North CA coast – Redwood coast!

So, it has been about a month we haven’t traveled much and we were looking for good places within our driving radius. I was prepared for 4 to 5 hours of one way drive and there are definitely a few good places from the focal center – Fremont. But we chose to drive to the Northern Coast of California. I’ve heard some good things about the northern coast of CA from a couple of buddies. After some initial research, this place looked pretty decent. It had some interesting ‘things to do’ and a great drive to offer.

Ft. Bragg / Mendocino was the  first spot. Traveled here via Willits, CA. We had to drive around a mountain covered with redwood trees.  The dawn was beautiful over the mountains.

Dawn over Redwood forest en route from Willits to Fort Bragg

Reached Fort Bragg on time for the open air steam train ride into the Redwood forest. The ride was interesting in the beginning with the train riding through tunnels, on bridges and through a redwood forest. But after some time it started to bore us. I have never traveled in a classic steam train before and it was not a bad experience. Some pics from the train ride:

Steam train at Fort Bragg  

 

The train ride lasted 4 hours and immediately afterwards, we went to this pizza place to grab a quick bite called Bernillo’s Pizza. The pizza was fresh, delicious and made right in front of us. Weirdly, you are not allowed to talk on cell phone and its a cash only place.

Next stop was the ‘Drive through tree park’ in Legett, CA. It wasn’t very far from Ft Bragg but it takes a little longer owing to the drive around mountains. At the end, it wasn’t worth the time. Anyways, here it is:

Drive through tree at Legett, CA

We drove back around the mountains just in time to view the sunset over the Shoreline Highway. The sun was dying into the clouds just over the ocean and it was kind of surreal. I was a little concerned about the cold weather in North CA at this time of the year but turns out it was very pleasant. We spent some time gazing at the sunset till the clouds engulfed the Sun and there was a crazy range of colors in the sky from orange to pink.

Sunset on CA-1

Halted for the night in Fort Bragg and stayed at Oceanside Inn and Suites that was walkable from the glass beach. The place isn’t that great, but the Indian couple that ran the place were very sweet. The lady invited us for breakfast and offered Indian tea and homemade Gujarati breakfast biscuits which were delicious.

We headed to the glass beach first thing in the morning. Here’s the history of glass beach. The beach was not very beautiful, but the glass trinkets that get thrown onto the shore by the ocean makes it unique. And also the fact that nature gave you trinkets when you dumped on it.

Glass beach, Fort Bragg
Glass trinkets on the beach

We wanted to drive down CA-1 as far as we could on our way back home, instead of taking the faster route. This is one of the most scenic routes of America and definitely in the top 5 of California. There are dozens of vista points, beaches and state parks along this route. Saying it is very beautiful would be an understatement. Some parts of the drive are unbelievably beautiful. I loved the ride, especially the drive before reaching Jenner, CA. There are towns with interesting names along this route like Elk, Van Damme, Gualala etc. Here are some pics from the drive:

Creepy looking light house at Point Arena
Fog blends with ocean

We stopped at a local cafe in Jenner, CA called Cafe Aquatica. They had good sandwiches, coffee and an amazing view.
Pitt stop at Cafe Aquatica, Jenner CA

Reached home after dusk on Sunday and slept like a log after this beautifully tiring ride.

Map view of the trip:

View Larger Map

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