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I wonder if the U.P. has WiFi...

(psst Facebook peeps...you can always check these posts out on my blog at blog.mattstaniszewski.net, they are easier to read!)

Whew, it's been quite a weekend! I've just gotten back from two days traveling up the North Coast. I must say, there's not a whole lot to do up there, but MAN was it nice to just relax! Sometimes you just need a few days without cell service or internet (more on that later). After today, I think I can safely say I've covered the North Coast (Mendocino, Ft. Bragg, Bodega Bay, what-have-you...) well enough haha, but I did end up finding plenty to do. Check out the route, it was a long one:


One thing I found amazing was how much the North Coast, especially Ft. Bragg, reminded me of parts of northern Michigan. Man, driving into Ft. Bragg felt like I was jumping off of I-75 in Mackinac City or coasting around the shores of Lake Superior. Well almost, I guess you'd have to take a way all the wineries and most of the elevation changes, but it looks pretty damn close I tell ya. "What about the ocean?" you may ask. Well, to me at least, I'd say the ocean looks very familiar growing up around HOMES:

Huron
Ontario
Michigan
Erie
Superior

Anyways where was I? Oh yes, parallels. Seeing lighthouses again made me feel at home. I even mentioned I was from Michigan to the guy at the lighthouse gift shop; he merely replied that we sure as hell needed them. "Yes, we do have our fair share of shipwrecks," I replied. Then we have the motel. The Colombi came highly recommended on Trip Advisor, and they were definitely right. The place was CRAZY clean; it's run by a local family along with the laundromat and market across the street. It's funny to read all the rules, including a paragraph on how to not lock yourself out (good advice if you're Nikki :-P). Any who, I checked in at the market (kinda quirky, but hey I'm "roughing" it I guess) and the guy is like "Ah room 'IA'...that's a tricky one." Tricky, why what ever do you mean good sir? "Well, people have a hard time finding it...it's the little one between I and J." Never would've guessed that haha. Well check it out:


If you cannot guess, it's door #2 lol. I loved the place; it was cleaner than I could probably make it. Oh, and it came with (really weak) WiFi! Oh course, I couldn't get a signal, but I figured that was the universe telling me I'm on break. The shower was hilarious; I had to duck under the door frame to get in, which made me feel very tall :-) The place reminded me a lot like the good 'ole Anchor Inn, remember that place dad? It was our main pit-stop in Mackinac City for the Big Mac bikeride. Too bad it burned down...I wonder if they ever rebuilt it? That was an awesome bike ride...bike 25-100 miles one day and cross the bridge the next. We only got to bike the 5 mile span once, and Carmine was there joking the whole way about falling off. Thanks man.

Whoops, another tangent. Mendocino (or "Mendo" since that's what everything was labeled) was very pretty, the houses make it like a little piece of the East in Cali. I gotta admit, it was a little artsy-fartsy for me, but hey, I was on a relaxing getaway, and well, staring at random stuff is pretty relaxing for someone who doesn't get it like me. I will say though, there are a TON of hitchhikers up there. Also, everything is marked "ORGANIC", which I think is awesome. I'm hoping if this is what it's like up north in Cali, Portland's going to be totally green :-).

Any who, after checking in up north in Ft. Bragg, I chilled out at the coast in Mendo, reading my book and taking lots of photos. Speaking photos, notice in my album I'm actually IN some of my pics now? People (even if it is just myself) definitely make the picture. I've been wanting to get one of those mini bendable tripods (or Gorillapods) for Europe, but they always seemed to big and expensive. Well, the shop in Mendo had an awesome little one that I immediately put to use, especially for all my self-timer ones. I am DEFINTELY taking that thing to Europe, it's flippin sweet! Here's a photo:


Okay, okay...so after chilling at the water, I saw a play in town, which was about the only thing left to do. It might surprise you, but there actually are places that close earlier than SLO, and the North Coast is one of em, by like a whole hour! Everything up and down the coast was closed by 5 p.m., no exceptions. The play was pretty good, I'm not going to get into the details, all I'll say is I would've liked a murder-mystery (man, I haven't seen one of those in forever), but a 2-person touching light comedy was not so bad. After getting out of the performance, I was enveloped in darkness; even with the (scarce) lights in town, I could barely find my car. I also noticed something that even by day reminded me so much of the U.P. or South Haven: silence. Mendocino was always so deathly quiet, even when going through town. I imagined the time our family drop up and down Michigan one summer, man that was a fun trip...

Moving on. The next day, I set out on a goal I made up on Saturday: reach the end of CA-1, which up there I guess is the Shoreline Highway, not the PCH, but I like PCH better :-P. I had seen a sign that said it was only 40 miles north, so I said what the hell, I'm done with Mendo and Ft. Bragg, so I ventured north in the morning. Man, if you want the windiest piece of road possible, do some of CA-1 north of Westport. It's not on the water, but I even made myself sick driving that route! At last, I reached the sign (note the smattering of fb pics) and decided to head back down for the day. I ALMOST fell for the driving-through-a-redwood-tree tourist trap, but sorry Leggett, I don't think it's worth 5 bucks.

The rest of the day consisted of me driving down CA-1 and taking a few pics. I feel so spoiled saying this, but after a while, they all start to look the same. After today, I can proudly say I've driven Highway 1 (or "The 1" for you SoCal types) all the way from its start down through SF and then from Santa Cruz to Santa Maria plus a bunch of starts and stops down south. I would've done the 75 mile stretch from SF to SC today, but I just didn't have it in me, and might as well save it for another trip. So, what's my verdict on the road so far? Well, here's a quick guide:

Leggett --> Westport: VERY windy and inland; take a barf bag if you're in the back seat

Westport --> Fort Bragg: Little bit of shore, little inland; deserted

Fort Bragg --> SF: big chunk of CA-1, lot of it is inland, so not very picturesque but at least you can go 60 mph :-P The other have though, GREAT pictures!

SF: Golden Gate and 19th street, an awesome bridge followed by a few miles of traffic...

SC --> Monterey: Farmland and inland, skip it unless you want some cool views of Monterey Bay driving in from the N.

Monterey --> SLO: THE BEST by far still...traffic can be a downer at times and it's windy, but hey, that's why you go right? Oh, caution to those carsick people too...

SLO --> Grover Beach: Cool little drive through all the little surfing towns with awesome views, especially at sunset.

Grover --> Santa Maria: Skip it PUH-lease...I only did it to say I went that far :-)

I'm sure I've done large pieces of the southern part, but it starts, stops and merges everywhere, so I'll save that for another time.

Doing this blog makes me think of Europe. I've told myself I'll blog every day I get while on my trip, putting up pics and such. It might get a little bit exhausting, I mean who has the time lol? I think I'm gonna go the journal + blog route, that way I can write stuff down one night and then summarize a few days online every once and a while. We'll see how it goes...

Alrighty, I've kept you distracted long enough, adios bloggerinos!

-StM

P.S. If you didn't already know what it is, have you figured out 'U.P.' yet?

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1 comments:

rayzxr said...

I bet I could fit through that door without ducking.

This is a sweet blog. I think I'm becoming a fan of yours.

By the way, I'm still waiting on doing a bike ride with you.

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