Friday, October 19, 2018

Fortuna and Ferndale, California

October 8 and 9

We spent two nights at Riverwalk RV Park in Fortuna, California.  It was a short walk across a road to the Eel River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean just nine miles to the west.  

Most of our local exploring, however, was done in the nearby smaller town of Ferndale. The the entire town is registered as a California historical landmark with dozens of well preserved Victorian-style homes and business. It's also the site of what we read is the only cattle cemetery in the US. We had to see that.

The Eel River,  as seen from a two mile walking path just across a road from our Fortuna, CA, campground.  The Eel River is 196 miles long; along with its tributaries is the third largest watershed entirely in California. I read that the city was named when early settlers saw the nearby forests and the river and felt "fortunate" to live there.  
Above are just a few of the intricately painted and gingerbread-detailed homes and business in tiny (population 1300) Ferndale, California. Some of the buildings are known as "butterfat palaces" because they were built with wealth from the local dairy industry.
Jim at Ferndale's Champion Cow Cemetery.  It's at the local fairgrounds and the entire "cemetery" consists of three grave markers for Jersey cows.  Sunny King Berna was a world butterfat champion; Silken Lady Ruby of Ferndale was a Lifetime Butterfat Champion; and Challengers Joyce VG was a national Jersey milk champion.  All were owned by Ferndale dairy farmers.
And then we stumbled across the Historic Ferndale Cemetery, which climbs a hill near downtown. 
The Cemetery also has a wonderful view of the the city of Ferndale.  Ferndale is 260 miles from San Francisco but 40 structures were damaged by that 1906 quake and almost all of the cities chimneys fell to the ground.

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