We seem to be developing a very bad habit of getting up way too early in the morning, and yesterday was no exception. We were up at 7:30 again, because we had a lot to see and do. and it’s a good thing we got such an early start, because we were on the go all day long.
First we drove 16 miles on a very narrow, very winding road to the Jack London State Historic Park. My dad was a lover of books and I grew up with him reading me stories from his favorite authors, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, and Jack London. Probably best known for his books about Gold Rush Alaska, like The Call of the Wild and White Fang, London wrote over 20 novels and dozens of short stories. He was also a poet, a playwright, a rancher, a farmer, an adventurer, a war correspondent, an oyster pirate, and a social activist. And he accomplished all that before his untimely death at age 40!
London and his wife Charmian lived on a ranch in Glen Ellen that became the present-day Jack London State Historic Park, honoring the author and his life. After a stop at the Visitor Center, we walked the 3/4 mile trail to the gravesite where London and Charmian are buried, than another 1/4 mile to the ruins of the magnificent Wolf House that London had custom built, that was destroyed by fire just before the couple were to move into it.
There are signs along the park’s trails warning of rattlesnakes in the area, and when I stopped to use a porta-john I opened the door and saw one coiled up. It didn’t take me long to close that door, and suddenly I didn’t need to go to the bathroom anymore!
We also toured the cottage where the London’s lived, and where he died. He wrote his books in this office, often working until 5 a.m.
Jack London was also a great practical joker. Take note of the rope at the foot of the bed in one of the guest bedrooms. It was concealed and went under the floor to a system of pulleys, and when an unsuspecting houseguest was asleep, London would yell “Earthquake!” and an employee would pull the rope, sending the bed skidding across the room. What a wakeup call!
Leaving the London ranch, we drove back into Santa Rosa to tour the Charles M. Schulz Museum. The creator of the wildly popular Peanuts comic strip lived in Santa Rosa for the last 30 years of his life, and the museum is a wonderful tribute to his life and work.
This is a fun place that kids of all ages will love. It was fun to check in with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, and the rest of the crowd.
And the bathrooms had indoor plumbing and there wasn’t a snake in sight! But what they do have are panels from the Peanuts comics in tile in the stalls, in case you need something to read while you’re in there!
From the museum, we drove 25 miles west to Bodega Bay, a small coastal town I have wanted to see ever since watching Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds back when I was in high school.
There isn’t much to see in Bodega Bay, just a few tourist oriented shops, some restaurants, and a big marina. Overall, it wasn’t nearly as impressive as places like Florence and Newport, Oregon, which we’ll be visiting soon.
About the only reference to the movie we saw is The Birds Cafe, a small place with outside seating.
The Potter School, featured in the movie, is actually in the town of Bodega, about five miles from Bodega Bay. It is the private residence to three generations of the Taylor family and not open for tours. They have a sign on the gate that tells its history, and asks that people respect their privacy and do not disturb the family.
We could easily spend several days here in Santa Rosa, but we are back on the road today, headed for Eureka. I think this is one place we’ll be returning to again.
Today is your last chance to enter this week’s Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
Thought For The Day – If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.