Petaluma, California

We left Greenfield, CA yesterday morning and made our way toward Petaluma. As we drove out of town, we could see where the marine layer ended and the sunshine began.

It was about a three-hour drive through some of the most harrowing traffic we've seen this trip. The interstates in California are in very bad shape...shamefully so, I'd say...although California isn't the only place in our nation with terrible roads. What makes California so harrowing is the crazy driving. If you're going less than 80 mph, you are in the way. So sorry. And if you're in the way, folks will come just inches from your fenders getting around you. It's like driving the Indianapolis 500 on these roads with folks drifting from one lane to another and not signaling their intent. If they can't decide which lane will get them there fastest, they have no problem straddling the line until they make up their mind. One only wonders why there aren't pile-ups everywhere. Sheesh. The roads got better when we made our way north of San Francisco.

We crossed the bay at a bridge whose name I do not know. I'm familiar with the Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. We crossed north on I-580 at a toll bridge where our toll was $20! They charge by the axle, and we have four...two for the truck, and two for the trailer. Yikes! I'd rather have spent my money on fabric, but there you go. Have to get across the water somehow.

For our $20, we did enjoy this bridge structure. There were two of these iron monstrosities.

Here comes the second one.

I once saw a quilt at a quilt show made from an image like this. 

After getting through that portion, it was like any road...over water. If you look in the middle of the image below and to the left, you'll see a structure that looks like a prison. As it turns out, that is San Quentin. Unless I miss my guess, Charles Manson is housed there. I can only imagine what bad hombres this place holds and it gave me the creeps just driving by...as if there's bad air there or something.

San Quentin aside, there are some very lovely areas in this part of California with its rolling golden hills.

We're staying at a KOA here in Petaluma. KOA is the campground organization we love to hate. We've stayed at KOA's that are very nice, and some that are really terrible. Regardless of the condition of the campground, they tend to be more expensive than anything else. This one is one of the more expensive campgrounds we've stayed at, but no better than any other. I'd say it's the condition you'd expect at a state park with hook-ups. Our spot is at the end of a row, which means we have a little "yard" outside our front door with a picnic table, chairs, and a little two-person swing. The swing is kind of nice.

This campground is catering to families. They've moved in some new "park models" which are basically small mobile homes. If you were a family trying to get out of the city of San Francisco for the weekend, this would be a nice place to come for some peace and quiet. There is a very nice playground for the kids.

Even if you're a big kid.

There's even a "petting farm" with some very friendly goats.

The brown one really liked the attention.

The mama goat posed nicely for her picture.

When we got around to the other side, we realized there were actually four goats...not just three.

There were also some chickens who suddenly became extremely hungry when I tried to take their picture.

There was a peahen in their pen with them.

When we got back to the trailer, we got Smitty out for a stand. Sometimes Smitty walks...sometimes he just stands and sniffs. Usually, it's the latter. California has some wild peacocks, however, and one decided to consider an area very near our campsite to roost for the night. While he was making his decision, he was walking around about 100 yards from us and calling out. If you've never heard a peacock call, it is impressive. Here's a little video so you can hear it. If you can't see the video, click right here.

Well, this totally freaked Smitty out, and we had to go back inside. He has been on red alert ever since. That was the biggest effing bird he's ever seen, and he's not sure it isn't karma coming after him.

Of course, I took pictures of every blooming thing on our walk. You'd be disappointed if I didn't, wouldn't you?

These red jobs are about the size of a nickel.

And that's pretty much all I have for you today. After breakfast, we're heading over to Point Reyes National Seashore. There is another lighthouse there, and I believe we'll see another two lighthouses before day is done.

16 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kristin in Alaska said...

I had a friend in Wisconsin who had peacocks on his farm. One day, a car came to a screatching halt in front of their farm and a guy jumped out, looking around frantically. He swore he heard a woman screaming for HELP! Nope. Just peacocks...

Sarah said...

How very cool that your camp site comes with a swing. I don't think I've ever seen that at a camp ground. Love the bridge but I want to know if the people at the top of the first abutment (?) of the bridge were workers, visitors, etc? If nothing else I bet the view was superb! I've seen peacocks before but it's been quite a while and your video solved a mystery for me: I recently watched The Jewel in the Crown PBS miniseries and it sounds like some person crying HELP in many of the scenes. Nope - now I'm going with peacocks! LOL!

Debbie said...

Expensive toll to get a view of San Quentin...lol! Maybe bad air contributes to the bad roads.....only in CA. I am with Smitty on the peacock...that thing would scare me to death or make me crazy. Light houses are much more my speed. Thanks for sharing.

