Traveling south to the Mendocino Coast – Days 6, 7 and 8

The final day of my stay at the tiny house was spent with a walk along the coast south. After a quick breakfast I headed out for the 3.9 mile walk I would take today on this sunny but very blustery day. The wind was blowing from the ocean sending the spray of the waves up the bluff face onto the highlands where I was walking.

This rough coastline causes my mind to wander back to the days of the small wooden sailing ships plying the coast. The sailors relying on only the rough crude maps, compasses and shear luck fighting fog, harsh weather, winds, and the powerful ocean currents exploring the coasts for suitable anchorages and calm protected harbors.

Through the day my walk consisted of a changing weather from sunny, windy and cold to overcast, windy and colder temperatures. Late into my walk the overcast gave way to intermittent showers as I walked back to my tiny house.

Packing up my belongings I was to leave in the morning for a 2 day excursion along the coasts of California and Oregon. I was sad to leave this wonderful room and area. I will be back for additional stays here to explore more of the area, north and south of Point Arena.

Leaving early in the morning I experienced rain on and off all morning until I left the Coast Road to head inland to Highway 101. A pleasant drive for the rest of the afternoon I arrived at my first stop for the night in Coos Bay, Oregon and enjoyed a cozy night in an Air B&B named the Itty Bitty Inn.

This wonderful old Roadside Inn was built in 1950 and consisted of only 5 rooms, each with it’s own signature decoration. I loved the room I was in, a very comfy old style design named the Folk Americana Room. Other rooms are themed as The Star Trek – Enterprise Room, The Tiki Cha Cha Room, The Tiki Lounge Room and finally That ’70’s Room. This is a very kitzy place and a place I will stay again if it is available. Friendly people run this outstanding Roadside Inn and are trying to preserve this American treasure, I so support that.

The next day I awoke and left to continue north and my lunch stop at Tillamook Creamery. Visit the Viewing Deck, take the tour, explore the farm exhibit, eat at the Dining Hall and shop for food and gifts in the gift store. This is a Co-Op that has been providing dairy products for 110 years that is owned by the farmers. I enjoy their cheeses and ice cream so for lunch I had the Tillamook Cheeseburger. Consisting of a 6 oz beef patty, house made pimento cheese (Tillamook Monterey Jack, Smoked Cheddar, Pepper Jack, and Cream Cheese), shaved iceberg lettuce, Mama Lil’s Peppers, and special burger sauce on a brioche bun along with a chocolate milk shake.

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Oh my, I was very filled and happy for the rest of my drive north to Astoria, Oregon and along the Columbia River back home later that afternoon.

Traveling south to the Mendocino Coast – Day 4

Well the rain stopped early in the morning while I was still sleeping although heavy rain is expected to start by mid afternoon today. I revise my plans for today to walk the area right around my Tiny House in the Point Arena – Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument.

Access for day use only this BLM land is situated along a rugged coastline adjacent to the town of Point Arena, offering spectacular views of coastal bluffs, sea arches, the  Garcia River Estuary and sandy beaches and dunes with 8 miles (12.8 km) of marked paths along the Point Arena Lighthouse Trail. I am going to concentrate on the northern section of the trail that leads to the Point Arena Lighthouse. This path will take me on a 6 mile (9.6 km) walk this morning.

It is a beautiful cold blustery sunny morning walking along the coastal bluffs observing the power of the ocean crash against the cliffs below my feet. This is a pretty level easy walk but the mud and water puddles from the last few days of rain has made some of the stream crossings an interesting jump to keep my feet dry.

 

At the halfway point of my walk stands an iconic figure in the landscape, the Point Arena Lighthouse. I have seen it grow in the distance as I have walk toward it. Prominently standing on a jut of land overlooking the Pacific Ocean on a barren windswept promontory surrounded on 3-sides with water. Officially established on September 30, 1869 the Point Arena Light Station #496 was first lit on May 1, 1870. As it is getting late in the morning I have a snack before entering the museum in the Caretakers cottage to view the exhibits on the history lighthouse and the rescues made in the surrounding waters. Enjoy the museum and take the walk up into the lighthouse itself to view the horizon from the top you won’t regret it.

 

As it is close to noon I decide to walk the 2.2 miles (3.5 km) on the paved road back to the room. With sky’s darkening in the distance the dirt path might be a quagmire at the low sections and stream crossings during the return journey if it starts to rain. A pleasant walk without many vehicles on the road I make it back to my Tiny House and proceed to fix a warm late lunch in my kitchen. It was a nice way to warm my body after the chilly walk this morning. Sitting with my book and hot chocolate next to the fire, the rain starts to come down in buckets for the next few hours. What a restful way to spend a vacation, a nice walk in the morning and sitting by a cozy fire warming my chilled bones into the evening.

