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 3

After a restful night listening to the rain all night it starts to calm down as I make my breakfast before heading back north again to the little town of Mendocino, CA. This quaint Victorian town is a very picturesque community on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A high end town it is full of places to stay, eat and shop.

I park on Main Street in front a park to walk the Point Mendocino Trail along the highlands over looking Mendocino Bay and the ocean. A lovely walk on this blustery wet day but well worth the effort. You will overlook a sink hole cave made from erosion from the wave action and Point Mendocino Cave. Again the tide was high and waves were erratic so I stayed on the highlands away from the powerful surf hitting the area that day.

 

I arrive at the north end of this part of the trail and make my way back into town.

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My first stop is Mendocino Jams and Preserves to investigate the items for sale. I find a nice spicy Mango Habenero Jelly I will take home to my sons family and a very good tasting homemade “Robert’s Mendocino Catsup”, made by the owner, I will enjoy myself. I pass many artist shops, tourist trinket shops and restaurants on my way to my lunch destination, Frankie’s. This family-run pizzeria serves specialty pies, salads & organic falafel, plus ice cream & beer. I had the baked Falafel and it was very filling. Although I must say the pizzas I noticed being served to other patrons look delicious also.

Leaving Franki’s I noticed another Mendocino Chocolate Company shop.  I wanted to take a “Pacific Fire” home for my son and have several of the “Surf’s Up Peanut Butter” and “Pacific Fire”chocolates to have for myself during the week. Yes I am a Chocoholic, I love my chocolates.

It was getting late in the day so I returned to my car to proceed back to my place when I stopped to talk with a gentleman that was living out of his Volkswagen Westfalia Vanogon with his wife and 2 dogs. I spent about 45 minutes enjoying my conversation with him as the rain started up again. Saying my good bye I drove the 40 minutes back to the Tiny House for a light dinner and again resting and reading in front of the fire as the rain continued on the rest of the night.

Traveling south to the Mendocino Coast – Day 2

After a very restful nights sleep I wake to find an indifferent day ahead of me. Rain is scheduled for the entire week so I’ll be dodging storms as I explore the area.

First up is to head about an hours drive back north to Fort Bragg, CA. There is a coastline park right beside the town I wish to walk before I explore the town itself. It rained on the entire drive north so I’m am expecting get a little wet today but magically the rain stops as I reach Fort Bragg.

Starting at the south end of town I head to the southern section of the Noyo Headlands Park. This stretch of coastline has been off-limits to the public and locked behind lumber mill gates for over a century It has a 5 mile long trail that is easily accessible and part of the California Coastal Trail. The California Coastal Trail will connect the entire coast of California 1,200 miles (1,900 km) from Mexico to Oregon. As of January 2017 the trail is only about 30 percent complete with signage.

At the end of the southern section of the trail is the Noyo Center for Marine Studies Crows Nest building. Closed when I was there the small building appears to have some interesting information inside as I peaked in a window for a look.

Retracing my steps back to my car I drove to the Northern section of the Noyo Headlands. Walking south to investigate the coastline I have noticed there have been some unsuspectedly high wave action due to the storm off the coast in the Pacific. I am staying off the beaches at this time as there have been some rouge waves in the area that have caught unsuspecting individuals unaware of the force of Mother Nature.

Leaving the North Headlands I make the short 1/2 mile drive into town and park to explore the old Main Street to find good place for a late lunch. Such interesting shops in the area. Naturally the typical tourist shops but also some rather nice shops owned by local artists. I stop in a bookstore that specializes in old/used books. I love these places as you never know what treasures you’ll find. And boy, do I find a great book. It was written in 1959 and is titled “The Klondike, The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896-1899” by Pierre Berton. I have ben reading it and quite enjoying the history I’m reliving and learning fresh as it relates to my trip to Dawson City this last October.

Continuing on I spot an interesting place for lunch, Egghead’s. Such a wonderfully small intimate restaurant. I head in and grab a table to review the menu. The Wicked Witch Burger with Spicy Wicked Witch Sauce sounds interesting but ask about its heat index. The kind waitress says it has been rated an 8 out of 10. Oh, too hot for me right now so I decide on the Good Witch Veggie Sandwich with salad. What a delightful choice, I’m not a vegetation by any mens but this was outstanding.

Next stop was a visit to the Noyo Center for Marine Science main building on Main Street. Very nicely laid out with information and exhibits on the local shoreline, animals and coastal environment. I recommend taking some time to explore it’s exhibits.

The next block had the Medocinio Chocolate Company. I must have something sweet to make up for that healthy lunch I had earlier. Some very interesting chocolate flavors are available in this store. I got 3 different chocolates, the first was “Blueberry Hill” a milk chocolate center with blueberries, dipped in dark chocolate and topped with blueberry chocolate decoration. Next was the “Surf’s Up Peanut Butter” a peanut butter center, dipped in milk chocolate with a “peanut” decoration on top. Finally, a spicy one named “Pacific Fire”,  this dark chocolate center had a hint of cayenne pepper and dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with a red pepper which was just outstanding, heat but not a lot.

