Central Coastal California

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January 3, 2012

We got up this morning feeling anxious to depart these wet woods. We left Leggit and US 101, heading west and south on State 1. The first 50 miles or so were narrow winding mountain roads. In some places the forest was so dense that you would not know the sun was shining through clear skies. It was nearly dark in there, but enough of the light struggled through the canopy that it gave a feeling of twilight. The road was mostly good, but slow going because of all the hair pin turns and switch backs. By about noon we burst out of the woods into the bright sunlight reflecting off the ocean. It was misty and made for some nice vistas of the Pacific Ocean and it’s rocky, rugged shore. See photos. Seeing the mist rising from the sea, reminds me that this is one step in the cycle of life. The mist rises from the sea to form clouds, which blow across the land and release the water in the form of rain to nourish the land and shed back into the rivers and streams and eventually back to the sea to begin the cycle again. Of course the cycle is much more complex and includes plants and animals and earth. Birth, life, death, decay, rebirth.

A short drive down the coast we came to a town called Ft Bragg. We had lunch in a pleasant little organic restaurant called Cafe 1. Good food, nice folks, a bit pricey. We drove about another hour down the coast and I began to notice that we were not seeing the ocean. I started watching for a highway sign to see if we may have taken a wrong turn. In about 15 minutes I saw a sign which said we were on State 128. Lucy looked at he map and confirmed we were heading southeast toward US 101. We were beginning to be tired of driving so Lucy went to her book and found us another free parking space at a casino in Hopland. To get there we drove about 20 miles over a mountain. It was a very different kind of mountain than we had seen thus far. It was mostly bare of trees and the few trees we did see were very different kinds of trees than we had seen thus far. The terrain was large rolling hills with golden grass and pale green brush. The brush may have actually been small, densely leafed trees. I’m afraid my horticultural knowledge is sorely limited. When I say large hills, I mean really large. I didn’t check it, but I am quite certain we reached elevations exceeding 3,000’. Long climbs up winding narrow roads and steep (10%) descents on the same.

At last we reached Hopland and the casino parking lot. We went inside and Lucy signed up and got another free $10 slot play. This time she did not come back with $100. I think she was minus about $10. We had a nice light dinner and headed for the van to read and/or write and prepare for bed.

This casino is owned by a tribe called the Pomo. Apparently there are about 72 smaller bands making up this tribe. The band that owns this casino is called the Hopland band of the Pomo. The Pomo have inhabited what is now parts of Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Colusa, and Glenn Counties, California for thousands of years. In the northern Pomo dialect Pomo means ‘people,’ and added to a place name becomes the name of the band, thus the Hopland Pomo. When asked, they are quick to point out that they are not Pomo, they are Hopland Pomo.

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