It’s very cold and foggy. We take HWY 101 south and then turn right towards Cape Mendocino a small curvy road passing through Ferndale an old victorian town which is very nice with many well kept victorian houses with nice gardens along the road also the center of the city with its church is very well maintained and looks very pretty. From there the road leads up into the mountains and we soon get out of the fog. We have a beautiful view of the see of fog below us in the valley and again travel through forests and golden grass land with lots of cows everywhere. Coming closer to the coast we see the fog coming up from the sea and kreeping over the hills and into the valley a very impressive sight and fascinating to watch. Arriving at the coast the fog has withdrawn a bit and the coast itself is free but a few 100 yards out we can still see a bank of fog lingering there. It is very windy, it is hard to walk upright and even harder for Marco to hold the camera still while taking pictures. But, he still manages to take some beautiful shots of this fascinating nearly untouched place!
The road then leads us back inland to Humboldt Redwood State Park. The big redwoods are all gathered in the last 5 miles before we reach HWY 101 again. For the third time we are fascinated about these very old trees.
Redwoods have some of the most varied and intricate survival strategies going. The bark of a coastal redwood is very thick, as much as a foot in places. And it exhibits an unusual property when exposed to fire, it chars into a heat shield. It actually turns into a pretty effective abalative, similiar to the way a heat shield on a re-entry vehicle works. The chemical composition of the tree itself is apparently distasteful or even poisonous to normal tree pests like termites and ants. That is why it was used as the first layer of boards in a wall, because termites and carpenter ants won’t burrow into it. In the 30’s to the early 60’s redwood was used as a separator between the plates of electrolytic (auto, truck and airplane) batteries. The wood could withstand the battery acid and still retain its shape. And, redwood is very resistant to water associated rot. It is not uncommon to drill a well in a creek bed in this area and end up drilling right through a redwood log that may have been buried there for thousands of years. The wood comes out of the pipe sound and in good shape.
Meanwhile the temperature rose from 54 (12 Celsius) to 103 (38 Celsius)!
We take HWY 101 then HWY 1 to the Pacific, again a rough curvy road mostly through forest still with a lot of redwoods.
Then again …. the Pacific Ocean! a wonderful sight the water is very clear and the tempreatures linger around 64 (17 Celsius), without any wind just about right. We stop frequently to take pictures and to savour the scenery and breath the salty air.
At around 6:00 pm we arrive in Fort Bragg and directly drive to the Inn of which we have a coupon. It is a nice clean place where we check in immediately. Then we go for dinner: first we check out the harbor which the lady of the Inn suggested to us. But then eventually we eat at an American, Japanese & Chineese Buffet Restaurant, which was actually quite good.
After dinner we drive to the Glass Beach to watch the sunset. Since it is pretty chilly we don’t stay until the sun has gone down completely, but it still was a very nice evening stroll!
Glass Beach is one of the most unique beaches in the world, not because nature created it that way, but because time and the pounding surf have corrected one of man’s mistakes. Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump. It is hard to believe these days, but back then people dumped all kinds of refuse straight into the ocean, including old cars, and their household garbage, which of course included lots of glass. By the early sixties, some attempts were made to control what was dumped, and dumping of any toxic items was banned. Finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and plans were begun for a new dump away from the ocean. Now, over 30 years later, Mother Nature has reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding wave action have deposited tons of polished glass onto the beach. You’ll still see the occasional reminder of it earlier life, such as a rusted spark plug, but for the most part what you’ll see is millions of pieces of glass sparkling in the sun. (sorry, collecting is not allowed).
Overnight Stay: Oceanside Inn & Suites, Fort Bragg, CA
Dinner: Best New Buffet