Traveling from Fort Bragg to the Russian River

Fort Bragg to Forestville (5) When we left Fort Bragg yesterday, it was raining hard.  Our route followed Highway 1 along the coast for several miles before we turned inland at the Navarre River on Highway 128. Gasoline was just 2.99 a gallon on the south end of Fort Bragg, so we put another 75 in the MoHo and hooked up the baby car right there in the gas station.  We are both amazed at how quickly we can hook up that car.  The Stow Master hitch works great if we hit it every now and then with a bit of silicone.  I can just slide it onto the ball without any effort at all. 

I checked our route on Google Maps, on the iPhone, and with Garmin Girl, all set for the fastest, not the shortest route.  I didn’t say anything about avoiding highways.  All three of them sent us over 128, but not a single one gave us a clue what we were in for.  The first part of the road was narrow, following the Navarre River through huge old redwood forests, damp and dark in the misty rain.  After a few miles we emerged into the Anderson Valley, and official wine country.  Picturesque small towns dotted the landscape every few miles and even in the rain the vineyards were beautiful in their fall colors. 

Fort Bragg to Forestville (21) Once we began ascending the mountains of the coast range however, the road got more and more narrow, and more winding even than Highway 1 was a few days ago.  The last five miles before we reached 101 were probably the most harrowing so far on this trip.  Mo handled it with aplomb, I wore my wristbands, and Jeremy only got sick once.

If we had known the route was this bad, we would have taken the more direct route straight south on Highway 1 along the coastline all the way to Jenner.  Ah well, neither of us had been on this route before, so it was ok.  Of course, Garmin Girl was still programmed for “shortest route”, so she took us along the even rougher “Westside Road” to get us into Forestville rather than going farther south on 101 and taking a major road back west.  By the time we got to the campground in the dark pouring rain, Mo’s opinion of Garmin Girl was diminishing.

Fort Bragg to Forestville (4) This trip was an opportunity for us to check out as many Camp Club USA parks as possible, and we only came this far south to try out this park.  The web site looks great, but if you look at Street View on Google, it’s another story entirely.  When we arrived at the River Bend RV Resort, the office was closed (it was barely 2 in the afternoon) and there were some very vague instructions about “finding a site”. We had a reservation, and had no clue where to go because the park is very tight, convoluted, and completely full of old trailers, rv’s, campers, all surrounded by old cars and trucks. 

River Bend RV Park (6) While I stood around looking helpless, the owner showed up saying, “Oh, I was just making a map for you”.  He charged me the half price fee of 24 bucks a day, and then said, “Wi-Fi is free for one hour a day, otherwise there is a 6.00 charge” . What?? It didn’t say THAT on the internet.  He proceeded to give me a huge spiel about the high cost of real estate in Sonoma County and how he didn’t let anyone else stay in his park for a measly 24.00, and didn’t I realize that there were 150 wineries within a fifteen minute drive and he wasn’t about to pay for free Wi-Fi for people who just abused it by downloading movies.  Hmmm. It was also interesting reading the “rules”.  My favorite was the one warning about going in the river intoxicated, and another one referred to no loud partying after 10PM.  Interesting clientele, I think.

Our site was right on the river, a bit away from all the permanent residents, so that was a relief. I think we are the only people in the park who aren’t permanent.  I decided to do some laundry, going back and forth in the rain, dealing with the dryers that quit when the power went out from all the rain, but of course the timers didn’t quit and I lost 4 bucks.  Froggi Donna, another blogger, asked recently what we love and what we hate about RV’ing and last night I through that what I dislike most is the dang laundry thing. 

River Bend RV Park (3)I decided to read the “101 Things to Do Sonoma” for some ideas about the area.  Unlike the Mendocino publication which was full of great information, this one had page after page of wineries and restaurants.  I guess if you are in Sonoma, you are supposed to go wine tasting and then eat.  Ha.  Mo and I both love wine, but the wine tasting thing sometimes just seems way too expensive and pretentious for either of us.  I’d rather go kayaking and buy my wine at Trader Joe’s or Costco.  Maybe a nice wine tour would be a fun thing to do another time, but not this time.

We settled in after supper and listened to the hard rain, drowning out most of the heavy traffic noise from the highway nearby.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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