I waited all my life for this!
Trip Start Sep 03, 2008
28Trip End Oct 01, 2008
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We started the day with an oil change and a car wash, and headed West to the coast. We passed through Redwood National forest (the part in Oregon), and spent the entire hour trying to decide which of the giant trees were redwoods. It seemed like all the trees were 3 or 4 feet in diameter, huge by most standards. A stop at a rest area, and we got to read up on redwoods. They are easy to spot because they are the really tall trees. There are 2 kinds, Coastal Redwoods which are skinnier (up to 10 feet dia) and taller (up to 300 feet), and younger at 2,000 years. Giant Sequoias are bigger (up to 40 feet diameter!), shorter (250 feet), and older (up to 3,500 years old). Stick with me kids, and you'll learn something.
As we got to the California coast, and passed through the coastal forests, we had no trouble at all finding redwoods. Every bend had a new, larger stand of trees, and their size is totally unexplainable. The pictures we took do them no justice. The largest diameter tree we saw was probably 25 feet. There are surprisingly few gift shops and tourist attractions, and almost no signs directing you to big trees, etc. I had just mentioned to Sandy that I wanted to ask someone directions to the drive-through tree, when I spotted a sign out of the corner of my eye. We made a u-turn and got to the gatehouse for the tree. It is one of the few private attractions in the whole forest, and it kinda reminds me of the alligator farms on the old road to Florida. You pay your money and drive about 1/4 mile up a hill, and there it is. The tree! It was a squeeze, and we had to fold in the side mirrors, but Scarlett made it through, and I got my picture!
We took lots of photos, but without people or cars in the picture you cannot imagine the size of these trees. More scenery that photography doesn't do justice to. We also saw another herd of Elk, and got some 100 yard away pictures. For a better picture, see yesterday's blog. I know it's a painting, I took the picture of it while standing on the hotel bed!
We got to the hotel around 5:00 and headed up the hill to spend the evening with Duncan and Betty MacLaren. Duncan was the best man in our wedding, and my Fraternity "Big Brother" in college. We have seen Mac only once since our wedding. He is semi-retired after a successful career with GE, that has taken him around the world. They decided to retire in Northern California after a 5-year search for the right spot. This one fit their criteria of temperate weather, closeness to the mountains, and to the sea. They built their home on a beautiful slope side lot with a gorgeous view of the mountains. They terraced the back yard and Betty has landscaped the entire hillside with an unbelievable assortment of flowers, ferns, and bushes. The gardens are magnificent. Mac has added a redwood gazebo, and has done some beautiful woodwork in the house. After a lovely dinner Betty prepared, we spent the evening reminiscing and catching up on the last 42 years.
We seem to be catching up on wildlife. As we made our out of MacLarens' road, we saw a mule deer.
Tomorrow, it's off to San Francisco, and overnight in Mill Valley.