Monday, November 28, 2005

Giving Thanks for A Great Weekend!

The rest of the weekend was quite nice. Rachel, after having some trouble on Thursday, was absolutely great almost the entire rest of the weekend. Saturday, we went for a hike in the morning up the North Trail in Russian Gulch State Park. The weather was pretty good, if a touch chilly. Rachel did, in fact, hike some, but she wound up being carried a lot, with piggy-back rides from Dawn and shoulder rides from my father & me. At some point, she actually fell asleep on Dawn's back, so I started carrying her in my arms. This is not going to work next time (in 2 or 3 years), as we all talked about (including Rachel) after the hike.

I took a lot of pictures, but I'm not really as happy with them. I think the more interesting things to me this time were of the trees against the sky, and I was having a lot of trouble getting decent exposures. I also got a lot of shots of mushrooms, which is what my parents were after, but I am not as interested in them as they are. I have a really fantastic picture of a mushroom from my trip to Yosemite in 2004, and in two days of photographing tons of mushrooms, I don't think I got a single picture even close to as good as that one.

After Rachel's nap and some lunch, we went back into town to get her some play time at the park there and walked around Mendocino some, including having hot chocolate at the Mendocino Bakery & Cafe again. We ran into Roderick, a former long-term boyfriend of my cousin's. It was nice to see him, and too bad my parents and brother weren't around at the time. I took some more panoramas, but haven't really had a chance to try stitching them. I got a bunch of shots of the sunset over the headlands, and am curious to see how they turned out when I get them on the monitor at home, which seems to be better than the laptop screen (even though the laptop screen is both newer and larger). I'm especially interested in the bright reflection off the window of the last house before the headlands...

Sunday was moving day and we got up and packed and out of the house by 9:30, including having my father's cottage cheese pancakes (with Rachel's help). First, Dawn, Rachel & my brother, and I went to ride the Skunk Train from Fort Bragg to Northspur, a middle of nowhere stop on the tracks between Fort Bragg and Willits. The ride was interesting (but COLD). The conductor pointed out the largest, oldest tree in the area, which was never logged because it had already been hit by lightning too many times and would have shattered when it hit the ground. It's pretty bedraggled & has about 40 ft missing from the top. He also pointed out where we passed the end of commercial power & telephone service, a 'spring board', I think he called it, which is a board they would put into a slat cut in a tree about 10-15' up in the air so that they could cut it down. Cutting down a tree with a 10' diameter took them days and the lumber jacks would be up there for 10 hours a day until the tree came down. At Northspur, some guy on the ride stood waiting for them to turn the locomotive around while listening to some football game on a Sirius radio.

After the train ride was over, we headed into Mendocino again to play in the park, look around a little more, and have ice cream (for those of us whose name was Rachel and didn't want something HOT to drink!). Just as we were getting ready to get in the car to head home, parked almost directly across from the volunteer fire department, the siren for the FD went off... it's unbelievably loud. Rachel did really great, though, and didn't freak out. I'm sure it helped that we all piled quickly into the car to reduce the noise, but it was fairly loud in there; we could actually feel the vibration. The two responders we saw showed up quickly and took off in one of the vehicles.

From Mendocino to 128 @ Cloverdale seemed faster coming back than it had going out on Wednesday. I think it's because we hadn't been in the car as long before starting on 128, but who knows. Perhaps it was just the anticipation of dinner at the World Famous Hamburger Ranch & Pasta Farm, which is where we'd stopped to use the restrooms on the way up. The food was reasonably good; not as good as Barney's or Christopher's, but good. We made it all the way back home without ever having stopped for gas, but I did go get gas before packing it in for the night. 10.5 gallons, 418mi = just 39.8 mpg.

Totals for the trip:

Really nice dinners: 3 (Wed, Thu, Fri)
Hikes: 2
Walks in Mendocino: 3
Chances to follow birds around bushes: 3
Great Sunsets: 4
Category 3+ Meltdowns (by Rachel): 1
Gallons of gas: 10.5
Tanks of gas: less than 1
Pictures in the new SLR: about 900

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