The beach is covered with mist this morning as we check out, but as soon as the road climbs the sun slants through tall trees. Bright orange flowers line the roads and elk gather in groups.
Up and down, sun shines and the sky is blue as the road ascends, and then down into misty cloud as we descend nearer the sea.
We make a quick stop at Trinidad Bay to watch the mist lifting from around the stacks, and the curving surf on the beautiful deserted beach. And the sky is clearing into Californian blue as we stop in old down town Eureka for brunch scrambagels.
Then further south down 101 we turn off the freeway on to the scenic route through the Avenue of the Trees. Giant redwoods old and new, tall and straight, some fallen with fantastic root formations. We walk the Founders Trail, feeling buzzing in the air from many unseen insects, and awe in our hearts at the immensity of the age and size of some of these trees.
Ever southwards we drive, through hot dry valleys with wide stoney bedded rivers. Yellow dried up grass under blue sky. Hot and dry. We reach the Sonoma Valley with vineyards lining the road. Winding down through hills of yellow, towering brown crags, with eagles circling like black dots. The river plains carpeted with strings of vines stretching out across the fields, olive trees and pointed cypresses.
Then turning off the freeway we find our overnight hotel in downtown Petaluma.