Mendocino – Petaluma (134 miles)

The car has now been named: Zeus. For those of you who have been wondering, it’s a silver Hyundai Sonata. I had an image in my mind of doing the drive in a soft-top Cadillac, wearing Aviators and a cowboy hat but I’m not all that fussy.

I passed by the amazing ocean stacks north of Elk, drove through Manchester (spitting out of the window) and stopped at Point Arena lighthouse. The tour guide was a retired sociology professor who had some interesting stories and I also got talking to Julie who was into lighthouses in a big way. Apparently, the first order Fresnell lens was shipped over from France over 100 years ago and consists of 666 pieces of hand polished crystal. It was recently valued at $3.6 million but in actuality priceless and irreplaceable. Unfortunately some retard carved their initials in one of the pieces of crystal and visitors are no longer allowed to get too close. The whole lens is being dismantled this July and placed into the adjacent museum.

I was originally planning on heading inland to Healdsburg to check out the Sonoma wine country but I was so engrossed in the views that I missed the turning and didn’t realise until I was in Bodega Bay (where Hitchcock’s The Birds was filmed). I decided to still go inland a little but settled on a visit to Petaluma instead.

I’m only really aware of this place via Leo Laporte and he’s right: it really is a beautiful city and the dearth of chain stores may have something to do with the charm of the place. There are some lovely old (for the US) Victorian houses still standing thanks to Petaluma being spared in the big quake of 1906. It turns out that it is Petaluma’s sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary and celebrations are going on all year.

It was baking hot so I decided to seek refuge somewhere dark and air conditioned and went to see the latest Indiana Jones movie at the local cinema. It was okay I guess but not the same as when I was younger. It was still hot when I left but more manageable. I purchased a Superhero Smoothie and appropriately sat a while in Penry Park.

I’ve been enjoying confusing random people by waving at them recently but as I was walking back to Zeus an old man got some revenge and waved at me from across the street.

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