Friday, February 22, 2008

Pescadero & the Land of the Gnomes

On the way up the mountain from Pescadero,
Driving into "The Gnome Mobile" land (lovely old Disney movie).
Winding in and out of the Giant Redwoods. So very beautiful.
That's the actual Redwood Forest where the gnomes live. GB and I saw them! We did! We really did!!
Don't you see them too?

It's Friday - the day before Crabtacular V!! GB and I hung around in the morning with Dodgie so my bro (bbum) and his friend, Ben, could run last minute errands.

That afternoon GB and I headed back to Pescadero, as Bill (bbum) had told us earlier that the tavern there had some of the best food around and we really should try it - especially any dish that had artichokes in it as the town and valley are known for the best 'chokes around. We'd already brought back the best artichoke bread the day before from The Country Bakery - and if the quality of that was any indication, it was certainly worth the trip back. (The brick oven pizza at the general store on the left just before the bakery is touted to be some of the best as well. I'm sure there's an artichoke pizza on their menu.)

There are two ways to get to Pescadero from San Jose. You either go 25 miles north on a major highway (280N) , then 8 miles west on a skyline highway (92W) and finally about 20 miles south on Route 1. We did that route the day before on the way to Santa Cruz. It was breathtaking....and long. You can also take the "short cut". 32 miles straight over the top of the mountains separating our valley from Pescadero's valley. We took the "short cut". It took us an hour and a harrowing half. If I hadn't been driving I would have been in the back seat whimpering with a blanket over my head, (no, GB isn't a bad driver, it's just that I'm much better behind the wheel on that kind of road - psychotic isn't far away otherwise).

As we were driving out of Saratoga, CA, the last town it turned out, before Pescadero, I asked GB if maybe we should turn back and get a wee bit of petrol as the gas tank was on 1/4 tank. "Not to worry", he said - "this is a Subaru and we only have 32 miles to go!" HA! We nearly lived to regret that! (Of course we had done the same thing the day before...1/4 tank of gas with 40 miles to go to Santa Cruz...we like living on the edge, baby!)

We took the same road we had taken Wednesday to the top of the mountain above the Savannah-Channelle Vineyard, but this time at the top, we turned right onto a perfectly reasonable, and I use that term loosely, highway called Skyline Boulevard. We meandered along that for a while and then turned left onto Alpine Road. The width of the road immediately began shrinking from that point on. As GB said at one point: "HOLY SH#T, Ann, one little mistake and we're 200 feet down the side! O MY GOD there's a TRUCK coming!! GET OVER. WAIT, if you get over, we're over the side!!! JUST STOP!!!" (I'm writing this so we obviously survived the top of the mountain, though we took nary a picture going TO Pescadero because we were too busy praying.)

As we were coasting to the bottom of the mountain and Pescadero, (and I do mean coasting because by that point, the red "almost-out-of-gas" light was glowing madly, and according to the google directions we had 10 very twisty and slow miles to go), the climate/landscape very suddenly changed and we drove right into "Gnome Mobile" land....the Redwoods....they were simply stunning, magnificent. And I fully expected gnomes to pop out from behind the trees at any moment! We sweated our way through these magnificent trees not really enjoying their beauty because we just knew we were going to have to walk for gas the last five miles. (We really must have had an angel with us....we cruised into Pescadero with a few fumes to spare!)

After we'd fueled up the good old "I'll certainly last until the next station, thank you!" car, GB and I had a wonderful lunch (read over-the-top feast) at Duarte's Tavern. Homemade warm sour dough bread served with the cream of artichoke soup, a steamed artichoke and fresh caught out of Half-Moon-Bay fried smelt. Then abalone sandwiches on homemade toasted bread. All was over the top. (Well, we've had better abalone in San Fran, but everything else was the tops.) Duarte's is across the street from Pescadero's general store and bakery (first small picture), and is definitely worth the trip!

We found the road home was much easier - because we'd done it, we were going uphill so for the most part were on the inside lane of the mountain, we'd had a glass of wine - who knows, but this time we stopped and took pictures, with no heart palpitations experienced. The one comment GB had, and I have to agree, is how can anyone live there for very long. As beautiful it is, surrounded by the magnificent redwoods, it is always so damp and there is never much sunshine to speak of. But the gorgeousness? Absolutely indisputable!

Top of the mountain between the valleys, 4:30pm. Half-way home. Such beauty.


1 comment:

  1. Oh, lovely pics! Now I want to rent the Gnome Mobile and see it again!

    BTW, I can't comment on the most 2 recent posts. Maybe it's my computer or even more likely, Blogger? But I saw that dress on Color of Home and immediately I thought of Carol Burnett spoofing on Gone with the Wind. And excellent caption for your cat sitting on the end table!

    Thanks for stopping by my site!


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