Tuesday, September 01, 2009

7649.9 (338.9) Miles to Fort Bragg, California

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Tried again to deal with the car this morning. (Un?)fortunately, the car decided to not cooperate by...cooperating. So I gave up on fixing the car in Medford, and instead will just stare at the check engine light for a little while longer. The car only had a few misfires today, so barring a disaster, I should be able to make it home without a problem.

Leaving Medford, I drove north on I-5 up to Grants Pass, where (after a lunch break) I turned south on US-199. 199 took me into California for the first time since day 1. I wound my way down the curving roads until 199 merges onto 101. Followed 101 down the coast, stopping once at a beach in Del Norte County, where I stood at the water line as the waves came up to my feet, enjoying the first ocean I had seen in a month. I also took a couple of scenic alternate roads through redwood groves. Dense growths of giant trees created long dark patches on the road. I might as well have been going through a tunnel for all the sunlight that made it to the ground.

I had been thinking for a while that I must have missed the turn for Highway 1, but south of the Avenue of the Giants (a long road of redwood trees), the sign finally appeared. As the sun started its westward descent, I turned off down another tree-tunnel road. Lots of sharp turns and climbs and descents. At one point, I felt like I would never make it to the coastline. I think I was heading east for a while at another point. And every time I thought I must have finished the last climb over the coastal range, the road started to switchback up again. And then, just after sunset, a sliver of water appeared in a gap between two mountains.

I drove for another hour above the ocean as dusk turned to darkness, often just above the water as the road curved along the cliff faces. Now I'm sitting in Fort Bragg on my last night of this trip.

Tomorrow I'll keep following Highway 1 down across the coast, save for a short run inland to the Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Then across the Golden Gate Bridge and back into San Francisco.

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