2014 Great Circle Tour travel blog

King Neptune junk art in Guerneville, CA

The Russian River as it nears the coast

Sue buying some smoked salmon from the SmokeShack

Shoreline along the Pacific Coast Highway at the Sonoma Coast State Park

Seals sunning themselves on a rock

Heads up

Another view of the shoreline along the Pacific Coast Highway

Gulls at a picnic

Looking down the Pacific Coast Highway

St. Bernard getting some air

Some of the wildflowers in bloom along the coast

More wildflowers in bloom

Sheep grazing in the hills

Hog Island Oyster Farm

Appetizer at the Hog Island Oyster Farm

Some of the dogs at Hog Island

Sail boats in Tomales Bay

Mural in Valley Ford

Dinucci's located in Valley Ford


Hope every one had an enjoyable Easter Sunday wherever you are. We sort of relaxed around the campground and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather. While watching the Flyers beat the Rangers, finally, I spent some time sprucing up Winnie. The front was covered with dead, splattered bugs and was badly in need of cleaning. I cleaned the bugs, washed the front and windshield and put on some wax. Hopefully the wax will help the next time I need to clean it.

Yesterday we drove down the Russian River to coast. We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway from the Russian River to the Hog Island Oyster Farm on Tomales Bay. Kyle and Annie had recommended it as they stopped there in 2012 on the camping phase of their honeymoon. It’s an interesting place as you have a choice of making reservations for a table and shucking your own oysters or walk up and order at the oyster bar and take your chances at finding a seat. They also have takeout. Since we didn’t have reservations, we ordered at the bar and managed to find a seat at one of the tables. All of the tables are outside. We sat with three other young couple from different parts of California. We had BBQ’d oysters, a Charcuterie platter, and some local beer. The food was pretty good, but a little pricey and only enough for an appetizer.

On the way back to River Bend, we stopped at Dinucci’s, a family Italian restaurant in Valley Ford. Dinucci's was built in 1908 by Mr. and Mrs. Barboni of Occidental, as the Depot Hotel. It served travelers travelling on the Northwestern Pacific Narrow Gauge Railroad that ran through Valle Ford. The trains hauled passengers, lumber and farming supplies. The railroad was dismantled in 1929, however the Depot Hotel continued to operate as a rooming house and restaurant. Henry and Mabel Dinucci bought it in 1939 and changed the name. The Dinucci’s enlarged the dining room in 1944. They continued to rent out rooms upstairs and served family style dinners in the restaurant. The Wagners bought Dinucci's in 1968 and continued to serve Italian dinners. The children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of the Wagner’s are involved in the family's restaurant today. The great grandson waited on our table. The chicken cacciatore, chicken parmesan and minestrone were good and were more than enough to fill us up. We brought enough home to have for dinner tonight with the addition of some linguine.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the pleasures of traveling and should be on everyone’s bucket list. This is the fourth time I’ve driven all or part of the highway. The vistas of the mountains meeting the sea are spectacular and this time of the year the wildflowers are in bloom. Where the highway goes a little inland, there are rolling green hills where dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, goats, and horses graze. There are plenty of turnouts and state and county parks to pull off to enjoy the sights. I’m glad we drove the coast before we leave the area. We’ll be heading over to the Camping World in Vacaville for Winnie to get an oil change on Tuesday morning.

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