Friday 29th August. Forestville, California, USA
Ted said he could drive me up to my next host in Forestville, an hour and a half north of San Francisco, and in light of my recent hitching ordeal *oh..poor little me* I couldn't pass up an offer like that. I was meant to visit Judith in Forestville on my way south from Oregon, but at that stage I just wanted to get to a city and not talk to anyone. Judith forgave me, and welcomed me with a hearty hug. She has a caravan set up outside her house, and it's decked out for a guest- fresh fruit on the counter, clean towels, coffee machine, down comforter, even a heap of travel literature about the local area, and an ice chest full of tasty drinks!

Yesterday, I woke up fairly early and did a few jobs around the yard. Judith has about an acre of land here, and there was a dangerously dilapidated footbridge across the stream behind her house. It's not dangerous anymore- it's in small pieces neatly stacked beside the house. *I hope she wanted it torn down* After Judith fed me a great southern style breakfast of smoked sausage from Florida, scrambled eggs and grits, we went for a drive in the lovely Audi that she bought on Ebay! This is really a fascinating area, close to the mountains, close to the beach and beautiful in its own right with redwood forests and winding little backroads that follow the path of a river. The weather has been warm and sunny and you can see people enjoying the streams in kayaks and rafts. Along the way, amongst the forest and vineyards, there are small roadside towns and quaint little villages. Unlike ordinary small backwoods towns, these places are packed with top class restaurants and gourmet bakeries. It seems this is where the wealthy of San Francisco move to get away from it all, without having to compromise on the finer things in life.

California coastline. redwood trees in Armstrong Grove.

Judith lives here with six and a half thousand cats and an old dog called Scooter. She's been taking it easy for a few years but has a knockout business idea that she's soon to start. It's top secret. I could tell you what it is, but I'd have to kill you. Her friend Phil joined us for dinner last night. He's a computer guru, and got my laptop hooked up to the net via a temporary internet account of his. So this update was made possible by Phil. Thanks mate!

Judith at work in her home office. Me relaxing in my guest quarters after a hard day of destruction.

By the way, I asked Ted from Berkeley to send me a photo of himself since I didn't get a good shot of him while I was there. He sent me the shot below, taken a few years ago, he says. Crikey Ted, the years haven't been kind to you since then!

Woo hoo!

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