Big trees, Birds and Peanuts

Face Rock near Bandon, Oregon. The rock is apparently a petrified indian princess.In 2006 Dorte and I stayed for a night in Eureka, California and the next day we took Avenue of The Giants south. Tim would also like to see the big trees, so we decided to take the same route - or at least almost, as we were not staying in Eureka, but instead came from Bandon, Oregon. 

Our hotel was south of Bandon, but we started by driving north along the coast in direction of town. We wanted to take a closer look at "Face Rock". A rock just off the coast. If seen in the right angle the rock resembles a woman's face. Local Indian legends tell that under the right circumstances, you can hear a female voice singing out over the sea. The story goes that an Indian princess Ewauua,  hase been bewitched by an evil spirit Seatka and so has her dog Komax and her cats. All of them, including the evil spirit have now turned to rocks in the ocean.

We heard no song though, but the face was recognizable in a certain angle as shown in the picture. We couldn't spends hours looking at the princess, waiting for her to sing, so we left Bandon and continued south on U.S. 101. Some miles south of Bandon, we came to one of the around 20 towns in USA called Denmark. Calling it a town is maybe an exaggeration. When we drove on the same stretch in 2006, Dorte wouls like to "see" the village. When we got to the place she was driving the car, and as I said, "Now we are here", we had passed the village. That would change this time. Not only would we see the village, but we would also take pictures as well as proof of our visit. Tim was driving and I kept the camera ready. However, the same thing happened again. When I saw the sign telling that we were entering Denmark, we were far past the town. However, I was stubborn, so we turned around and drove back. This time we stopped and I took a picture of the city sign and one of a signpost with the name of the only road in the village, Denmark Lane and also the only house that was visible on the road. It's probably the smallest town we've ever visited. Back home I made a closer investigation, and I discovered that the town was originally founded by two Danes, who established a profitable dairy company in the area. In 1882 a post office was established, and in 1915 the village had a sawmill, a cheese factory, a dairy, retail shops and a school. In 1940 the village still had  96 inhabitants. Tim at the edge of the Pacific In 1960 the post office closed and in 1990 the only business left was a gas station. In 2009, the station also had a Drive-In Espressobar, but it was closed when we were there, and nothing much happened in town.

We stopped a few more places along Route 101 to take pictures, and at Cape Blanco, we left the highway to go to the cape with its lighthouse. In 2006, it was very windy and cold out there and it was even worse this time. When we stopped in the parking lot, Tim, was in the winward side of the car, and he almost couldn't open the door, and when we finally both got out, we were almost blown away. At the same time the temperature was the lowest we had experienced on the trip (around 45 degrees), and with the wind chill factor it was probably down around freezing, so we quickly got back into the car and left the ocean to return to the highway.

Tim wanted to get close to the Pacific, so after passing Port Orford, we tried to find a suitable place to stop. I could remember that Dorte and I had eaten lunch at the beach somewhere south of Port Orford, and we found the place this time too. However, the rest area was closed due to roadworks, so we had to drive on. We then found another place where we could get down to the beach though. He we saw a few people fishing from the coast, but what they caught, I dare not say - if they caught anything at all. So after Tim had seen the ocean, we continued south along Route 101 to the California border.

In the town of Crescent City, we ate lunch and then we continued into the Redwood National Park, where you do not pay entrance fee so we couldn't use our Annual Pass. The Fog among redwoods in Redwood NPpark is known for its large redwoods, and here you will find (if you know where to look), Hyperion. With its 380 feet it is considered the world's tallest living tree. The tree stands in a desolate part of the park, which is only accessible by foot and its actual location has not been made public. We however saw plenty of other big trees that were all very impressive.

In Eureka, we made a short stop so Tim could get a glimpse of the many quirky, Victorian houses. Not least the Carson Mansion with its many gables and turrets and several other houses in the same area.  We continued south along Route 101 to the small town of Pepperwood. Here we changed to California Route 254, also called Avenue of the Giants (our main goal of the day) to look at more and larger trees. En route we stopped quite a few places, among others at Immortal Tree, where there is a small giftshop. I bought some carved wooden bears to take home, and also some bookmarks made of bark from the Redwoods.

A little further south, at the Founders Grove, we made a longer stay and went for a walk in the woods. Here we visited the Founders Tree, which is a "dwarf" of only 346 feet in height and 12.7 feet in diameter. The lowest branch is 190 feet up the tree. We also visited several hollow trees which could be entered - and so we did. There were many fallen trees in the area, among other The Dyerville Giant. When this tree toppled in 1991 it was the world's tallest known tree with a height of 372 feet. The tree was about 1,600 years old when it toppled with a big bump. The tremors were felt more than a mile away. The tree is so large that it is believed that it will take between Even Tim looks small between the redwoods.300 and 400 years before it decomposes.

After the walk, we continued south along Avenue of the Giants without further stops. It was getting late, so we decided to stay for the night in Garberville south of the park, but when we got there, we couldn't get a room. We therefore continued along 101 to Leggett, but in this city, we could not even find a hotel. In Leggett California Route 1 has it northen terminus. It's the state's most famous road and one of the most famous throughout the USA. We therefore decided to take this road to the coast, and then see if we could not find a room in one of the many coastal towns. What we hadn't foreseen was that the road was very winding on it's way to the coast, if possible, even more than Oregon Route 242, that we took the day before. In fact it was so twisted that we turned on the GPS reciver to see the turns in better time than by looking out the windshield. It was absolutely impossible to drive more than 30 to 40 miles an hour, and only then we got to the coast and the road straigthened, we could pick up speed. When we reached Fort Bragg, we found a hotel and stayed there for the night.



