Sorry, I left you dangling back in the Redwoods ( here ) so it’s time to move on to the California Coast! We turned off 101 at Leggett and took the (very) winding road from the Redwoods down to Highway 1 – remember this map?
It turns out the road from Leggett is winding indeed and we had to stop a few times to ward off motion sickness. Still it was only an hour before we were hugging the wild and rugged California Coast and I saw huge birds soaring everywhere! I thought (hoped?) they were California Condors, which were reintroduced after being on the brink of extinction. Maybe. But more likely these were Turkey Vultures, not quite as romantic a name but still beautiful, don’t you think?
We spent the night at Fort Bragg as a base for exploring the Mendocino Coast, and made our trek to Glass Beach – famous for the colorful sea glass in its sand.
Just south of Fort Bragg we walked to the Light Station at Point Cabrillo.
I thought the lighthouse was cute, but I enjoyed the wildflowers and wildlife even more.
We went to Mendocino for lunch and shopping but the best part was a walk on the bluff to see the beach and wildflowers.
The next day we continued south on Highway 1 stopping at Point Arena for a look at the 115 ft. Lighthouse, the tallest on the Pacific Coast. In a non-covid world we could have climbed to the top for a tour – not saying I would have, but anyway, isn’t it a beauty?
Next up – Fort Ross – get ready for some history!
The fort was established by the Russians in 1812 to provide food to support their settlements in Alaska and fur to enrich the Russian-American Company. Many of the buildings are reconstructions but the Rotchev House, built in 1836 is original.
After exploring the fort we stopped for lunch in Bodega Bay and I remembered to watch out for the birds – you can’t be too careful!
We continued south along the scenic coast highway – where there were very few guardrails I might add – and ‘hug the center dear” became my mantra.
Occasionally we stopped so the driver could (safely) enjoy the views and once we were surprised by dozens of resting sea lions below!
But San Francisco was our final destination for the night and it wasn’t long before signs of civilization appeared.
I’ll save that for Part 4.