Santa Rosa is about an hour north of San Francisco. We stayed there because it has a good selection of stores, including an REI, and we needed to prepare for a 4 day/3 night backpacking trip. We’ve done a lot of hiking on this trip, but to start backpacking we needed to get pretty much everything, including a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, a pack for Brian (I had a pack that my sister gave me a couple years ago), a cookstove, and backpacking food. We went to REI and grocery stores about a dozen times, considering and reconsidering items. We are really excited to go backpacking, but it is a lot of effort! Next time it will be easier to prepare.
On a sunny day, we drove to the coast to visit Point Reyes National Seashore. When we started to get close, the fog got thicker and thicker. The ocean has a big impact on the weather at the coast!
We walked out to the point, where there are stairs leading to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, but they are closed on weekdays. It seems to be the mascot of the park, since everything in the gift shop features the lighthouse. I’m skeptical that it exists, because I saw no evidence of it.
We did see some beautiful windswept cypress trees, and whale bones near the lighthouse visitors center. The fog condensed in the trees and fell on us like rain as we walked through them.
There’s a spot where trees were planted in 1930, and now form a tunnel over the road. There are no other trees in this area but these, so they really stand out.
On the inland side of the point the fog wasn’t as thick, and we could see a colony of elephant seals. We watched them for awhile, and they were making so much noise!
On the north side is a Tule Elk preserve. We saw a few elk when we drove up there and walked down to the beach. All different kinds of wildflowers were blooming.
In spite of the missing lighthouse, there was still a lot to see at Point Reyes.
Russian River Brewery is a popular brewery in Santa Rosa. They are famous for their Double IPA Pliny the Elder, which isn’t distributed outside of the west coast. It is famous because it was the first really good beer of its kind, and was rated the number one beer in America for years. We went there on a Wednesday during Happy Hour and ordered the full sampler of all the 20 beers they had on tap.
We were excited to try Pliny the Elder, and it was good. We enjoyed tasting all the different beers (and stuck around for a few more pints and a pizza), but they focus on bitter IPAs and sour beers, which aren’t my favorite. We liked Pliny the Elder, Hop Queen, and Tempo Change the best.
We stayed at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for a week and a half. Fairgrounds RV Parks are pretty much parking lots, but they tend to be cheap and can be convenient. There were bad fires in this area about 6 months ago, and the fairgrounds RV Park was mostly full of FEMA trailers housing people displaced by the fires.
While we were in Santa Rosa we spent some time relaxing too, and resting up for the next bunch of traveling, including our first backpacking trip!
Day 589 | Mile 61,391