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The initial plan was to take advantage of Fee Free National Parks Weekend that started on Veteran’s Day, 11/11/11.  However, as we headed out of the door to Yosemite National Park, I received a call advising that the weather would be colder than I am usually willing to bear and rainy.  So, still needing to enjoy a day out with the family, we headed up Highway 1 to a quaint little town, Mendocino, CA.

This is a bit of our photographic exploration of part of the land that our veteran’s fought to keep ours and keep safe.  As seen by the Girl-in-the-Middle and me.

photo of the coast

Beautiful shot by my daughter. I love when she takes the camera.

The water here is so beautiful.  I have a terrible fear of large bodies of water; I know this water is beyond freezing; I know the force of this water is too strong for me to manage; yet, I so wanted to jump in and swim.

Mendocino Coast

The undisturbed beach

I am always excited to see what the Girl-in-the-Middle sees when the camera is her eyes.  The above three shots were taken by her and I love it because it represents who/how she is; guarded from the vastness of the world; with a massive barrier allowing a way out when she wants it but, protecting the sacred tranquil spot where she shelters and nurtures that that is precious to her person.  She finds her comfort and refuge in keeping closed to the chaos and crazy that is peer pressure/parent pressure/personal pressure.  She has a calm that disturbs uneasily but is a force not to be reckoned with.

Here are some of the other shots that caught our eye.

Somewhere along the way, we pulled over to capture this shot.

The battle between land and sea.

The bird that allowed me to get less than two feet from it without flying away irritated with the disturbance.

The green life in a sea of rock.

After exploring the land, heading back to find a restaurant to feed the two starving young people, we passed The Mendocino Art Gallery and decided to take a look.  A quick look though, because they were setting up for an event.  The young were reluctant but went along without much protest.  Inside, we found wonderful watercolor paintings, oil paintings, jewelry artistry (I may have to get the bracelet I feel in love with), and photography that both kids appreciated.  Some of the photos were of familiar places we had visited in Paris, including a restaurant that we all remember.

Metalwork Outside of the Art Center

The Boy's favorite piece

Our day ended with dinner at a cafe where the food left more to be desired and a drive down Highway 101 (Hwy 1 wasn’t so inviting in the dark.)

More time was spent getting there and back than in actually enjoying the space but if even only for our moment in time, we had a beautiful day together.  That was worth the trip.