Epic Coastal Road Trip Pt 2:

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. This is our epic coastal road trip pt 2 and the goal is to take a break from driving, and enjoy the surroundings. Our adventurous journey continues, on this gorgeous sunny day in June. This part of the trip is perfect for hiking, exploring the Redwoods, and taking an amazing return detour.

Redwood Trees

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 standing among 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.

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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:

Points of Interest

  • 1: F.K. Lane
  • 2: Bolling Grove where many of the redwoods take interesting shapes and sizes.
  • 3: Visitor Center
  • 4: Weott
  • 5: Mahan Plaque is where there have been reports of people seeing an elusive large creature across the road (Sasquatch, Big Foot).
  • 6: Dyerville
  • 7: Chandler Grove
  • 8: Drury/Chaney Grove where a nice 2.4 nature loop trail takes you through these massive species of trees.

Northern California

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.

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Arcata

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. I love it when good things happen by accident. Like stumbling upon a quaint Mexican restaurant while driving through town, turns out the best. We are usually very hesitant to try new places, but I had a good feeling about this restaurant. We stop by the location and walk in to take a look. The building and property look clean, plenty of booths and tables, so we thought we’d give it a try.

Eureka

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.

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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.

Beach Sunset

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.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

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.

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Smith River

Wanderlust Oregon

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

Arch Rock

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Port Orford Heads State Park

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Coos Bay

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Heceta Head Lighthouse (Viewing area)

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Cape Falcon

Tillamook

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A quaint little farming town with an air museum with a large blimp hangar, cheese factories, and agriculture fields.

Cannon Beach

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!

Photo by Sam J.

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.

While departing Cannon Beach area we felt a little sad. This small town made us fall in love with it. But we knew we had to continue our epic coastal road trip journey on towards Portland, which was our resting point for the night. Our path takes us north on highway 101 to connect to highway 26 which took us all the way into Portland. This route is amazing and it was quite a scenic roadway.

Portland to Seattle

The next day could not have been more beautiful! After a delicious breakfast in Portland, we hit the road towards Seattle. We arrived in Seattle which is just a few or more hours drive from Portland and head towards 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!

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Seattle

Safeco Stadium (now it is named T-Mobile Park) 4th of July Fly over from McChord Field: C-17 Flyover: WOW!

This Seattle morning is unbelievable! Full sunshine, blue sky, gorgeous temperatures, and not the Washington temperatures and clouds I remember; in a good way as I lived on Whidbey Island, WA 20 years ago.

Return Trip

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!

The Detour

Our epic coastal road trip return takes us through Oregon as a result of a detour path because of 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!

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Side Note

Side Note: There are a couple things we noticed during our epic coastal road trip travels along 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 stops in those areas post warning signs stating that only a minimum numbers of hours is allowed to park 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 epic coastal road trip was truly a remarkable experience for us! I remember always hearing about Highway 1 and the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway); the scenic views, landscapes, and beautiful beach towns along the way. 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!

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Read my Coastal Road Trip Expedition Part 1: Pebble Beach, Redwoods, & Street Art

Sources:

Avenue of the Giants brochure
California State Map
Oregon state printed informational material

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