Friday, September 2, 2011

West Coast Road Trip - Day 4: Crescent City to San Francisco

Up and out early again, we headed south toward San Francisco, but not before taking a quick walk on the beach which was cool, gray, and a little bit scummy.

Our first stop of the day came only a few minutes into our drive. But for real, who could pass without taking a photo of this giant, roadside Paul Bunyon and Baby the Blue Ox standing at the entrance to the Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California.

In the famed story, Paul Bunyan was a monstrous 63 ax handles high. Alex is only about 4 ax handles high. You can note the height discrepancy here.

We decided not to hike through Trees of Mystery, even this kind of tourist trap is clearly right up our alley. We did take some time to stop in the gift shop though. We bought a little something for my baby nephew. Oh yea, Dara and Ryan, I’m sure you are reading this and can’t wait to see what we picked up. It’s pretty tacky.

We continued on the 101, heading down through the Redwood Forest, stopping a few times to hike some short trails and see the trees up close.

The Circle Trail had one of the biggest redwood trees in the forest.

At about 202 ax handles high, good old Paul would still have had some difficulty chopping this giant down.

In addition to the giant trees, I wanted to see some real California wild life. Despite radio broadcasts telling us that Roosevelt Elk were spotted between Elk Prairie and Golden Bluffs Beach, there were none to be seen. Alex tried his best to make it up to me, which was nice.

Then, we spotted them. Two pretty Roosevelt Elk, roaming on the prairie. They looked at Alex with confusion and then kept on nibbling at the trees.

We headed down to Golden Bluffs Beach anyways, but there wasn’t much there. So we pretty much turned around and headed back.

After a bit more of a drive, we decided to stop in Eureka for some lunch. I’m sorry to say, that this was the saddest most depressing, little town that I have ever been through. The economy must have hit this little village pretty hard because every store we passed was going out of business, many buildings looked boarded up and vacant, and people just seemed to be milling around without a whole lot to do. Hopefully, Eureka will turn around and return to the bustling town promised in all of our guidebooks.

Back on the road, we headed down the Avenue of Giants to Myers Flat where we stopped briefly to drive through a giant tree.

Oh yea, there she is, the giant, black Impala. Barely fitting through the tree, Alex had me get out to guide the way and of course, snap some pictures.

Apparently, even with a giant hole though the center, redwood trees can continue to grow and thrive. Something to do with the way they get their water through many different roots instead of one many root source. However, this tree was very much not alive.

After the Avenue of Giants came a turn on to US Highway Route 1, which proved to be a very twisty path.

I thought the curves through the wooded forest were a little nerve-wracking, but nothing could compare to the breathtaking drops off the edge of the road once we hit the coast. Beautiful, but completely terrifying in spots.

With many turn-offs, we stopped to take a lot of pictures. Probably why this 6 hour drive, ended up taking us more like 13.

We even got in a little more California wild life.

No, they were not kidding when they put up that sign for the cow crossing.

Before making our way into San Francisco, we stopped in Bodega Bay to check out the sights and sounds of my favorite movie, The Birds.

And I do mean sounds because there were noisy birds everywhere. You could easily shut your eyes and pretend to be Tippi Hendren driving along the coast highway on her way to Bodega Bay.

In addition to stopping at The Tides restaurant, we also stopped in Bodega to see the church and the Potter School House which is now a private residence.

We quickly got back on the road and tried to make it to San Francisco before nightfall. We didn't get far though when a thick fog set in, then dark, then rain. The windy cliff roads became treacherous and the rest of our drive was done at a brisk 15 miles per hour. Sadly, even our drive over the Golden Gate Bridge was only enjoyable because we knew it meant we'd be at our hotel soon. At one point Alex asked, "Are we on the bridge yet?" By that point we were more than half way over. We couldn't see anything till we landed in the Presido and climbed the hills to the Laurel Inn.

After dinner and a stiff few drinks at the Pig and Whistle, we called it a night.

1 comment:

  1. Yay you are getting close to my hometown! Looks like you are having a great trip. Love seeing your pics and reading about your adventures. Enjoy enjoy!!!