First a little backstory. I have lived in California all my life. I was born in Los Angeles and lived there and a few other neighboring cities until my mid thirties. I thoroughly enjoyed the Southern California lifestyle until a divorce caused me to rethink my life. I began searching for other areas to live and happened upon Oakland, CA via a friend. I moved to Oakland in May of 2000 and I’ve lived in Northern California ever since. I got into the Northern California lifestyle and love that too. The two area are vastly different and I call both home. After 8 years of living in Oakland, I was set on buying a house and the suburbs called. I lived in my first house for 8 years and then upgraded 2 years ago once the market bounced back. I now thoroughly enjoy suburban life, especially since I work in downtown Oakland and still get to see city life every week.

I say all this to say, as a Californian, I had never taken a trip up the coast, in either area. My boyfriend’s birthday is in August and we are always looking for a vacation so with minimal time off, I thought a trip up farther north than where we live would be perfect. I accomplished a few things on my list, a drive up the coast, a visit through the redwoods, and a visit to a drive thru tree.

We set out early Saturday morning and planned to stop at the following places, Bodega Bay, Sea Ranch, Bowling Ball Beach, arrive at our hotel in Fort Bragg and spend the evening there, then on Sunday set out for the Drive thru Tree via the redwoods, head to Eureka, and finally visit the Arcata Marsh.

The original trip map I spent hours planning out. It turned out to be way too ambitious.

Well along the way that plan blew up.  We couldn’t find some of the places and didn’t have time to investigate further and others turned out super disappointing.

We ended up with a stop in Bodega Bay for a few photo ops, drive right pass Sea Ranch since I didn’t know it was privately owned and you had to reserve access to get in (super disappointed in myself since I consider myself to be a master planner), drive right on pass Bowling Ball Beach (my coworker told me about this stop and said it was fabulous but google maps says its someone’s house).  We didn’t have time to waste so we didn’t bother to dig deeper in finding it.  The drive itself is pretty scary, you hug the coast so closely you’re afraid you might drop off the edge.  We arrived at our hotel late that evening, had dinner in downtown Fort Bragg and settled in for the next day.

Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay

On Sunday we axed plans to drive up to Eureka.  There just wasn’t time since we had to make it back to Fort Bragg as we had reservations for birthday dinner at Fort Bragg’s swankiest seafood restaurant.  We visited glass beach, walking distance from our hotel.  It was a big let down as all the sea glass is now gone.  As with all our stops, it did have fabulous views of the coast.

Glass Beach. No sea glass in sight, but nice views.

We then set out for the drive further north.  Around 30 minutes in you hit Seaside Creek Beach, the most beautiful beach I’ve seen recently.  I don’t have any plans to drive up the coast again but if I did this would be on the list for a longer visit. It is simply breathtaking.

Seaside Creek Beach

Me goofing around on Seaside Creek Beach

Our next leg of the trip was the drive through the redwoods to get to the drive thru tree.  This was a super winding road.  There were turns at every corner and turn out lanes galore so if you are holding up traffic you can move over and let people pass.  I used these frequently as I was not going to drive fast what so ever.  The scenery was gorgeous.

California Redwoods

California Redwoods

California Redwoods

California Redwoods

California Redwoods

California Redwoods

California Redwoods

In a little town called Leggett we finally reached our furthest northern point, the drive thru tree.  We drove through, stopped and took it the scenery, had a quick rest and then headed back down to Fort Bragg.

Drive thru Tree – Leggett

Jimmy and I in a fallen redwood tree.

In a fallen redwood tree.

After a drive back to Fort Bragg, we had dinner, went to a movie and rested up for the drive home on Monday.

While we didn’t get to do everything on my list, the things we did do were fun and Jimmy loved his gift.  It’s a great bonus that I also got to accomplish the goals on my list.

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