Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ft. Bragg California - Part 2

August 27 - September 1, 2013:

It's another misty, foggy morning here in Noyo Harbor with the sounds of a fog horn in the distance.  (I'm not complaining !)  We are looking at the dust storm reports form Phoenix, glad we are not there !  We are also reading about the huge Rim fire in California that is threatening Yosemite Park and the Groveland area where we were a few months ago, don't want to be there either !

View of Sportsman's RV Park from hilltop on a clear day

I am sanitizing the fresh water tank and piping today, have a chlorine solution in the tank and piping, will drain and flush the system latter this afternoon.  In parallel, we have a serious ant attack taking place in our RV, so we make a trip to Ace hardware for ant traps and spray and are now in the midst of a counter attack.  

We escaped reality with a ride along Route 1 north to check out the scenery and the road conditions for RV travel.  The reports on the internet are negative on driving a large RV on Route 1 north.  We find that it is not too bad until you hit the last twenty miles when climbing over the mountains, many blind hairpin curves, very narrow, steep and no place to pull over.  We will go back to route 101 the way we came, on route 20, although it almost as bad, but has lots of pull overs.  Route 1 is a beautiful ride however, very glad to see it, it doesn't get much more scenic.  We stopped at a beach area that was stunning, huge flat fine sandy beach, rock formations in the surf, huge tree trunk driftwood.  The entire coastline here is amazing, it just might be better than the Monterey coastal area, would be difficult to pick one spot that is the best.  

A desirable house setting over the beach

Just an ordinary northern Mendocino coast beach

You just had to walk barefoot on this beach

Another classic northern California coastal view

Once back in Ft. Bragg we stop at the Farmers Market and walk around the downtown for a while exploring.  Ft. Bragg has a vibrant downtown with a strong artistic element.  I go back after dark to the Headlands Coffee House to listen to a local blues musician.  Headlands Coffee House has a friendly vibe, lots of beverages, (even beer and wine), good stuff to eat and live music almost every night. 

Historic logging Locomotive inside a downtown restaurant

Art with a pulse Tattoo Parlor door

Headlands Coffeehouse

Thursday, we take off for Russian Gulch State Park on Route 1 near Mendocino.  We hike the Falls Loop Trail through a foggy wet forest that was much like a rain forest, along a small stream with lots of huge ferns, big trees and lots of old cut Redwood stumps with new Redwood growth all around them.  It was a moderate uphill climb, but at least 100% humidity, I was soaking wet when we came to a beautiful waterfall.  We then continued on through the forest, the sun eventually burned through, it was mostly downhill, all good, a beautiful hike !  We then went to the coastal headland area at Russian Gulch Park and walked along the seacoast looking down over the edge of the cliffs to the raging sea far below.  There are small trails leading from the top down to lower areas that we looked at and said, No Way !  One slip in the dirt and you are over the edge and in for a long drop to the rocks below or the churning sea.  We saw a young girl the other day at Ft. Bragg beach that caused our hearts to skip a beat, she was walking along a precarious ledge, in flip flops, semi stumbling along and totally oblivious to the danger and so close to falling possibly to her death. 

A young Redwood growing out of an old stump

Waterfall on the Fall Loop Trail

Lush ferns were everywhere along the trail

Trees were covered with lichens

A Banana Slug along the trail

We see lots of surfer types around here although the waves are not really that big normally and lots of old scraggly weather beaten looking guys hitchhiking (possibly old retired surfers).  

The Skunk Train is a famous old logging train that runs from Ft. Bragg to Willits, CA and is a big tourist attraction.  The skunk name comes from the fact that people would say they could smell the train before they could see it.  They run excursion trains pulled by Diesel locomotive or an old diesel motorcar and once in a while by a real steam locomotive.  The ride takes you through the Redwood forests, over many bridges and even a few tunnels.  It's a costly ride and as we are seeing the Redwoods up close on our hikes, so we skipped it, but I did take some photos of it coming into the station. 

The Redwood Route

California & Western Line

Steam Locomotive pulling train into Ft. Bragg

I slip out Friday night to the "Golden West" bar located in what appears to be an old Hotel, now closed.  It's a classic old western saloon, the kind everyone now likes to refer to as "dive bars". It is a classic, appears to be an unrestored original, the best kind.  They had a hot local band, The Steven Bates Band, playing who were great, best band I have heard since Santa Fe and the place was rocking.  It filled with a eclectic strange crowd of both young and old that was pretty unusual. 

The Golden West

We have a Saturday morning breakfast at "Eggheads", with their Wizard of Oz theme.  It's very small, but great breakfast, friendly, quick, efficient and good service. Afterwards we hike around the local Ft. Bragg coastline, mostly in the fog and cool mist. Then another stroll around downtown, check out the car show.

The Eggheads Menu
The fog shrouded coast at Ft. Bragg

FT. Bragg banner

Restored old logging Trestle that is now a coastal trail

Car show in downtown Ft. Bragg

A slice of the largest tree cut in Mendocino County

Sunday, we went to the Paul Bunyan Days logging Show here in Ft. Bragg. Actually not as impressive as we expected, hardly any vendors or exhibits and most of the competitors were amateur level. It was a fun event, but not the major festival event that was advertised. 

The real Paul Bunyan and his axe

Women sawing competition

The guys don't look as good going it

Next stop is an overnight dry camp stay at the Sherwood Valley Casino in Willits, CA and then on to "Giant Redwoods RV Park" near Humboldt Redwoods State Park for a week, serious Tree hugger country.

Twinkles and Slick    

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