Lois Hits the Road travel blog

The Pacific


More Redwoods

Along Hwy One

I hear rain in the night and it is overcast when I wake. Very soon after getting back on Highway 101 I reach the Avenue of the Giants. I put in a classic CD and start the slow drive in what is such a special place.

I've gone now to a two-lane narrow road surrounded by these ancient Redwoods. While walking or bicycling is the best way to see, to really see a place, seeing it from a small, narrow road is much better than from a freeway. A freeway is sufficiently wide to require a significant amount of space between the observer and what is being observed. In addition, what I see at 70 or so miles per hour is much less than what I see traveling slower.

It isn't long before I come to a pull-out, so I stop and decide to take the 2.5 mile hike through the forest. Besides the huge trees, there is lots of other growth. Ferns, clover, a few deciduous trees (not many). Some vines crawl all over the Redwoods. Moss runs rampant. The roots of redwoods that have fallen are maybe 15 feet across. Must be something when one of those falls.

I always feel very inadequate as a picture taker here. Just impossible. You have to be there. The weight of those old giants. The glimpses of sun. This is a cathedral. After about an hour, I return to Rhonda and continue along the Avenue.

When 101 and 1 split, I take Highway 1. The first 22 miles are very narrow and crooked, so it probably takes 45 minutes. After that, I am soon out of the trees and the Pacific Ocean comes back into view.

The rest of the afternoon, I travel south on Highway 1, watching the water and the land, remembering when I was on Highway 1 on the eastern coast. I think I like the edges of things, creeping up to that abrupt end, peering over. Dry grasses, farms, little villages, Mendocino (organic raspberry ice cream is my treat here), beaches, rocks, all these things are a part of this scene.

Driving this kind of highway requires attention. No use in cruise control here. I find I am not bored at all and part of it is the need to watch the road. The many curves that are suggested should be taken at 25, or 20, or even 10 mph.

I drive to Bodega Bay, glad for this afternoon of sea and country. Glad to be here.

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