To Fort Bragg, CA!
Fort Bragg Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
After that, we decided to check out a parking area higher up in the park where a lot of other cars were.
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.
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.
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.
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!