Exploring Sonoma County

On Tuesday after finishing up my time in this San Francisco Bay area, I packed up and hit the road to my next destination of Sonoma County. I will be staying for a week, maybe longer at Lake Sonoma Recreation Area. The US Army Corps of Engineers Park in the beautiful rolling hills of Sonoma County. I’m staying at Liberty Glen campground a family campground, high on the hills high above Sonoma Lake. It’s a nice quiet campground, and is a good price at $25 a night (for what the price of campgrounds run in California). It doesn’t have any hookups but does have a dump station. Normally there are flush toilets and showers, but due to the recent storms they have a pump out of commission and the water was off. But I came in with full tanks and can run the generator as needed to recharge the batteries. And there’s a place to get water in 5 gallon jugs near the group campsites, so I’ll be fine. And on the plus side I get 50% off with my seniors American the Beautiful Pass from the National Park Service, as at many US Army Corps parks offer. So at $12.50 a night it’s a good deal. And it’s in the beautiful wine country of the Sonoma Valley. It got a little busier on the weekend but still was not overcrowded. During the week when I was here there was probably only about six other campers in the whole campground. On the Weekend we probably ended up what 24 or so. Here’s a photo of my site. Just an FYI the new nickname given to my RV is “Raabzilla” (I kinda like it so I think I’ll use it).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere are some of the views looking out my front window. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom high on the hill overlooking the campground you can see my RV down off to left of center.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere I’ve zoomed in on it, its bottom center in this photo.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALake Sonoma was formed by the building of Warm Springs Dam in 1983 by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The dam is 319 feet high and 3,000 feet long. The lake it creates has a capacity of 381,000 acre-feet of water. It excess it 9 miles up Dry Creek and 4 miles up Warm Springs here’s a couple pictures of just part of the lake from the Scenic Vista, overlooking the marina.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the bridge that you have to cross to get back to the campground, and looking up one of the legs of the lake.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA view of the dam from the Overlook.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd close-up of the bridge, it’s quite picturesque.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn this photo you can see the rolling hills and some of the many of hundreds of vineyards in the area.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA close-up on some of the vineyards.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Friday I took Maxine down below the bridge to do a little swimming.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a picture of the hill where the overlook is located, that I took the previous pictures from. To give you an idea of how high I was up on the hill.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAZooming in on the overlook tower.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s Maxine enjoying the cold water.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s one of her swimming out after Frisbee with the dam in the background.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you can tell this is a beautiful area to be staying at. And I’m planning doing some exploring and I’m sure hit a couple wineries while I’m here. On Saturday I decided to go for a ride on one of the country roads towards the coast. It was only about 35 miles to get over to Highway One which follows the coastline along most of California’s West Coast. The road I took was very curvy and hilly and it took well over an hour to drive this short section. The road was in fair shape, but you could tell there was a lot of damage earlier this year from the storms that frequented this area. It wasn’t bad in the car but I’m sure am glad I wasn’t driving Raabzilla and towing the car. Here’s a photo as I drove along with some nice second growth redwood trees, you can see the road is quite narrow.20170422_113943Here’s one of a narrow low bridge that you cross.20170422_114027

Another one of some the redwoods and other trees with lots of ferns growing beneath them. This was just before I got to the coast. The temperature dropped about 20° when I got to this part of the woods. Because the dense woods develops its own climate trapping the cooler night air.20170422_115550Where the road came out, we were just north of Salt Point State Park so we drove a little south to check it out. Here’s some views of the coastline from the many places you can pull over in the park. There’s a small waterfall coming on the rocks in the center of this photo.20170422_125751Here I zoomed in on the waterfall it is quite pretty.20170422_125758Here’s a nice beach area in the park, but Maxine wasn’t allowed on the beach so we stopped on the top of the hill.20170422_131842After spending time checking out the park we headed back north on Highway One. It’s a beautiful drive with great views of the rugged coastline. There are quite a few places we can pull over and get access to the shore. I pull over at this one spot and Maxine and I hike down to the shore. As you can see from the photo below, it’s kind of a rocky coastline. But the interesting thing is a family came down the hill, after we were there for a while, and asked where all the sand went. I guess in years past this was a nice sandy beach area but with all the recent storms it’s nothing but rocks now. The photo says it all.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne cool thing about this spot is when you came down the stairs and ramp to the coast, all of a sudden there was this beautiful little waterfall.20170422_143033

You could walk right up to it and stand under it, if you want to. But boy it was cold.20170422_143158

As driving further north, all of a sudden I came across a sign directing me to “Point Arena Lighthouse”. So of course I had a check it out. By this time it was going on 4 o’clock and I had missed the last chance to actually tour the lighthouse. But they did have a “kite festival” going on and they had some really huge kites, as big as my RV. Check them out in these photos. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a really beautiful lighthouse.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And like  where so many are located, it is along the beautiful part of the coast.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Another interesting part of history of this lighthouse. Is that it was featured in the movie “Forever Young”. Released in 1992 starring Mel Gibson, Jamie Lee Curtis and George Wendt to name a few of the actors and actresses.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the end of the movie you’ll see Mel Gibson, land an old B-25 Mitchell plane near the lighthouse. They actually landed it in this field right out in front of the lighthouse over here in this field.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is a nice sandy little beach right below the lighthouse but it’s tricky to get to.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After my short visit at the lighthouse we headed back east and south to get back home before dark. The road that I came back east over the mountains on. I think was even curvier and steeper and definitely in worse shape (with lots of recent storm damage) than on the one I came over to the coast on. But I took my time in a couple hours I was comfortably back at “Raabzilla”, as you can tell I like the new nickname hope you do too. That’s it for now take care, Rick




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