Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shakedown Cruise ~ April 16, 2013

When was the last time you removed everything from your vehicle to see what was there? Our cars have always had a small road box with tools, an emergency kit, and changes of clothes for the primary driver. Sounds simple, but add to that the vast array of stuff accumulated over the years, deemed necessary at one time or another, and you have controlled chaos.

We had to unpack the Jeep (which is for sale) and outfit the Explorer so it seemed reasonable to unload the Honda too. Yesterday morning our entire living room floor was covered with the STUFF out of the two cars. One look and we took it as a sign we needed to THIN IT OUT.

About noon we took a break and did a lap around the vineyard next door, a nice 1.5 mile walk, then came back to fix lunch. We looked at the wasteland we ironically call the "living room" and decided it was time to run away for the afternoon. The perfect time for a shakedown cruise in the Explorer.

North of Bodega Bay, South of Jenner

We headed out to Bodega Bay and up the coast to Gualala for coffee and treats Trink's Café. A springtime weekday is the perfect time to explore the coast on Hwy 1. There were very few cars on the road and wildflowers are everywhere: poppies, lupine, paintbrush, and ceanothus to name a few.

On the return trip we decided to take a road even less traveled: a gravel road that takes off from Hwy. 1 and winds up through forests and the Kruse Rhododendron Gardens. Though it's the right time of year there were few in bloom ~ perhaps it's been too dry a winter.  

Kruse Road

Next spot we come to was at one time the town of Plantation. In the 19th century, the Plantation House, a thirteen room hotel, was built and operated on the current Plantation premises. At the turn of the 20th century, the town  boasted a post office, meeting hall, and a stop on the Wells Fargo Express route. Sadly, the hotel burned down in the 1920’s. In 1952 Abe and Eve Crittenden envisioned another way to share this magical place and transformed it into a farm summer camp for children. The link is  

It's the first time we'd been on the Plantation Road in over 30 years. We met at the Ft. Ross Volunteer Fire Department Picnic in Cazadero in May 1981.

A couple of summers later we took off from Rod's place on the Navarro Ranch and headed out for an adventure. Reversing the course we were on today we got to Seaview Road and asked the age old question "shall we turn right or left?". We chose right and ended up in Mendocino for a couple of days. As you can see our travelling style dates back to when we first met. 

One of the reasons I wanted to retrace our steps coming back from Gualala to Cazadero was a sign we saw along the Kruse Road on that trip. At the time the phone lines were buried along the banked roadside.  At various places along the way there were angled wooden bulwarks to hold soil back and protect equipment. Neatly carved into one of them, in official looking lettering, were the words "ET Phone Home". We had just seen the movie laughed ourselves silly. It was no longer there, but what I would have given for a camera at the time! No iPhones in 19 ought 83.