Road Trip to Mendocino!


Last weekend was a call-free weekend and I was determined to go somewhere with spotty cell service.   Since my call weekends are based on being able to answer the phone, a few places are off-limits most of the time.  I watched the weather forecasts during the week and due to the high chance of Sunday evening snow, Yosemite and Tahoe were ruled out and Mendocino ended up being the winner!

I have done a few Route 101/1 road trips but I’ve only lightly traveled north of San Francisco.  SMS and I have gone to Tomales Bay twice and even made it up to Jenner once, but I was really interested in going further towards the true North Coast.  

Mendocino Beach, picture taken at that unfortunate moment
when a nice smile suddenly spasms.

We left around 7:30 on Friday evening.  I had a patient who came in after hours for a “small” bleeding issue that was easily resolved.   Since I need to maintain a modicum of professionalism, I can’t get too into a “Crazy Stories From the Work Place” submission- that was a Reader’s Guide section, right?

Anyway, SMS and I got our respective tasks done and hit the road.  The trip took just over four hours which was a little long for the end of the work week but I wanted to have Saturday free from any major driving.  We pulled up to the Sweetwater Inn, retrieved our key from the porch, settled in and passed out.

The next morning, we enjoyed muffins delivered to our door in addition to some passable coffee made in the little four-cup in our room.  Then it was off to walk through the Mendocino Headlands.  It was an absolutely gorgeous place!   The ocean was so powerful and waves would pound against the rocks with huge breaks and spray.  The shoreline was getting pummeled and it was just incredibly impressive how much power lies within the ocean.

Totem against Sleeper Waves?

Little Alter

We went down to a little beach, which was sheltered but I couldn’t completely relax since I had read so much about sleeper waves.  No, these are not waves that love naps!  They are powerful, sneaky waves that want to drag unsuspecting morons with their backs to the sea into the ocean deep.   Fortunately, this did not happen (yay!).  SMS and I enjoyed exploring the beach with the little waterfalls and lots of driftwood.

SMS showing off his fancy Japanese umbrella- the print only shows up when wet.

After our State Park hike, we decided to walk through town and grab an early lunch since the muffins were not high-satiety items.  We walked into the Mendocino Market, where SMS said we should listen to our noses (“Bacon!”) and we ordered delicious sandwiches.  I had a tuna melt on sourdough (amazing!) and SMS had a BLT.  I wasn’t as big a fan of the BLT and I have decided in my cooking mind that there should be a Winter BLT for when tomatoes aren’t Summertime awesome.  Maybe a tomato jam with amazingly paired cheese plus the BT?  I may work on this idea…don’t steal it!

Guess which trail we took?

So pretty!

After lunch, we headed to Ft. Bragg.   We checked out Glass Beach, which was pretty cool.  There was a lot of seaglass, some in pieces you could collect (if it wasn’t illegal!) and others so small that it was part of the pebbly sand.  I really wanted a piece or two but I didn’t care enough to flout the town’s rules so I partook in the “Leave No Trace” ethos (boo).


After Glass Beach, we walked around the central shopping block that seems to cater to tourists- lots of galleries, knick-knack shops and boutiques.  Then it was off to the North Coast brewery where we each had a few samplers.  SMS tried the different styles of the Red Seal Ale and I tried the Belgian-inspired beers and two stouts.  My favorite was Old Rasputin but after the sampler and a bottle later, I think I’m stouted out for awhile.  Beer that dark takes a certain amount of fortitude that I can only muster up every so often!

We headed back to Mendocino and went to the hotel spa.  Unfortunately, Japan has ruined American spas for us since people here are gross and don’t bathe very well, which could be overlooked except for the gross foamy bubbles that result.  Yuck.  The hot water felt great but still…yuck.



After our short spa experience, we headed out to take sunset pictures.  We went to Patterson’s Pub for dinner.  There were a few nicer restaurants that sounded great but I wasn’t hungry enough to justify a high $20s- low $30s entree so off to the pub we went.  I had fish ‘n’ chips and SMS had a Reuban.  It did the job and the place had a nice atmosphere.   It would have been fun to hang out, but we had big plans for Sunday so we headed back to the Inn.

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