To drive from San Francisco to Santa Rosa I will cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It is free to leave the city, I will have to pay to return.
There are also parking areas on both sides of the bridge for photo opportunities and to walk on the bridge, which I will do before returning home. This is the view looking towards the Bay Bridge, which takes you to Oakland, around 6:30 am.
Because I leave so early, I run into no traffic problems and arrive in Santa Rosa around 7:30. I take a detour to downtown and through town back toward my customer's location. It isn't what I expected. This is wine country, I expected it to be beautiful and lush. It looks like any other city.
After a full day at the office, my customer needs me to go kill some time while she checks email and wraps up a few things. She has offered to drive me to the coast which apparently isn't too far away. After a short consultation with some other people, they send me to an outdoor shopping area in a nearby town.
For a health-conscious state, I have seen a surprising number of candy and chocolate shops. This little shopping district has one, several restaurants and a yogurt shop. I wanted yogurt the night before but couldn't find a place close to my hotel. I decide to have some and not disclose to my customer I ate, so she won't decide to ditch me and go home.
There is a green space here so I eat my yogurt and watch a mother and child fly a kite. There are a lot of teenagers hanging around and I notice that, for a shopping area, there aren't many adults around. Going back to my car, I see Snoopy.
Amarillo had horses, San Francisco has hearts, this area has Peanuts. When I saw this I remembered that over lunch someone mentioned that there is a museum for Charles M. Schultz here.
I locate the museum on the GPS and head that way. Business travel is frequently unfriendly to sight-seeing. The museum is closed and I wouldn't have made it had I come straight here. I am able to check out several statues outside.
The official name is: The Charles M. Schultz Museum & Research Center
The placard on the corner says, "This is a piece of art. Please stay off the statue."
I really wanted to take a photo of Snoopy handing me one of these cookies but this is also a problem with business travel. I am alone and...
...my arms aren't long enough which is why you can't easily tell this is me with Joe Cool.
I was able to see in the front windows and it looks like it would have been interesting. If I am ever in the area in the future, I will definitely try to come back.
There is also an ice-skating rink, cafe and gift shop across the street. The gift shop was open. I had to make a quick lap as my customer called and said she was ready to play.
I return to meet her and thankfully she drives leaving me free to look. About 10 minutes into the drive, it finally looks like I expected. I didn't get to take any photos as it is a two lane, no shoulder road with people whipping along but it was beautiful. Large vineyards, cute towns. We are following the Russian River towards the Pacific Ocean.
Some of the towns were fishing oriented and many of them had little cafes or restaurants specializing in seafood, which is my favorite kind of food. As of this writing, I have eaten salmon every day and sometimes twice a day.
When we reach the ocean it is rocky and beautiful. I like this landscape over a sandy beach. There is however, one major problem.
We are dealing with gale-force winds. When I opened the door the wind yanked it so hard I thought my arm would pop out of the socket. My hair was constantly in my face and taking pictures was very difficult for two reasons aside from fighting my hair:
1) It is hard to hold the camera still. (This is Goat Rock.)
2) The wind is quite literally trying to rip the clothes right off my body. (This is Arch Rock.)
I am dressed for work, not for traipsing around on windy cliffs. While taking this picture I realize my shirt has shifted so far that I am perilously close to completely exposing one breast. (Don't get too excited, I have the proper undergarments in place, unmolested by the wind.) However, trying to hold a camera still while holding your shirt together so you don't continue to flash the people sitting in their car watching you makes picture taking something like an Olympic sport.
Getting wet from the spray while continuing to clutch my shirt at the base of Goat Rock.
The yogurt has worn off and I am sufficiently wind blown for one day so we head to the restaurant, where I have - what else - salmon.
On the drive back to my car we go through Bodega, California where some of the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds was filmed. We can see the outline of the church which is still there but unfortunately it isn't lit up. According to IMDB.com, the schoolhouse here is supposedly haunted, so maybe I can talk David into a return trip someday.
By the time I get back to my car it is 9:30 pm and I have the drive back to San Francisco ahead of me. Luckily, I find The Wolfman Jack program on the radio so I crank it up and sing at the top of my lungs all the way back to the city. Sometimes traveling alone is a good thing.
Sunset on the Pacific Ocean