Cows & a drive not to be missed

Whenever I have made the Hwy 101 to Hwy 1 drive along the magnificent Pacific Ocean, I run into this place that is… simply magical.  The first time I came through, there were cows all over the (very curvy) coastal highway, cliffs dropping at angle that would have made James’ Giant Peach fly as far as the moon, rolling hills, friendly farmsteads, and the most amazing sunsets.  For some reason, I am always hitting this stretch of Highway 1 at sunset time; I suppose I’ll have to try for sunrise at some point.

It always starts with cows….

Then it just keeps going….

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Goodbye Redwoods, hello Westport

From Trinity through Humboldt; the Redwoods stretch across an impressive span.  I finally exit, and find myself in a tiny little town by the name of Westport.  Cute, no?

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Tourist traps: Liggett’s “World Famous Tree” and DUCKS!

When I travel, I occasionally will stop at roadside attractions/tourist traps; just because.  As I traveled through all of Northern California’s Redwoods, I saw multiple big/giant/humongous tress and 3 or 4 different “world famous drive thru” trees (as advertised).

As I approached Liggett, I was in need of a break.  The advertisements for the “world famous drive thru tree” were everywhere, along with statements seeming to indicate it would be a nice park to spend some time in, cook, etc.

The tree was pitiful (too small for a Vanagon to drive through), the park was mediocre and it wasn’t such a great hangout spot.  But hey, what do you expect from a roadside attraction?


But I had paid my 5 bucks, so I made use of safe place to relax for a bit.

This pond contained many ducks.

And then… the call of the road; time to move on….

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The Redwoods say no to camping, yes to mining?

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.

 

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Back to the Humboldt Redwoods

As I moved deeper into Humboldt, the Redwood forests thickened and became even more magnificent.  All the same, I knew these woods already, and camping roadside can get tricky, so I didn’t spend a lot of time here.

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Heading south via Indian Island

The road beckons, it is time to move on.  I entered the Samoa region via Arcata, drove all the way through, and exited via Indian Island towards Eureka.  Indian Island doesn’t have a great history, as it was where the 1860 Wiyot Massacre occurred.  These days it is a wetland wildlife preserve.

 

 

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Nature and Misc Photos

From the areas surrounding Samoa…

 

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