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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

January 25th  Our drive took us through the beautiful state of Utah. With the light dusting of snow, the landscape looked even more impressive.

January 29th Heidi and Steve have thrown open their home to us for the next few days. Our reason for being in CA. is to apply at the San Francisco French Consulate for a one year French Visa. Our appointment went smoothly.  We also had an appointment for a house sitting position in CA. We will keep our fingers crossed that both appointments are a big success.

The Bridgemans are keeping us busy learning a new game using dominos and of course there is always Hand & Foot. We also find time to Geocache and a round of Putt Putt.

We leave the Bridgemans for our drive to Northern California. I am using Lonely Planet’s California Drives for my inspiration and have combined several drives into one week. Our first stop was Hopland to taste some Mendocino wine. Then we made our way to the village of Mendocino. The Pygmy forest, just outside of the village, has trees just a little taller than I am due to the high acidity in the ground. I also found their cones to have a very interesting shape.

The scenery along the coast was beautiful and we had wonderful weather as well. In Garberville we drove along the Avenue of the Giants. The Redwoods are so magnificent. Their average age is 500 years old. They drink in as much water from their branches as they do their roots. Their cones are about the size of your thumb. Redwoods can reproduce from the large wart (that’s my technical term) at the base of older trees. If the original tree is sick, a clone will begin growing from the wart. Isn’t nature wonderful!

No stop north is complete without stopping in Ferndale. The town is full of Victorian buildings that are well preserved. Our goal was to see the Redwood National Park. The ranger suggested the Lady Bird Johnson hike as the rain had made all the trails rather muddy. By the time we concluded the hike the rain caused us to end our day early. We drove back to Eureka for fish and oysters - yummmm.

Trinadad CA. was recommended to us by two women sitting next to us at a breakfast cafe. The village had a lovely park and beach area and with the sunshine, the morning was delightful. We then made our way to Redding CA. with a stop in Willow Creek, home to Big Foot.

Outside of Redding is the Lassen Volcano National Park. I should have checked the web site - we drove 35 miles to find the Park under several layers of snow - darn! We did have some wonderful scenery along the back country roads. In some areas, it was very obvious of the destruction a volcano can produce - rocks every inch and I’m not kidding, every inch! We had a late lunch in Nevada City along with a wine tasting.

Feb 6th Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. This park is where the Calif. Gold Rush began! We took an hour tour (we were the only attendees) which included: the Indian campground before the white man came, the remains of the town buildings including a Chinese store for the Chinese workers, the logging area and the area where the river was diverted to pan for gold. I highly recommend the tour and the film produced by a local historian.

Feb 7th Superbowl 50 - Yeah the Broncos are Superbowl Champions! We watched the game in the comfort of the Bridgeman’s home with lots of good food, drink and fellow broncos fans!

Feb 9th Began our drive along Calif. coast south of San Fran at Pacifica then on to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Unfortunately we came at high tide and couldn’t see all the animals living in the tide pools - the crashing waves made up for the view. We made several more viewing stops before we made a beeline to Salinas.

Feb 10th Monterey Aquarium  We signed up for the behind the scenes tour. Note to self: even though you may have done a tour many years ago, the current tour won’t be as fun or interesting. I love to watch the Jelly fish.

Feb 11th Walked along Sunset Drive, visited the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, tried to drive the 17 mile drive but closed for a golf tournament so instead we visited the Asilomar State Park. We spotted all kinds of animals. Dinner was at PassionFish in Pacific Grove - Ooooh La La!

Feb 12th We obtained a self guided walking tour from the Carmel-by-the-sea Tourist office then it was back to a walk on Ocean Avenue. On the right was the water and on the left were homes that had amazing views. No trip to Carmel would be complete without seeing Mission San Carlos de Borromeo de Carmelo. We had a late lunch at AW Shucks.

Feb 13th Big Sur and California Highway #1  It was a beautiful day for frequent stops and the scenic view points. Didn’t stop at Hearst Castle - I remembered my own advise. Arrived in Paso Robles in time for Mexican food. Then it was a wine tasting at the Parrish Winery. Good wines but expensive.

Feb 14th Happy Valentine’s Day   Drove back to Heidi and Steve’s home. We are house sitting for them while they visit her parents.

Feb 22nd We rented an RV thru AirBnB for the next week to get out of Heidi and Steve’s hair before our house sitting assignment begins. I can re-use all the boat skill I learned while living in the small RV; military showers, do the dishes in small batches etc. The RV helps fund a NPO to teach young people to farm. Met some nice young people including Guido who gave us his farm address in Italy.

Feb 23rd The Spaids and the Bridgemans were part of a tour at Ano Nuevo State Park. Our guide took us out to see the Elephant Seals that were on shore: mating, having babies, weaning the babies before they all head back to sea. It was amazing to see all of them and learn about their habits. Highly recommend this but must reserve a head of time.

Feb 24th Second grade children arrived to learn about composting at the farm. They each received some worms along with a certificate to continue to care for the worms at home. What a great idea!  I didn’t participate - I was shopping!

Feb 25th A wonderful day for sitting outside, listening to a book-on-tape and watching the sun go down with a glass of vino.

Each day we visit the animals and see what’s available for sale at the road side stand. This is asparagus season - Karen’s favorite - not! Ladies use the below equipment to package the asparagus for Market.

Feb 29th We left the small RV for a large home to house sit one dog and two cats for one month in Walnut Creek CA. Gary has a much larger kitchen to prepare his delicious meals.

Cassie, a miniature Pinscher, is very content to sit on our laps.

March 3rd Happy Birthday to me. The Bridgemans suggested breakfast out and a movie. It was a very happy day.

March 6 A tour of the Hazel - Atlas Mine with the Bridgemans. The geology of the mine was interesting and it was mined at a 30 degree angle to get out the silica sand used for making glass.

Calif. has been in a drought so the rain was a welcomed sight.

The sun did finally come out making our daily walks more enjoyable. Spooky, the male cat somehow scratched his eye. The owners sister took him to the Vet and we applied drops in his eyes for about a week. Spooky healed nicely.

The Bridgemans came over for Easter dinner. We played Hand and Foot Canasta and the girls won “big time”.

Our house sit is over and we stopped at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort on the edge of Death Valley. It was our first trip to Death Valley and I was surprised to see so many visitors even with it being Easter break. We saw flowers and tiny fish that can only be found in Death Valley!

April 1st Our Las Vegas airport appointment for Global Entry goes smoothly. Hopefully we won’t have to take our shoes off at security ever again! Afterwards we drove the scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon - beautiful.

Our time in California and the states in-between has been fun and full of gorgeous scenery. We have lunch with Mike and Karen at the Gore Range Brewery in Edwards Co. It’s great to end the trip with family. Get out there and see America the Beautiful!