Images by John 'K'

Life as seen through my lens…

Presidents of the United States, I thank you… :)

This last weekend was the weekend after a mid-week Valentines Day, and also Presidents’ Day here in the United States of America. As such, I, like a lot of folks in America, planned for a long weekend away. As we didn’t do anything particularly special last year for Valentines Day, I’d booked a long weekend that would allow Jan and I to complete one of our goals to have driven the complete length of California’s Highway 1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_1). We’d driven the whole southern section of it and a short part of the northern section in previous vacations and trips, but the northern costal section between Bodega Bay and Leggett remained to be driven and we’d always wanted to finish that drive. Then around 2 weeks ago Jan and I had a big argument (the likes of which we hadn’t had for a while), so during the efforts to patch things up, we looked to use this weekend trip as a way we could strip away some of the pressures of life that had led us to have the argument, and rediscover the feelings we knew we still had for one another.

So.. Friday – we had a couple of friends to visit for the day. They were in the area for the long weekend to see the greater Bay area and San Francisco, and they popped in to see us on the Friday. We went down to Monterey Bay, spent ages in the aquarium, and then went to watch the sun set off the Pacific Grove coast. The weather was beautiful, and the sunset was spectacular. We then headed back home, grabbed the rest of the family, went for dinner, and sent our friends packing to their hotel with smiles on their faces ready for them to enjoy the rest of their weekend together in San Francisco.

Saturday we had a leisurely start, set off for our planned weekend away early in the afternoon, got to Bodega Bay late afternoon (despite the masses of traffic heading into San Francisco for the start of the Chinese New Year celebrations), got checked into the bed and breakfast (very quaint place – lots of art – see http://www.bodegabayinn.com/), then went to eat. There was a little place just over the road from the B&B, called the Seaweed Café (http://www.seaweedcafe.com/). From the name, and from outside appearances it looked nothing special; we expected it to be a typical coastal town café. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Inside was a beautiful, small, very exclusive restaurant, and we had a gorgeous meal, spent ages chatting with another couple on a similar weekend expedition who had also taken the chance and come in without a reservation (we were put on a shared table), and then headed to bed, well fed and happy.

Now the weekend weather forecasts for Sunday and Monday were predicting clouds and a 30-40% chance of rain, so when we woke to bright sunlight streaming through the skylights in the bedroom we were pleasantly surprised.  We got up, washed and dressed, had some breakfast (it was a B&B after all!) and started the drive up the coast along the stretch of Highway 1 that we hadn’t yet driven…. 7 hours and way too many stops to count later we made it to Sunday night’s destination – http://www.howardcreekranch.com/ – a virtual time-warp back around 100 years. The place is a converted ranch farm; with such a wonderful rustic peaceful feel that we really didn’t want to leave it. It was so secluded and quiet, and the folks who run the place are so friendly, that we just felt right at home there. So we popped back down the road to the nearest small town, grabbed some take-away food, took it back to the B&B, ate, and then strolled out to the beach to admire the beautifully clear night sky. I thought we had lovely night skies where we live, but this was just amazing – sooooo many stars…..

Anyway – an early night and relatively late beautiful sunny morning later (had to be up at 9am for breakfast though – that not to be missed; farmhouse cooking like I’d never had before), we somehow managed to drag ourselves away from the place (we’ll be back there for sure) and started the drive back to reality. We finished off the last 20 or so miles of the Shoreline Highway north to where it meets Highway 101, and then drove a very beautiful route back through redwood forests, across the north shore of Clear Lake, down through the Napa Valley, then back into the Bay Area and home, again with more stops than I can count.

On a personal level the trip seems to have done what it was intended to do; Jan and I seem so much closer as a result of this past weekend that it is like we’ve gone back in time 20 odd years. The girls didn’t let us down either, and we came back home to no dramas and nothing messed up. We managed to get a few ‘firsts’ in on the trip too – some I won’t go in to here, but it was funny seeing Jan’s reaction to her first time eating caviar at the restaurant on Saturday night, and I can’t remember who said it was, but 43 is NOT too old to be acting like teenagers in the back of a car! 😉

There is a collection of scenic pictures from this long weekend now added to my photo albums. 

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