This past weekend I was fortunate in having a schedule that provided me with four days off in a row. I made plans to travel with mangaroo to Mendocino. First I took the BART to Berkeley, but I must have been out of practice, because I got off at the wrong stop for my connection and had to wait 20 minutes for the next train. We started off under gray skies, and I hoped that the rain would hold off until evening as the online weather forecast predicted, but we ran into scattered showers along the way. The trip went just fine...for the first few minutes. Eventually, however, we realized that we had traveled much farther in search of our exit from the interstate than predicted on our written directions, and we were well on our way to Sacramento. We turned around and managed to get back on the correct route, only moderately delayed.
The drive itself was mostly uneventful. However, once we turned onto highway 128, we were confronted with a series of sharp curves and hairpin turns. It was at least amusing to watch the squiggles in the road on the image presented by mangaroo's Garmin, which made it look more than ever like the screen of a video game.
We arrived shortly before our scheduled check-in time, so we ventured onward in search of a place to eat. We wound up at a pizza place in nearby Ft. Bragg, where the restaurant had a large television tuned to the History channel. It was playing a program explaining (among other things) the causes of rainbows. That seemed rather appropriate.
After we finished eating, we returned to the Auberge Mendocino, where we checked into the Chardonnay Room. The room came with a lovely ocean view. Though the power lines were somewhat distracting, the occasional jay or robin would roost on them to add a spot of color to the scene (except when mangaroo was looking). After dropping off our things, we followed the atmospheric trail out behind the inn all the way to where it overlooked the ocean. After we gazed at the waves for a while, we returned to our room and crashed for the night. (Well...with a bit of Warcraft thrown in, thanks to the inn's functional--if somewhat shaky--wireless internet.)
The next morning, we had a lovely (if somewhat late) breakfast with some of the other guests. I'm accustomed to eating at ~5:30am, so waiting until past eight was a challenge. It would have been nice if the inn had a selection of snacky items set out earlier, as they did at the place we stayed in Monterey, but at least the meal was filling when it came.
We set out into the pouring rain and paid a visit to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. The lady in charge of admissions gave us a discount just for showing up on such a chilly, wet day. We were the only guests there, so we had the place all to ourselves. We wandered around, admiring the various plants protected from the predations of wild deer. It was interesting to see that there was a special area set aside for an organic garden, which had a sign indicating that guests could harvest and eat the various items if they pleased. I imagine the place is popular during strawberry season, as strawberry plants edged all the rows.
We made it down to the coast for another view of the ocean, though by that time the wind had picked up and we were both drenched despite our umbrellas. We meandered back out, only getting slightly lost on the garden paths.
Our next stop was the nearby town of Ft. Bragg, where I had hoped to do some shopping. Unfortunately, most of the stores were closed on Sunday, so there wasn't much to browse. We stopped in at the Living Light Cafe, which is apparently famous for its raw vegan cuisine cooking classes. I had read reviews of several books on the topic and was hoping that the cafe would feature some of the more interesting recipes, but they only had sandwiches, salads, and smoothies. Though some of the cooking supplies in the shop connected with the cafe were tempting, I didn't really feel like paying $9 for an unremarkable sandwich, so we went elsewhere for food. We ended up dining at Eggheads Restaurant, a Wizard of Oz-themed place that was small but had a lovely selection. I had pumpkin waffles that turned out to be excellent.
After lunch, mangaroo dropped me off in Mendocino for a couple of hours. It's a cozy little place that, I will admit, I enjoyed much more after I located the public restroom. Some places were closed on Sunday, but most shops were open. There wasn't a huge selection of things to do, but I did spend some time browsing in a yarn shop and a bookstore, and I splurged on some items at the Mendocino Chocolate Company. After a while the rain stopped, and I could pause to enjoy the scenery.
Later that evening we went out for supper at the Ravens' Restaurant, a vegetarian establishment. We had a leisurely meal in beautiful surroundings. When we were finished eating, I wound up purchasing their cookbook. Some of the recipes in it look quite inventive, though I have to say some of the more texty bits are over the top. (The restaurant is located on a ley line? Really?)
That pretty much concluded our adventure. We had one more breakfast at the inn the next morning, with the table all to ourselves, then packed up for the return trip. It continued to rain for some of the journey, though it did clear up after a while, with actual blue peeking through the cloud layer on occasion. mangaroo drove me all the way back to my apartment, going over the Golden Gate Bridge as we entered San Francisco. That was a thrilling view. Then I just had to make sure I was ready to return to work in the morning...
Edited to add: Link to mangaroo's trip report.