Teresa aka MarieSews said...

Richmond Bay Bridge....I think that is the bridge you crossed....maybe. I live in the south bay and try to stay away from all the bridges that span the bay. They are all too narrow and folks drive WAY too fast for my taste. I prefer to drive around the bay instead of over it. Earthquakes and bridges are the stuff of nightmares :).

But bridges, bad roads, crazy drivers, and the high cost of living aside, this part of CA is not a bad place to live. We could use a few more quilt/fabric shops :).

Enjoy the rest of your trip. I am enjoying the armchair ride along!

Lyndsey said...

I think some of those crazy drivers have moved to the UK. It makes getting about very stressful. Poor Smitty, I know how he feels, Peacocks are very big and very loud birds.

Colleen Yarnell said...

When we were kids my sister and I rated KOAs by if they had a pool and mini golf. But while some were bad overall they have been consistent and mostly reliable when traveling across country.

Unknown said...

It's the Richmond - San Rafael Bridge. I have to say that we in California are just like everyone else in the United States; some of us are courteous drivers and some of us aren't. Go figure.

WoolenSails said...

I hate traffic when we are with the trailer, we do drive slower. And the tolls are higher, so there are some draw backs. I have a KOA membership and the one we go to in NH is wonderful, large sites on the water but I haven't seen one as nice as that one. We do save a little with the membership, so worth it and most have dog play areas and swimming areas, so nice with Bean.


Brown Family said...

Very impressive bridges. I would not have wanted to bee one of those people on top of that one!

Beautiful country. KOA parks are sometimes the better choice if two evils! At least you had a micro park beside your lot! Nice playground and petting farm!

Pea foul have a strange loud call. I don't blame Smitty from wanting to go inside!

Dana Gaffney said...

Your description of how people drive sounds so familiar, add in road rage and guns and you have Miami, crazy and scary.
Cute campground with all of the other things they have there, I hope other people don't decide to use your swing.
We have peacocks here, when I was walking I'd hear them and from a distance they made me think of a cat in trouble. They'll clean your hubcaps and fenders of all the dead bugs :)

piecefulwendy said...

I had to go back and look at the first bridge picture, since I hadn't noticed people on top! That would not be where I'd want to be. I think driving is getting more aggressive and impolite no matter where you are, at least that's what we seem to discover when we take road trips. I prefer to try to kick back and just let those in a rush pass on by. Those peacocks can certainly make alot of noise. Poor Smitty, but I had to chuckle at your description of his reaction. That swing looks inviting ...

SJSM said...

You have the bridge name. Crazy drivers are many times on their phone or texting. Not working has made me a less stressful driver so I now feel pity for a driver who drives that crazy as their frame of mind is one indicator of not coping well. And the person who commented on guns in Miami, the last 6 months the gangs have taken their issues out on a section of 580 not only gang members have been shot but innocent people, too. And, yes, the roads in California can be awful. With all that said, I still love the weather, the food and the cultural diversity. The landscape is equally diverse and you could go to the beach and the mountains In 4 hours; redwoods, Yosemite and coastal sights are just the beginning of the natural wonders we are so lucky to be near.

Enjoy Pt Reyes. Take a sweatshirt and bundle up. June gloom is on the coast. The Cowboy Creamery is in the area. Enjoy some of their cheeses such as their Pt Reyes Blue Cheese.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

My oh my, you were a mile from my home when you crossed that bridge. Amazing that I didn't sense you so close...

Rosemary Rivas said...

As another reader pointed out, that was the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and the toll is in the North bound direction. Next time come up the peninsula via 280 which will connect to Highway 1 and there is no toll going North on the Golden Gate Bridge. My sister says to tell you that Siri should have told you about the toll. We are at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo getting ready for our Central Coast Quilt Shop Hop. We came down 101 and stopped by lunch at San Juan Bautista which has a nice little quilt shop. We also stopped at Birch Fabrics in Paso Robles, which is known as Fabricworm on the "web." While the shop hop consists of nine shops, we hope to hid two more that we have been to before and both have a large selection of fabric: Creation Station at Buelleton, and Fabric Town in Ventura.

Kate said...

I so agree with your comments about California drivers. I didn't like driving in San Francisco, if you get off one highway, you are on another, it's really easy to get lost (yes speaking from experience, where are the overpasses so you can turn around if you miss your turn?).

quiltzyx said...

I had to go back to the first bridge pic too, to see the folks up top! Yikes!

Did you avail yourselves of the swing at your campsite? Looks like a nice place to sit with a coffee (or glass of vino for those who partake) of a morning or evening.