 

Traveling south to the Mendocino Coast – Day 5

Got up and left early this morning to head south toward Sea Ranch, CA about a 45 minute drive from my Tiny House. It’s not raining so I will take advantage of the dry weather as much as possible.

Stopping at Bowling Ball Beach I take the short walk down to the water to view this interesting formation. Sadly the tide was up and the waves were crashing on the point you needed to get around to see this site. Not wanting to get swamped by a wave I decided to forgo the view and save it for another time.

At Sea Ranch I follow a Coastal Path to the ocean and walk along the bluff to enjoy the crashing waves below. Beach access has been roped off due to high tides and rouge waves so I enjoyed the view from above. I remember back in the 1970’s when Sea Ranch was getting started as a community and it had some wonderful alternative architecture in the area. The location I was at, sadly had many pretty tacky large modern style homes with a few nicely designed coastal homes mixed among them.

A short drive south brought me to the Sea Ranch Chapel. Completed in 1985 this non-denominational chapel used for prayer and meditation was designed by James Hubbell an artist and architectural designer using his creative talents at using local natural materials along with gifted local contractors, craftsmen and artisans to build this free flowing structure that appears to reach skyward while blending in with the surrounding countryside. Gifted by Robert and Betty Buffum, the grounds surrounding as well as the structure are open to the public 365 days a year.

Light rain is starting to come down but will not stop me from visiting Port Arena, CA to walk out the short pier and around the town to see the town so close to my rental. It is a nice town although being the off season many stores were sadly closed. I had heard there was free internet in the Public Library so I went in to dry off and check my e-mails that I have ignore for a few days.

Heading back to the Tiny House I decide to close out the day with a walk out to the headlands by my place. Sadly halfway out, the rains started again and increased in intensity. Getting back to the room, I was wet but happy. About 10 minutes after I returned the heavens opened up in a rain storm that continued late into the evening. At my place I changed into dry, warm, comfortable clothes for he evening, made dinner lit the fire and again sat reading for the evening listening to the rain coming down on the roof. So peaceful.

 

New Years trip to Washington – Part 2

Up at 7AM in the dark, I showered, packed and departed to visit some painted ladies of the town. No not that kind, but the beautiful Victorian Houses located throughout the city of Eureka. My Air BnB host told me of Hillsdale Street and Carson Mansion as places to see fine examples of this Victorian, Queen Anne style of architecture.

These wonderful homes are located throughout the city in various stages of maintenance that go from restored to dilapidated conditions, along Hillsdale Street they are well maintained and are a great display of this style of architecture. Visiting Hillsdale Street lined with these homes brought back such a noustalgic past life that would have transported me back in time if it weren’t for all the modern cars parked out front.

 

Next stop was to have a breakfast consisting of 2 blueberry pancakes, 2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, hash browns and a large glass of orange juice to fuel my day of sightseeing along the California and Oregon Coast, yes I was hungry and finished it all. I planned to visit several scenic overlooks and lighthouses along the way to my next stop just north of Coos Bay, OR only 218 miles (350.8k) and 4 ½ hours of drive time north.

My first stop was still in Eureka, just down the street from breakfast, the Carson Mansion. Placed on the Historic American Building Survey in 1964 it is one of the most photographed Victorian homes in California. Completed in 1884 it has been a private club since the 1950’s.

 

My next stops, lighthouses in Trinidad, CA and Crescent City, CA were also recommended by Patricia, my B&B host.

Prior to satellite and electronic navigation sailors relied on dead reckoning, compass and visual sittings to sail the waters of the oceans, during the darkness of night they relied on the stars and visual sightings. Many ships were lost due to running aground due to heavy weather along dangerous coastlines.

Fires built on hilltops once defined port access and placing that fire on a tall platform increased its visibility out to sea. Later lighthouses were located along coastlines to help define the coastal shoreline and locate dangerous areas that could sink a ship. In heavy fog, that is quite common along coastlines, so a light and foghorns (bells in olden times) warned mariners of hazards.

