The Last of California and One Day in Oregon

When I was in middle school and junior high, I watched a lot of Travel Channel. I can’t remember what show it was, but I remember watching an episode on the Winchester Mystery House and finding it fascinating.

The house was our first stop on day 17.

Sarah Winchester, widow to William Winchester, and heir to the Winchester fortune, moved to Saint Jose, California, in 1884. According to legend, before she moved to California a psychic had told her to move west and to build onto a home for herself and the victims of those who died due to Winchester firearms.

That’s exactly what she did. Builders expand onto a farmhouse she purchased for 24 hours everyday until she died in 1922.

The house has cupboards and stairs that lead to walls and upper level doors that open straight to the outside without stairways down, which some say is to confuse the spirits.

After fulfilling my childhood dreams, we drove up to San Francisco and saw the Golden Gate Bridge.

We drove further north to Point Reyes National Seashore where Natalie had her first overnight backpacking experience. We hiked about two miles in and camped near the coastal bluffs.

In the morning we drove to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. It is the windiest and foggiest point on the California coast. We were lucky because it was neither windy nor foggy. The lighthouse is pretty short compared to others, but it is higher on the ridge than most. We had to walk 308 steps down to the lighthouse and then 308 steps back up. Sir Francis Drake also camped along the nearby beach in 1579. The beach is named for him.

Point Reyes Lighthouse sits on the windiest and foggiest point on the California Coast.

Further up the coast we stopped at Point Arena Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse visitors are allowed to climb to the top of on the West Coast.

Day 19, marked 10 days left of our trip, and took us through a redwood tree. We had to pay $5 to drive the Buick through it. With fewer than 50,000 miles on it, car has never had such an adventure. Then we headed down the Avenue of the Giants. On the 31-mile road, we stopped and saw the Founders Tree, which has a 40-foot diameter, and the Giant Tree, which is 53 feet in diameter.

After getting onto U.S. Highway 101, we stopped in Fortuna for an oil change and then to our campsite under the redwoods.

We camped under redwood trees on our last night in California.

For Day 20, our first day heading eastward, we didn’t have much planned and stopped a random winery on the way, Del Rio Vineyards near Gold Hill, Oregon. The winery has a tasting room, gift shop, and outdoor seating area for guests in the farm-like setting. Natalie and I each sample three wines and bought a bottle of the rose.

Then we continued our trek to Crater Lake National Park, which still had a lot of snow, so we didn’t do any hiking but we took photos of the lake and Wizard Island.

From there we drove to Bend, Oregon, a day ahead of schedule. We decided to get a hotel and check out Deschutes brewpub where we had supper and some beer samplers, and then we walked down the street to McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School for a drink and dessert. On our way back to our motel, we stopped at a random bar called M&J Tavern for a drink and free pool.

Apparently Oregon was our booze state.

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