Today, we started off at Starbucks for some “research.” Then we left around 9:45am to begin our 3-4 hour drive south from Crescent City. Our plan is that we won’t necessarily stay together as we drive– too much effort! Either of us can stop for scenery or any other reason, but is supposed to let the other know. After an hour of driving through Redwoods on either side, we pulled in to the Eureka Costco to gas up both cars, and decided to eat at a brewery in Fortuna, about 15 miles south. We stopped at the Eel River Brewery, which had the atmosphere and menu you’d expect from a brewery. Kellie and I shared a Cobb salad, which came to us better than expected, with mixed lettuce and a pretty big portion. We also shared a BBQ pork sandwich, and I had a wheat beer, one of the many organic beers brewed on site.
A bit south of this, on a very scenic part of road, Kellie pulled into the large parking area, a very deep shoulder on the road, hundreds of meters long and obviously there on purpose. I pulled in right behind her and she mentioned that she saw a herd of elk across the roadway. So the landscape went: ocean/beach/plants/ road w/ shoulder/plants/ then a dip down to a grassy area and lagoon-like lake. Several other travelers had pulled over as well, and we each grabbed our cameras and walked across the highway. Sitting in the grass near the lake were lots of elk: males, females, and young. The males are losing their velvet right now, and we could safely get to about 50 feet of them, because we were on a ridge overlooking them. Hence, the great pictures…that’s right, I said “hence.”
Eventually we made our way to where Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway begins and turned there, with Kellie right behind me. I had never been on this road, and had no idea it would be 15 miles of intense almost-hairpin turns, going about 25 mph even though it was a 55 zone, and with numerous signs warning to watch out for bikers! I wish I had a picture of it. At the instant we exited that valley of curves, we were alongside the ocean and pulled onto the dirt shoulder. Then we hiked down the cliff a bit and took some pics:
Since then, we have rested, walked along a scenic route along the cliff edge, seen lots of baby deer, walked to a Whole-Foods-ish grocery store for kombucha, and we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.
Tomorrow we will head down to Mendocino, then cut southeast through Anderson Valley (wine country) to the Oakland area to visit a friend. From there we head south and west toward Monterey.