Up early to leave Crescent City. We knew it would be a long drive. Last night our somewhat hippy waiter had given us written directions to an 'amazing forest'. On the paper he wrote 'Contemplate,enjoy and love'.
The forest was only a short way out of town. As i said before it was the location for the chase through the forest in Star Wars and some of Jurrasic Park. WE drove up the hill through a suburban area and then suddenly............
I know Ive said before that Canada and here live up to their billing. Each thing you see is just so different to the last. This was no exception. We turned a corner staright into the most amazing forest. A small one track road led you into earth 3 billion years ago. A dense forest of Coastal Redwoods or Giant Sequoias. Each can grow over 250 ft high and spread 20ft across.........they are massive. In fact they are the largest living thing on the planet.
It was a drizzly, damp morning. There were no sounds and the forest was almost dark. I kept waiting for a dinosaur to emerge from the dense woods. Looking up made you giddy and made you feel so tiny. Some of the trees are 3000 years old.
We drove slowly through the forest stopping to take pics. It was so dark that the shutter speed was slow and I didnt have my tripod handy. This means some of the pics may be slightly blurred. We did a short walk into the forest. I kept thinking what a crash it would make when one of these monsters fell.It was an amazing experience.
Even after you leave the forest tyhe roads are lined with the trees. One road is about 30 miles long and called 'The avenue of the giants', an apt description.
We stopped and had lunch at Elk meadow. A famous spot for grazing elks. Only two showed up today !! Still we watched them while we grazed on our lunch.
Driving on through small town America we had coffee in a little town off the main highway. Over coffee we studied the maps and decided that our best bet for the night was Fort Bragg. This is the home of the US Airborne division. We rather expected a big version of Aldershot but not so. It was a nice town right on the coast. The drive had been tough. It was raining and sea mist kept descending. The last 20 miles were up and down windy hill roads in forests.
Eventually we arrived and chose a Travelodge. Good value and clean etc. Now if you think you can book in and be in your room inside 10 minutes in any motel, think again. Everyone wants to greet you, ask where you are from explain everythign the town has to offer, draw you a detailed map for your onward journey, invite you to sleep with their virgin daughter (ok I lied about the last one) but you get the idea.
Todays duty manager was Don and his wife Dottie (honest!!). 75+ and quaffing from a glass of red he thought you couldnt see. Now Don clearly knows everywhere from Ft Bragg to San Francisco and was keen to share it. We are tired and just want a beer. Anyway 20 minutes later and a detailed OS map of southern california later we are in our room. In fairness he did give us a good steer on SF and our proposed trip to Yosemite. He was also a bit dissapointed with his first map and said he would do a fresh one for us by morning.....thankfully he forgot....the red wine I expect!!
After a hearty meal we sank into bed. The rain really got going. Mornign and the skys are open.
Fortunately it was only going to be a short drive today as we wanted to hole up just outside San Francisco and go in tomorrow.
The drive today was in heavy rain but through the Nappa valley. Home of the wine vineyards. Not just one or two but hundreds stretching as far as the eye can see. An endless wine sea.
We had planned to stay in Nappa town but the motel only had one room and it was a bit steep. So we drove a short way to Petulama. Nice room, half the price. Nappa is a money area. We had a look at some property prices and wont be moving here any time soon.
Tomorrow its over the Golden Gate bridge and in to San Francisco.