Road trips can be so exciting and unpredictable. They do require a lot of planning and coordinating depending on the hours you want to drive. Our goal today is to take a break from driving, and enjoy the surroundings. Our adventurous journey continues, and this gorgeous sunny day in June is perfect for hiking and exploring the massive Redwood trees and nature trails.
Redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest tree species on earth! As I look up, I almost feel dizzy because I am in such awe and amazement with these magnificent giants. They were big, small, wide, corked, and even drive through trees. Gigantic trees are every you turn here in Redwoods territory.
We continue the trip that began in a small town called Leggett, California, this is where the giant trees started. We continue making our way through Smithe Redwoods State Park, Humbolt Redwoods, and then onto the Avenue of the Giants.
Avenue of the Giants
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a peaceful less traveled path to take to explore the massive Redwoods. This particular area is the greatest accumulation of biomass, which is comprised of both living and dead organic material, ever recorded in a coast redwood forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Did you know that coast redwoods are taller than any other living thing! Here are a few interesting stops we made on this tour:
Stop 1: F.K. Lane
Stop 2: Bolling Grove where many of the redwoods take interesting shapes and sizes.
Stop 3: Visitor Center
Stop 4: Weott
Stop 5: Mahan Plaque is where there have been reports of people seeing an elusive large creature across the road (Sasquatch, Big Foot).
Stop 6: Dyerville
Stop 7: Chandler Grove
Stop 8: Drury/Chaney Grove where a nice 2.4 nature loop trail takes you through these massive species of trees.
We continue our journey north passing through Eureka and arriving into our resting destination of Arcata, California. But before arriving in Arcata, we also stopped for a rest in this really cool town of Klamath, California. We drive into a visitor stop where we see a giant Paul Bunyan and Babe statue. A museum and small gift shop are located are located directly nearby. The museum only had a few visitors including us glancing at all the historical photos of characters from the old Wild West including the Indians and other explorers.Whereas the gift shop has several folks shopping for souvenirs.
We arrive early at our destination, yet late enough to check into our hotel. Most hotels have a 3:00 P.M. check in so this worked well as we dropped off our food and personal items, then headed back out to explore more. We returned to a scenic spot we passed by earlier to re-capture a few more photos of these extraordinary vistas and views.
After capturing a few stunning coastal beach photos, we end up back at our hotel in Arcata. We didn’t have much luck finding a place to dine to our liking, so drove back to Eureka. We stumbled upon a quaint Mexican restaurant while driving through town earlier.
We are usually very hesitant to try new places, but I had a good feeling about this restaurant. We stop in and walk in to take a look. The building and property look clean, plenty of booths and table sit down areas, so we thought we’d give it a try.
If you are someone who has food allergies or food sensitivities, they will do whatever you ask them to suit your needs. When I placed my order, they mentioned that most of their sauces contain milk, except for one kind. So, this sauce, of course, is the kind I chose for my Enchilada sauce. The food and sauces are made of quality ingredients. Hence, our meal did not disappoint, and was very delicious! If you are traveling through this area, you may want to check out this restaurant.
After inhaling the scrumptious dinner at Tres Pecosos, we thought we would try to seek out another photo op before the sun goes down. A scenic area for a sunset at the beach and coast area would be perfect. Only a few hours of sunlight remain at this point. We realize how tired we are to go mill around the beach until sunset. So, we capture a few stunning shots and made our way back to the hotel and hit the sack.
Sunset at beach area, near Eureka
Oregon, Here We Come
After a long day of driving and a great night of sleep, the morning came full of sun and fresh breezes. We couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day to continue our epic road trip. The plan today has us rolling into the Redwoods and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and then into Oregon. The Redwoods cover a very large amount of land in Northern California. We also notice that the California Redwood parks are considered both a National Park and State Park areas.
This particular area of Redwoods is named for an American explorer, Jedediah Strong Smith, who traveled across the lands of the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific coast in the early 1800s. There is also the Smith River that provides such elegant beauty and crystal clear waters.
