My first attempt to pull off the side of the road and sleep in my van was thwarted right after dusk. The ranger told me that even though I had found a spot with no redwoods, I was indeed still in the Redwood National Forest and not allowed to do what I was doing.
I often utilize the law that states anyone can pull over and sleep in their vehicle for up to 8 hours, in the interest of having safe drivers on the road. The Redwoods ranger did not seem to mind that I would be driving through curvy dark forest while half asleep. He did let me know if I drove 45 minutes back to Hwy 101, I could sleep at a pull .out, so I made my way there.
I awoke in the morning to see a glorious river with car on it, so I resolved to find how to get the Vanagon down there, as the entryway was not apparent.
As I drove around, looking for an access road, I ran across a rock mining operation. In the heart of Humboldt Redwoods, right next to the river. So this is kosh, but me pulling over to get a few hours shuteye while on a “Great American Roadtrip” is not?
Eventually I entered a bit of magical forest I felt surely must be the right way.
I was right. The bridge that you see is the Redwood Highway.
So I spent the day there; bathed in the river, hunted for rocks, read books, cooked food and relaxed.