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The Redwoods – From Humboldt to Klamath

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In June, our California friend, Lisa, came to visit again (what a sport!), but this time she flew into SFO so she too could see the redwood forests.
It was to be a short trip, only four days, half of which would be driving, but we would make the best of it. I drove the 6 hours from Trinidad to San Francisco, listening to dozens of podcasts on subjects from Rome to Chiggers, and drinking copious coffee. I left early so I would have time to take a detour from highway 101 to the 1 along the coast, via a death defying road outside of Leggett, California. The road was so winding and slow that by the time I got to the 1, I was only barely on schedule, and after having to stop outside of San Francisco to buy and set up a toll pass, I was way behind. Arriving almost an hour late to pick her up from the airport… so much for leaving early!

 

The Mosser Hotel

The Mosser Hotel

We headed into town to stay at the Mosser hotel at @$120 a night after taxes for both of us. After a terrifying debacle involving parking the giant F350 in a parking garage (to save ourselves from paying $60 for valet,) I was finally free of the truck.
Lisa already had a plan for us which was nice. We found the Mission Street bus and headed out from downtown to a “bean to bar” chocolate place, Dandelion Chocolate, where she had a desert sample platter and I had a cocoa bean fruit smoothie – which tasted a lot like lychee. This was followed by dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant, where we were able to share a giant plate for a decent price with food left over. SF is only as expensive as you make it I guess!

Gracias Madre on Mission Street

Gracias Madre on Mission Street

The Road to Trinindad

We left early the next morning and found that our parking garage experience had saved us about $35! Worth it. We would spend the day stopping at tourists attractions and driving the Avenue of the Giants. It was perfect weather for wandering around forest trails and exploring fallen trees and hollowed out logs. The forest is dark, wet, magical, and seemingly endless, with the avenue itself has numerous places to pull off the road and wander into the forest.

On one of the trails we pulled over for to walk, we were surprised by a random nude photo shoot happening on a giant fallen tree, an unexpected surprise! haha. We averted our eyes, laughed and kept walking. Oh, Humboldt County… If you pull over at all the stops, you’ll be there all day (and possibly run into more nudy photo shoots).. and then some, so we skipped a few places, and by the end of the avenue I was exhausted from two days of driving, and no proper lunch. We booked it the rest of the way to the campsite in Trinidad for a big dinner and some good sleep.

 

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We also stopped at the ‘One Log House‘ along the way, a must see for RVers! It’s basically a travel trailer carved out of a giant redwood tree, complete with a kitchen, two beds, a living room and bathroom. For just a dollar you can take a private tour and have your own little photo shoot.

One Log House

One Log House

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Inside the One Log House – we could SO live there!

We also stopped at Chimney Tree and the Solar Living Center with “Tree Through Cars”, off grid Airbnb cabins, a great community garden, and huge eco gift shop.

 

Redwoods State and National Parks

After a good night’s rest we headed out again the next morning, this time north. We stopped to see the ocean, walking around tide pools and sea caves at Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area, a free to visit beach and lagoon.

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Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area

Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area

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Patrick’s Point State Park

We continued north to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, where we saw wild Elk lounging about next to the road. We had lunch at the “Trees of Mystery” tourist trap – where an enthusiastic guy trapped in a Paul Bunyan statue chatted with people from 30 feet up, stopped at Klamath drive through tree (though didn’t drive through due to the size of the truck) and eventually made our all the way to Crescent City and Jedadiah Smith State Park, where we found a dirt road that went off into the forest, our favorite way to see nature, and hiked a beautiful loop trail. Ferns, banana slugs, giant trees, old bridges, boardwalks, and benches; It was by far my favorite trail in the redwoods; find it on Walker Road outside Crescent City.

Beautiful Granite in the Riverbed!

Beautiful Granite in the Riverbed of the Smith River

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Wild Elk!

Trees of MYSTERY

Trees of MYSTERY

Klamath Drive Through Tree

Klamath Drive Through Tree

 

Dick Taylor CHOCOLATEWe didn’t miss any opportunity for some great bean to bar chocolate. We found a place along the drive to and from San Fransisco, as well as bought some Dick Taylor chocolate in Trinidad, as we didn’t have time to visit the factory in nearby Eureka – worth a try for sure!

Sherlock went with us on the drive back to San Francisco. This time we just took the 101 and it was obviously a much smoother trip, though still exhausting. We arrived in SF early so we could get lunch at a vegan cafe Lisa was interested in, Seed and Salt and on the way to the airport I decided to take a detour to see a cathedral, however not knowing the city at all, I ended up on all the steepest streets – kind of terrifying in a 4 ton truck to be stopped at such angles. I felt like the brakes would give out on me after the 4th stop light going down a never ending hill – but it was also hilarious at the same time. We drove down streets like that for a while before google got us somewhere sensible to get back to the airport. After dropping her off, me and Sherlock were stuck in such awful traffic out of the city that we decided to stop and take in a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the north side.

Once we escaped traffic, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, me and Sherlock kept sane with more podcasts and drove into the night, arriving home after midnight and ready for a good meal! A very busy 4 days, that took me 4 months to write about (kick me).

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Awesome Tree Root
state parks

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Due to many things out of our control, we were forced to skip Sequoia National Park. Many of the RV parks had reviews that included warnings about length, due to trees or roads, others were just full and could only give us a few…

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campsite
featured RV Parks

Angels Camp RV Park and Surrounding Area

Angel’s Camp RV Park is a great little place just on the edge of the Sierra Mountain town of, you guessed it, Angel’s Camp, however its proximity to tons of great little towns and sites is the real draw – unless of course…

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Bridalveil Fall
featured Hiking National Park

Yosemite National Park in the Rain

There’s no doubt in my mind that Yosemite is beautiful no matter the weather, but we were perfectly satisfied with seeing it on a cloudy and occasionally rainy day. It was surprisingly cold, but light rain jackets were fine and Sherlock didn’t seem to…

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Hiking

Flagstaff Lava Tube Hike – Lava River Cave

Just outside of Flagstaff, far into the forest, is a hole in the ground that goes on for nearly a mile. There are no exits, a lot of cold stale air, and coincidentally, enough room for adults to walk upright 80% of the…

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Hiking National Park

TBT: Angel’s Landing Trail, Zion National Park

Throwback Thursday needs a purpose around here, and I have a LOT of unfinished blogs waiting to be written. For this segment, we’ll go back to an awesome hike in Zion National Park in 2013. Nothing ever seems that long ago, maybe because…

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