As we set off from the Case Ranch Inn where we had spent a couple of nights, we noticed just a few drops of rain. "Good," we said, "California needs rain."
We followed the Russian River, a pretty drive through forests and vineyards, admiring the way the mist was descending gently over the trees. At Jenner, we had a hazy view of the river estuary as it emptied into the ocean, but from then on - and up - the fog grew denser. What must, to judge fo the gradients and the bends, have been one of the most spectacular sections of the Coastal Highway, had no view at all.
As we drove further north, the mist resolved into rain. At least this gave us slightly better visibility. We took a break at the wonderful Four-Eyed Frog bookshop, who gave us coffee, let us wander around adiring their display of banned books and their collection of frogs - and just may have sold us a book as well.
I was fascinated by the trees which seemed to have grown green beards, and eventually durham_rambler found somewhere he coud pull off the road for long enough for me to photograph them:
There may be some raindrops on the lens. Lunch was fish and chips at Lighthouse Pointe, but we didn't make the detour to visit the lighthouse - it was still raining - and so we reached Mendocino. We are staying at the Hill House Inn, which apparently features heavily in Murder, She Wrote (because where else would you film a series set in New England but Mendocino?). We had time for a quick visit to the galleries - and another bookshop - before things closed at five. I liked the Highlight Gallery, a beautiful interior with some very nice things: a wonderful Noah's Ark (with the skunks in their own little boat) and Bonnie Belt's wave ceramics.
We weren't going to let the rain deter us from going out to look at the ocean:
But we didn't stay long, and, once again, raindrops on lens. But it's all good: California needs rain.