California: Part 2 - Redwoods and Vineyards

US 101 and CA 254
 It was still foggy when we left Arcata around 11am and headed down to Ferndale, CA where I stopped for a burger at a fantastic place called No Brand Burger Stand.  It was about four miles off the highway, but I took a chance and it was worth it. The place was pretty scary from the outside. It was a shack with signs that said Cowboys Only and No Public Restrooms. But I wasn't deterred by the unwelcoming signage and stepped in and ordered a cajun burger with Swiss cheese.

I then got special directions to the private bathroom, 'through the gate, into the storeroom and out the back, down the hall you can't miss it.'   It turned out to be easy to find, but not so easy to find my way back. The door to the storeroom was one of many in that long hall and not clearly marked. Fortunately, I happened to notice a design painted on the wall when I opened the door the first time, so I determined that door #20, across from the painted design, was the way out. 

I learned something from a sign inside the restaurant as I waited for my burger.

An Old Cowboy Saying:
There are 3 Ways to Lose your Money.
GAMBLIN' is the quickest.
WOMEN is the most fun.
CATTLE is the surest.

River sat at my feet while I enjoyed my delicious burger and then we hit the road.

 We stopped at a vista point to take this quintessential California picture,
just outside the entrance to the Avenue of the Giants.

One of my favorite drives is CA 254 which takes a circuitous route that hugs US 101. But the former takes you near creeks and right up next to the giant redwood trees, with lots of places to stop and get really close to them. The power of these majestic giants can be felt, even while driving by, but it's also nice to stop and get a few pictures with them.

For the last portion of our drive, today, the scenery changed a lot. We went from the tallest trees to fields of grapevines in the wine regions of Winsdor, Sonoma, Napa. We didn't stop to taste any, but we did stop at a Rest Area in Willits where we found an area appropriate for feeding River. 

Tonight, we'll sleep at the Motel 6 in Santa Rosa. 


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