From Fort Bragg we would continue south along the California coast to Bodega Bay and then head inland to Santa Rosa.

When we left the hotel which was located in the north end of Fort Bragg around 9 AM, we drove south through the town. In 1857 a fort was erected to "protect" the mendocino indians. The commander of the fort, Lieutenant Gibson, named the fort after his former commanding officer, Braxton Bragg, who would later become a general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Only one of the fort buildings still exist, and we passed that on our way out of town, but we did not stop. We continued along the coast along California Route 1, which at first was wide and with a speed limit of 65 mph, but soon got just as winding as the previous day.

CR1 meanders along the rocky coast, often right at the cliff with a 300 feet drop down to the Pacific. Although the stretch along Big Sur south of Monterey is more famous, this part of the road was as scenic and exiciting as the southern counterpart. As the speed limit was low, there was time to enjoy the beautiful scenery. As we drove south, we passed many rivers flowing into the Pacific along the California coast, among others Garcia River and Navarro River. As we approached the latter, there was s dense fog, but fortunately it lifted again. Otherwise, we probably had to slow down further.

Point Arena LighthouseJust south of the Navarro River is the small town of Point Arena (only 474 inhabitants), known partly for its lighthouse and partly because the San Andreas Fault leaves land and continues under the Pacific. We chose to visit the lighthouse. We started our visit at the former home of the lighthouse keeper, where there is now a souvenir shop - and a museum or maybe vice versa. Here we bought a ticket so we could climb the lighthouse, but before we were allowed to climb the 147 steps we had to see the museum and have a lecture by an older gentleman who proved to be a very exciting storyteller. He talked about the first lighthouse, built in 1870, which was almost completely destroyed in 1906 by the same earthquake, which also ruined most of San Francisco. The current lighthouse was completed in 1908, and was equipped with an oil lamp, which, reinforced by a so-called Fresnel lens weighing 2 tons, could be seen at a distance of 17-18 nautical miles (20 miles). The lens was rotated by a clockwork, drawn by a pendulum that "fell" down through the tower and the lighthouse keepers had to rewind it by hand every five minutes. Rewinding took approx. 10 minutes. The lens rested on a layer of mercury to reduce friction and wear and tear when turned. The oil lamp was filled every four hours, and the wick should always be trimmed. It was hard work being a lighthousekeeper in those days and beside the keeper, three lighhouse workers lived at the lighthouse. Later, the oil lamp was replaced by two electric 1,000 watt lightbulbs and an engine was installed to turn the lens. But today also this is removed from the lighthouse.

After the lecture we were allowed to climb the stairs to the lighthouse, together with an elderly couple who had come by while we waited. At the top we were greeted by a young man, who then told us about what we could see from the top of the lighthouse. Unfortunately it wasn't much, as the fog had reappeared, albeit not as dense as before. We saw, however, some sea lions on the rocks far below and a single turkey vulture. The young man told us that the ships do not come close to the coast and also has satellite navigation, so the lighthouse had outlived its usefulness. Today, all that is left is a tiny projector with a lens, mounted on the gallery around the original lens room. The whole thing weighs just 20 kg and can be seen about 14 miles away, and is used almost exclusively by fishermen and boaters. Moreover the lighthouse is equipped with a radio beacon with a range of approx. 50 miles and a radio buoy is anchored in the sea off the lighthouse. After the visit we returned to the museum and visited the souvenir shop, but without buying anything.

Charlie Brown welcomes visitors to the Charles M. Schultz museum in Santa RosaAfter the visit, which lasted approx. one hour, we drove back to the highway and continued south. Further south we passed Fort Ross. It was originally built by Russian fur trappers in the early 1800's. Many Russian fur trappers came to the North American coast from Alaska, who was then Russian, and they settled on much of the coast from Washington to northern California. Fort Ross was the southernmost Russian defense post. Unfortunately, the fort was closed when we got there, so we made do with seeing it from outside.

At Jenner we passed another river, namely the Russian River, which has been named for the many Russians who lived in the area sometime. From there we drove on to Bodega Bay, a town of about 1,400 inhabitants, which is probably best known because it was here and in the even smaller inland town, just called Bodega, Alfred Hitchcock filmed his thriller "The Birds". Also, this town was founded by Russians in 1809. They called it, however, Port Rumyantsev named for the then Russian foreign minister. We ended our trip south and drove east into the country to Santa Rosa, via yet another Russian-inspired city, Sebastopol. On this short trip (approx.15 miles) the fog disappeared, the sun came out and the temperature rose considerably to about 85 degrees.

We had decided to stay in Santa Rosa, but when it was only 1.30 PM when we reached town, we agreed to have some lunch and then go to a museum before we started looking for a hotel. More precisely, we would visit the Charles M. Schultz Museum. For those not familiar with Schultz, he was a cartoonist and even more accurately, he was the originator of the world's best comic of all time (in my humble opinion), Peanuts. Schultz died on February 12th 000 after having created strips every day for more than 50 years. The last strip was brought in the world's newspapers on February 13th, as Schultz had requested that no one should continue his series. Schultz had lived much of his life in Santa Rosa, and here they have thus created a museum for him. Of course there are plenty of "peanuts" at the museum, but also many other comics, as Schultz has been inspired by or have influenced, and of course there are also many other things from his life, like his many golf trophies, his office mm. We spent about two hours at the museum and then we found a hotel which was close by.

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