Monday, October 14, 2013

10/14 Sonoma Coast & Fort Ross

Since I had to change campgrounds today due to construction, I decided to drive up the coast to Fort Ross.  It was a 25 miles, drive along the coast on a very winding U.S. 1.  At times, the road almost hung out over the ocean, with no guard rails.  This is the route that goes all the way from San Diego to the Canadian border and is very popular with bikers, motorized or otherwise, but I would NOT want to ride a bike along this road.  A light tap from a large mirror or the wind from a vehicle could easily send you over the edge in some places.  Very pretty, however, but it took all of my concentration to even drive 25-30 MPH on this road!

Fort Ross was a Russian settlement established in 1812, very early for California.  It was named after "Rossiia" or "Russia" and consisted of Russian fur traders, farmers who were trying to grow crops to support the Russian settlements in Alaska, and Inuit natives that the traders brought to trap seals and otters.

This is a replica of the first windmill in California.  It ground grain to make flour, although the Russians were not able to grow much wheat here because of the climate and poor soil.  They did grow other crops and pear, apple, cherry, quinces, and peach trees successfully.

Most of these buildings are replicas, but the Russian Orthodox chapel shown on the far right is original. 
Inside of the chapel.  The rangers said this church was still used by the Russians living in this area.

Nice view from the fort!  One of the reasons for the placement of this fort at this location was this port and a good source of water from a nearby spring.  Also, the land was flat enough to grow crops.

I took the following photos on the drive back to Bodega Bay.  There are a lot of these pull-offs and beaches along this part of the coast, but I stopped at only a couple because most were too small or too crowded for my big vehicle.  Pacific is a lot more pacific today than it was two days ago!  

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