Trip Start Apr 12, 1992
65Trip End Jun 15, 1992
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Warm, clear, a few wispy clouds
I continued north on Calif-1 through Cleone, Westport, and Rockport to Leggett. This stretch of road offers some of the most beautiful coastline, rivaling the rocky Maine area near Bar Harbor. Sheer cliffs drop to wide sand beaches dotted with huge rock formations which stand like sentinels guarding against the constant invasion of huge swells arriving on the beach
Near Leggett Calif-1 rejoins US-101, which continues north through Benbow and Humboldt to Phillipsville where a road called "Avenue of The Giants" leads through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The park contains over 17,000 acres of old growth redwood forests, old growth being trees over 200 years old. The oldest Coastal Redwood recorded grew here. It was over 2200 years old.
There are three genera of redwood trees, one species to each. Two of these, the Coastal Redwood and the Giant Sequoia are native to California. A third, the Dawn Redwood, grows in China. Fossil records show redwoods once lived in many areas of North America, Europe, Japan, and Siberia. Climatic changes and glaciation reduced the natural habitat of Coastal Redwoods to a narrow belt 40 miles wide and 450 miles long, extending from the south-east edge of Oregon to southern Monterey County. However they are planted and harvested through-out the Pacific north-west. All over the forest floors lush ferns grow from a thick carpet formed by thousands of years of decayed growth.
The forest ended and the road continued to Miranda, Redcrest, and Pepperwood, where it rejoins US-101
At Fortuna I detoured to Ferndale simply because I liked the sound of the name. Ferndale is and old town filled with very well preserved Victorian homes and commercial buildings. The town resembles the old restored Twickenham and Oldtown districts in Huntsville, Alabama.
I parked to walk about the streets, many paved with brick, most lined by sidewalks on both sides of the street, in the mode of a time when people walked to work and school, or to shop and visit.
I began to note a strange series of coincidences. Many of the churches and homes, otherwise in good repair, had fallen off their underpinnings. It appeared that a giant hand had simply pushed structures sideways off their brick pillar foundations to rest on the earth. Many chimneys and porches had fallen, or, if still standing, were separated from the main structure.
Then I learned that Ferndale was near the epicenter of the most recent earthquake to jolt California. It happened recently. Ferndale is still trying to recover, carting away useless rubble and doing repairs where possible The fact of century-old, large, multi level, wood-frame homes sitting intact off their foundations, and receptive to being jacked up and restored onto new perches, speaks for the quality of the original builder's craftsmanship.
Later, almost sundown, I came to Eureka (Latin; I have found it.).The weather had turned bitter cold, with gale winds. I was tired, cold and dirty. I yielded to temptation and checked into a motel, first time since leaving Huntsville. I unloaded the few things I needed from the van, poured a stiff drink, turned up the heat, tuned the TV to half-watch junk on HBO, then heated soup to go with cheese and crackers. I trimmed my hair and beard and soaked under a long hot shower. What luxury!!!