TRIP OF A LIFETIME III travel blog


Photos will follow at a later date as I forgot my camera battery today and Bill took all the pictures. Today we again drove the serpentine road to Mendocino. It is amazing how fast the locals and the truckers drive the road. I pulled off at the turnouts to let 18 wheelers fly by me. I did not have the guts to go that fast! One hour of twisting and turning and two hours of recuperation. Our first stop was Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. It lies just 1 mile north of the town of Mendocino on the point that juts into the Pacific. It is such a romantic lighthouse and conjures forth dream like images of coastal life in the early 1900's. Wilhelm Baumgartner was the first keeper and true to his name ran a tight ship. The lighthouse opened in 1909 and served as a manned facility until the lighthouse equipment was modernized and the Conservancy took possession in 1992. The beacon contains the original Fresnel lens and rotates and flashes every ten seconds. This unique interval identifies the particular lighthouse of theal breezes 47 on the Pacific Coast. Each lighthouse has its signature interval. We toured the assistant lightkeeper's residence which was restored to its 1900 condition. It was spartan yet charming-certainly devoid of today's conveniences. Acres upon acres of flowers and grassy expanses surrounded the wooden structures and the wheat like ends of the grass blew wistfully with the coastal breezes. The azure blue waters of the Pacific defined the westhe harbor ern boundry. Of course the rugged rocky cliffs carpeted with flowers guarde the land mass. From there we visited Jughandle State Park and walked the jagged coastline. Five ecological terraces have been cut into the land mass by the action of glacierh a clear ecs and the sea combined with tectonic activity. Each terrace was uplifted from sea level about a hundred thousand years before the one below it. The plants on the highest terrace represent a far more advanced state of ecological evolution-containing the mature forests. The lowest terrace is still being colonized by the sea grasses and hearty flowers which are the building blocks for the richer soils that support more advanced plant life. Few places on earth display such a clear ecological succession. Nature at work is an amazing and gratifying experience. The variety of birds is also an inspiration. One hears the whimsical call of the meadowlark as the wind rustles the four foot tall sea grasses. We then broke for lunch at Herons.Herons is an old sea shanty converted to a restaurant at the Mendocino harbor. We sat on the wooden deck and overlooked the harbor as we dined on fish tacos and clam chowder. From here we drove to a glass blowing studio and followed the artist as he constructed some amazing glass art pieces. We then toured the Mendocino Botanical Gardens and identified many of the plants we have seen throughout our visit to California. It was a busy day and we drove the 32 miles home with fond memories.



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