 

Trinidad Lighthouse is only 20 miles from Eureka located on Trinidad Head a small section of land jutting south out from the coast defining the harbor entrance. Built in 1871 the small 20-foot (6.1m) tall tower sits on a promontory 176 feet (53.6m) above the sea. Originally consisting of the light tower, a single residence, and small barn; a fog bell house was constructed in 1898 with a 4,000-pound (1,800 kg) bell that was operated by weights. The Trinidad Civic Club erected a facsimile of the tower in 1949 at a park overlooking the harbor and installed the original lighthouse lens in its structure and the 4,000-pound bell displayed alongside the tower. This Memorial is now under protest by local Native Americans stating it has been built on an ancient burial ground.

 

62 miles (99.7k) north of Trinidad is the Lighthouse in Crescent City on Battery Point. This lighthouse built in 1855 is on a tiny point of land that is only accessible during low tide. Built in a Cape Cod style of architecture this lighthouse survived the March 27, 1964 Alaska earthquake tsunami that hit the city and killed 11 people.

 

Heading into Oregon I stop 35 miles (56.3k) north at Whaleshead Beach to walk along the sand and enjoy the coastal scene.

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Whalesehead Beach, OR

Another 58 miles (93.2k) later I stopped at Cape Blanco Lighthouse at 3 PM. A lighthouse sitting on 200-foot (61m) high cliffs jutting 1-½ miles (2.4k) out into the Pacific Ocean, this forested head of land had to be cleared of the spruce forest so the light could be visible from sea. Getting out of the car was a struggle; the wind was blowing so hard I could barely stand up. Walking the ¾ mile or so path to the lighthouse along a ridge-line didn’t interest me today so I leaned against a pole just to get a steady photo of the lighthouse. I’ll return on a future trip to visit this one.

 

On the way in off Highway 101 I noticed a sign leading to the Hugh’s Historic House (Hughes Ranch) that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, I decided to go in and see it, as I didn’t make the journey to the lighthouse. Situated behind a hill it was in the calm leeward side away form the strong ocean winds. Built in 1898 for the dairy farm of Patrick and Jane Hughes this Victorian style two-story house was home to Mother, Father and 7 children. Local church groups decorated every room for the Christmas Holidays. The well appointed home with authentic furnishings was a joy to walk around and listen to the curators tell of life of the inhabitants.

 

Finishing the day’s 218-mile (350.8k) trek in North Bend, OR I stop for the night at a Quality Inn Hotel at 5 PM to rest for my final push to Vancouver, WA the next day. A nice clean quiet typical motel room awaited me that evening for another great nights rest.

New Years trip to Washington – Part 1

Getting up before dawn I left home in Orange County to head for my first nights stay in Eureka, CA. 682 miles and 11 driving hours from home. It was going to be a long day that took me up Interstate 5 to Interstate 580 through the east San Francisco Bay Area, up to Richmond and across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to link to Highway 101. This bridge is the northernmost east-west crossing of the bay. Opened in 1956 the tolls are only collected heading west.

 

 

Connecting to Highway 101 I continue up this iconic road through the California Redwoods and my destination for the day Eureka, CA and a cozy room for the night.

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Highway 101

I used Air BnB to locate this very comfy, quiet room with a separate entry and bath in a residential neighborhood in the south east of the city. Colorful Corner was all that it was advertised and the host Patricia was a marvelous person to meet. We talk via email before my arrival, she gave me suggestions for places to have dinner and to visit on my way north the next day. Along the way Patricia texted me that she might not be home when I arrived and gave me the access code to the room, Although when I did arrive, after 12 ½ hours of travel time, she was home and we had a delightful talk as I dropped my things in the room and headed out to dinner.

 

 

A port city on Humboldt Bay in Northern California, Eureka’s Old Town district and throughout the city features beautiful Victorian homes in all states of repair. The bay was overlooked by early European Explorers and not settled until 1849 when it was discovered by an overland expedition. The second largest bay in California was the jumping off point and base for the early gold miners of Northern California who did not want to take the long overland trip from Sacramento. Eureka got its name from the eager gold miners of the day, its Greek meaning “I have found it” is also the state motto of California. Timber, shipping, fishing, boating and a strong commercial district has shaped the largest coastal city between San Francisco, CA and Portland OR throughout it’s history and to this day.

The cool Mediterranean climate has an average high August temperature of 64.3 °F (17.9 °C) and an average December temperature of 47.8 °F (8.8 °C) With an average of 40.3 inches (1,024 millimeters) of rain per year falling on an average 119 days during the year. The city might also be covered in a blanket of fog for most of the year.

Climbing into bed, exhausted, I appreciated the warm, comfortable, quiet room and slept like a baby until the next morning.