Saturday, September 7, 2013

Route 128

Back in 1996 I went to a conference in San Francisco and Marianne came with me. As usual I went out a few days before the conference started so that we could explore Napa, Sonoma and the Russian River wine regions. We stayed at Healdsburg and one day we drove to the coast along Route 128. That road really impressed me at the time so we repeated it but went north west to south east this time.

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After leaving the coast, the road goes through a little coastal plain before climbing up into a redwood forest.


There are even some gum trees. Marianne reckons that the only reason I like California is because it reminds me of Australia. Eucalyptus thrive in the dry climate and naturally contribute to the fire danger in summer.


Suddenly the road goes into a redwood forest, much more impressive than those we had seen so far driving down the coast.






I like the needles on the ground. When there are no cars going passed it all becomes very serene and quiet. It is a special feeling to stand beside these giants that can live to be thousands of years old.


The sun filters through the leaves but generally it is quite dark underneath the foliage.


The bark.



Eventually the road heads west into drier country and the redwoods are left behind. 


This is the wine country of the Alexander Valley.







We stopped for lunch in the little town of Boonville.






It is noticeably hotter and drier here but it was quite pleasant sitting outside of the cafe.



I heard a mighty roar and a couple of old Fort GT40 racing cars appeared.



The staff at the cafe were amused by this cat that had turned up and made itself at home. They thought it came from a nearby house and it did have a tag.

This road is a wonderful experience. It is worth a detour. If you ever come to SFO and want to see wine country and the coast, use this road to get between the two.

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