Fall 2012.    ~mike gradziel.
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Chinatown, San Francisco; January 2013
Hobart building (1914) post-earthquake chinatown buildings old mural half painted over looks like sf fog
city scene fortune cookie factory! colorful balconies
bridge view live fish delivery truck, man with net fish market
live birds for dinner transamerica pyramid incense at a temple

Spent three days seeing Mendocino - drove up through Sonoma the first morning, ate tamales and chalupas at El Molino, bought six bottles of our favorite olive oil at B.R. Cohn, then continued along hwy 128 through apple country. Bought some apples and cider, then tried some beer at the brewery in Booneville. Arrived in Westport at sunset, checked into a bed and breakfast with ocean views from our bed and a popular pub downstairs; ate dinner there, had a relaxing night, then enjoyed warm scones and coffee and fruit delivered to our door at 8am, and fresh crab and cream-cheese omelettes downstairs at 9:00. Saw some whale spouts offshore, walked on a black sand beach, then headed north and picked up a couple of hitchhikers traveling around the country with backpacks, optimism, and not much else. Chatted for an hour or so while driving north where highway 101 temporarily narrows to a country road through untouched old redwood forest a ways north of Leggett after Highway 1 ends and there is no more coast road, just wild country and cliffs and gray water. Left the travelers in Garberville so they could continue on to Eureka, and meandered our way through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park in a light rain. The biggest trees there look like the ones being axed in old black and white photographs from the early 1900s when this coast was entirely employed by the lumber industry. Seven foot wide trees start to look normal in these groves; big ones are ten feet but the biggest of them all had fallen twenty years ago and lay about twelve feet high and three hundred feet long slick with moss. Turned back south, ate ice cream cones in Fort Bragg. Arrived in Mendocino at dusk and walked the town in wet blackness getting ourselves oriented. At a lumber merchant, admired huge reclaimed redwood planks as big as a queen size bed. At a crowded cafe, ate a tasty seafood stew. Built a fire in the iron woodstove in our room and listened to rain pattering on the roof. Ate breakfast the next morning at a sunny table by a cheery fire in the dining room, walked around quaint downtown Mendocino, then drove south to the town of Elk and walked on the beach and bought a tasty sandwich at a deli. Drove inland toward Philo, saw snow covered hills seven thousand feet high off to the northeast, ate our sandwich, and descended to the Anderson Valley. Stopped at an orchard and bought some farm-fresh hard cider. Went up the road to the Navarro tasting room and procured a case of their bottled grape juice, which Joy discovered at dinner in Westport. Drove high into the hills again crossing to the coast and the lighthouse at Point Arena. Continued south until sunset where the Russian River meets the sea, then drove upriver into dense fog to Petaluma for Rosso pizza and mozzarella from the Ramini water buffalo herd in Tomales Bay. Lastly, did some shopping at the outlets in Petaluma before going home.

For six years I have seen the group of high hills that form Mt Diablo rising over the bay from our home, from my commuter train, or from the central valley. A geological anomaly with a great view, it rises higher than anything else nearby. I had never been to the top and with so many picturesque peaks within reach I decided we should set out to hike them all in pleasantly cool weather with bright green grass all around. At first light on the only sunny day this week Joy and I set out from her parents' back yard and ascended directly to Mt Olympia. From there we continued to North Peak, host to a thicket of communications towers, and made a traverse to the main Diablo summit where an auto road delivers crowds of drivers and bicyclists as well as at least one hang glider. There is a CCC-era light house up there, and a small visitor center. The climb took until noon, leaving us sufficient time for a descent via the beautiful Bald Ridge trail to Eagle Peak and then down into the valley again to return at 4pm after walking 14 miles up and then down 3500 feet.

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