WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2022
Yesterday we took a little ride through Fort Bragg admiring the old style buildings as we passed through. We proceeded north to McKerricher State Park. The park offers day and picnic areas, a beach, a small lake and a campground. The Union Pacific Haul Road used to run through the park down by the beach as evidenced by the trestle that still exists.
I camped here as a youngster probably 65 years ago with my dad. I still have a picture that he took of me fishing at that little lake. Since Buster is very dog reactive we have to be careful not to set him off. We were able to take a short, calm walk at the park, which was nice. No one was at the entrance station, no iron ranger, so our visit was free.
This morning we headed south on CA 1. We stopped at the Cabrillo Light Station Museum, walked part of the 3/4 mile path with the mutzos down towards the light house but never saw it as a grove of trees hides it from view. The light has been a federal navigation aid since 1909.
The lighthouse spins a third order Fresnel (pronounced Fruh-nel) lens consisting of four panels containing 90 prisms, weighing 6800 pounds. It was originally lit by kerosene lamp and turned by a clockwork mechanism. The clockworks was replaced with an electric motor, the lamp is now electric. Under ideal atmospheric conditions the focused beam created by the fresnel lens can be seen as far off as the horizon.
Russian Gulch Bridge
We stop at Russian Gulch State Park. The camp sites are way too small for our rig so we’ll not be camping here. Again, no one at the entrance station so we got to tour the park for gratis.
A couple of miles south is the town of Mendocino. It’s a lovely little town of 900 souls that sits on a headland overlooking the blue Pacific. It is heavily influenced by the San Francisco Bay folks as it is one of their favorite destinations. It is also an extremely popular artist colony. The town was founded in 1852 as a logging community, the loggers primarily early settlers from New England as was true of many older Northern California logging towns. Portuguese fishermen also settled in the area as did immigrants from China.
Most of the town was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1987 Mendocina has been the site of the Mendocino Music Festival which is held in the Mendocino Headlands State Park. The area is in severe drought with business owners having their drinking water trucked in, the town’s wells are almost dry.
The town was not always thriving. The town almost dried up in 1940, the population shrinking. The revitalization of the town began in the late 1950’s with the founding of the Mendocino Art Center by artist Bill Zacha. It also fell on hard times during the height of COVID with many shop owners going out of business. The town’s businesses seem to be doing much better now.
So that wraps up our visit to Fort Bragg. Tomorrow we head north towards Eureka, CA. See you then!
Signs we’ve not seen in the Midwest– the second one is unwritten there–All are welcome and Midwesterners will protect you