If we thought the initial part of Highway 1 was intense, the road past Sonoma Coast SP into Russian Gulch defied anything we'd experienced the day before. The highway at this stage was clearly designed by a relative of MC Escher. Cattle guards (aka "Texas Gates") across the road made us constantly crane our necks trying to spot cows grazing while wearing climbing ropes.
We took a break at Goat Rock SP to appreciate the crazy wind, waves and the many, many signs warning people of the extremely dangerous nature of this particular piece of beach. From there, the crazy turns continued until Bodega Bay when the road turns inland and straightens out. Arriving in Petaluma (we're still not entirely sure how exactly we got there...), we decided to grab dinner at a California institution: "In-and-Out Burger".
After dinner we spent a few discouraging hours trying to find an overnight spot closer to San Francisco. Striking out at a state campground (walk-in spots only), 2 Walmarts (no overnight parking) and a Best Western (fully booked), we ended up grabbing the last hotel room available for the night in Martinez (home of naturalist John Muir).