Oregon Ghost Town and California Redwoods
Part of: California and Vegas Road Trip
Our first stop today was Golden, an 1800s gold mining town just a few miles away. All that's left of the town today are the little church, general store, and a couple of unidentified tilting buildings, but they are very cute.
Happily the church was unlocked - it had appropriately creaky floors and smelled like wood.
Then, California! It gave us a warm welcome - not long after we crossed the border, we were enjoying 65-degree sunny weather, with views of the beautiful sparkling Pacific.
It was pretty cold again when we got down to the Redwoods National Park, but it was so beautiful that we didn't mind. It may be just a bunch of big trees, but they really are majestic, and it's very cool to realize that some are many hundreds of years old. The forests are beautiful as well: carpeted with ferns, and criss-crossed by tons of soft bark walking trails.
We pulled over at a fairly random spot in the Prairie Creek State Park (which is part of the National Park), and wandered less than a mile down a trail. We had a great time. One of the most remarkable things about the forest was how quiet it was: very, very still, with only the occasional bird song. (Photos to come next time.)
On our way out of the redwoods we saw a herd of elk grazing in a field, and pulled over to watch them for awhile. We chatted with a friendly man from the Bay area, who was taking photos of the elk with a big zoom lens and a tripod. He had a daughter who was thinking of moving from John Day to Portland. I recommended it. In turn, he recommended Alcatraz and the Monterey Aquarium.
The sun was setting by now, and all that remained to do was find a suitable place to sleep. We had considered Eureka since it's located in about the right place, but its best choice was a Best Western that did not impress (and the town itself impressed even less), so we decided to press on a little further to the little town of Ferndale. I had read about Ferndale in a guide to the California coast, and was planning to stop by for some pictures anyway - a quick check of TripAdvisor on my phone confirmed that they had some good places to stay, too. Hurrah!
So, we are bedded down for the night at the Victorian Inn in Ferndale - our trip so far has had quite the Victorian theme! It's big (it was originally an office building for a bank, rather than a house) and really nice, with beautiful dark wood everywhere. We were able score a great room with a king bed despite our late arrival. In fact, we got a discount due to our late arrival - sweet. And like Wolf Creek, they have a restaurant, which is mighty convenient, and was seriously delicious.
And now I'm writing this from the common room, because the internet doesn't work well in our room. It's not terribly strong on ambience, and once again cold enough that I have to wear my coat, but this is what I get for choosing old hotels! My laptop battery is almost dead now (I neglected to bring my power cord out with me), so I'll have to post the photos of the redwoods, elk, and Ferndale next time.
Tomorrow will be a longer drive down to the San Francisco area (over four hours). We were planning to stop in SF for a night or two, but tonight we discovered that just about all the hotels are inexplicably booked up. Major bummer. There must be an event of some kind. So we may end up having to skip it altogether, or sleep in a different town and make a day trip in. We'll figure it out from the road tomorrow. Good night!