Northern California - Sonoma County

November 07, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

After my trip to SW Utah and a short jaunt back to Vock Canyon, I headed for Rohnert Park, California to visit with my friend Marke , who lives in nearby Sebastopol.  After arriving at the Motel 6 and getting settled in, Marke called me and told me he just got off work.  We decided to meet at the Black Bear Diner next door to the hotel in about 15 minutes.  I had already eaten so I just had a cup of decaf coffee while Marke scarfed down fish and chips.  After supper, we just sat in the booth and talked about stuff until the restaurant closed.

                                                       The Russian River flows into the Pacific just south of Jenner, CA

The next day Marke had to work so in the morning I walked around Rohnert Park and found myself at the local library where, as Marke had told me, they were having a book sale.  Found a couple of books and also a used CD, "Get Yer Ya Ya's Out" by the Rolling Stones, which reminded me that for a few years, the Stones were indeed, "the greatest rock n roll band".  Later, Marke dropped by the motel and we headed out to shoot at Sunset Park along the Russian River.  We hiked for a short distance, keeping an eye out for poison oak and took a few pictures.  The sun was getting low in the western sky so we headed for the coastal town of Jenner, CA, just north of where the Russian River empties into the Pacific.  Finding a pull-out on the narrow two lane road, we prepared for shooting some images.  It was not a spectacular sunset, but there were some rock formations just off the shoreline which made for some interesting shots. 

When it was almost dark, we headed back to Rohnert Park to enjoy some pizza at a place Marke knew about.  Although there was a pizza joint there, it had a new name, Terra Vino, and probably new owners.  We split a medium, vegetarian pizza and I ordered a draft Bud Light.  Marke had some kind of hard cider.  After eating we went to my hotel room and talked about photography and life. 

                                                      Marke and I in the plaza of the San Francisco Solano mission in Sonoma, California

The next morning I had cold pizza for breakfast - not a good idea.  While it was good hot, a cold vegetarian pizza leaves something to be desired.  When Marke arrived we took out for Sonoma to re-visit the mission there.  There were not many other tourists there so were able to shoot some images without too much trouble.  We also got some shots of the barracks next to the mission.  After a while, we retired to a bench in the mission plaza for a short rest - from what I do not know.  After some time, we walked over to the house of General Vallejo adjacent to the mission property.  The house was built with wood siding in the Victorian style then popular in the northwestern United States but I believe it had bricks in the walls.  We walked back to the mission and ate lunch at a deli on the town square.  I had two chicken tacos and a creme soda.  Forgot what Marke had.

Later that afternoon, we went to the Jack London State Park near Glen Ellen, CA.  Marke and I hoofed out the trail to Wolf House, a large stone house that London built for a year-round home.  Unfortunately, it burned in 1913, leaving only some rock walls.  After a short hike to the mansion, I snapped a few shots of the "I've been there" type, we hitched a ride back on an extended golf cart used to shuttle visitors back and forth from the mansion.  It was pretty cool, almost like a Disney ride and the breeze was quite refreshing.

Later in Cocati, a town close to Rohnert Park, we stopped at a grocery store for refreshments.  Marke had coffee and cookies and I had a raspberry-orange smoothie and cookies.  While in Cotati we also went to the Goodwill and another thrift store just to check them out.  We just roamed around the thrift stores looking for a deal, just as you would at a swap meets or garage sales.  While browsing through the used cd's an aging hipster gave me a cd of his original music.  I seemed to have misplaced it - perhaps it is in my car.  One of these days I may look for it.

The next morning we drove back to Hwy 1 and headed north along the coast with our destination being Fort Ross.  We stopped at one of the overlooks to check out the fog.  It was very low-lying and we could not see the ocean below but above the fog, it was clear.  It was pretty cool.  Later, we stopped at a hippie cafe on the coast for coffee and muffins.  We soon arrived at Fort Ross, which back in the day served as an outpost for Russian trade to Northern California in the early 1800's.  The Fort has been basically rebuilt but from a historical perspective, it is a nice place to visit.  We spent quite a bit of time at Fort Ross before making our way back to Sebastopol.

When we arrived in Sebastopol, we retired to Marke's back porch and sat around with his family.  Having not seen his wife and kids for a very long time, it was extra nice to see them again. We sat in the backyard for quite some time just shooting the breeze.  To use a term that Marke's daughter later sent me in a note, it gave me some new "associations".  I just love the word associations used in this context.

One thing that is cool about driving around Sonoma County with Marke is that the roads, once away from the major towns and cities, are generally two lane and wind through wooded areas and grass covered hillsides.  It is quite a change from the desert southwest, but really quite enjoyable - especially when I have an old friend to enjoy it with.  Another association.










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