It feels like we have been driving past fields of grape vines this whole winter, but today we finally left them behind. They'll reappear when we get to Washington. We are left wondering just how much wine our nation can drink annually. We left Rt. 1 and the coast because we had read that the drive was not suitable for someone 65 feet long. Highway 101 started out as an expressway and ended up as an expressway, but in between Ken had some exciting driving. Far northern California is known for its redwood forests and all of a sudden the road dropped to two lanes and the huge, distinctive tree trunks were inches away from our mirrors.
The redwoods are magnificent. You can understand why early settlers got out their saws and went to town. The trees are tall and grow arrow straight. Their wood resists rot and has an attractive reddish hue. The lumberjacks did such a good job, that groves of the behemoths that remain are few and far between. The battle between the loggers who are trying to make a living and the environmentalists who are trying to hang on to the remaining trees for posterity is ongoing and probably never ending. The redwoods were an early draw for tourism in the area. Openings were made in some of the trees so you could drive through them; homes were made inside the massive tree trunks. People flocked to see them. Some of this tourism still remains, but it feels somewhat tacky.
The rest of the drive followed winding rivers, doubling back on itself in the oxbow regions. None of the hillsides were all that high, but we wound around them as well. The drive felt like we were on some kind of all day carnival ride. We are camped near the coast once again in a park that actually has grassy sites. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen real, natural green grass. This will be our last stop in California and we’re looking forward to more reasonable prices and cooler temperatures.