November 1 – 17, 2017
Redwood Highway 199 to the West Coast
It was a memorable drive heading from Grants Pass, Oregon to the Pacific Coast. Highway 199, also know as Redwood Highway, is a very curvy road wedged between the Smith River and mountainside edges. Bob handled the road wonderfully, however, as a passenger I was feeling dizzy and queasy from all the side-to-side turns. At one point I thought our side mirror was going to hit the rock wall … we were very close.
Once we entered the Redwood State Park, my nausea turned into excitement and amazement as we curved through the majestically tall trees. We passed Crescent City and continued on Route 101 South to Klamath, CA where we camped at Chinook RV Resort for $20 with full hookups along the Klamath River. Nice deal and beautiful area. The mouth of the river had a great overlook picnic area that was worth driving to.
Nearby was “Trees of Mystery,” an attraction that features hiking paths through the Redwoods, a skytrail gondola ride, a historical museum, and stories about Paul Bunyan. You can’t miss the park entrance which features a 49′ sculpture of Paul and his 35′ ox ‘Babe’. The nature walk guided you to special trees like the elephant tree, cathedral tree, and the candelabra tree. All perfectly named! We enjoyed the skytrail ride where we floated above the tall evergreen forest. It was so cool that we rode it twice. On the second trip we chose to walk on the wilderness trail which was a moderately-steep downhill one-mile hike. Definitely a challenge with ropes along the path to assist you on the steep areas. Bob slipped a couple of times and it took at least two laundry washings to get out his pant stains. Trees of Mystery was an unexpected treasure which we completely enjoyed and would recommend to anyone traveling in the area.
Redwood National Park
We wanted to be closer to the Redwoods so we moved to the Emerald Forest RV Park in Trinidad. We got what we asked for and more!!! After trying two different campsites and having difficulty leveling the motorhome, we ended up literally inches between two Redwood trees. A perfect fit … with fingers crossed that no branches would fall!
An added bonus was that my cousin Linda and Doug were taking vacation nearby and joined us for a few days. They slept in our RV the first night, then stayed in a cabin next door for two more nights. We had a blast exploring Redwood National Park and the Trinidad area with them. Our adventures together began with a beautiful beach sunset and a really delicious seafood dinner at the Trinidad Bay Eatery and Gallery. The Ahi Poke appetizer was the highlight with fresh tuna seasoned in sesame oil with sides of cucumber, avocado, and seaweed salad. The Parmesan Fried Calamari was very tasty and we all enjoyed our main dishes of Cajun Shrimp Alfredo, Red Curry Coconut Scallops, and the Fresh Catch of the Day special.
On 11/5/17, we went to the Thomas Kutchel Visitor Center to find out where to begin. We met a very enthusiastic and helpful ranger who highlighted some trails and areas to check out in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. While heading to “Big Tree Wayside” we entered the Elk Prairie Campground area to see a large gang of elk hanging out. There were a couple of bull elk challenging each other which we cautiously watched. We walked the loop around the Cathedral Tree Trail and the Foothill Trail. While in the Big Tree area we were amazed at the massiveness of the forest. You can not get the true scale of the trees in a photo unless a person is in the scene for comparison. Even then, the tree tops are too high to capture it all. Big Tree (or Giant Tree) is featured at a circumference of 53.2 ft.
Our next day together, we packed in a few more hikes. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at the Gold Bluffs Beach before heading to our favorite hike through Fern Canyon where they filmed a scene from Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World. It was fun pretending to be chased by raptors while jumping over toppled trees and running through the stream. Our shoes and feet got pretty soaked but it was worth it!
11/8/17 We are now staying at staying at Pomo RV Park in Fort Bragg. Due to heavy rain, there was a power outage in the campground and town. Bored and very low on gas, we headed to nearby Mendocino with fun shops and a nice internet cafe where we spent the afternoon. Before heading back to Fort Bragg, we stopped at the only gas station in town with a rate of $5.75 per gallon! WOW…ridiculous! But should I risk driving 30 minutes back to Fort Bragg to find another station which might be closed due to the power outage? Nope, so I begrudgingly put in 2 gallons and headed back.
Another attraction along the Mendocino coast was the Jug Handle State Reserve where we checked out a beautiful bluff overlook. Nearby was the Pygmy Forest Discovery Trail featuring small stunted trees and shrubs due to the soil restrictions.
By 11/10/17, the fires in the Sonoma/Napa Valley area were out, so we headed down to Santa Rosa to stay at the Sonoma County Fairground RV Park. FEMA workers and families that were left homeless from the fires had trailers setup in the park. We passed some burned-down buildings in town and heard that the National Guard was protecting the neighborhoods from thieves going through the burnt rubble. There was a huge outreach to raise money for the families around town. Local businesses were matching donations and signs were everywhere thanking the First Responders.
Wine country has many, many, many vineyards to visit. We chose the Matanzas Creek Winery for a tasting session. Their grounds were beautiful with a lavender farm area and olive trees in addition to the grapevines. We enjoyed the selection of reds, whites and rose wines. Our favorite was the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc so we purchased a bottle to enjoy later.
About an hour drive is Bodego Bay which is a great place to see along the northern California coast. The town was filled with crabbing boats, little shops, and seafood restaurants. We stopped at the Spud Point Crab Company for chowder and crab cakes … very delicious.
In Santa Rosa we visited the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens. An impressive educational garden featuring the research plant gardens of Luther Burbank. The self-guided tour described his experiments with grafting and inventing a blight-free potato. Very informative, nicely designed, and FREE! After the garden we went to the Art Museum of Sonoma County which had an exhibit on Day of the Dead.
The next day we attempted to ice-skate at the Snoopy’s Home Ice, which is near the Charles Schulz Museum. Both were fun to visit! They brought back memories of reading the Snoopy and Charlie Brown comic strip in the Sunday paper. All the characters were featured in the museum along with the office space where Charles Schulz created his artwork.
It was time to get an oil change done on the motorhome so we found a truck center in Petaluma and explored the downtown area while we waited. Had lunch at a fun 50’s-theme diner call Sax’s Joint. Nice breakfast menu with large portions.
It’s all about food and fun!!!