We started our trip by visiting my mother outside of Reno. Our original plan was to head to Crater Lake but the weather forecast called for snow in that area so we headed for a coastal city in California called Mendocino instead.
We had to take a lot of backroads to get to the coast and we did get a little lost because our map was printed with a lot of inaccuracies. We followed the Feather River through the mountains to a town called Oroville.
I knew that the word "oro" means "gold" in spanish because my uncle had a golden retriever named Oro when we were kids. Where I grew up, nobody is expected to roll their R's until they have successfully completed Spanish II so we all just called the dog Otto instead.
Oroville is near Chico and I think there is a lot of pressure for the town to be a party place in league with the neighboring party college town of Chico. Where else in the world can you walk into a Quiznos to a stereo system pumping out Snoop Dog music?
We needed to take a side road out of Oroville but we were having a hard time finding it. We ended up driving back and forth to the south of town with no success and we finally tried to get directions at a senior citizen RV park / golf course that had dubbed itself "Dingerville."
Oroville had several signs posted reading, "Oroville: City of Gold." When we received absolutely no help from the residents of the fogey golf course, I asked my wife, "If Oroville is the City of Gold then what does that make Dingerville?"
We ended up guessing for the right road and made it where we wanted to go but it was a stressful situation at the time. Mendocino is a cool town but its kind of like the pretty girl who KNOWS she's pretty.
Still, in my perspective it's sort of like MY Beverly Hills. The REAL Beverly Hills is such a ridiculous place that money and possessions become pointless. But Mendocino just has nice looking beach houses in an open community. They don't try to wall each other out and create a paradise inside. There are nice cars but they don't try to outdo each other with Ferraris and stuff. Mendocino has nice beaches below dramatic cliffs and thick forests growing along rivers and streams. It's a place where you can take a walk on a beach or hike through the woods. When you ride your bike you have to put up with distractions like whales waving their flippers at you from the water. All the hottest hippies hang out in Mendocino.
Something I noticed about northern California is that lumber companies have the sweet hookup on real estate. There are miles and miles of ocean front properties devoted entirely to stack after stack of old 2X4's. It's kind of funny when big hotels have their perfect views tarnished with barbed wire fences and woodpiles that called first dibs on hanging out on those beaches.
We drove our minivan through a redwood tree today. It was cool.
Anyhow, I told my dad I'd help him plant a garden tomorrow so I'll write more later.