April 19, 2012

Through the Fog

We couldn’t see the ocean this morning.  I know it was there, because I could hear it, but the fog was so thick that we could see nothing at all.  The drive north on Highway 1 was eerily beautiful, however, and the fog just added a dreamlike quality to scenery that needed no enhancement.  

Foggy Hillsides
The Ocean Is Down There Somewhere
As the noon hour approached, we caught our first quick glimpse of the ocean and pulled into one of the numerous state parks to get a closer look.  There is just something about the Pacific Ocean that draws me to it.  I’m not a beach person, and the beaches here aren’t the greatest anyway, but I love to admire the views from high atop the cliffs.  We walked across the street to the Elk Store in the tiny town of Elk, California, and found gourmet cheeses and other interesting tidbits to take with us.  We were tempted by the croissant sandwiches, which we enjoyed at the park.

A Dreamy Ocean View
A Mesmerizing View
We stopped at Mendocino, a thoroughly charming, Victorian town.  Its setting along the headlands is spectacular, and its architecture is fanciful.  Tim commented that every square inch of ground seems to be covered with beautiful flowers.  In some ways, Mendocino is reminiscent of a New England town and has often served as a Hollywood stand-in for that other part of the country.

Flowers Covering Every Front Yard
Charming Houses
Victorian Architecture
Interesting Shops
As we wound our way north, the highway followed the ocean, and the fog gradually dissipated.  We enjoyed several delightful walks along the edge of the cliffs and admired not only the ocean, but also the profusion of wildflowers that added such wonderful color to the landscape.

Wildflowers Along the Cliffs
A Dramatic Shoreline
Rolling Waves
Peaceful Coves
Plentiful Shorebirds
With a last look at the ocean, we turned inland through a dense coastal forest.  The highway began to twist and turn even more than it had along the coast.  It was a beautiful drive, and such a contrast to the one along the ocean.  Giant trees lined the highway, and very little light was able to get through.

Before reaching our campground, we made one last detour to the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree.  This tree has been a tourist attraction since the 1930s, when an opening was carved into its base.  The tree itself is 315 feet in height and is approximately 2,400 years old.  Although it was a hoot to watch other vehicles drive through the tree, the RV just couldn’t quite make it.  The opening was several feet too short, so we were forced to drive around the tree.  How disappointing!  I can’t quite say what I find so fascinating about these trees, but the experience there made me smile.

Can We Squeeze Through?
Nope, We Didn't Fit!


  1. What pretty country! It does look a bit New Englandish... I hope, at least, you got to walk through the tree. LV

    1. LV, Can you believe that I was so busy trying to take photos that I never got around to walking through the tree! Sarah

  2. What beautiful shoreline. The little town does look like the east. Too bad the van did not fit in the tree. Love A

    1. A, This part of the California coast is magnificent, although I'm not sure there is a section that is not beautiful. California certainly does a wonderful job in providing access to the coast in numerous locations. Sarah

  3. Sarah, You're right I would have loved that drive. There is something about the fog at the beach that has as you said a dreamlike quality. Makes me think of wonderful summers in Narragansett. Thank you for the wonderful pictures!


    1. Jane, Knowing how much you love the ocean, I just had a feeling that you would love this part of California. I'm so glad you enjoyed the photos and that the post brought back wonderful memories. Sarah