Day 9. For a respite from riding rough roads, we opt for gentler destinations, starting with the neighboring town of Loleta to visit the Loleta Cheese Factory. The cheese makers have the day off – it’s Sunday – so we can’t watch their cheese making process. But we do get to sample a huge selection of the 38 varieties of cheese they produce. Cheese lovers that we are, we’d be happy to take a brick of each if our budget allowed. Instead, we settle for 8 ounces of yummy dill Havarti. Before leaving, we stroll among blossoming roses and aromatic wisteria in their peaceful back garden.
Next, we drive north to Eureka to admire the stately Victorian buildings in Old Town, walk along the waterfront, and drive along the North Peninsula to the mouth of Humboldt Bay where huge breakers smash against the jetty. Industry that helped build Eureka continues operating, as evident with the pulp mill.
Back at Ferndale, we browse through a few of its shops, housed in beautifully restored and maintained Victorian buildings that rival those of Eureka.
With a tinge of sadness, we make our final visit to the beach. Tomorrow we hit the road inland, not to see the ocean again for heaven knows how long. The sky is overcast but a silver-blue hue tinges the waves. Enormous waves crest and roll in the distance.
And then we see them – a dozen or more harbor seals popping their heads out of the water and just as quickly diving back into the surf. As we gaze up and down the beach, we spot faces in the ocean looking at us. Some of the seals are no more than a couple feet from shore. They’re so engaging – I feel like they’re saying hello and want to make contact with us. Adding to my delight, a group of pelicans soars by.
Two of my favorite species to watch: harbor seals and pelicans. What a wonderful farewell gift from the vast, dramatic Pacific Ocean!