Day 55 – Eureka to Fort Bragg

Breakfast and Wi-Fi at the hotel were a joke, so we set out on our way to Fort Bragg. Not too far outside of Eureka we came across Avenue of the Giants, a 31.5 mile stretch of Redwood Forest that runs alongside the US 101, and we followed that. Near Weott we stopped and followed the trail through the forest, where we could get a proper idea of the size of the Redwoods – they really are ginormous and very impressive! The Founder’s Tree is 346 feet tall, and we also saw the Dyerville Giant, that fell down in 1991. In fact, we saw quite a few fallen trees and for trees of that size their root systems don’t look very big at all.
We continued on the US 101 up to Leggett where we turned onto the US 1, which turned out to be a ridiculously winding road that took a lot longer to drive than anticipated! Once we hit the coast it got more scenic again and we drove through some coastal towns before getting to Fort Bragg. We checked into the Seabird Lodge and got some coffee from reception before doing a bit more research and hotel bookings. Our motel wasn’t really near the bulk of the restaurants in the town, but rather closer to the harbour area, so we decided to go and check out the harbour. As it was Sunday night we weren’t expecting too much, and we went into the first restaurant/bar we came across, which was basically a fish & chip shop (Sea Pal Cove) with some outside seating on the harbour. Luckily they did beer as well, though everything we tried to order on draft didn’t seem to be available! We eventually settled for a couple of bottles of beer, fish & chips for me and a burger for Brian. We went outside to sit in the sun on the deck while waiting for our order to be cooked. Pretty soon afterwards the owner came out with two drafts and said he got the machine working and didn’t realise we’d already ordered bottled beer – so he gave us the drafts on the house! As we were waiting more and more people arrived and it looked like quite a popular spot with the locals. We got our food and my cod wasn’t very nice, but Brian’s burger was very good; in fact better than most chain burgers we’ve tried so far.
As we were finishing up our food a boat pulled into the harbour, with some fisherman on board. It looked like it was a chartered boat and about 15-20 people got off with bags full of their catches. The skipper then proceeded to gut and cut up everyone’s fish on a table on the deck with crowds of people (and eager seagulls & cats!) watching. It turned into a very interesting experience as I’ve never seen anyone clean and cut fish that quickly, while flipping bits of offcuts to the birds and cats. The people from the fishing expedition all seemed happy enough with their proceeds and left with bags full of filleted fish. When the entertainment was over we ambled over to another restaurant in the harbour, that was a lot more posh and expensive and had one more drink there. On the whole I think we were very happy that we stopped at Sea Pal Cove first as it was a very interesting experience!

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