North Californian coast

Bodega is a small town a few miles from the coast where Hitchcock shot The Birds. In the plain light of day it is much more pretty than ominous, but blink and you miss it. Which we did. We were just admiring the lovely church when we passed a Hitchcock poster and too late we realised what we had passed. Since there wasn't much opportunity to turn round we carried on. What was very ominous was the cloud we could see straight up ahead. The microclimate here is amazing: Bodega Bay on the coast was cold and foggy, but only a mile inland it was sunny and hot.

Even with the bad visibility we could see the coast was amazing, as pretty as the Big Sur. Passed through Salt Point State Park without managing to stop either. All over the place you see "no parking" signs. Too late we realised you are supposed to park in the campsites - there is a special price for day-only use.

At least we managed to stop in Gualala for lunch and to do a short walk down to the beach. After an hour there, just as we were halfway back, the skies opened and let in the most amazing light. I nearly ran back to the beach with the camera but we had to press on.

Did one last short stop at Mendoccino just before sunset. Lucas was asleep (he got up really early after hearing this morning's breakfast finished at 9) so that limited our movements a little. Then we drove on for the last few miles to Fort Bragg, a pretty large town compared to what we've seen today.

It's weird but feeding the kids in California seems more of a challenge than feeding them in, say, Cambodia. They like pretty plain fare, like a simple chicken breast or plain pasta, but everything here seems to have some sort of sauce, many times so integral to the dish you can't ask for it separate. And even dishes on the children's menus are spicy or hot. Supermarket delis seem to be the way forward, but the choice is limited.

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