Hello from Oregon! We finally made it across the border into a new state (we only count the ones we have been to since we retired) for Dennis. This will be fun for both of us, he has the opportunity to experience another part of our great country and I get to revisit and explore new sights.
We just left Fortuna, California where we spent 3 days exploring the area. One of our first stops was the Victorian town of Ferndale. Recently we viewed a “California Gold” special on the town so it was on our list of “To-Do’s” when we were in the area. Swiss, Italian and Portuguese immigrants who began arriving in the mid to late 1800’s have heavily influenced the town of Ferndale, specifically with dairy farming and cattle ranching. Two heavy flood seasons, one in 1955 and another in 1964 devastated Ferndale and it became a ghost town. Artists began buying up the depressed property and buildings, to include the gorgeous Victorian homes. The Main Street is alive with emporiums, art galleries and cafes-we even had a libation at the Ferndale Palace Saloon. The Palace Saloon (circa 1890) is the farthest westerly bar in the United States and we had a blast visiting with some of the locals. The Ferndale Cemetery was a wonderful insight into the history of the town. It was established in 1876, replacing the original one that was in a flood plain zone. The 5-acre parcel of land was purchased for $155 due to the hilly terrain it situated on was deemed unsuitable for farming.
After our visit to Ferndale we stopped at the Loleta Cheese Factory. It is a small, family run business whose sole purpose it the production of premium quality cheeses, and that it is!! Visitors are encouraged to sample all of their cheeses, watch the cheese making process and purchase other quality food products. Of course we bought some of their fabulous cheese and will use it for a variety of purposes over the next few weeks.
The next day we took a long walk around Fortuna, a long walk because we got lost! Oh well, it is all part of the adventure and it was a good thing we burned a few extra calories because we partook in a breakfast feast at The Samoa Cookhouse across the bay from Eureka, CA. The Samoa Cookhouse is the last surviving cookhouse in the west and serves LOTS of good food-lumber camp style. The dining rooms are filled with mementos from the early years of the lumber and logging industry that is still alive in Northern California. After our hearty lumberjack breakfast (no lunch for us that day!!) we traveled over to Arcata, CA. Arcata is home to CSU Humboldt and a lot of hippies who are still stuck in a 1970’s time warp. We enjoyed walking around the main square and visiting a few of the shops. Afterwards, we hiked around the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary located just out of town. We sighted Brown Pelicans, Blue Herons, Cormorants and lots of Garter Snakes around Klopp Lake.
Our trip from Fortuna to Brookings, Oregon was so beautiful; the road was, on both sides, filled with majestic redwood trees. Even the rest stops were gorgeous and very primordial (word of the day, Jen!!). You felt as though it was entirely possible that a dinosaur would come crashing through the forest at any moment. Upon our arrival at the Driftwood RV Park along the Brookings Harbor, we immediately set out to find out about the area. We happened on a local farmers market and the annual Brookings Art Festival. We also learned that this harbor was a victim of the earthquake in Japan in March of this year. Part of their harbor was devastated by a tsunami that was a direct result of that earthquake and apparently all the RV parks/residents along the coast were evacuated twice in two days.
On our last day in the Brookings area we took a long walk along the beach and then took a car trip up to Gold Beach, which is about 30 miles north of our campground. The coastline in Oregon is so much different than Southern California, it is rugged has dramatic ocean vistas, spectacular on and offshore rock formation and a plethora of driftwood of all shapes and sizes. We stopped at the many vista points along the way and ventured onto one beach, Whaleshead Beach. Whaleshead Beach had all of the aforementioned features plus it has an amazing offshore blowhole, hence the name. We traveled onto Gold’s Beach and ate a fabulous lunch at a food truck, Woggy’s Fish and Chips. They made all sorts of fresh seafood dishes to include fish tacos, clam chowder, and fish sandwiches just to name a few. We found out that Woggy’s is a favorite of locals and tourists alike….we highly recommend it to anyone who ventures to this area of Oregon. We also purchased some fresh-caught Wild Chinook Salmon to eat tonight after a day of travel….onto new adventures!