|We arrived at Lake Mendocino about 8:30AM after a beautiful half hour morning drive south on 101. 101 is a much straighter highway and mostly four lanes. It bisects scenic farms and vineyards in the famed Russian River wine area. The weather is especially perfect for the fermentation of tasty complex red wines. Lake Mendocino lies just northeast of the town of Ukiah.It is a large reservoir formed by the construction of Coyote Dam in 1958. The lake is about two miles by one mile in size and today it was greatly expanded by the heavy spring rains. Roads surrounding the reservoir were covered in areas and only tree tops protruded near the shore line. It was ten to twenty feet deeper than normal. We were able to paddle up the northeast wing of the Russian River which feeds the lake a good one and a half miles. It was very scenic and nature abounded. Many birds,turtles, and small animals were evident in the rich lakeside vegetation. The giant rolling hills held the lake in the valley formed amongst them. We paddled amongst the flooded tree tops and made our way upstream until we were finally halted by water surging over large boulders with no way through. The temperature was in the upper 70's and the sun shone brightly on the algae rich waters giving them a green color. This was much warmer than the coastal areas of the past two days where the temperature struggled to stay above 50 . The coast has that misty and damp marine layer when the interior is very warm. So one can have his choice-be cold or be hot!-all in a 30 mile area. We paddled about seven miles. We lunched at the Himalayan Cafe in Ukiah-a new experience for us. The cooking uses unusual spices and is done in pottery ovens. Bill has spent a lot of time trekking the Himalayas and strongly recommended we try the food. We had a good time and enjoyed the food. The chef is from the Himalayas and proudly showed us his pictures from his native country. He emphasized and explained the health aspects of his food and cooking. Barb and I then continued on our own and visited the Redwood Valley Cellars and enjoyed wonderful Russian River wines . We had several of the Barra Line of reds and whites and they were excellent!