MAJESTIC COASTAL ROADS, MAGNIFICENT COUNTRY ROADS AND PROSAIC HIGHWAYS
Grandmaster Wong at Jug Handle Forest Reserve
As I looked out of my window early in the morning on 18th October 2016 from the motel where I was staying in Fort Bragg, I saw a high bridge spanning two raised pieces of land. In the distance I fancied I saw the Pacific Ocean. I was quite curious as I thought I was still inland from the coast because when Andrew and I arrived the previous night, it was dark and I could not see the coast in the distance. So after breakfast I told Andrew that we must investigate this place and see its spectacular view.
Yes, in the morning light, I could clearly see the coast. I thought we were still inland. Andrew drove up the road a little and turned to the beach. We walked up a short stairs to the raised embankment and saw the Pacific Ocean in the distance. There was a row of motels facing the ocean with chairs and tables outside to enjoy the oceanic view. We also saw some early birds enjoying their morning walk with their dogs on leashes.
It was a magnificent view. The ocean was roaring in the distance with waves lashing on rocks. The elevated bridge was made of wood only for pedestrians, with some ocean water flowing tamely below. I later learned from Andrew that this place was called Pudding Creek Trestle.
We drove on towards San Francisco by the coastal road. Soon we came to Jug Handle Forest Reserve. Andrew parked the car, and we walked through some thick trees that formed a semblance of a forest, left behind for people to admire its ecological beauty. The thick trees opened to a wide expanse of tall yellow grass with the Pacific Ocean gleaming in the distance.
We passed another forest reserve along the coast, the Lighthouse Forest Reserve, but to save time we did not entered it as we reckoned it would be quite similar to the forest reserve we saw at Jug Handle.
We drove along the coastal road, which was California Highway One, with the majestic Pacific Ocean on our right. The ocean here was more vibrant than the one I saw south of San Francisco.
We came to a branch road on our right, and we turned in, attracted by the scenic view. It was the Point Cabrillo State Marine Reserve. Andrew parked his car and we enjoyed a most majestic view. There were huge rocks in the ocean, and ocean waves were lashing at them, causing loud white foams to rise in the clear blue air. A friendly couple took some photos of us.
"We're in Mendocino State Park," Andrew told me. "Mendocino is a well known tourist attraction."
"So tourists come here from all over the United States," I commented.
"They come from other countries as well," added Andrew.
We drove into Mendocino town. It was a charming little town by the beach. I came out of the car to have a quick look at the beautiful scene.
Shortly we came to Little River, where a little river was separated from the roaring ocean by a very narrow strip of coast. The river water was stagnant, and a little smelly, but the blue ocean with white waves lashed the coast vibrantly just a very short distance away from the river.
We went along a winding hilly road and reached a little community area called Flumeville where we had lunch. Andrew checked his hand phone which showed some maps of California and told me that it would take a long time to reach San Francisco if we continued the coastal road. He suggested to take another route, which was also scenic, which was faster. I agreed.
So we drove back a short distance to a junction of Mountain View Road to reach the other route. This was a narrow but scenic road to the other side of a mountain. We went up, up and up, and then down, down and down a very long way. But the view was splendid, sometimes with leafy canopies high above our head, and sometimes with open space with a deep slope on one side and the mountain rising up on the other. We saw many redwood trees.
"Had you driven further from where we hand lunch, and branched out to join the other route, we might have saved some time," I said to Andrew.
"But Sigung, this is the only road connecting the two routes," came a rather surprising reply.
After quite a long time winding through a mountainous road, and some exquisite scenery, we came out of the mountain and arrived at a small town called Boonville. It was a delightful town with low building scattered about along the road.
We passed thorugh some rolling hills and charming scenery. The leaves of trees started to change color, announcing that autumn had come to stay.
Eventually we reached a big expressway. "This is Highway 101, which links the major cities of California," Andrew told me.
There were more and more cars, and bigger and bigger buildings. "We must be reaching San Francisco," I commented.
"This is Santa Rosa," Andrew replied. "We still have about an hour to go."
After about an hour, we saw the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, welcoming people and a lot of cars to San Francisco from the north.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit,
19th October 2016.
The Pacific Ocean is separated from a little river by a narrow strip of coast