Sunday, June 28, 2015

From a Hot Spot to the Coolest Place We've Been

We knew when we left our wonderful spot at the harbor of Bodega Bay we were moving inland for our next stop. Still traveling Hwy 101, but the stretch from Santa Rosa to Garberville moves away from the coast.

We had reasons to stop for a couple nights in Ukiah. One was the chance for a visit with our sister-in-law, Marilynn. The other was a day trip to the Fort Bragg area.

Staying along the coast during the summer is not an inexpensive option. The Redwood Empire Fairgrounds has a year-round RV "park" with FHUs, plus showers and laundry if needed, for half the cost of every other place we've stayed.

We wouldn't stay there again, but for only one reason. Sand burrs. Everywhere. What look like small grass strips between each site are just thick patches of sand burr plants. Tessa had fifty stuck to her in a couple minutes, and we tracked them in on our shoes as well. Horrible.

Sand Burr City, Ukiah

And it was hot. Even though it was cooler than it had been for the past two weeks, with another week of triple digits expected when we left, the 90 degrees was hotter than anywhere we'd been - and anywhere we were going! Thankfully the ACs worked well and we slept comfortably both nights.

Our visit with Marilynn was delightful as expected. She got to see our new home, we had a decent dinner in town, and most importantly we just got to spend time together. Did I take a single damn photo? Again....no!

I did however take a lot of them the following day. Fort Bragg has long been on the top of Bill's list of places he'd want to live. We were there a couple years ago, and I had to agree with him. This visit was even more convincing as we spent time along the river, in the little town of Mendocino, and along the beautiful cliffs above Glass Beach.

A quick stop in the forest

Navarro River enters the Pacific in Mendocino

Tessa had a blast playing on the solid sand along the river
Cliffs and rocks along Glass Beach, Fort Bragg
 
We were up early and headed north for our first single night stop. I joined Harvest Hosts when we launched and was looking forward to a stop that was both different, and free. Well, the first time pays for the membership, so I guess the next one will actually be free :-)

Eel River Brewing Company is not far off Hwy 101 in the town of Fortuna. The gravel lot with no trees behind the taphouse is not pretty, but it's level, safe and fairly quiet. The smoker at the back of the building smelled divine, but we didn't stay there for the grub. This is the land of redwoods and fishing.


Our first Harvest Host stop. We'd stay again :-)

The Avenue of the Giants is 15 minutes south of Fortuna and completely took my breath away. We spent all afternoon exploring the main road; a couple small, unmarked roads that took us down to the forest floor; and the depressingly low Eel River. We stopped at a bait store in Scotia who isn't selling any because there isn't enough water for fish. Sad. Scary.





Magical and majestic redwoods, Avenue of the Giants
Eel River reduced to a creek
Driving where we had hoped to be fishing
Unfortunately the eateries in Fortuna with outside dining do not welcome dogs. Including the taphouse. So I ordered our dinner to go and had to forego trying out their tasty sounding brews. The place was hopping for a week night, and the smoked BBQ ribs were very good.

With a short travel day ahead, we slept in and took our time getting on the road. Being back along the coast with the mix of redwoods and wildflowers, the scenery was mesmerizing. Wow. Why did we live in the congestion and heat of the rest of the state all our lives? I suppose it was that pesky "making a living" thing, but man am I glad we're getting to see it now!

I've seen pictures of Trinidad sometime in my past, and remember that it was beautiful. Still I wasn't prepared for the scene as the highway crested overlooking the bay a few miles north of Arcata. Thankfully we had reservations here for eight nights, because I don't think I could have kept driving. This is by far the coolest place we've been.

I look forward to sharing it with you.




19 comments:

  1. The Redwoods are definitely beautiful. It's definitely a gorgeous place to spend some time.

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  2. Poor Tessa, those sand burrs are nasty! Emmi gets to the point where she avoids grass when we are in that kind of area! In a previous life I spent a couple days in Mendocino for work--absolutely breathtaking!

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    1. Smart Emmi, we were carrying Tessa to the car the last day! That would be a nice "assignment" for sure :-)

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  3. As we travel we are searching for the next place we will buy a house and California is out of the running due to the high cost of living AND the water situation. I am curious what San Diego will look like when we return in November, I have a feeling it will be noticeably browner...

    I worry about the redwoods, I hope the coastal climate is still providing them enough fog to satisfy their water needs. Ft Bragg is a place I've always wanted to visit...some day!

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    1. The fog was heavy enough last night to be dripping on the roof for a while. A good sign I think. With our healthcare and family in CA, it remains in the running, but the cost and water are serious negatives.

      You'll love Fort Bragg I'm sure. There are some great hiking trails in the area as well as the amazing scenery and climate :-)

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  4. My Mom has a second home along highway 101 in Laytonville. Blink and you may miss the town though. I've heard about Glass Beach but have never been, one day we'll get there. Great photos of the redwoods.

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    1. She's in a lovely place. We didn't go down the cliff stairs to the beach, it was very much smaller than I thought. Didn't look like there was much beach glass left, but that stretch of coastline is spectacular!

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  5. Hmm those towns sounded familiar....isn't Ukiah the home of the New Dimensions Radio Program? On our coast you probably wouldn't want to be at Fort Bragg, it's an army base in North Carolina. Yours looks much nicer but any beach looks terrific to me. Any time, any where. I too worry for the Redwoods. The water situation is so very sad. It's interesting to hear how the state is trying to cope and who has to cut back the most. Looking forward to your 8 days and the hiking.

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    1. They may have started out in Ukiah, but are in Santa Rosa now. Not far though. Interesting history! These little towns seem to be doing a lot more to conserve than the big inland cities. Not sure what the plan is when the reservoirs currently at 15% actually run dry.

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  6. I hate those pesky stickers! So does Hurley! Unfortunately, there seems to be quite a few of un-doggy-friendly landscape around. Hopefully you won't run into any for some time! Those beautiful trees are certainly something!

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    1. In our current spot she drags in redwood "leaves" and sticks, but at least they don't hurt :-)

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  7. You are in my most favorite part of California, but it is very sad to see the lack of water. Trinidad really is something else, so beautiful. Well, thanks for sharing it sure stirred some memories!

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    1. You're very welcome Maura. Just trying to find a spot to put a hook in the water is a real challenge.

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  8. We've only done the northern part of the CA coast on a motorcycle and we need to get back with MH. I really want to visit Glass Beach. Tessa looks like a giant cotton ball on that beach:) So cute. Poor little paws! I am so glad we were on the motorcycle when we did Avenue of the Giants. It is a place I will always remember. I just love everything about the redwoods. Sounds like you are just having a great time:)

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    1. There's so much to see, we're already making a list for next time! She really looks like a puff ball now that she got groomed yesterday :-) - pics next time.

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  9. We love the California coast from Morro Bay on up. You've been in some of our favorite places -- Ft. Bragg, Mendocino, and Trinidad! I'm assuming you've spent some time in Arcata, as well. Looks like you guys are having a great time, despite the sand burrs (those things are terrible!) and the lack of water for fishing. The water situation in California is dire. As you said, the small towns often do much more toward conservation than the big cities. Crazy.

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    1. Wednesday is our Arcata day :-) Even the little towns like McKinleyville and Blue Lake are delightful. I imagine I'd be less enthusiastic come winter, but maybe not!

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  10. Loved that Wild Coast area when I camped at Matole Beach many years ago. A gorgeous place to return to. Glad you got some reprieve from the heat on the coast.

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