After our most awesome time in the redwood forest, we pointed our van toward the coast. We popped out from the twisty mountain road Hwy 1 = the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) at the very last rays of the day to see ... WHALES!
That was pretty cool to happen on our first glimpse of the ocean.
It was getting dark so we motored to the closest state park we could find, just barely making a wine and ice run at the only store open until 9 along this uninhabited coast. We scored a good camp spot in the partially closed MacKerricher State Park. In the morning we "rised and shined".
We took a stroll out on the boardwalk and grasslands to the beach to see if we could spot some seals,
but all we saw were buzzards picking at dead seals.
and rocky beaches.
We had a lot of miles to make on an insanely twisty PCH, so we spent most of the day just driving and stopping here and there to snap photos and take in the scenery.
Oh, and stopping in Fort Bragg to bring you that first blog spot.
Since we were averaging about only about $50 per day, saving on lodging and restaurant meals because of our awesome van and thrifty spirit, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal. Problem was, finding a nice meal was difficult on this sparsely populated stretch. We finally got some decent seafood at Cove Azul Bar and Grill in Gualala.
We spent the night at Salt Point State Park, which looked on the map to potentially have great views of the ocean, but which turned out to be a shabby park with wooded campsites and no hot water. By the next morning, I was more than grouchy without a shower or good coffee, so at the first place we found north of Bodega Bay, we had a nice breakfast and walked the grounds of the posh hotel.
Then it was back on the road.
Turn after turn, gorgeous view after gorgeous view. We came across the estuary for the Russian River,
where seals like to hang out. Cool.
A little rest on the beach before the final push to the Bay area. By this time I was really dirty (last shower two days prior) and chilled (cold coastal weather), but loving that we saw the northern California coast in all its beauty and wildness.