Last summer Phil, Meghan and I loaded up my Subaru and headed west on I-80 for Cali. We stopped in Nevada for the night to rest our eyes so we could get to San Fran the next morning. We had decided to camp at Rye Patch State Recreation Area; which happens to be right along the highway, lending itself to be one of the creepiest places to sleep, not forgetting the enormous rabbits that overtake the area. We were quickly distracted by the amazing stars and excitement to get back on the road.
We arrived in San Francisco the next day, met up with Cydney for dinner at WayFare Tavern; this place was the beginning of what turned into a food tour of Northern California. If ever there be sure to order the Beef Tartar appetizer.
Bright and early and very hungover we drove north up to Calistoga, CA to meet up with Tim for our Calistoga Bike Tour. The increase in temperature was daunting. We got geared up with our bikes and were given a map of vineyards to stop at. The first and our favorite was Tedeschi Family Winery; the hospitality by Emilio and Mario was tremendous and the small family feel was so inviting. We could have stayed there all day; after sipping refreshing Rose and Cabernet’s we peddled on. We stopped at Summers Estate Wines and Lava Vine at which point we had all sobered up from sweating profusely due to the small detour I took everyone on; (my map skills are questionable, though I claim to be excellent with directions). The afternoon heat was sweltering and although Calistoga is known for its mineral baths and hot springs, the owner of the bike shop recommended we just hit up the community pool.
After setting up camp at the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park campground, we headed into St. Helena to stroll around while Tim and Phil went to the infamous St. Helena Skate Park. Per recommendation by Mario and Emilio from Tedeschi we put our name in a Goose and Gander. The atmosphere was sophisticated, yet laid back. The food and cocktails…exquisite! You know a place is good when the people that recommended it end up sitting next to you. I would definitely go back!
The next morning we woke up, strolled around the Calistoga farmers market picking up fresh fruit for the next stretch of driving. From Calistoga we drove to Booneville, CA to check out the Anderson Valley Brewing Company. The day was HOT HOT HOT, the drive was spectacular, winding through small vineyard roads over rolling hills. We enjoyed sipping on delicious beer and playing horse shoes, while we waited to go on the brew tour. Our adorable bar tender was also our tour guide. This is such a unique place. The brewery sits on about 28 acres, 40% of the power is provided by large solar panels, they have frisbee golf, horse shoes, and goats!
The afternoon continued to heat up, we needed to head to some water. We drove 50 minutes along CA-128 to Medocino, through a forest of Redwoods along the Navarro River. Quickly spotting a swimming hole, I recklessly turned around so we could go splash around and cool off before we got to the coast. Once we reached the coast we met up with some friends at Mendocino Campground, where we would spend the night. The temperature was significantly cooler, but Tim still felt inclined to jump into the freezing cold waters. Rolling about 10 deep we drove up the 1 to Ft. Bragg for dinner at Silver’s at the Wharf, for some fresh seafood.
Early the next morning the fog rolled in, as it typically does on the Northern California Coast. We made a quick stop for breakfast in Mendocino at Good Life Cafe and Bakery, before heading north to Leggett, CA to camp and swim. The swimming hole and camping at the Rock Creek Campground in Leggett is awesome. There is a deep pool for cliff jumping and a rocky little beach to lay on. The temperature inland was perfect for a day of relaxing by the water. Across the street from the campground is the world famous Peg House. Tim had won a bet with a friend, so he decided to order 2 dozen oysters at dinner for everyone to share. We thought these oysters would we of normal size; but apparently they breed them larger in Leggett; these things were enormous. No one wanted to eat the oysters, leaving Tim and I with plenty to guzzle down.
The next morning we headed back to SLC, we made it back in one stretch. We covered so much ground in just 5 days. This was an amazing trip that I still daydream about all the time.
Photos were taken by Phil.