Friday, September 7, 2012

It's good to see the ocean.

The Redwoods along the Northern Calif. coast  had been calling me over for a visit all year, and every time I had been putting off their invitation. I am glad they didn't give up, because in August I finally had the opportunity to go see them again and reconnect after a couple year absence. 

I had a very late start on the first day, so it was mostly just a commute day. I did ride up the coast, but being a weekend day, there was traffic the mighty FJR had to muscle around, so I didn't make any stops for pictures. There would be plenty of stops for pictures the next couple of days. :)

I was staying in Fort Bragg at the Weller House Inn. This place is on the National Registry of Historical Places. The oldest existing house in the city of Fort Bragg and it has been fully restored as a B&B. It is a pretty place and the Innkeeper and staff (mostly foreign students from Europe and Australia) try really hard to provide you the best service that they can, but it seems this B7B is barely making it and it has started to show in it's upkeep. It is really expensive to maintain a really old house and the cutting of corners has started to show. In my opinion despite the great service, there are much better option in Mendocino about 10 miles south of Fort Bragg, for around the same price. 

If you are interested in knowing more. Here is a link to the B&B:

The next morning, I took some pictures of the place before breakfast. The grounds are all organic and photogenic. :)

Good parking as well. No need to park in the street. The inn has it's own private parking spaces at the back of the house. Good secure parking for motorcycles. :)

I had initially wanted to stay in the water tower room, expecting it would be a lot more private and quiet, but upon arrival I discovered it was a bit too small, so I switched for a room in the main house. It is an old house, so not as quiet, but the room was much bigger and comfortable. 

In the picture below, you can see the window to my room on the ground floor. A garden view room, despite minor annoyances (ants in the bathroom, broken flush and cobwebs in the shower - seriously?) I still enjoyed it. :)

Breakfast was nothing to write home about. This place doesn't boast of a Gourmet breakfast, more like a breakfast made by your teenager. Even though it lacked a gourmet element to it, they still do a nice job of having lots of variety. A simple breakfast and of course all organic. Including the eggs, they grow their own chickens at this B&B. 

Despite the sun peeking out at the Inn. It was still fogged in on the coast north of Fort Bragg. I decided to make a beeline for the Redwoods and hope for better picture opportunities on the coast on the return leg. 

The usual hoaky stop at the Drive-Thru tree. Also known as the Chandelier Tree. 

Yep. Big-ass tree and the gravel is pretty slippery here. 

Rode onto the Avenue of the Giants here and since I don't really want to be a tree hugger, here I am being a reverse tree hugger..

Soon, it was time to head back south and west again...because you know, it is good to see the ocean! :)

Although, I couldn't see much of it, as I first came up to the coast on Hwy 1. The afternoon fog had rolled in. 

I would have better luck, just a few miles south. No fog, just bright sun and a beautiful ocean to gander!

Back to Fort Bragg for the night. Great steaks at this place in Fort Bragg. Check them out next time you are in town! 

And great brew in the Tap Room of the North Coast Brewing Co.

The next day was the ride back home, of course the long way along the beautiful northern Calif. coast. First stop was at the Mendocino Botanical Gardens. These are the only botanical gardens in California, whose grounds actually border the ocean. I didn't have time to hike the 1.5 miles to the ocean through the gardens, so I mainly hung around at the nursery and visitor center, before going on my way. Someday, it would make a fun stop to hike through and take pictures. 

More Info: Garden By the Sea.

The trail to the gardens starts here. 

The Dahlias are in bloom in Aug/Sept, as well as many other perennials. Apparently I don't know my Dahlias from Begonias, so here is a picture of the Begonia instead, which I thought was a Dahlia...heh heh...

Just a few miles south of the Botanical Gardens is the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. This is the site near which in 1850 the Baltimore built Clipper "The Frolic" shipwrecked on a reef, on it's way from China heading for Gold Rush San Francisco. It was this shipwreck off the coast of Mendocino, which acted as a catalyst to the exploration (and exploitation some would say) of the resources of the Northern California coast. Although, many who would say it was exploitation would like to forget the fact that much of SF was built by the Redwoods from the northern coast of California. 

You can see the lighthouse keeper's house on the right in this picture. This is house is available for vacation rental. 

An interesting snippet. This location was featured in the Jim Carrey movie "The Majestic".

More views of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.

The coastal views from here were breathtaking. 

Quick stop for lunch in the town of Mendocino. Walked around and explored the town a bit as well. It had been a couple years since I had actually bothered to stop and explore the town. A lot of new stores and galleries. Will definitely come back and stay the night here sometime soon. 

Honeybee's being beesy in Mendocino.

And angels were getting their wings and what not.. I continued heading south, stopping along the way all day to enjoy seeing the ocean. 

Approaching the Sonoma coast and it's beautiful beaches. It is so serene here on a weekday, sans the maddening crowds which pack these beaches on the weekends. 

Another glorious Sonoma coast beach.

Most people don't realize that Alfred Hitchcock filmed his classic "The Birds" right here on the Sonoma coast. The town of Bodega to be specific. Traveling through the town, you can still see the Old Schoolhouse building which featured in the film, as well as St. Teresa of Avila church in which the children escaping a bird attack on the school took refuge in. 

The Bodega Schoolhouse is now a private residence. You can see the church in the background. 

A better view of the church. 

One last stop at the famous Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes, of course the creamery has mostly cowgirls working here. Bought some cheese to take home. Yummy! 

A long slog home from here. The mini-vacation along the California coast was over, another adventure, this time to the central and southern coast of California was already taking shape in my mind..I could hardly wait...that story in another blog post soon! :)

Thank you for reading! :)

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