Carpe Diem Goes North

insta001The blog is alive and living and headed north. We left San Francisco on a gorgeous Monday morning, April 22. Leaving San Francisco on our Spring and Fall trips is always bittersweet. It is great to get away to the places we love, but the best weather in the City is always in these two seasons. But right now, it is also amazing weather up here in Mendocino – the destination for the first few days of our 2 month trip. We will be spending a couple of weeks along the north coast of California, and the southern Oregon coast. Then it’s inland a bit to Baker City, Oregon to join the Northwest Lazy Daze Get together. This is a great group of folks who all own Lazy Daze RV’s, so we (and Carpe Diem) will feel right at home. It looks like around 32 rigs will be showing up for this meet and it will be fun seeing many of the people we met the last time we joined up with this group. Our main destination for this trip is once again the Palouse area of eastern Washington. We visited in the fall of 2011 and were blown away by the undulating  terrain. While it was impressive at that time of year, I really wanted to see it in spring when everything that was brown in fall will be vibrant green. So looking forward to these views.

insta003It was a pretty leisurely drive up to our first campground at Van Damme State Park. Taking highway 128 from 101 to highway 1 required a bit of focus because of the twists and turns of this wavy road, but once on the coast, it was a shot cruise to the Park. Van Damme is located about 8 miles south of Mendocino and right on the coast. The weather is perfect right now and we feel pretty fortunate to be able to enjoy what will be the next few sweltering days in California, in the very pleasant coolness of the coast. Our plans for this area? Hiking some of the coastal trails, the Mendocino Botanical Gardens, an expected terrific dinner at Cafe Beaujolais, more hiking, some sitting and sipping of wine, or Glenlivet, or limonchello – so many sipping options. Oh yes, we’ll be taking a few pictures as well.

insta002After arriving and getting situated on Monday, we took a stroll along the beach across highway 1 from Van Damme. Not really a lot of note, but we did see a couple of Canadian geese along with their chick nibbling on seaweed and whatever else they could get down their gullets. The chick was very cute. Also there was a small group of Black Oystercatchers frolicking along the waterline.

Canadian Geese at Van Damme State Park, CA

Canadian Geese at Van Damme State Park, CA


Black Oystercatchers at Van Damme State Park, CA

Black Oystercatchers at Van Damme State Park, CA

0927_oyster1Tuesday we drove north about 5 miles to the Mendocino Botanical Gardens. The gardens didn’t actually open until 9 A.M. so we stopped for a while at the Mendocino Cemetery. We can usually find something of interest to photograph. This time I found an interesting fence and a few gravestones.

Cemetery at Mendocino, CA

Cemetery at Mendocino, CA

0954_MenCem2The gardens are 47 acres divided into 2 main sections – the cultivated gardens and the more rustic canyon/bluffs section What happens to be blooming is dependent on what time of year your are here. It’s a bit early right now, but the Rhododendrons are going strong and a number of the other perennials as well. The succulents garden is always a favorite of mine and I spend a good deal of time making abstracts out of the various varieties.






1007_MenGar7The trails eventually lead out to bluffs overlooking the ocean. The path is dotted with places to sit and enjoy the views. On a day like this, how could you not?

1018_MenGar9We returned to our campground only to find the road work in the park that was to have be finished by 1 P.M. was not going to be done until after 2. We had to park the car at the visitor center and walk to our campground. Not a big deal, but it was still a little noisy while they finished up the paving around us.



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