Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg: lots of seaside parks, the right number of hours drive from Bodega Bay, a decent selection of campgrounds...we're there.

I headed inland from Bodega Bay to avoid the serpentine Coast Highway 1 and traded instead for serpentine and mountainous highway 128. Not a good trade, it turns out - very tiring driving. We pulled off the road at a lovely lookout for a break and lunch, enjoying the nearly 90 degree temperature - too far inland to be cooled by the unrelenting air conditioning power of the Pacific Ocan. As we ate we gazed out over hills of trees, meadows and grape vines.

After lunch we fired up the truck, but after just a few seconds it stalled. It's never stalled before, never so much as sputtered. I cranked it a few times...nothing. I popped the hood but saw nothing obviously wrong. I opened the fuel filter bleeder and pumped the primer, finding fuel present and at the ready. So I cranked it some more...nothing. Then I tried what I would do with a gasoline engine: I mashed the accelerator while cranking. The sound changed, and the engine caught. Puzzled but relieved I put 'er in gear and headed down the road. So, we made it to Fort Bragg and settled into our space at Pomo Campground. I don't know why it stalled, but it hasn't happened since. Gonna have to do some research.

Anyway, like always, one of the first things I do in a new place is to spend some time sniffing around the web looking for local biking opportunities. I found some here and struck out early the next morning to rip up some trail. I cruised through redwoods...

...and rolled all of the way down to the sea:

In the afternoons, after Nancy had gotten some work done, we'd go out, walking along the wind-swept beach, surf pounding, feet in hot sand but chilled by blasting water-cooled air. We came to a roped-off area which was a resting place for dozens of sea lions. It was great to be so close to them, watching them stretch, roll over, inch-worm to and from the water...but it wasn't so great to be downwind from them. I don't know if it was sea-lion B.O. or their breath, but wow! It's amazing that they can stand to be near one-another, let alone breed!

Found a sheltered inlet where the dogs could run and play in the water:

Got the boats out for a paddle in Big River:

And enjoyed some of the scenery like the quaint town of Mendocino and the beautiful park that it overlooks:

And the historic Point Cabrillo Light Station:

Definitely could have spent more time in this area. There was plenty more to see and do. But there's more coastal adventures in our future as we move north to Patrick's Point. Stay tuned...

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