Posted by: Grub | June 21, 2011

San Francisco via the Sonoma Valley

Yesterday was our last driving day for a while, and I think we are all ready for the break.  Sam was not a very good traveller yesterday – I had to spend most of the day sitting in the back beside him, resting my head on the side of his carseat so he could “play” with my hair.  If I moved my head away, he screamed.  It was a pretty fun game.

Shortly after we left Fortuna yesterday morning, we decided to drive the Avenue of the Giants.  The AotG is a 30-ish mile section of the old Highway 101 that runs parallel to the current Highway 101, and it is one of the more beautiful drives I have done in a while. Given the time of year, there wasn’t too much traffic on it yet, so it was a very pleasant drive through, with one stop to get out and smell the fresh, cool air and enjoy the relative quiet.  The trees defy description, stretching so tall into the air that you can’t even see the tops most of the time.

Big tree (this one was actually a baby by comparison)


We stopped in a town called Garberville at the south end of the AotG to find some lunch.  It was such a funny little town – on the surface, it appears to be a logging town full of beat-up trucks and saloons, but if you look closer, there are lots of hippie elements, including both the Humboldt County Smoking Caterpillar (complete with Alice in Wonderland hookah-smoking caterpillar on the sign) and the Hemp Connection shop, and a little, super-granola natural foods store and cafe, Chautauqua Natural Foods, just off the main drag.  I loved the natural foods store – it had all of my favourites, including more peanut butter cups!

We picked up sandwiches at the store and drove a little ways up the road to Richardson Grove State Park where we had a lovely little picnic.  The sandwiches were really delicious (miso mayo! cilantro pesto!), and we all enjoyed some crumbly but very good peanut butter cookies.  I was reflecting while eating mine that, ironically enough, most peanut butter cookies actually suffer from an insufficient amount of peanut butter.  Luckily for me, this cookie had no such deficiency!

I know this picture is dark, but it was a nice picture with a good old picnic feel.

We continued south into the Sonoma Valley, one of the three main wine regions.  As you can see, it was hot.

What is crazy is that by the time we were in San Francisco shortly after 7pm, this temperature reading had dropped to 62F.

We stopped into the town of Healdsburg as a break and also to miss rush hour traffic in San Francisco.  There were tasting rooms and wine bars galore, all pretty high-end, and some gorgeous restaurant spaces.  One of the patios was actually surrounded by cool water misters, so that you were continually kept cool while sipping your wine. We perused a beautiful bookshop (Copperfield’s Books) and wandered up the main strip for a while before the heat drove us into Bear Republic Brewing Company.  Yes, I know, what were we doing in a brewpub in wine country?  The beer was cold and the atmosphere was casual, and that was pretty much what we all needed at that point.

From Healdsburg, we headed into San Francisco, and I was reminded as we came in over the Golden Gate Bridge what a beautiful city this is.  Of course, my view was a bit skewed sideways, with a handful of my hair in Sam’s hand as I craned my neck to see around the carseat, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

This is a cool picture, because it is actually a picture of Sam on the Golden Gate Bridge (he is in the car, right in the centre of the picture!)

Down the big hill

Today we are planning to spend some time near the water, starting at the Ferry Building (it is farmer’s market day and I am going to try to get me some strawberries!) and possibly walking on up to Fisherman’s Wharf. I am looking forward to seeing the sea lions again (arf! arf! arf!) and am hoping to pick up some tamales for lunch at the market.  Not sure what the plan is for the afternoon – possibly Golden Gate Park, or maybe a trip up to Berkeley for some sightseeing and eating. We are open to suggestions for places to see while we are here – if you have any, let us know!



  1. Really enjoying the posts Lana. The pic w Sam and the glasses last post was awesome.

    Love San Fran! Go to Ghiradelli Square and get a sundae and some free chocolate. Just up the hill from Fishermans Wharf. My fab sight is the Crooked Road. Dont know why but just is.

    I would love to see the redwoods one day. Too bad no stop in Napa. Great food there.
    Keep the posts coming.

    • Thanks, Rob. We actually did Ghirardelli Square and the crooked street last time we were here, so we tried to do a few different things this time, but I do love the crazy street! We also thought about doing Napa, but decided that we would rather do it when we had a few full days, and opted for San Fran instead as we thought it would be easier with Sam. Healdsburg still felt like a short visit to wine country – beautiful restaurants and shops, and so stinking hot!

  2. Thanks for stopping by! Appreciate the positive vibes!

  3. From Humboldt County’s Smoking Caterpillar

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