Sunday, February 6, 2011

trip to Northern California

We left for California on Thursday morning--that is we were scheduled to leave Thurs. morning. But when we got to the airport gate, we were told that there was no crew for the flight! How in the world does a regularly scheduled flight end up with no crew? So we waited one and a half hours for them to fly in a crew for our flight. After we got on the plane, we just sat there, wondering why we weren't taking off. We were informed that the plane--this was a small jet with only 20 rows, 2 seats on a side--had 4 hydraulic systems, and one of them wasn't working! So we sat there for another one and a half hours while they worked on the plane. At that point I just wanted to get off--and try again later! But we finally took off, and had a good flight. They have a couple of fun sculptures in the Sacramento Airport.

We were able to spend the first night with Paul and Chris. It was really nice to be with them.

The next day, Friday, we followed them to the funeral for Uncle Harold. It was a nice service at their Ward. Before the funeral, the family and close friends were gathering in the Relief Society room, and Uncle Willard brought a couple up to us to see if we would recognize them. We didn't--so he told us their names: Brent and Maeva Wadsworth. Brent was one of Tom's roommates at BYU, and in fact, Brent is the one who introduced me to Tom. Brent and I had been friends for about 1 1/2 years, but he was shorter than I was, and so we never dated--we were just good friends. The first week of my jr. year at BYU, I ran into Brent at the Cougar Eat, and he said he had a new roommate who had just returned from a mission in Brazil that he wanted me to meet. He gave me his new address, which just happened to be around the corner from my new address, and so one day I walked over to see Brent, and meet his roommates. Brent and Maeva got married the same week that we did, and then they moved to California, and we had not seen them since. The reason they were there at the funeral was because Brent was Uncle Harold's home teacher! This picture is of Brent and me talking.

After the funeral, we drove to San Francisco. That night we took the bus to China Town. There was a group of kids dressed up as dragons, walking down the street, but the pictures came out blurry. It was fun to see them. The next day we went to Ghiradelli Square where I had a delicious hot chocolate, and then we went for a Trolley ride.

The hills were a lot steeper than I ever thought they would be--it was so much fun!

This is the turn-around routine--they actually turn it around!

After the Trolley ride, we went out on a wharf that had a museum of old ships and boats. That was fun to walk around.

On the way out of town, we drove on Lombard Street, the famous one with all the twists and turns. After we left San Francisco, we drove up highway 101. As we were leaving town, we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge park. There was a group there for a wedding, and it just started raining. The bride is back by the van.

It rained on us the rest of the day. About 6 pm we still had about 60 to 90 minutes of driving left to get to a place called Ferndale, where we were going to spend the night. Tom was really getting tired, it was dark, the road was windy. As we were driving, Tom noticed what looked like a hotel off to the left side, so he turned around to investigate. Out there in the middle of nowhere, was the Benbow Mansion Resort and Spa. At night it was all lit up with Christmas lights.

Tom went in to see if they had a room, and they said they had a little room in the lodge for $99. He came to talk to me and see if I could cancel our other reservation without losing a lot of money, which we were able to do. So he went back in, and the 2 ladies said they had been talking it over, and they would give us one of the rooms that normally go for $180, still for the $99. We had a beautiful room, and they had a fancy restaurant there which was very expensive, but there was no place else to go, so we just tried to enjoy the experience! They had a beautiful patio for eating, but it was still raining a little. All the trees were covered with moss.

This was the view from our little patio.

The next day, Dad called Sara to have her see if there was an LDS Church anywhere around, and she found a branch in a tiny town 7 miles away, that had Church starting in 15 minutes. I put a skirt on in the car, and we found the little Church. It was Stake conference, telecast from Salt Lake. After Church we drove up to look at the Redwood trees at a place called the Avenue of the Giants. It was spectacular!

At the Visitor Center there were more trees covered in moss.

They had a tree trunk with items marked that had taken place according to the tree rings. Where I'm pointing is when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

After that, we took a 20 mile long road that was suppose to get us over to Highway 1 and the coast. It turned into a tiny, windy road with hairpin turns going into another hairpin turn. We were going about 5 miles an hour, and Tom decided that he couldn't do that for 20 miles, and I was getting car sick, so we turned around and went back to the main highway. According to the map, there was another road further down the highway. So when we got to that town, we asked about the road, and several people said it was just fine, so we decided to give it a try. It started out pretty good, but got worse the further we went. It was basically the same as before, except we were really, really high up on the side of a mountain. I kept thinking, if we go over the edge, no one will ever find us, because no one drives this road! Going down the mountain was a 10% grade--turn after turn. I was so glad to get on level ground! However, the windy roads didn't end--now we were driving on the edge of cliffs overlooking the ocean. But it was spectacular!

Sometimes the road would go down into a gully area, and there would be signs saying 'Entering Tsunami warning area," and then when you'd drive back up it would say "Leaving Tsunami warning area." That happened several times--kind of spooky!

That night we stayed in Mendocino, in a little motel that looked strange on the outside because it was decorated on the outside to look like an old western town, but the room was nice with a wood-burning fireplace. We found a really nice place to eat dinner, and then returned in the morning for breakfast. It was called "Little River Inn." If we had driven a little further down the road the night before, we would have been tempted to pay a lot more and stayed there.

This was the view from the dining room window where we had breakfast.

After breakfast, we enjoyed the beautiful drive.

After awhile, we finally found a beach we could get to, and found this sign in the parking lot.
We didn't stay!

Heading south, we found this lighthouse.

We were headed for a place called Bodega Bay. And the road to get there was the worst yet! It was up a very steep and high cliff, with signs that said "road narrows," and on lots of the turns there was no guard rail! Just a couple of feet and a hugh drop off! These pictures don't even begin to show how scary it was--I just held my hand out the window--and kept praying that no one would come over into our lane--there were a few cars on this stretch of the road.

We were so high you could hardly see the shore line!

Later on down the road, after we were off the cliff, there were a bunch of cars pulled off the road looking at something, so of course we stopped too. There were tons of seals laying on the sand where a river comes into the ocean--and tons of birds there, too.

When we got to Bodega Bay, we discovered that the hotel we had planned on staying at was very expensive, and wasn't even on the ocean! So we decided to drive inland (we were so tired of 2 lane, windy roads), and go to Santa Rosa and stay in a Marriott. We had dinner at an excellent little Thai place, and then had ice cream at an ice cream store. The next day we headed back to San Francisco, and then went a little ways south to Half Moon Bay. The road there along the coast was almost as bad as the cliff road, but this one wasn't as high up, and it did have cement guard rails. Paul later told us that every year part of this road slides into the ocean, so they're working on building a tunnel through the mountain!

At Half Moon Bay we had an excellent lunch of clam chowder and fish and chips, then went for a long walk on the beach so I could get lots and lots of pictures of waves!

I wanted a picture of me by the flowers before we returned to cold Utah!

We spent the night at Paul's--Chris had flown to Utah to baby-tend Kelly's kids. On the way to the airport we saw these trees. The clumps in the trees are mistletoe!

And we saw our favorite sign:

We had a great time being together, and we're grateful we lived through it!