Fall 2012 West Coast Trip travel blog

(I am behind on this journal and will be adding pictures when I can. We have been really busy.)

We arrived in Eureka Friday Sept 21. It was only 335 miles but took over 8 hours. Interstate I5 in northern Calif is all steep grades up and down mountains with lots of construction. We did drive around Mt. Shasta which was very cool. Every mountain around here is an old volcano.

The road crossing the mountains going from I5 to the coast was horrible. A two lane road going up and down mountians-over and over again. Lots of really steep grades with sharp switchbacks. There was also lots of construction along this road too. Much of it we fear was because the road had fallen down the mountain. We got there safely of course.

The campground was very nice with a heated pool and a hot tub.

Eureka has a state redwood park south of town and a national park/state park north of town so it was a great location for us. There is an old town section with lots of cute shops and restaurants. We had great sushi one night and great mexican another. The rest of the town is not much to speak of. They are rather isolated by what some call the "Redwood curtain". No good highways into the area hence the isolation. They also seem to be becomming a mecca for young homeless people. They are everywhere (except they stay out of the old town tourist area).

We spent one day in the Avenue of the Giants. Lots of large groves of redwood trees. We got out of the car and walked thru many of the groves. It is about 10 degrees cooler in the groves, with lots of pine needles and ferns and very little undergrowth. The sunlight filters thru the trees and the smell is great. Redwoods survive fires which burn out all the underbrush so it is very easy walking thru the trees. You can't really tell how really big they are untill you are standing among them. We saw one tree here with a diameter of 34 feet. Redwoods can be over 300 feet tall and can live 2000 to 3000 years. We saw redwoods that were seedlings when Cleopatra was on the throne.

We spent another day at the National Park north of Eureka. Again lots of redwoods. There was a great section where we drove thru a large grove on a dirt one lane road (with two way traffic) that was really great. In many places we could have touched the trees from our car window. In addition to the trees the National park has a coastal road with great ocean views.

Finally we spent a day going to the "lost coast". Not easy to get to but well worth the drive. While on the 15 mile coastal section we only saw one other car (it isn't easy to get there). This section of the coast is one of the most western points in the contiguous U.S. We did see a herd of cattle with an oceanfront pasture. We also passed a house (ranch?) with 2 zebras in the front yard.

We loved the redwoods. Our next stop is Monterey.

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