FB.
Dinner at Mendo Bistro; nice building, convenient downtown location, good service, food pretty good.
Then to Cowlick's ice cream parlor across street. Big scoops, must limit self to just one next time.
Wednesday, September 22
Take Highway 20 east to Willits; twisty, but lots of turnouts to let faster traffic pass. South on 101 to Ukiah, pause for yarn store.
Into Talmage SE of Ukiah and "City of Ten Thousand Buddhas" (did not stop to count them), a.k.a. "Dharma Realm Buddhist University" on grounds of old state hospital; register at admin bldg as requested.
Lunch at Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant on U campus (thanks to whoever recommended it); good food.
Walk a bit around grounds. Find the place a little creepy; the form of Buddhism here seems to be very Chinese, with a mix of Confucianism. Giant painting of warrior with sword (Buddhist warriors?) on main worship hall; separate entrances for men and women, bldgs have names like "Instilling Goodness Elementary School", "Developing Virtue Secondary School", "Wonderful Words Hall", "Great Compassion House"; streets are "Proper View Avenue", "Proper Work Avenue", "Virtue Way", "Joyous Avenue", etc. I get the feeling that independent thinking is not encouraged here. Just an impression.
Take River Road south to Hopland; it parallels 101 a couple miles to the east, much quieter. Then 101 south to Bay Area and home.