Fort Bragg Stories and Tips

Driving down the coast

On CA-1 - first glimpse of the sea Photo, Fort Bragg, California

I headed off the nice straight and fast US-101 and onto CA-1 at Leggett. And the road was a fairly twisty affair as it went up and down, lots of switchbacks- took a bit of concentration driving - it also made me miss my normal manual gearbox from my car at home, as the automatic in my little rental car just didn't quite cut it, it made it but not smoothly. It was a nice drive through trees but then you could see the sea. And it was a glorious view. Stunning blue sea always makes a good back drop.

I stopped and unloaded some of my picnic stuff and enjoyed the sunshine and the view! But I made the stupid mistake of then heading onto Fort Bragg, as just a few miles down the road I headed in to fog. Should have spent more time enjoying the sunshine and views! I could see enough as it was more misty than fog, but it did detract from the scenery.

I arrived in Fort Bragg, checked into my motel, and headed out for some dinner. The fog rolled in, and I decided to skip trying to watch the town's firework display which was scheduled for that evening. I decided an early night was more in order - good decision too as I awoke early with the room shaking due to a earthquake, and never really settled after that. So I packed up and checked out before reception was open. I knew there was a Starbucks down in the parking lot of the local supermarket, and decided I wanted to use their WIFI. So sat and drank coffee and sent some emails and checked out a few things. It was still foggy - and I decided that I would go and find the Glass Beach - but didn't think a lot of it. So I went to find somewhere that I could get some coffee and something to eat - Headlands Coffee - got some great coffee and some muffin thing - it was a relaxed and chilled place to sit and write in my journal and read.

I had thought about going to the botanical gardens but it was cold with the fog, so I decided to head off down the road. Again the fog meant most of the views were obscured. I stopped at Mendocino - and it was a real tourist sort of town, well an upmarket tourist place. I potted around the shops for a bit and got more coffee and some nice bits and pieces for a picnic later on. There was a nice bookshop that if I had room in my bag I would have liked to have bought a few books. Then there were lots of gift shops - and I did manage to get one or two small and quirky gifts to take home.

I continued driving - I did think that I might stop somewhere and enjoy the beach. The mist did lift near Gualala but being a Sunday post 4th of July everywhere was busy...and at some of the state parks I really didn't want to pay the full day rate. So I did find a nice spot to stop and eat a picnic. But as I continued, the fog worsened. I stopped at Bodega and got a takeaway cup of tea from a small coffee shop. There was more traffic and the fog meant that there really wasn't any great reason to continue on CA-1 and so headed over to US-101 to make better time.

I drove into San Francisco over the stunning engineering of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It may have been the weekend of the 4th of July, but the northern end with Fort Bragg and Mendocino were not too hectic busy but the areas closer to San Francisco definitely were.

It is a drive that in places takes some concentration namely coming down to the coast from Leggett, but I would do it again, and take more time over it and explore more fully, and hope for some less fog!

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