Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Fort Ross and Korbel Champagne Cellars

4/17/16 (Sunday) in Cloverdale, CA (Russian River-TT)

Saturday, even though Kim/Kim were trying to get packed up to go, we kept giving them more tips. We’d gone for a walk, found a TT Directory for them, then came upon them at the dump station. When we handed them the Directory, I thought to ask for phone numbers and got their photo for my phone. It must have felt like we would NEVER leave them alone!!! We did manage to say heartfelt good bys at that point, wishing them safe travels. We basically crashed the rest of that day, except for our trip to Cloverdale for Mass, because that would give us the whole day to do more exploring on Sunday.

We were up bright and early Sunday, on our way with our picnic lunch to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Oh, we did stop in Cloverdale for fuel since John would be doing a lot of driving. By the way, US 101 is still mostly 4 lane and so scenic in these parts that it’s a drive I look forward to when we leave Tuesday. Then we headed towards the coast. Still beautiful, but these roads were 2 lane and very twisty. John had to really concentrate.

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve: We arrived about 10, very thankful that we were that early because the parking spots were close to gone. The good news, you can walk all the trails from there and not pay any fee. If you wanted to drive your car on the longer path, it cost $7/senior 62+).  The clover looking plant is Red Sorrel, that often grows where Redwoods grow. We enjoyed our picnic lunch here, then headed to the coast and Fort Ross.

 This is a Russian Fort, created by the Russians around 1812 (hence Russian River is so named) to hold off the Spanish advance north from Mexico. It worked too. Here they had a unique way of working with the local Native Americans. The Russians leased the land from the Pomo, building their fort on it, along with raising crops, cattle, sheep and especially hunting sea otters for their most dense pelts. All of these efforts were to supply their people in Alaska. Unfortunately, the sea otters were hunted really close to extinction (in California), when only 50 of them were left. At this point the Russians also left and the Fort changed hands a few times. In the photo with furs is a press (on the left) to make 60 pelts compact down. The wrapping is from sea otters, with the fur removed. The chapel is the most distinctive building, with a marvelous door handle. We also took a stroll on the Fort property to the ocean. Beautiful. This coastline was just too rugged for the Spanish to manage any threats to this fort.

Korbel Champagne Cellars. I’d been wanting to go here for the highly recommended tour and free champagne/wine tasting. John was not so interested. Plus he didn’t want to drink because he was driving and he was tired. Yet it wasn’t too far off our path home, so he graciously took us there. Unfortunately, we arrived just before 4 and the last tour was at 3. Oh well. I did get my 4 free champagne/wine tastings. There was plenty of excited people also getting the tastes. Apparently, this is an exceptional winery (lots of ribbons on the wall) and many of their bottles are only sold here at the winery.

Then we were on our way home. Talk about tired!!!! We barely managed supper, then cards, then bed. Big day. We planned to rest Monday, but I did get ambitious and cleaned the filters in Miss Journey, the headlamps and lubed the steps. John lubed the slides.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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