The end of Highway 1

2 August 2018

Well, tiring out the toddler yesterday worked!  She slept for over 13 hours last night, waking shortly after 09:00, long after Ian and I were up.

As soon as she was dressed, she was outside, sweeping up the grass with the broomstick, and chatting away with our neighbours, who are from Sacramento, and have come here to escape the heat for a week!  They were very helpful giving us suggestions as to where we might want to visit on our trip up north, and offered us something to drink.  Vodka, as it happened.  At 10:00.  We declined, but they were merrily knocking back their Bloody Marys and Vodka OJs, which I had mistaken for the more breakfast-appropriate tomato juice and orange juice respectively!  I held back, but these people were planning on driving off 45 minutes to visit Fort Bragg…  Yikes.

We made sure we left well before they did, once Ian had emptied the waste water tanks (I’m doing all the cooking, so he gets that job….!) and we’d wrapped up the glasses in tea towels, to ensure breakages are a thing of the past.

We snaked our way along Highway 1 again, with Ian much more confident now at the wheel, and me a much more confident passenger!  The views were, once again, absolutely breathtaking – turquoise and sapphire blues mixing against the bright, but pale blue sky, the dark green pines and the white sandy beaches.  It really is a jaw-droppingly beautiful route.  We drove through various little villages and towns, chuckling at the rather fabulous names of places:  Pudding Creek, Nit’s Café, and Confusion Hill, to name but a few.

Safeway has become our familiar supermarket, and we stopped off at the one in Fort Bragg to restock our fridge and beer supplies.  It’s incredibly easy to spend quite a bit of money without realising!  We also bought a couple of little birthday presents for Cornelia, and some wrapping paper.  Her birthday is so close now!  The data signal en route hasn’t been great, but I have now managed to book RV sites until 12 August, and we are spending five nights in a great looking place for her birthday, which hopefully will be really special. Anyway, I digress…

Once we’d left Fort Bragg, we decided we should stop somewhere for lunch, and were hoping to take a break on the beach at the same time, but unfortunately, the car parks at sea level were all full, so we ended up stopping at the top of the cliffs.  I was worried that it would be very windy and cold, but I needn’t have.  It was fabulous!  Ian set up the picnic chairs while I prepared lunch, which the pesky toddler took far too long to eat again.  No more rice cakes in the supermarket trolley for her before lunch again!

Driving on a bit, we dropped back to sea level and saw a car park set away from the main road, which we were able to access.  We clambered down the rocks and onto the beach, where another family had already set up, and were playing in a dinghy in the pool of water that had formed there.  The ocean was far too wild to even paddle in, but this pool of water was about bottom high (on Cornelia) and completely calm, so she stripped down to her pants and splashed around a bit, wanting to ask the other kids if she could go in their dinghy but not quite being brave enough!  She had walked right up to them, but then just stood there for a while looking, before turning to me.  I tried to encourage her to ask if she could play, but she decided against it, and asked Daddy to help her make her own boat instead.

Miraculously, Ian managed to find some bamboo and manufactured a small boat for her.  How he did this is beyond me!  We swapped her pants for her swimsuit (as the sun was a bit strong, even with her suncream on), and she continued to play in the sand and the water until it was time to go. I even managed to get my white tummy out for a bit of sun time too!

We all scrambled back over the log, up the cliffs and along the path, back to the RV, and took our seats for the remainder of the trip.  I should say here that Ian is still doing all the driving, and I may just let him continue for the rest of the journey.  We left the shoreline, and started climbing up into the mountains which house the enormous redwood trees.  The photos that I took don’t really do justice to the vast steep forests which spread as far as the eye can see.

Bugsy amused herself by doing some of her Travel Activity Book (thanks Auntie Karen!) before falling asleep at about 17:00, shortly before we joined Highway 101 and our miles started ticking away much quicker.

We arrived at our campsite, Benbow RV, just after 18:00, and once we’d checked in (again, very quick and easy), I carried a sleepy toddler through the site, and down to South Fork Eel River, which is very low at the moment, but nonetheless still busy with fish and frogs, and was the ideal place to throw lots of stones!

I was hoping to get Cornelia to bed at a reasonable time again tonight, so I reheated leftovers from yesterday and set up the RV for bedtime, while Ian took her to the play park to run around for a bit. It is so great to be sitting outside for dinner at last.  Since we have been in the States, it has been too cool to do that.  Even when the sun went behind the trees, with jumpers on, it was perfectly pleasant.

Ian then took Bugsy off for a shower (she had asked him to give her a shower tonight, which meant that I could actually have a decent shower in peace!), and when they returned, she was more or less ready for bed.  Ian read her her stories, and she snuggled down quietly.  She has just been up to go to the loo, and we thought she’d gone straight to sleep, but she is currently (22:00) whispering to her Gang and banging her legs around, so goodness only knows when she will actually drop off!

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