Petaluma to Fortuna, CA

Keyhole rock
Keyhole rock

Leaving Petaluma the next morning we had to ask the teller at MacDonald’s how to get to Bodego Ave and over to the coast.

She gave great directions and off we went after getting breakfast.

Bodego Ave turns into Valley Ford and then into highway 1. How could we go wrong?

I have to say that it was fairly easy and taking the wrong road we found a roadside store that sold all organic veggies, fruit and other assorted items.

Best store ever and stocked up on snacks and fruit.

Heading back in the right direction it was the prettiest valley we’d been in on our trip through California.

The hills, fields and valleys were a lush green.

Cows and sheep grazed in the fields and there was abundant water everywhere.

They even had spots along the road with measure sticks so you could tell how deep the dip was and if you wanted to drive through it.

Today they were dry, so no problem navigating the road, and we popped out into Bodega Bay and the beach.

It was a huge beach and campsite. You paid your $10 and you can stay on the beach all day.

The campground was full.

They had a bird walk (which we didn’t take as the tide was out) but along the beach I watched the surf scoters play in the surf.

Surf scoters at Bodega Bay
Surf scoters at Bodega Bay. Immature male and 2 females’

As the wave crested they would duck (no pun intended) into the wave and pop out on the other side. You can see how they got their name.

There were lots of turkey vultures circling around the dock and some were eating the remains of a fish.

Turkey vulture at Bodega Bay
Turkey vulture at Bodega Bay
Turkey vulture portrait
Turkey vulture portrait

Out on the water were loons, brant’s cormorants and a first time for me a long-tailed duck.

Long-tailed Duck
Female Long-tailed Duck in winter

Walking down the road I found a black phoebe posing for a picture.

Black phoebe at Bodega Bay
Black phoebe at Bodega Bay
tarlings squabbling over water fountain
Starlings squabbling over the water fountain

Driving around we found an Oyster Bar and had lunch. All the seafood was fresh so of course, it was delicious.

We finally tore ourselves away from the bay and headed up the coast on highway 1 stopping whenever something caught our fancy.

One of the places of interest was Fort Ross State Historic Park. It was a Russian settlement and we would have loved to walk down some of the trails and look around but the sun had started to go down so we needed to find a place to stay for the night.

After passing lodges and resorts we finally came across a delightful place called Ocean Cove Lodge just outside of Jenner.

It was a motel with a restaurant and a lovely view of the ocean.

The fellow that owned it was a Veteran and had only bought the property a couple of years ago.

Right now he is doing a lot of maintenance as it had sat dormant for 10 years beforehand.

He also told us that because of the fires in the area his insurance had gone up. It now cost him $52,000 a year or $1000 a day.

Because of that, he had to close down the hot tub and the playground area otherwise it would have been more expensive.

I sure hope he makes it big in the summer as we were the only ones there.

Both Rob and I agreed that it was one of the most relaxing places we had stayed in.

It wasn’t fancy but very homey and we even had a gas fireplace to keep us warm.

As we watched the sun go down I saw something fly into a tree.

Portal sunset at Ocean Cove Lodge
Portal sunset at Ocean Cove Lodge. Looks like a door to the other side

At first, I thought it was an owl at that time of night but it turned out to be a Red-shouldered Hawk (another first for me).

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Sleep came early and awakening fresh we headed down the road.

One of the first things we spotted was a large white bird flying across the road and it perched on a wire just in front of us.

Determined it was a hawk… but what kind of hawk.

After consulting in the bird bible Stokes Guides to Birds (Amazon link) it turns out that it was a Light morph red-tailed hawk.

Another first for me.

Light-morph red-tailed hawk
Light-morph red-tailed hawk

The next thing we saw was a sign that said… Siberians in Gualal

The people – Sakha are the northernmost horse breeders in the world and horses figure prominently in their culture.

A Sergeh or hitching post is placed beside each home.

In 2014 these Sergeh were erected to honour the ancestors that worked on this land before them.

Sergeh at Fort Ross
Sergeh at Fort Ross

On one of the signs on a picnic table, there was this plaque saying that this was the only place that she liked to paint as it was the most paintable spot in the world.

Best view to paint
Best view to paint

The next stop was for a pair of turkey vultures where were warming up their bodies.

Turkey Vulture warming themselves
Turkey Vulture warming themselves

And at the next beach stop, some oystercatchers were having baths.

Oystercatcher having a bath
Oystercatcher having a bath

As it was the other day the road was windy with switchbacks and it finally ended when we came to Leggett and took highway 101 north.

Leggett is a home of a drive-thru redwood.

It looks like the tree was originally hollow and someone cut walls into it. We were too big to go through but that didn’t stop us from getting out and having a look around.

Chandelier Tree
Chandelier Tree

The tree was…

Height: 315 ft
Diameter: 21 ft
Maximum Age: 2400 years

Rob in Chandelier Tree
Rob in the Chandelier Tree

All around the park were giant redwood and out of stumps, someone had carved different animals and sasquatches.

Bear carved in redwood
Bear carved in redwood

There was a sign posted by the tree that was supposedly written by the man who designed the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sign at Chandelier Tree
Sign at Chandelier Tree

From there as it was getting close to evening we drove up to Fortuna, CA and spent the night.

It was the first time on the trip that a hotel still had the hot tub and pool going.

Putting on our bathing suits we took advantage of the hot water one minute and then the cool pool the next, only to hop back into the warmth of the hot tub and off to bed.

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