Sunday, April 6, 2008

Mendocino Trip

29th & 30th March, 2008

Are you in the bay area? Looking for a weekend getaway?

Have you been to Mendocino? The coastal city is about 4 hours drive from the south bay. It is a beautiful and relaxing destination. You can linger on the sea shores or hike on the trails along the coast. The views are breath taking.

I had earlier planned to visit Crater lake (inspite of warnings from my friend that it is a bad time to visit). However due to a bad weather forecast in Crater lake, I had to cancel my trip in the last minute. I had always wanted to go to Mendocino, but kept postponing it. So, I decided to go there for the weekend with my family. I booked my stay for a night in Pacific Mist Inn. The cottage had a lot of bad reviews on the forums. However, the cottage manager assured me that there was a management change and they've replaced all the appliances and changed the interiors.

We started from home at 6.30 am and reached Mendocino at about 10.30 am. We took a short break inbetween for break fast. We took the 101 N / 128 W route and that saved us some time. It had rained during the night. The drive was very beautiful as it got closer to Mendocino. We went to the Mendocino Botanical Garden in Fort Bragg. They had nice collections of Rhododendrons. My daughter enjoyed walking in the garden. There were some trails that'll take you to the ocean. But, we didn't hike. We spent about an hour and a half there. We had our lunch (As always, my wife had prepared & packed delicious food). We then went to Pt. Cabrillo Light House. The light house was about 0.5 miles from the parking lot. My daughter enjoyed walking on her own, from the parking lot to the light house.

We didn't go on the Skunk train in Fort Bragg. The reviews were not very great and there was not much value for money. So, we skipped it. Fort Bragg is a more developed city than Mendocino. It is just 10 mins drive from Mendocino and has lot of hotels, restaurants and gas stations.

We then decided to go to Little River. The view of the 'little river' joining the ocean, was nice. We spent about 1/2 hour there. We then went to Albion little river park. We returned back quite soon because there were not much of interesting things to see there. It had a huge campground. May be a nice place for people who want to camp. We then went to the hotel and checked-in.

The manager in the Pacific Mist Inn office gave us a warm welcome. She suggested us a few places to see in the area. She was very helpful. The cottage was facing the sea shore (we got a glimpse of the ocean through the trees) and CA-1. The cottage was old, but the appliances were new. It was neat & clean. My wife prepared dinner. We had our food and slept early. My daughter got up in the middle of the night and my wife (& I?) had to loose some sleep.

We got up early the next day and went to glass beach. It was very cold and windy near the ocean and we had to return back early. There were some beautiful white colored floors along the walk way near the beach. We took a few pictures there. In Mendocino, there were a lot of marigold (dark yellow) colored flowers along the road side. We took a few snaps there as well. We came back to the cottage, packed up things, had our break fast and checked-out.

We then went out to visit the Montgomery Woods State Reserve. However, the drive & the forest were not as amazing as we had thought. We spent about an hour and a half on the drive. We came back and visited Big River. You can see the Big River marching towards the Pacific ocean and finally getting sucked into the ocean. The view was beautiful. We had our lunch in the Big River and then left to the Point Arena light house.

The Point Arena light house was about an hour drive from Mendocino. We weren't lucky enough to visit the top of the light house because it was closed. We took a few snaps in front of the light house and started to head back home. On our way back, we took CA-1. We took a few snaps in some of the vista points. The ride back home was hectic. I felt as if I'm driving from San Jose to Canada. The drive really felt as if it was very long. We finally reached home at about 9.30 pm. We had our dinner at home, cherishing the memories of our short Mendocino trip. My little daughter enjoyed the trip more than my wife & I had enjoyed. This time, she didn't bother us much during the drive. She was comfortable and contended during the drive. We had taken one of her favorite toys (Baby Tad) and that kept her busy throughout :)

Overall, it was very a relaxing trip.

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