June 28, 2016
Ken made the girls and I a delicious made-to-order breakfast. He was so generous and kind to us. The girls and I both enjoyed our time with him very much. After departing his place in Eureka, we followed him in his BMW to the beginning of the Avenue of the Giants, a scenic road that snakes through some incredible redwood forests in Northern California. When we got there, we said our goodbyes and headed off the road on a brief hike see get up close to big wood.
The redwoods in Northern California are massive! They’re so majestic, and awe inspiring. I enjoyed walking among them with the girls, looking up occasionally and considering their history, which may span millennia. The girls and I climbed on trunks of fallen giants, and posed hugging the behemoths, as one is required to do, I assume.
Today was primarily a restful, easy, driving day to the hotel where we had a reservation in Sonoma, just north of San Francisco. We had planned a lot of time for the relatively short drive, so we could take the scenic route and enjoy ourselves. California did not disappoint. After driving the length of Avenue of the Giants, we cut over to the coast to drive California State Highway 1. It was, without question, the most fun, scenic drive of my life. The curves were tight and banked and had loads of dramatic elevation changes, the scenery spanned from massive redwoods along the road with sunlight poking through, dotting the ground, to high cliffs with large rolling hills on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It was fun to do it in the Expedition, but it would have been made even better on a sport bike.
We stopped many times along the way to breathe in the fresh air, take in the gorgeous scenery, and snap what surely seemed to the girls like countless pictures. I was definitely in my elements, swearing that one day I would move here and live a life of peaceful solitude and serenity.
For dinner we stopped in a small pizzaria in Gualala. While we ate, the waves lapped the sandy beach just across the street. It couldn’t have been any better. Unless, of course, Kirsten had been with us.
Eventually, we had to leave the coastal road and head inland to Sonoma, where we had a hotel reservation. By the time we arrived it was dark, so we couldn’t see any of the nearby vineyards. Our room is nice, complete with a fireplace and deck overlooking the pool and hot tub. All tired, we retired for a restful night ahead of a busy day in San Francisco!