Friday, June 22, 2012

Avenue of the Giants

Thursday, June 21st

     First things first - yes, I had to back out of my space all by myself - Yeah Sue!!  It took a few (quite a few) jockingings to get in position for a straight back up because night before I had jockeyed a few times thinking I could turn around until I saw that wasn't going to happen.  I avoided the overhanging roof of the falling-down building and the gas tank of the trailer and out I went.  I don't know if "where there's a will, there's a way" or if "necessity is the mother of invention" would apply here but anyway, I was outta there early, in the fog, in the cold, windy temps.
     Of course about 5 miles up the road I drove by "Crescent Cove" - a nice RV park also on the ocean.  Next time:)
     Continued northward up CA 1, "high on the hill" with cows grazing between the road and the cliffs and I had to wonder how many cows are lost each year with greediness - just one more step and I can get that grass that's just a little greener?
Cows & People want to be one step
closer to the edge 'cause it might be
     I liked the name of the town of Sea Ranch.  It was a nice enclave of appropriate (low, weathered wood, plenty of space between, not manicured) yet beautiful homes, a nice lodge ocean-side, beach access roads - so it's not all cliffs, AND something for everyone - Sea Ranch Golf Links (must be a little Scottish influence here).
     Not sure where all these people come from because the stretch of homes went on for miles but they must be vacation homes because there's no big town for miles!
     Wild Calla Lilies were growing in the ditches!  and how much do they cost for a wedding bouquet?
     Went through Albion, CA (my family will know why I noted this).  Population of 398 - cute little town as were all of them along this route - not much poverty was evident.  They even had a TruValue and of course a "watering hole" with market and gifts and a very nice RV park (some how I've been noticing the abundance of NICE RV parks).
Don't these plants look like something
from a Dr. Seuss book?
     Another thing I've finally caught on to:  as Sally knows, I am prone to "pulling over", not just for photo ops and ooooohhhhs but to let cars go by so I don't feel like I'm holding up the locals because I want to look too as I drive thus drive more slowly than those trying to get to the coffee shop.  Anyway, the first couple of times I got tooted at, I knew they weren't flirting but I was afraid one of Rhoda's drawers had popped open and they were alerting me but no, everything was fine.  After about the 5th toot, I caught on - they were thanking me for pulling over and since I like to know that I'm being appreciated, my attitude changed about all the times I had to pull over:)
     After about 84 hair-pin turns going up hill or down at 25 mph, there in front of me was a hill-side full of houses just like San Francisco.  I had arrived at the first big town of Mendocino.  I intended to get a cup of coffee and walk around this artsy little town but it was so cold and windy that the coffee was all I managed (was waited on by a very efficiently and polite 8 yr. old boy).  People here are definitely unique - probably movie stars in disguise - scruffy, woodsy, artsy.
     I moved back onto the Shoreline Highway which now looked more like a country lane - lots of fenced in land with again, a profusion of mostly purple wild flowers along the road, the blue ocean with white breakers in the near distance, deep green forested mountains, golden fields, and black cows.  Houses just dotted the landscape here and there - very rural "up north".
On a walk these were flitting around everywhere
Ediths Checkerspots they're called
Black sand beaches
     I know you think I've got a lot of pictures on my blog but I want to remind you that you haven't seen all the ones I've taken with my eyes - every turn brings another image I'd like to share but me, myself & I will have to do most of the time.
     A surprise stop was The Drive Thru Tree which I thought we'd seen in Sequoia but according to the sign here - this is The World Famous Drive Thru Tree (but about 25 miles down the road there was another one so I'm wondering. . . ).  This one was in Leggat and of course I couldn't drive thru because for the second time on this trip, Rhoda was too tall but cars were driving thru.
The place was a little rinky dink but fun.
     By now, away from the coast, it had warmed up to in the 70s so sweatshirt with hood could come off.
     Last year I was surprised in So, CA at all the agriculture.  This year in No, CA - far northern, at all the mountains - not like the Rockys or Adirondacks but mountains, and all the rivers, trees, pastures, cute LITTLE towns, and of course with all this beauty - vacation homes.
     When I got on 101 from 1 (it ends for awhile), the highway is now called The Redwood Highway.  I took a side road near Phillipsville to get on the Avenue of Giants and so glad I did.  Again - unexpected and unknown to be before I came upon it.  
     The highway and now this Avenue follows the Eel River as it winds, twists, turns, and curves.  The banks are broad and flat but deep down from the rest of the landscape.  People drive on the banks, set up tents, picnics and play in the water.  It's very open and sunny and then you enter the Redwoods and it's dark and quiet and intimate.  Just the Redwoods and lots of ferns.  The trees are SO tall and big but after seeing the Sequoias the bigness wasn't as awesome to me as their height.
See the little reflectors on the trees because
they are so close to the road
     Don't miss this road.  It's a wonderland of sights and senses and such a feeling of calm.
     There were little hikes at some of the stops on pine needle-covered paths and you felt like you were alone with these giants.  You have to feel the gratitude of those who preserved these forests from the loggers.  Can you imagine.
     There's a great campground right in the Redwoods - Burlington - but after last night I felt like I needed amenities.  
     So instead, I went for the name:  Ancient Redwoods RV Park.  I'm close to the end of this marvelous Avenue but I'll still get a smidgen of it tomorrow as I leave, heading to Eureka and now I know how it got it's name - Eureka!!  I made it without losing my brakes again!


Mileage:  186                                      Gas:  $58  @ $4.26                                  Camp:  $38.50
Drive thru Tree:  $5

Interesting:  Twice in the last 50 years, the Eel River has flooded wiping out several small towns that never returned


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