It was an easy 119 mile drive up US 101 from Ukiah to Redcrest, CA through much of the same scenery we have become accustomed to here in northern California. Most of the mountains here are covered with green trees as opposed to the golden grass we came from. We are staying at the Ancient Redwoods RV Park right on the Avenue of the Giants which parallels US 101 and is a scenic ride through the giant redwoods. We have full hookups, 50 amps, easy satellite acquisition and no Verizon though they have set up an amplifier near the office where we can get a signal but not at our campsite. It is a very nice park with wider than usual sites for this area.
We took four day trips from here each with a specific purpose. On Friday we took the scenic drive over CA 36 which travels through the valley east of here created by the Van Duzen River. This area of California is mostly lumbering and cattle for its land use. Throughout the valley there were lots of cattle and we passed through several giant redwood groves as well. After going up the valley and back we headed for the tiny town of Loleta to see the Loleta Cheese Factory. It was small but interesting and we were amazed that they produced so much cheese in this small community.
Saturday we head South down the Avenue of the Giants
to see all of the attractions that are scattered along its length. The road parallels the Eel River and you get glimpses of it at every break in the redwood groves. On this road you pass through several groves containing very large redwood trees with the road winding through them. It's dark in there and they have reflectors in front of the trees growing right next to the road so they will not be hit.
The first stop on this trip was at the Founders Grove
in the Humboldt Redwood State Park
. There, we took a hike around the grove seeing the various large trees as well as the Dryerville Giant which was the largest tree until it fell in 1991 like all giant redwoods eventually do. It is estimated it was about 1600 years old. These are what they call Coastal Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) that grow in a 40 mile wide swath from southern Monterey County in CA 450 miles north to the southern coast of Oregon. These growing along the Eel River tend to be some of the largest due to the perfect growing conditions in this area. Most of these larger trees are over 300 feet tall and many exceed 15 feet it diameter. They contain enough wood for each of them to supply the wood to build several average homes. Other attractions we saw after leaving the Founders Grove include the Grandfather Tree, the One Log House
, the redwood motorhome, the Immortal Tree
(in the campground parking lot), and a few gift shops.
Sunday it rained so we stayed in and planned the rest of our stay. It rained all night Sunday night but stopped Monday morning and we decided to chance it for our third day trip: a ride through Loleta over to the coast where the Eel River dumps into the Pacific and also to the small community of Ferndale which has done a magnificent job of keeping up their homes and businesses to reflect an earlier Victorian time.
Tuesday, we headed out to visit Eureka, CA which is on the coast north of here. Our first stop was at the Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
where we were able to see many machines used in an earlier logging age. There wasn't much left of the fort as it was built to be short lived and most of it was sold off when it was closed. Most of my pictures are of the machinery as it was much more interesting!
We then headed to the Blue Ox Millworks
which was very interesting. We took the historic park tour which includes a demonstration of many turn of the century woodworking tools. This was a period when tools were being automated, though human-powered, and they demonstrated several scroll saws, table saws, Rip saws, drills, shapers, fence picket shavers, etc. that are all powered by feet or hands to achieve the same thing we get with today's motor driven tools. They also have a high school on the premises where students learn a vocation as well as their academic work.
The mill itself has only been around for about 40 years but has achieved a reputation for its ability to recreate the ornate woodwork that has been destroyed on many older Victorian homes all over the country.
Wednesday we were going on another hike in the Humboldt Redwood State Park but the rain interfered again so we just stayed in and relaxed after a very busy, but pleasurable, stay here in the land of the Giants.
Tomorrow we head for Trinidad, CA which will be a fairly short trip as Trinidad is just 27 miles north of Eureka. We will be there five nights, hopefully with Verizon.