From the Madonna Inn, we ventured up the 101, slowly making our way up to San Francisco. Due to time constraints, we couldn't take the 1, skipping out on Big Sur and Monterey, two of my favorite Cali towns. But we've driven that route before and didn't feel like we were missing out.
We did, however, quickly pit stop in Santa Cruz for a beach boardwalk stroll, a few arcade games, and a (not-so-flattering) photo booth strip!
We arrived in San Fran just in time for an intimate dinner gathering hosted by Hal's long-time friends. It was so great to catch up for a few hours and meet their little babes for the very first time. My college roomie, Nicole, kindly let us crash at her house for the night and took us to The Grove, their neighborhood mountain lodge-inspired cafe, for a delicious breakfast before she and her husband jetted off to work.
An entire week could have been spent in SF, but we were merely passing through. It was time to reach our next highly anticipated destination, the Redwood Forest.
180 miles northwest of the Bay Area, we stopped in Legget, California to drive through a 2,000 year-old tree! This was on our must-do list. We learned that coastal redwoods and sequoias have a very shallow root system and trees continue to live and grow even if their heartwood is damaged.
A bit further up the 101, we came across the famous One Log House. The inside felt like an Airstream. I could have totally lived there. It was about the size of my old studio apartment in Santa Monica.
At last, we made our way into Klamath, California, to stop at one of our new favorite roadside attractions: the Trees of Mystery (in a deep, booming announcer voice)!
It was late, so we got thai take-out and checked into Motel Trees across the street, an awesome vintage time capsule, untouched since the 70's. Each room has different forest, meadow, or nature-themed wall mural. It smelled a bit like my grandparents' house, but that's part of the charm.
Bright and early the next morning, we were ready to hike the groomed interpretive Trees of Mystery trails. The 50-ft tall Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox welcomed us at the entrance.
We rode the SkyTrail gondola 571 feet up through the forest tree tops. It's not every day you get to look down upon the majestic redwoods.
I'll leave you with a poem we found painted at the base of the world's largest cathedral tree, a group of nine trees growing together as one. Several weddings take place here each year...
Here, sown by the Creator's hand
In serried ranks, the Redwoods stand
No other clime is honored so
No other lands their glory know
The greatest of Earth's living forms
Tall conquerors that laugh at storms
Their challenge still unanswered rings
Through fifty centuries of kings
This is their temple, vaulted high
And here, we pause with reverent eye
With silent tongue and awestruck soul
For here we sense life's proper goal
To be like these, straight, true and fine
to make our world like theirs, a shrine
Sink down, Oh, traveler, on your knees
God stands before you in these trees
-Joseph B. Strauss
Tomorrow, we'll venture into Oregon! Stay tuned...
West Coast Road Trip 01 - Los Angeles to the Madonna Inn
West Coast Road Trip 03 - Legget, California to Wildspring Guest Habitat
West Coast Road Trip 04 - Port Orford, Oregon to Salishan Resort
West Coast Road Trip 05 - Gleneden Beach to Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria