On my way to California this July, I spent the first night in Ashland. This small town is about halfway point between Portland and Santa Rosa. The entire distance is around 650 miles, one way. While it’s possible to drive it all in one day, I prefer to take two days for the trip and check out places along the road.
“Relax! I am, after all, on vacation!”
It was hot and smoky in town, from a nearby wildfire. Lithia Park appeared deserted. The sun’s bright orange glow was reflected in Ashland Creek. I didn’t stay out for very long because my eyes started to burn from the air pollution.
Sunday morning I continued my journey.
On the outskirts of Redding, yet another wildfire was raging. I-5 was eerily empty. I stopped for lunch and coffee in nearby Anderson. While walking back to my car, I saw a tanker plane heading towards the Carr Fire.
A fragrant eucalyptus tree grove near Dunnigan made for a relaxing break!
During my exploration of this eucalyptus grove, the sound of leaves crunching under my feet must have startled a sunbathing lizard. He quickly scampered off into the dark opening of a hollow tree stump, but not before I managed to snap a few quick pictures of him.
Refreshed, I continued on my way with only about 100 miles to go!
By the time I reached Vallejo, I got stuck in a massive traffic jam along Highway 37. Turns out there were car races at Sears Point that weekend, and everybody seemed to have left the venue just as I passed through.
The saving grace was that this two-lane highway runs straight through the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. For years the slough has been getting restored, and the stop and go traffic gave me a chance to see that the restoration efforts have been successful. Egrets, herons and all kinds of small shorebirds were wading through the mudflats, and several red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures soared high above.
Truth be told, I was thankful for this traffic mess! I was getting tired, and the slow pace was perfect. We were all stuck right there with nowhere to go, and fortunately none of the drivers lost their temper!!
Finally, I arrived in Santa Rosa late afternoon. My friend and puppies were waiting for me at the house. We headed straight to East West Cafe for dinner. East West is one of my favorite places to eat in Santa Rosa and they have the absolutely best lemonade ever!
After dinner, we went back home to hang out with the puppy dogs, sit under the blooming wisteria, relax, and catch up with each others lives and enjoying a glass of champagne!
One thing’s for sure! I slept really well that night!
And the trip turned out to be a fantastic one!
Do you like to go on road trips?