Mendocino to Santa Cruz

It’s not possible to describe how pretty the Mendocino coast and the town are. We drove in and out of redwood forests all the way there from Willits and again on the return to highway 101 via 128.  Many of the yards in Mendocino are like mini botanical gardens and there were still blooms everywhere.  The summer must be even prettier with all the colors.  The town itself is quite small with mostly wooden Victorian type houses. The 65 miles on highway 128 was slow going and very winding.  The drivers all think they are practicing for the Indy 500 and got pretty impatient with us.  In addition to redwood forests, there were vineyards and fruit orchards.  We stopped at one  apple farm where they had apple products for sale on the honor system and bought a bottle of hard cider which doesn’t taste anything like normal cider.    This farm could have been a setting for a movie because it was so quaint and cozy.  Once we hit highway 101 the traffic picked up a lot around Santa Rosa.  Construction zones and the bad shape of the road didn’t help our nerves.  Thank goodness for the GPS and for my friend Tess telling me how to download points of interest from which led us to campgrounds in the area. The first one wanted $45.  We drove on and found the Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV Park for $12.50 the first night and then $25 the next.  When (not if)  we  come back, we would like to have a car and stay at this RV park a week or more to really see the whole San Francisco area thoroughly.  It was good to have the extra day to reorganize the RV.  Can’t wait to put away our cold weather clothes.  It still gets down to the 40’s at night and 50’s daytime but it’s been real sunny and we lucked out in San Francisco with not a cloud anywhere and it was even calm crossing the bridge.
Nephew Nick was good enough to drive the 60 or so miles from Travis Air Force Base to visit us at the RV park.  Next week he is going back to the mideast for what seems like the umpteenth time but thankfully his tours are short.  Isn’t he cute?
Today we drove to Ft. Baker which is the last exit before getting on the Golden Gate Bridge coming from the north.  I used to live there when it was an army post but now it’s part of the national parks system.  The old army quarters rent for $200-$600 per day.  Our old house had been torn down and condo-ish type buildings built for vacation rentals.  People must not know about Ft. Baker and how it has the best views in the area because we had the trails to ourselves and there is plenty of new parking down by the water with lots of empty spaces.  Steve couldn’t believe how pretty is was and the fact it was walking distance to the Golden Gate Bridge with hardly anyone around.  All of these pictures were taken from Ft. Baker. 
FtBaker4 FtBaker10 FtBaker19
We crossed the bridge and drove through San Francisco and Golden Gate park to the Great Highway coastal road and onto highway 1.  It was easier driving through SF than any other city so far.  I wanted to see the Presidio again and where I used to work but missed the exit which is about 10 feet from the bridge toll booth.  We saw enough of the city to know we want to come back and spend some serious time here.  We’re continuing down highway 1 and the drive is so nice.  Not much traffic and good views left and right.  Now we’re at New Brighton State Beach park and campground in Santa Cruz.  $35 a night for no hookups.  People told us California campgrounds are expensive.

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