Benbow, California: The rain stopped overnight, and though thunderstorms and rain were predicted, we loaded the car with rain gear and drove north to Humboldt Redwood State Park. Yep, about the 10th time we have been to this park. Always magical. And I always take the same photos of the same natural magic.
Our first stop was to drive across the street to take photos of the pretty Benbow Inn, where we dined yesterday. It was far too stormy for photographs last night.
Historic Benbow Inn
The back of the hotel – the Eel River winds behind the hotel
The sun was shining on the Redwoods! As usual, I snapped far too many photos in the state park, weeded-out over half, but will still post too many here. The photos are of Coastal Redwoods and other pretty things (and us) found in the Founders Grove area of the park. I will add captions if necessary.
The pretty path around the Founders Grove
Several trees fell in 1991. One tree fell and made another tree lean. A week later the leaning tree fell, eventually taking-down the massive Dyerville Giant. At 363 foot tall (200 feet taller than Niagara Falls), the Dyerville Giant was taller, larger, and older than any other tree in the grove – estimated to be 1600 years old, and weighing over one million pounds.
We were so happy with the weather. It wasn’t very warm, but the sun was shining through the trees – completely against what the weather report was predicting. Instead of returning to our campsite, we decided to continue north to the quaint town of Ferndale… another place we have visited many times before… so I could take more repeat photos.
Ferndale was settled by German and Swiss-Italian immigrants, specializing in dairy cows, cheese, and sausage-making. The town has preserved many of their beautiful Victorian buildings to capitalize on the cuteness-factor and lure tons of tourists. Many of the shops were closed today (Sunday).
Another interesting bit about Ferndale is the founders didn’t want to waste precious flat dairy land for a cemetery, so their loved-ones are tiered-up just outside of town. Practical!
We deposited letters at the ancient Ferndale post office:
Turns out Guy Fieri is not the only famous person from Ferndale. No! Our very own Duck, famed football coach, Len Casanova, was also from Ferndale. The stuff you learn while traveling in little American towns never ceases to amaze me. There is always something interesting in even the smallest village.
After walking miles around Ferndale, we should have pointed the Jeep south to return to our motorhome to enjoy the radiant floor heat. But no. My Driver remembered a cheese factory we had visited years ago and he wanted to see if it was still in Loleta.
It was – and though the actually teeny Loleta Cheese Factory has not changed much, nor expanded, they do now have the most amazing restaurant (it is really more like a food cart, except indoors) – Queso Kings makes one thing – and only one thing: grilled cheese sandwiches.
They have an actual grilled cheese bar – like a salad bar, except you get to choose your bread and cheeses – and add anything else one could ever imagine. Brilliant!
Dave ordered the “after school special” – a choice of three cheeses and any bread. He opted for sourdough, with cheddar, fontina and jalapeno jack. We split the sandwich for our lunch and it was plenty – and beyond perfect. The crispy grilled bread… the stretchy melty cheeses. Wow!
We had our little picnic outdoors in the beautiful garden area outside the cheese factory – and picked up a few small packages of cheese for our fridge before finally returning to our bus in Benbow.
Please appreciate this blog post. With little/no cell service and the poopiest wifi (for the price we are paying!) it took F O R E V E R to upload these (29!) photos.
We had a salad for dinner tonight.
Until my next update, I remain, your photographic correspondent.
RV PARK: Benbow KOA – My best guess is this used to be a KOA, then was not (when it was pretty nice), and is now a KOA again – and is no longer nice. Worst thing? They are charging us a ridiculous $56 for tonight and an even crazier $78 for tomorrow. This is a $35 campground.