The Pacific Coast Road was one of our goals so we set out on Route 1 north of San Francisco. We did not visit San Francisco on this trip as we had previously stayed there for several days two years ago, before taking the train back to Washington DC.
We had a gloomy first afternoon when we walked over the dunes for our first view of a grey and very windy Pacific Ocean at Bodega Bay. Thereafter, however, we had days of glorious sunshine with which to view rock arches and rocky promontories and a beautiful blue ocean. Working our way up the coast, we stopped in the little town of Jenner at the Jenner Inn for coffee and found the most amazing fruit muffins. After voraciously consuming one, we had to buy a second! We also admired the seals (from a distance) basking on the sandy mouth of the river. It is a popular breeding ground and has been somewhat blocked off to provide the seals with some privacy from walkers.
The Blue Cat was a bit less impressed by the scenery, but he did like toasting in his window, with his tail casually blowing out the window. (This is known as Cat-Under-Glass.)
We were disappointed by the Fort Ross Historic Park, which was closed. We were able to walk the grounds and see the buildings on the outside but the Visitor Center and all interior access, event the parking, was closed. Fred was fascinated by this little known Russian colony which farmed and cut timber along some twenty miles of coast to support Russian colonization in Alaska in the early 1800’s. (http://www.fortross.org) We shall have to do more research on Wikipedia.
We then headed to our next Harvest Host winery, Handleys Wine Cellar. (http://www.handleycellars.com) An older winery, we liked several of their wines and made our purchases in exchange for a night on the hillside with views of vineyards stretching in all directions. The winery was on Route 128 which meandered through a redwood forest, and driving there gave us our first views of the coastal giant redwoods, and proved a delightful shady drive. We completed our tree education by taking the Avenue of the Giants, through the Humboldt National Park, with its stands of giant redwoods. These are taller than the Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada, though do not live as long. To be quite honest, tall is relative, especially when the trees as so tall you cannot see the top even staring up! We continued heading north and stopped for the evening at the Prairie Creek Redlands State Park, where we had the fortune to take the last space at the Elk campground. Fred saw elk in the distance but Denise did not. She has hopes of seeing some as we continue our travels north.
Still heading north, we crossed into Oregon heading for Crater Lake. Fred had a yearn for ice-cream and we stopped at an amazing ice-cream stand, Phil’s Frosty in Shady Grove, OR. Fred ordered a small sundae which turned out to be huge! (http://www.yelp.com/biz/phils-frosty-shady-cove) Denise contented herself with a small cone! As it was Saturday evening, we started checking for a campsites and found the last site in a small primitive campsite. It was cool and pleasant if a little noisy. The temperatures were slowly climbing and being shaded was becoming important!