Well back in the car I have had a full day and I arrive back at my tiny house just as the sun is setting. It had sprinkled rain off and on all day but not enough to get soaked. Resting for the evening I read by the fire as it storms outside enjoying a peaceful night relaxing readying myself for the new day tomorrow.

 

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.

 

Traveling south to the Mendocino Coast – Day 1

It’s been awhile since my past post although many things happened during the first part of the year with numerous day trips that I really didn’t take photos of, just deciding to enjoy the moment. Now it’s off for more adventures.

First trip this year was a trip south to the Mendocino Coast of Northern California for a week of relaxing, well sort of.

After a quick jaunt down Interstate 5 and then west along Highway 199 I arrived at the coast at Crescent City, CA. Turning south along Highway 101 I reached my first stop for the night in Eureka,CA staying the night at an Air BnB where I had previously stayed, the Colorful Corner. A small quaint private room with a wonderful host who met me at the door and we proceeded to gab away like old friends for about an hour. I had visited this town before and it has some wonderful Victorian Architecture scattered through it.

 

I asked her about a place to eat that I noticed was close to her house and she said it was a great place to eat. Good food and atmosphere. It was a very small place that you should have reservations for but it was still early and I sat at the bar to eat so I got right in.

The Brick and Fire Bistro has an outstanding rustic and cozy vibe. Sitting at the bar I saw directly into the kitchen and was right in front of the wood fire oven. I had a wonderful meal talking to the friendly staff and seeing how the food was prepared was a great benefit for a seat at the bar. I decided on the chicken, brie & asparagus pizza that is served on a classic Italian white crust with pine-nut sage brown butter pesto, roasted chicken, shaved asparagus, red onion, brie & parmesan cheeses which was baked perfectly in the wood fired oven. DELICIOUS.

 

After filling my belly it’s back to the room to sleep. As I was leaving in the morning my host opened her front door and we again talked for about an hour before leaving to continue my southbound journey. What a delightful host and the room is beautiful, well stocked and very clean. I will be back many times here if the room is available when I pass through.

A short dive took me to the town of Ferndale, CA. The town is off the main Highway by a few miles but worth the detour. This small Victorian town is vintage America with an historic Main Street to browse and enjoy a meal. First settled in 1852 it is at the northern gateway to the Humboldt Redwood National and State Parks.

 

Once in the Parks I got off of Highway 101 and proceeded on a parallel road named Avenue of the Giants. This scenic highway is the former alignment of U.S. Route 101 that continues to be maintained as a state highway (State Route 254). A drive among the redwoods that is lined by gigantic trees along it’s 31-mile length providing a much slower more scenic route through the redwoods with many stops for hiking and day use activities. Stopping at the Drury-Chaney grove I took the two and half mile loop from the parking lot wandering along it’s path under the majestic canopy of these large Coastal Redwoods.

 

Back on Highway 101 after that invigorating walk, I continue my route turning on Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway) to my room for the night at Lighthouse Point Resort near Point Arena, CA. The resort is made up of small cottages (tiny houses actually) in a wonderful setting set back from the ocean by about a mile in a grove of trees. There are no entertainment facilities of any kind nearby and limited cell service and no or very expensive WiFi, although there is cable TV provided. But that’s what I so enjoyed about this location, secluded and very quiet where you could unplug from the modern world in a comfortable setting.

 

A forest trail adventure to dinner at Tillamook Cheese Factory, May 4th, 2019

It was decided we will make a Cheesy Mud Run in the Tillamook State Forest to the Tillamook Cheese Factory located on the Oregon Coast for dinner and ice cream. It was a nice day, sunny warm but alas not much mud. We did find one mud hole in an old quarry the guys had to go through to get the rigs dirty.

Starting early we left Vancouver for the drive to the trail head at a staging area named Rodgers Camp. Gathering there most of us hit the last outhouse we would see until dinner and the headed out along the trail. This was to be an easy drive as this was my youngest grandsons first off-road excursion at 9 months.

Not much to write about but hope you enjoy the following photos and videos.

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We stopped for lunch on top a nice knoll. The kids played while we got sandwiches ready and had a nice leisurely lunch as the kids ate, ran and played.

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After lunch clean up we headed east to the coast and dinner.

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Sorry no photos at the Cheese Factory or the food, it was late in the day and we were all so hungry we ordered and sat down and just chowed it down. I must say the burger was delicious and the pizza my 4yo grandson had looked great. The ice cream was as good as always. It is so nice that this farmers Co-Op has fresh food and cheese and ice cream made right on premisis from local cows. If you get a chance stop by tour the facility, shop for some of the best cheese and have some great food.