These posts are my daily reports of our trip: the things we saw, the places we went, and the people we met as we drove approximately 1,500 miles in the course of six days, and had an adventure. I tried to write down my impressions each night before bed, or over my first cup of coffee in the morning. I wanted the memories to be fresh, undiluted by another day or days of travel and experiences. I can only hope you enjoy reading them a fraction as much as I enjoyed living them. (If you missed Part One, click here. And Day Two, Part One is here.)
|Steve participating in one of the popular vacation activities: Photography!|
Taking pictures seems to be one of the main recreational activities along Highway 101. It quickly became a running joke as we passed vehicles stopped by the side of the road with their occupants deploying their tripods. "Look, photography is happening!" We laughed every time, as the word "Photography!" became a shorthand - but we were just as guilty.
|And more photography. Of course.|
|And even MORE photography!! This man is addicted to cameras!!|
One of the other main activities, one that frankly terrified me a good portion of the drive, was bicycling. Intellectually, I have no problem with people cycling. I know that it's good exercise, a great way to see the scenery, environmentally friendly, non-polluting - I've heard all the arguments in favor of cycling, and I agree with them. Just not on this particular highway. In many, many places the road is two lanes wide - two narrow lanes. Traffic, especially in the summer, is heavy. Drivers, as well as cyclists, are distracted by the views, the attractions, the sheer overwhelming beauty of the coast. Cyclists, even the most conscientious and considerate, can sometimes stray - sometimes by necessity - into the traffic lane. The bike lanes can be too narrow for actual riding, or broken pavement that a car or truck could tolerate will be too much for the narrow tires and delicate balance of a bicycle. Which makes sharing the road with a bicycle nerve-wracking. There isn't a good solution, cyclists have the right to be there, but it still can put a scare into you when you find one in your lane as you round a curve at the speed limit. I applaud their dedication, but it still scares me.
|Hard to miss this! The tower is easily seen from the highway.|
|The Carson Mansion is a rare West Coast example of Gilded Age architecture and design|
|Close-up detail of the tower.|
|Another beautiful building, just a wee bit smaller|
|Close up of the ornate fence posts|
|and a view of the fence.|
By the time we left Trees of Mystery and headed south, I knew we would be pushing it to get to our B&B before their desk closed at seven. After our detour to the Carson Mansion, we stopped in Eureka to eat a very late lunch about 4, and called Featherbed Railroad, our intended destination. The gal who answered said to take our time, they would just leave our key in our room and the door unlocked.
The drive itself was about 25 miles, and it took over two hours. We stopped again and again to marvel at one thing or another, and to stare up at trees that may have been standing during the Crusades. At one point traffic jammed up in front of us and we slowed way down. We quickly discovered the reason: a herd of elk, nearly in the road.
Here are some of the pictures we took while driving the Avenue of the Giants. We actually cut back to the highway a little before the end of the road, because it was getting dark. Amazingly, when we got out of the deep forest, it suddenly wasn't so dark!
These two pictures should give you some idea what it was really like to see these giants. A tree had partially uprooted, and leaned against its neighbors. Steve took several shots of the trees, impressed by their sheer size. Then he asked me to stand in front of them, to give the shots a sense of scale. Now I realize that I am not a tall person (5'1" if I stand up real straight), but you're going to have to look hard at that second shot if you want to find me. (Hint: I'm wearing a pink T-shirt.)
|A leaning redwood...|
|... and a scale reference.|
And who could resist the opportunity to have their picture taken in a hollow tree? Of course there wasn't really enough room for Steve to stand up, he is 6'6" after all, but there was still plenty of head room for him to sit quite comfortably.
|Me, standing in a hollow log.|
|And Steve sitting, because it wasn't quite tall enough inside.|
|Welcome to Miranda, California, along the Avenue of the Giants.|
By the time we got through it was past seven, and we still had 100-plus miles to our destination. Fortunately, a good portion of that was on high-speed highway and freeway, and we made good time to Featherbed Railroad, our home for the next three days. True to their word, our room was open and a key was inside.
Of course, this being us, this wasn't your usual B&B. Steve's too much of an introvert for the communal nature of a traditional B&B, and I don't deal well with people I like first thing in the morning, much less strangers. My co-workers know it's best to let me work alone in the morning until I've had several cups of coffee; the idea of sharing a hallway, much less a breakfast table, with strangers does not appeal to either of us. (Yes, we understand that some people love that kind of stuff, and we applaud them for it. It's just not for us, okay?) But a private caboose?!? How could you not love that?
|Our first view of the cupola, after dark.|
Turns out you can't. We unloaded the car in the dark, and hauled our bags up into the caboose. We found a real featherbed, a jetted two-person tub, and a cupola. A cupola, for heaven's sake!! We got settled a bit, then drove off to find a late dinner. By that time it was 10:30 on a Monday, so most things were closed. But we managed to find a Jack In the Box (gourmet fare, I know!) and grabbed a quick bite.
|Our first look at our caboose, looking at the tub from the door.|
|Looking the other direction, from the tub toward the door.|
Back in the caboose (it makes me giggle just to type that!) we settled in for the night. I soaked in the giant tub, we read a little while, and finally turned the lights out and slept in our cushy bed in a caboose.
|This little guy was waiting for us on the edge of the tub. He looks almost as happy as we were to be there.|
Tomorrow: another adventure awaits!!