We continue cruising through the massive Redwood National Park near the Klamath area, and can not believe our eyes. From the enormous trees to the amazing shoreline beach vistas, it was a nature photographers dream.
I have only heard wonderful things about Oregon over the years. From the carved coastline to its amazing nature. I think this is what excites us the most about seeing Oregon; its incredible beauty and wildlife.
We finally crossed the California border and into the beautiful state of Oregon. Oregon has so many points of interest along the coast! These are some of those points of interest we made sure to stop and explore as they are described here:
Natural Bridge Cove: Trail
Port Orford Heads State Park
Heceta Head Lighthouse (Viewing area)
A quaint little farming town with an air museum with a large blimp hangar, cheese factories, and agriculture fields.
This little beach town is spectacular! The day we arrived, the streets and sidewalks look quite busy. I guess it would be a little busy since July 4th is just around the corner. Several folks crossing the roads, on sidewalks, restaurant parking lots were full. It seems this little beach town jewel had it all going on!
The beach is wide and offers quite a scenic treasure accompanied by the large rock formations. The world’s third largest monolith Haystack Rock standing 235 feet high, home for birding beauty is home here. This coastal area has been the center for filming scenes for several movies and films. Examples include The Goonies, Point Break, Free Willy, Overboard, Twilight and many more.
As we departed the Cannon Beach area we felt a little sad, as we really wanted to stay longer. But we knew we had to make our way on to Portland, which was our resting point for the night. We proceeded north on highway 101 and reached highway 26 which took us all the way into Portland and definitely did not disappoint, as it was quite a scenic roadway. We enjoyed glancing at the natural surroundings and tree lined road as well as the open fields as we watched the sun set.
We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day the next day. We woke up to a beautiful Portland morning and hit the road towards Seattle. We arrived in Seattle a handful of hours from Portland and prepared to make our way downtown to find parking. We pre-purchased baseball tickets to see the Seattle Mariners play on July 4th and it was a blast! The stadium was full of cheer, music, excitement, and patriotism!
Safeco Stadium 4th of July Fly over from McChord Field: C-17 Flyover: WOW!
The Seattle morning offered to us was unbelievable! Full sunshine, blue sky, gorgeous temperatures, and not the Washington temps I remember. (in a good way). (I lived on Whidbey Island, WA 20 years ago).
We walked around the city for a while, then filled the car up with gas and started our return trip. San Francisco was our final stop, return the rental car, and catch a flight home. But of course, before that flight departure, we took in another baseball game and saw the San Francisco Giants play ball! That was certainly a thrill to see! I don’t know how people watch the game when they have such a gorgeous view looking right back at them in the stadium!
Our road trip back through Oregon was sort of a detour path as a result of the fires on I-5 near and around the borders of Oregon and California. Our detour included taking us onto Highway 99 South through several beautiful open landscapes, Mt. Shasta, Diamond Peak Mt., and other gorgeous vistas for our viewing pleasure and an overnight resting stop in Eugene. To cap off the evening, we enjoyed a stunning sunset!
Side Note: There are a couple things we noticed during our travels along the coast into northern California, Oregon, and Washington. There are several homeless folks wandering the streets, parking lots, roadways and highways. Many of these people live in their vehicles and I think they were at every rest area we stopped at. A few rest areas in those areas post warning signs stating that only a minimum numbers of hours is allowed or vehicle will be towed. Free coffee is also offered at the rest areas in Oregon and Washington. The number of rest stops in California seems to be limited and the ones they do have, are closed. This is something to keep in mind as you travel on a road trip through California.
This coastal road trip was truly a remarkable experience for us! I remember always hearing about Highway 1 and PCH (Pacific Coast Highway); the scenic views, landscapes, and beautiful beach towns along the path. And I have only seen photos of places like Pebble Beach (or watching golf tournaments on TV), but for many years it was just a dream or a thought. It is remarkable that I have lived in the West between California and Washington for more than 20 years and have never driven this route. Well, now it’s not just a dream anymore, it became a reality for this wandering adventurer!
Thank you for reading!
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Avenue of the Giants brochure
California State Map
Oregon state printed informational material