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Hiking the Headlands

Mendocino, California: We slept very well in quiet Mendocino. Our room at the Blue Door Inn is super-simple. (Again, sadly, no desk!) It is an unique inn and every room is different. Our queen bed was super comfy - even if I had to run and jump to get on the bed. (Either it is tall, or I am short.) Heat for the room is provided by a gas fireplace. Air conditioning is provided by a portable fan. (High of 61 in Mendocino today.) The bathroom is quite large, with a great soaking tub - which we can't use due to the drought (link may be behind a paywall). We have the Balmoral Suite:

Maybe the joint needs a little paint outside, but inside everything is in great shape. This morning, around nine, someone set a picnic basket outside our door and gave a quiet knock. Dave had already gone out to fetch us coffee, but the basket contained a thermos of coffee (etc.), a few pastries, two small yoghurt-fruit-granola parfaits, orange juice, and two individual crustless quiche. Sadly, the yummy-smelling egg puffs were loaded with ham, so we had to leave them be.

The house has a living room and dining room on the first floor (our room has the lower left bay window), so I do not know if there was a breakfast buffet prior to COVID, or if the cocktail appetizer plate we received yesterday was previously served in the living area to gathered guests. Must ask... if we ever see anyone to ask. Traveling in COVID = You Are On Your Own... but please give us your credit card.

This trip was planned long-prior to the DELTA variant, when the national health was promising, and our bus was scheduled to have the brake job finished (it is finished). We were going to really take our time exploring. Wrong! Our next scheduled stops are now ripe with infections, so awful the Oregon Governor has called out the National Guard to help Southern Oregon hospitals (where many are reluctant to get vaccinated). So, sadly but wisely, we are cutting our trip short and heading to Eugene and the safety of our motorhome ASAP.

After breakfast, we decided to go for a long walk around to see what we could see, but ended up hiking the entire five-mile Mendocino Headland Trail. We were definitely not dressed for hiking, nor did we bring water, but we survived the trek, had great views out to the foggy ocean, saw many birds (gulls, pelicans, cormorants, and song birds nibbling on ripe wild blackberries), scads of wildflowers, and very few other people - and everyone popped-on a mask when they neared others. Here are bunch of photos with quick captions:

Start of the trail from the visitor center. We hiked out to that rocky point first.
Can you see the little cave below the bluff? Well, it wasn't a cave - it ended up being an arch/tunnel completely through to the other side of the headland!
Mossy rock on beach

Not only was there an arch through the rocky outcropping, there was a hole in the roof! Workers would lower goods onto rafts or small boats, then row the boats out to ships waiting to lade the products!

The "exit" from the center of the arch - looking back to Mendocino.
Hillside filled with Ice Plant.
We walked on sandy paths from one arch to another - so many arches. The sun never showed herself, but it wasn't too chilly or windy... if we kept moving... which of course, if you are with DT, you are.
And I was!
I took 49 photos. Aren't you happy I didn't show you all 49?

My pedometer read over five miles by the time we returned to town. We stopped by a little deli, grabbed a sandwich and split it in our room.

After a relaxing afternoon for me (I edited photos for this blog post and My Driver went for a run... because a five-mile hike is not really exercise...), we were once again delivered a cute little appetizer plate from our hosts:

Water biscuits, cheese (same selection as last evening), walnuts, fried/salted plantains with blueberries and dried cranberries. Same small bottle of local Chardonnay. Two chocolate chip cookies, which will be added to our cooler for snacks on the road tomorrow.

Our dinner reservation was just around the corner. I mean 200 feet. Dave suggested we leave two minutes before our reservation at Café Beaujolais just in case there was traffic. Ha. Our car was parked outside when we checked-in, and will not move until we check-out tomorrow. This town is so small.

Café Beaujolais is quite lovely (though not particularly French at all considering the name) and a long-time favorite of Dave's cousin Jim. Windows were open (air flow) and we arrived early enough to have no neighbors. The owner/chef (Julian Lopez) featured in the New York Times article linked above, poked his head out of the kitchen, I caught his eye and motioned him over to our table. We talked about the article and the drought. Mr. Lopez is in his mid-20's. Amazing local foods are coming out of his kitchen. How long will Mendocino be able to sustain this lifestyle with no water?

Dave and I decided to go all-local tonight (and we ordered bottled sparkling water). We shared a local heirloom tomato salad with burrata because it was just the perfect time (August) to enjoy such a salad:

Because Chef Lopez was offering King Salmon caught off the local coast, I caved. The salmon was served with succotash and crispy potato wedges.

My Duck ordered dry-aged duck breast from Liberty Farms in Santa Rosa, with Vietnamese spiced brown rice, mixed herbs, green papaya, charred scallions, and duck confit. The duck confit in the rice was wonderful! No dessert.

While we were enjoying our meals, I kept commenting about the massive hydrangeas I could see outside the window. Dave could not see the flowers. I kept telling him the flower heads were the size of a watermelon. The size of a pizza. The size of basketball. After dinner, he insisted we visit the gardens outside the restaurant to see the amazing flowers I was harping on. I do not think he believed his depth-perceptive-deprived wife. After seeing the hydrangeas, he agreed.

Crazy Big. Basketball Big. Beautiful!

As I have stated above, our plans have changed. We are hitting the highway to reach our motorhome as soon as we physically can. Please keep reading as we try to reach Eugene. Think Good Thoughts.

Until my next update, I remain, your mask-wearing correspondent.

3 thoughts

  1. Safe travels–I was wondering at what point you guys would decide to make tracks for your motorhome. We are heading to Bend soon to see friends–now we are re-thinking that trip!

  2. Interesting article about the drought, what a sad situation
    Are you going to salvage part of your trip by driving up the California, Oregon coast to Eugene?
    You could enjoy the scenery and keep the windows open to the breeze
    Problem is it might be to far for one day and would mean another overnight somewhere
    We know you are always cautious and careful of your situation but take extra precautions and stay safe!
    Mary & Capt Jim 🛣🛣🌁💚💛💚💛

  3. The huge, beautiful hydrangeas are “mop head”. I grew them in my front yard in Oregon City. I had to individually stake them, but so worth it. Definitely my favorite plant in the yard.

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