Up the Coast

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Mackerricher State Park
What I did
Northern California Ocean

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, June 18, 2012

As it was only a short drive up the California coast to Fort Bragg today, we took our time packing up and getting out of the hotel. We enjoyed some pancakes for breakfast and raided (for later) the buffet of museli bars and muffins that formed the complimentary breakfast. By the time we left the hotel, it was 10:30am and we just had to go by the famous Oakland bakery, Neldoms that Jess and her family have been going to for years. The only change, is that after 85 years, Neldoms has closed and the workers have reopened the bakery themselves under the name; "A Taste of Denmark". Well, as far as Jess could tell, nothing has changed, bar the name. The kids each got chocolate croissants, Jess a cinnamon pull-apart bun and Tim a cheese danish. They were light, just the right amount of sweet and rich with the correct blend of flavors to make each bite; oh so delectable. 
We got on the interstate and headed across the Bay Bridge towards San Francisco as our plan entailed driving along the edge of the city and the Embarcadero before heading across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, which of course is a rich, rusty red. This bridge was yet another item featured in Eli's 'Landmarks of the World' book so it was important to hit it. Well, not hit it, but drive across with the appropriate amount of caution and acceleration. We then spent the better part of the next three hours driving north on  Route 101, until we were due east of Fort Bragg, at which point we headed west on Route 20 towards the Pacific Ocean. Other than the big bridges earlier in the day, this was the best part of the drive today. We promptly climbed up over the hills separating the coast from Route 101, and wound our way through dense pine forests, neat looking campgrounds and salt-tinged air until we popped out on the coast at Fort Bragg. Our campsite was pre-booked at Mackerricher State Park which is located just 5 miles north of Fort Bragg. It is a great spot, as not only are there several spacious campsites under the trees with the sound of the surf wafting through the bush, but there is also ocean and beach access. We quickly pitched our tent and loaded back into Odie to take the short drive down to the ocean. When we got there, we discovered a headland with a tasteful boardwalk leading out to the point where we were able to watch harbor seals warming themselves on the rocks. We also saw several brown pelicans skimming over the water catching fish and Tim and the kids spend a bit of time scampering down on the rocks and around some tidal pools. The cool air coming in from the ocean kept us all in warm clothes and we enjoyed the better part of an hour exploring the headland, watching the birds and reading the various signs that told us all about the local wildlife. At this park, at certain times of the year, it is apparently possible to sight migrating gray and humpback whales. This is also a part of the country that Jess and I were really looking forward to spending some time driving along, staring at and exploring. There is something just magical about the northern California and southern Oregon coast with the blue water, the pounding waves and the rocky and craggy shoreline. We also, just simply enjoyed sitting on the beach while the kids played and dug in the sand and smelling the crisp salty air.
After spending some very relaxing and soothing time on the beach, we headed back to camp for dinner and bed. Tomorrow we are off to see the Redwood trees in Redwood National Park. 
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