It was pretty warm in Sonoma, about 90 degrees, when we left. We took a little side trip to the Petrified Forest and the Old Faithful of California. Talk about old-fashioned hokiness! The Petrified Forest is pretty much in someone’s backyard. The geyser is a little more formal attraction. The woman who sold us our tickets said that it went off about every 40 minutes and was going up 60 feet or so and at it’s longest, lasting for 6 minutes. After we’re there for a couple of minutes, the rock in the middle of the pool starts to steam and we can hear the water bubbling. However, the water that shot up was a weak little stream. It did that a few times (just enough for Brendan to get annoyed and want to leave). We decided to stay for just a little while longer, and I’m glad that we did. It went off like a rocket for about 5 minutes. Put on quite a little show for us.

Then we were off up the coast.

As soon as we reached the coastal highway, the temperature dropped 20 degrees almost instantly. Took me by surprise a little. I had expected it to be cooler, but it happened so fast. The first chance we got we pulled over to get a look at the Pacific. It was quite a sight. There were sheer cliffs, rocks off the shore and sea lions playing in the water and basking on the beach. The scenery kept getting more spectacular as we rolled north.

Our hotel in Mendocino, the Sea Rock, had wonderful views of the coast as well. We had enough time to go into town and have dinner at the Mendocino Hotel where I had ahi cooked very rare for the first time (it was good, actually) and we had a dessert made of special Mendocino county berries which are a cross between blackberries and raspberries. The town itself is also very cute. We made it back to the hotel in time for a spectacular sunset.

The weather was very cooperative. Apparently, it had been foggy for months until today.

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Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

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