Commentary by Rick Rodriguez
I finally did it!! Yes, yippee, after all these years, 33 (Driving years), I finally drove the Northern California Coast from Elk, California to Bodega Bay, Ca.!! What? Yes, I did. I took that very long, arduous, pain-staking, time-consuming, energy zapping drive from just south of Mendocino intersecting Highway 128 & Highway 1 (actually Philo Road) to Bodega Bay! It was amazingly winding, hilly, and somewhat desolate but I can assure you there is life in them there hills!
After overnighting in Windsor, and eating a great breakfast at KC's Downtown Grill, we (mostly me) decided to take on the challenge and headed west to Cloverdale through Booneville and then 18 miles up and over (Philo Road) the hills straight down to Elk, California! No, I am not kidding!!
Unfortunately, after leaving the sparkling sunshine from whence we came we were greeted with fog that is typical of the California Coast, at least in Northern California, and this fog remained our partner for most of the trip down the coast. Two problems with that, one is the beauty of the coast was mostly obscured. Secondly, my vision was somewhat limited making driving a bit more arduous and definitely slower. Nonetheless, I love great drives and with time on our side there is really nothing like a coastal drive. However, having said that, this one on this day was especially tough. I do regret skipping the Point Arena Lighthouse as it will be tough to get back here someday.
The small towns of Gualala and Sea Ranch were interesting but passed quickly. Jenner was but a blur and we stopped at Gleason Beach where I took plenty of great pictures. Gleason Beach is pretty darn rocky but there was a sliver of a beach there and probably surfing. It seems that over the years the relentless Pacific Ocean has taken a few homes along the coastline.
The roundtrip was about 5 hours to get back to Santa Rosa. Thinking back on it, perhaps, the best thing is we didn't encounter an obstacle we could not overcome. The weather could have been worse or perhaps car trouble, cell reception is a real issue, but no, we dodged that and managed to make it home safely. Next time, if there ever is one, a place to stay might be a good idea. For more information, check out the posted links.
Rick Rodriguez is a writer and is frequently published in opinion/editorial sections in local and national newspapers. Rick, a San Francisco Bay Area native and graduate of Saint Mary's College lives in Danville, California with his two children. Contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 326-4795.
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