35-for-35 Places: Mendocino, CA

On Martin Luther King Jr Day, I decided to actually start on my “places” challenge (which is likely NOT going to be completed, but is still fun!). While looking through my waterfall hikes book, I noticed a couple near Mendocino, CA. I wasn’t in the mood for a hike, but thought Mendocino might be a nice day trip. I have friends who frequent it every chance they get, so I wanted to see what all the hype was about.

Welcome to Mendocino, CA

It’s a nice 3 hour drive up US-101 and over Highway 128. I got a late start, which wasn’t ideal, but I thought I’d still have a good afternoon and then stay for dinner before heading back to the City. However, I had no idea just how twisty and dark Highway 128 is. You have to cross three different mountains with the resulting switch back turns and two-lane roads. The last bit is through a MAGNIFICENT redwood forest that looks like it’s out of a postcard. If there had been any safe places to stop, I would have some photos of it. However, those tall trees block any light from above, make it quite dark even though it was still afternoon. I knew that I wouldn’t want to drive back on this road in the dark (though I ended up doing so for the most part), so I didn’t end up staying long.Mendocino Village

I visited a couple of shops on Main Street, including the Gallery Bookshop. I picked up a couple of postcards and met the bookshop cat. But my favorite part was walking along the cliffs and watching the waves come in as the sunset. There’s something about the ocean that just soothes me, which was exactly what I needed after that bare-knuckle drive in. I even took some videos, looking at the waves crashing through the rocks (thought I don’t know why there’s no sound).

Pacific Ocean in the CoveAll too soon, the setting sun meant it was time for me to get back on the road. I realized that I didn’t know how to operate my brights (turns out you have to push the lever away to have it hold), so I spent much of the first hour and a half, holding the lights on. I’d definitely loved to go back and explore more another time when I actually have time to play.

Sunset in Mendocino, CA

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