postcard from the Lost Coast

A long drive from Coos Bay, in rough weather (one road sign warning laconically of “wind gusts”: an understatement…), though the coast was beautiful. Wild surf, a few birds blowing around, the trees bent by years of this.

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But by the time we crossed into California, the sky began to clear a little, though passing through the redwood forests, the rain came down in buckets and you could see why some of those trees reach heights of 300 feet.  And by the time we stopped for a late lunch in Eureka, it was quite warm.

I know I talked to you of Mendocino (I can still hear Kate McGarrigle singing so sweetly: And let the sun set on the ocean/I will watch it from the shore/Let the sun rise over the redwoods/I’ll rise with it till I rise no more…) but when we saw the sign for Ferndale, just south of Eureka, promising a small Victorian village, and we were tired of driving the twisting 101, we turned. And this is what we saw when we arrived in Ferndale:

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They had a room available so we’re here for the night in a town almost too lovely for words. Founded in the 1850s and 60s, it has wonderful old buildings still in use as churches, stores, a cheese factory, homes. This area is called the Lost Coast, apparently because of huge depopulation in the 1930s and because of geotechnical anomalies which made development difficult. (98% of chimneys fell down in Ferndale in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.)

And tomorrow we’ll drive to Berkeley, along a route which has been called the most scenic on the planet.