Redwood Hwy - 101

John A. Travels to California

Day 11 – Tuesday, September 18, 2007 – Redwood Highway 101

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All images can be enlarged NOTE:
All images can be enlarged

Highway 101 is called the Redwood Hwy, north of Fort Bragg

After a wonderful night's rest at a Super 8 in Centralia, Washington, I felt very refreshed.
Around 8:00, after making a couple of calls on my V-phone, we headed out for breakfast.  The lady at the hotel desk told us about a good restaurant down the road, and gave us some coupons for it.  However, after we had driven all the way there, and walked halfway through the mall to find the restaurant, it was closed.  We drove back almost to the Super 8 and ate at an IHop restuarant.  After we gassed up, it was back onto I-5.
We got off the I-5 at Grants Pass and headed onto 199, which took us over to Highway 101.  We decided to take the scenic route instead of the superhighway.  We knew it would cost us a bit of time, but, after all, we’re not truckers – we’re tourists!
Soon after getting onto Highway 101, we came across our first redwood forest!  I knew that the redwoods would

My first visit to a giant Redwood grove on hwy 101

be huge trees, but I had no idea how HUGE!!  I started firing pictures.  We pulled over at the first nice grove we saw. 
Photographed by themselves, the redwoods may simply look like large trees.  However, when taken beside a person, or a car, you get the perspective of just how huge they are.  I could not see the top of the tree we parked beside!
The trunks of the trees have a vertical pattern in their bark, and look to be very tough.  Ronald said the bark is about six inches thick.  We will be seeing more redwood trees as we proceed further, but I must say I was very impressed!
I noticed that the road crews built the road around the redwood trees, with many of them being right at the edge of the road.  Several of the trees have lost their top leaves, but many others looked to be very healthy.  The area does seem to have a fair bit of brown grass, which would indicate it doesn’t get a huge amount of rainfall.  Highway 101

Rising 300' above us, the top of the Redwood

was called The Redwood Highway, and we must have passed through about four different state parks dedicated to redwoods.
Around noon, we arrived at the ocean’s edge.  I had Ronald stop by a roadside park, and I went and dipped my feet into the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  The beach was about two miles long, and very windswept, with rolling breakers all along.  While I only went in up to my knees, it was still exciting to say I’d actually arrived at the other side of the continent!  There’s something ceremonial about putting a foot in the opposite ocean from where one lives.
We noticed a few kelp plants lying in the sand.  They looked to be about 15 to 20 feet long, and had obviously been ripped from their roots and thrown onto the sand.  The water seemed to be about 60° Fahrenheit, and not very inviting for swimming.  While I hope to go swimming somewhere in Los Angeles, I may have to wear a wet suit.  I called Dad right from the beach just to say “Hello from the Pacific Ocean!”
At 5:00, we stopped for a spaghetti-and-meatball supper in a very small town.  We gassed up, and carried on.  I also called home to my neighbour, Rita McIntyre, who is watching my house for me, and it seems all is well.
About 20 minutes down the road, we came to the start of Highway Number One, called The Coastal Route.  There was supposed to be a redwood tree in this area that you could drive through, but we missed it somehow.

I look so insignificant beside these giants

While these roads were very scenic, they were challenging to drive, with hairpin turns every half kilometre or so.  I had taken over the driving, and got a real workout for about 1 ½ hours.  It was up and down and around and around.   I’m glad that Ronald’s car is so good at cornering.  It was starting to get dark just as we emerged onto the coast again.  I looked over and saw the sun beginning to set, and swung into a parking area.  I jumped out of the car, and started firing photos of the horizon as the sun dipped below the ocean.  It was perfect timing, and I got some really good shots.

By the time we got to Fort Bragg, it was almost dark.  We ended up staying in a seaside resort which had a little bungalow just back from the ocean clubhouse.  While it was somewhat overpriced, it was nonetheless a wonderful location.  I sorted through my

John arrives at the Pacific Ocean on hwy 101 near Creasent City, California
Miles of surf pounded beach
A kelp plant washed up on the beach
Rock islands dot the coast
Coastal hwy #1, north of Fort Bragg, California
The sun sets over the Pacific off the California coast

pictures, and then worked on the web site, and got up to Day Number Five.  I’m still about a week behind.
 We traveled 711 km today.  Tomorrow we hope to arrive in San Francisco by early afternoon.

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