Our one-night stop in Fortuna, California, four years ago, gave us a glimpse of the beautiful giant Coastal Redwoods, and I knew that this time I wanted more time here. Little did I know just how special it would be!
After our quickie in Fort Bragg, Wednesday's drive north from Willits takes us on a narrow section of Hwy 101 where the redwoods are so close there are reflectors on the trunks to assure you don't hit them. Still, there are "signs" that a few mirrors and fenders have made contact. Nothing like the nightmare road of a few days ago, it's a beautiful drive.
Although it's next to the small street, our site at Riverwalk RV Park has a nice large grass yard and is one of only a couple sites that has satellite access. For others, there's cable. Level asphalt and 50 amp FHUs with a pretty view of the green hills, it's a good spot for our five nights.
|One of our prettier front yards.|
It still takes a few days and doses of Benadryl, but the itching does finally stop. So relieved to have her more comfortable!
Our previous one-nighter was a Harvest Hosts stop at the Eel River Brewery that also had good eats. We return a couple times to enjoy tasty brews and bites.
Thursday we head out on what I initially think is a short "hop" to the coast. We pass through the quaint town of Ferndale, and plan to stop on our return. The rhododendrons are in their fully glory!
An initial steep, narrow and rutted road takes us over the hills where we discover a gentle new world. The air is so fresh, it seems to expand my lungs and I feel great!
In the distance, the pines are blanketed with fog, adding to the magic. It only gets better.
Once we get our first glimpse of the coast we're in awe. No place we've been has felt like this. Because the combination of natural beauty, peaceful pastoral vistas, and complete quiet, has it's own unique feel that is overwhelming.
|Happy California cows with a million dollar view.|
There are only a couple small places to pull off the pot-hole filled road, so I drive very slow to take it all in.
|Rough and rugged seas.|
|A small section of basalt sand beach.|
|Site of the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse from 1868 to 1951, and the western most spot in California.|
|In person she looks lavender like the flowers.|
|A youngster watches us from the blooms.|
|Yet another environment.|
What an amazing surprise this drive was! Since going, we've found several others who have been and loved it. But for our time along the Lost Coast, it felt like an undiscovered treasure. The multiple pot-holes and road swells add to the "nobody else has been here" vibe.
Hoping to avoid weekend crowds, we head to the Avenue of the Giants on Friday. With so much to look at over our heads, we take off the Jeep's top. As the temps rise, it turns out to be a perfect topless day.
|A whispering place.|
|An aqua blue meander of the Eel River|
|This roadside map accurately depicts the route we drove home yesterday :-)|
|Among the Giants are the Guardians of the Forest.|
|Even with these markers, it's hard to comprehend the age of these trees.|
|Another marker that's hard to believe is this water level as high as telephone poles during the flood of 1961! From here the bank of the river is over 200 yards away.|
|I love this 20 foot tall dude pointing at a closed eatery.|
|Like the red rocks of Utah, I never tire of these red trees.|
|Feeling very small.|
Over the weekend we return to Ferndale to see the colorful Victorian homes and businesses. Local musicians, pretty flowers, and friendly shop owners add to a lovely small town visit.
We take a short drive through the countryside on our way home.
|Nothing prettier than a sweet pink house.|
|So much beautiful detail on every layer.|
|Gingerbread Mansion Inn|
|Sculpture leaning on tree, surrounding a small bench on the other side. And a not-so-fluffy Tessa dog.|
|Makin' music on the corner.|
|I'm glad I don't have to maintain these grand exteriors!|
|with ocean views.|
|Easy to imagine ghosts at the windows.|
Given how many people we visit in our travels, it's a great surprise to have this opportunity to see an international friend. Bob brings his sister and brother on their day trip, and we all have a wonderful time.
Mari and Mark are a lot of fun and it's like we've always known them too. After a leisurely lunch, we find a pretty redwood park to spend a couple hours.
|Mari soaks up the majesty of the tall trees.|
|Bob, Bill, Jodee, Mari and Mark|
Life is so good.