To Fort Bragg, CA!

Fort Bragg Travel Blog

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Jesse and I decided to get an early start, since it's supposed to rain for the next few days!  I poured the cat a huge pile of food, we packed up the car, and were on our way!  The drive took us through Orland and along I-5... I'm really starting to feel like I know 5 like the back of my hand.  :)  It's pretty though, surrounded by mountains and fields and pastures.  I like it.

We actually drove through the mountains to get to the coast, on back roads that twisted and curved along.  The scenery changes constantly in northern Cali, even on the same road.  You'll go from acres of flat farm land to foothills, to mountains with redwoods and dense trees where you can't see anything but the twist in front of you, to mountains where you hardly notice the trees because you can see over or through them to the incredible views all around, to valleys running along creeks or lakes.

Driving on CA-20 toward the coast
  The colors of the landscape change, too.  This drive, we passed a huge lake with little towns along the edge.  It reminded me of pictures of Lake Como in Italy, which we'll get to experience in April - so pretty!

We got to Fort Bragg and checked into the Ocean View Lodge.  Our room had a sitting area and a king sized bed.  It was a first floor unit with an outdoor patio, but it was too cold and wet to sit outside.  After settling our things, we skimmed through the "Mendocino Coast 100 things to do" magazine I picked up in the lobby and decided to go to MacKerricher State Park down the road a few miles (Jesse called it MuckRucker)  :)

At MacKerricher we first saw a big black beach with poles sticking out of it.

Our room at Fort Bragg - Ocean View Lodge
  The sand was really tiny stones, which came through the side holes of my converse and somehow worked their way into my socks as well.  But the beach was pretty, so I only noticed it occasionally, when a sharp one would poke me.  Mostly I just thought about how freezing the wind was! 

From there we walked along a trail to another big part of the beach with big rocks on and off the shore.  The rocks off shore had a bunch of seals lounging about!  It was so cold and windy, I kept wondering how blubber keeps them warm, and being amazed at how God made them fat enough to sit in the cold wet wind and look like they were as comfortable as I am when I am warm in bed.

They saw us coming to the water's edge and most of them looked up and gave us curious or perturbed looks.

View from our patio
  A sign on the beach said not to approach them, but none of them were close enough to approach anyway, unless you wanted to dive into rough, icy water littered with sharp rocks!  They were sooo adorable though!  Some of them had situated themselves on a rock on which waves were crashing violently on the other side.  Jesse and I laughed because they had chosen the one spot where the waves' spray never touched - they stayed dry even when it looked like they'd be soaked with every wave!  We walked around on that beach for a little while, trying to take some pictures that would capture the surroundings, but realizing yet again (so common in our travels) that a picture simply can't accurately represent reality.

After that, we decided to check out a parking area higher up in the park where a lot of other cars were.

Us on the patio
  It had a nice walkway going back towards the tide pools, with a tree canopy/archway that looked really cool.  The boardwalk is a neat idea because it makes the area wheelchair accessible - something that can't be said for a lot of California's beauty - it's just so wild, a lot of it can be hard to get to!  The tide pools, however, were NOT wheelchair accessible!  They were quite a climb down from the boardwalk area which is up on a small cliff.  We scrambled down (and out of the wind).

At first we thought there wasn't much to see, and we were saying how the tide pools from our first trip (down on the southern part of Hwy 1) were so much better because they were much more accessible, and there was more water to look in, etc.  But once we took the time to clamber around on the slippery rocks we started seeing lots of cool stuff.

Mackerricher park view
 

The starfish were practically innumerable!  We saw so many I honestly couldn't keep track of them - they were in every crevice in the rocks, every little pool.  Most of them were very large - about the size of my hand or bigger - and rough-looking.  Some were smaller, and their skin looked kind of 'gooey' and 'wet'.  One was pretty small and it was hiding in a dark spot, its little 'suckers' clinging to the rock for dear life! 

We also found some huge, colorful shells I had never seen before.  They were rainbow colored and kind of crackly looking.  All the ones I found had little sea snails hiding inside in their own shells.  Jesse spotted a red sea urchin that was actually moving!  It's little legs/arms/antennae/whatevertheyare were waving and it was moving forward like it was walking!  Very slowly, of course, but when we came back by that spot a while later it had moved like 2 feet! 

The rocks were so slippery, and my shoes had absolutely no tread, that I just knew I was going to fall and break something.

Adorable
  But it was actually Jesse who slipped and ended up cutting one hand and bruising both - poor guy.  And his nurse (aka Me) didn't even have a bandaid or anything!  The cut wasn't too bad, but it bled a little.

We were headed back toward the boardwalk anyway, and after walking around a little more on top of the cliff we went back to the hotel. 

We ate dinner at a local brewery.  I saw "Carolina BBQ Pork" on their menu and got sooo excited, only to have the waitress tell me, "Sorry, we're out of a lot of things tonight".  So I copied Jesse and got a hamburger, which turned out to be delicious, AND they had malt vinegar for the fries, which is absolutely one of my favorite ways to eat them!  I hadn't had it since Uncle Jim used to take us for wings!  After we got back in the car, we realized we hadn't even ordered a beer from the brewery!  We just didn't think about it, and Jesse was really disappointed.

Seals at Mackerricher!
... oh well....

Now we're back to our hotel, which is freezing.  Or actually, just short of freezing.  I'm sort of warm under the covers, but my hands are like ice.  The heating unit is set on 70, but it doesn't run continuously till it gets to the temp you want it.  Instead, it comes on for like 45 seconds or so (okay, maybe a minute), blows warm air from the vent next to the floor, and turns off again.  And it's quite noisy - I wonder how we'll sleep tonight.  Hmm, either freeze or listen to loud on-and-off whirring?

Tomorrow is our Hwy 1 driving day - hope it's not too rainy!

paulkernan says:
Like the pics... love the hairstyle! :¬))) Paul
Posted on: Feb 23, 2008
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Driving on CA-20 toward the coast
Driving on CA-20 toward the coast
Our room at Fort Bragg - Ocean Vie…
Our room at Fort Bragg - Ocean Vi…
View from our patio
View from our patio
Us on the patio
Us on the patio
Mackerricher park view
Mackerricher park view
Adorable
Adorable
Seals at Mackerricher!
Seals at Mackerricher!
They picked the one spot where the…
They picked the one spot where th…
Seals in Mackerricher state park!
Seals in Mackerricher state park!
Jesse on the beach
Jesse on the 'beach'
Mackerricher state park - walkway …
Mackerricher state park - walkway…
Boardwalk in Mackerricher park
Boardwalk in Mackerricher park
Seagull
Seagull
We saw more starfish that we could…
We saw more starfish that we coul…
This red urchin was moving - like …
This red urchin was moving - like…
Giant shells we found
Giant shells we found
View out to sea
View out to sea
Another starfish - pretty big one
Another starfish - pretty big one
Tiny starfish in a dark corner
Tiny starfish in a dark corner
Beach near our hotel in Fort Bragg
Beach near our hotel in Fort Bragg
View from outside our hotel
View from outside our hotel
Bridge near our hotel on the Ten M…
Bridge near our hotel on the Ten …
Jesse being cute
Jesse being cute
Jesse goofing off
Jesse goofing off
Bridge from another angle
Bridge from another angle
Our hotel in Fort Bragg - the rear…
Our hotel in Fort Bragg - the rea…
Me in the hotel
Me in the hotel
Fort Bragg
photo by: mamaniac