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Settled in Sausalito

Posted on December 6, 2011 by Holly Hayes
Part of: California and Vegas Road Trip

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Sausalito, with a night view of San Francisco. We'll be here for the next two nights.

But first, the promised pics of the Redwoods National Park from yesterday:

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The lovely herd of elk we saw on the way out of the park, centering on Mr. Impressive surveying his harem.

And the Victorian Inn in Ferndale, our home last night:

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View while packing the car this morning. We were in one of the rooms with the jutty-outty thing (try to keep up with my technical architecture terms) - I think the far left one. The restaurant is on the bottom floor.

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Closeup of corner entrance and jutty-outty things.

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Very steep stairs that scale the equivalent of two normal flights. I wish I'd taken a photo from the bottom - it was rather an intimidating sight! And of course there are no elevators in these old places, so we dragged our suitcases up and down like mountain goats. (If mountain goats had suitcases.)

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Our lovely room #210, "The Victorian Parlour," with pretty nook in the jutty-outty thing.

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Last night's dinner - so delicious. My burger was made of local "Humboldt County grass-fed beef," and it was awesome. And those are sweet potato fries with it. YUM. David had fish and chips; his potato fries were fantastic, and the fish was great too.

Breakfast this morning, however, was surprisingly bad (even including burnt bacon) given the great dinner we had last night. But at least it was free, and otherwise it was a great morning. I got up a little earlier than usual (8-ish!), so I had time for a fairly relaxed stroll down the historic main street before we left. It's lined with well-restored old buildings and as charming as can be. And yet it's not a touristy fake city - it was bustling with daily activities and full of real-live cowboys and cowgirls (it's a dairy community, complete with a creamery on the edge of town). I really liked Ferndale. Even though (or maybe because?) it is small and quiet, I could enjoy hanging out there for awhile. In particular, I would enjoy seeing the local production of "A Christmas Story," playing every weekend in the old theater!

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Historic Main Street in Ferndale.

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Wacky facade close-up.

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More Victorian buildings one block down from Main Street. The yellow one in the middle is the "Gingerbread Mansion," which is set up as a B&B but currently closed and for sale.

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Church

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Main Street again - our hotel can be seen at the end.

Today wasn't all that eventful - we mostly just made our way down to San Francisco. It was sunny all day and Highway 101 was gloriously empty most of the way.

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The only detour we made was to drive down the Avenue of the Giants, which runs right alongside 101 for 31 miles through another redwoods state park.

The Avenue includes a great tourist trap: for $6, stuffed in a box on the honor system this time of year, you can enjoy the Famous Drive-Thru Tree, the Famous Drive-On Log, the Famous Redwood Treehouses, and the Famous Rings of History. We stopped mainly for the drive-thru tree, but alas, our Jeep was too big to fit. So we enjoyed the walk-thru tree instead.

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On the highway, whenever my phone was picking up a 3G signal, I searched for hotels in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Sausalito and whatever else I could think of, but never found anything. All but the dodgiest places were entirely booked up. So we just drove to San Francisco, and started with our usual (well, we've done it once before!) stop above the bridge for photos. That was very fun, and nicely timed with the setting sun.

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Then we decided to drive into Sausalito, because it's very easy from the bridge viewpoint, and see what we could find. On the way, I made a final effort with my web searching and found a possible option - the Hotel Sausalito. I called, they miraculously had two available rooms, one of which wasn't that expensive, and that was it! It was all much more last minute than we're used to, but I don't think it could have turned out better. We really like our hotel - the first modern one so far, which is a nice change. It has an elevator, it's warm enough, and the internet works great in our room - this is the most comfortably-produced blog post yet! There is even a fountain in the park across the street so it sounds like it's gently raining, but it's not - best of both worlds! What I've seen of Sausalito so far is very nice, too. It's affluent, quiet and safe, but surprisingly friendly and relaxed.

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Hotel Sausalito

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Room #205. (It's not as yellow as it looks; I tried to fix the white balance but still don't know what the heck I'm doing in iPhoto.)

After checking in, we had a nice little stroll through town followed by dinner at the "Taste of Rome," a casual place that seemed very popular with the locals. It was crammed full by the time we left. Dinner was ordered at the counter and really good.

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Chicken parmigiana for David, spaghetti bolognese and minestrone soup for me.

And the food was only part of the fun - we really enjoyed checking out all the characters that came and went. Rich folks, hippies, and over-60s were the primary clientele, but there were several contractor-type men mixed in as well. The funnest part? A good half of the customers had a laptop open on the table, and all but one were shiny new Macbook Airs! This included the oldest customer in the place - a white-bearded gentleman of at least 80, who fell asleep twice in front of his sleek silver computer. We've never seen so many Apples in one place outside the Apple Store - it cracked us up. Welcome to the Silicon Valley!

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Tomorrow we are going to take the ferry to San Francisco for some general sightseeing, which I'm very excited about. I love ferries, the views should be great on the way, and it's so great not to have worry about parking in the city. Good night!