Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 10 - Fort Bragg to Crescent City

Today we complete the final leg of our trip in northern California with a stop in Crescent City for the night and tomorrow we enter Oregon.  Yesterday we had a nice slow ride from San Francisco to Fort Bragg and today is more of the same with 220 leisurely miles up route 101 through Redwood country to Crescent City.
We have complementary breakfast in the motel, it's so convenient and also helps with the finances, and then hit the road, the sun still hiding behind the Pacific fog and the temperature in the mid 50's.  We leave Fort Bragg and continue north on route 1 also known as Shoreline Highway, the fog moving in from the Pacific, the top of the hills disappearing behind the low clouds and the lack of traffic providing a surreal feeling to the early morning.

We pass MacKerricher State Park pulling into a few overlooks along the coast for photos and to better appreciate the beauty of the moss covered trees lining the road. The wind moving in was cold, we keep our jackets and liners on.  The Pacific winds are so constant that it forces the trees to lean east, it's an amazing sight as we travel up the coast.   The conditions were not good for photography, the gray sky merging with the ocean offering little contrast to capture the beautiful coastline.  I see a lonely bird, he seemed to have a jacket on, he looked cold and in no hurry to fly or move from his perch on a nearby rock, I quickly snap a picture of the bird.

We move inland as we approach Leggett and take route 271 to visit Chandelier Tree also known as the Drive-Thru Tree. The Chandelier Tree is a 315 foot (96 meter) tall Coast Redwood with a 6 foot (1.83 m) wide by 6 foot 9 inch (2.06 m) high hole cut through its base to allow a car or motorcycle to drive through. The hole was carved in the 1930s.  We enter the park and were immediately struck by the height of the redwoods, you don't realize how tall they are until you stop next to one and look up.  We walk around mesmerized by the grandeur of the Giant Redwoods.The Giant Redwoods, also known as California Redwoods  (Sequoia sempervirens) is an evergreen, long-lived tree living for up to 2,500 — 3,500 years or more, and this species includes the tallest trees on Earth, reaching up to 379.30 ft (115.61 meters) in height and 25.9 ft (7.9 meters) diameter at breast height. It is native to coastal California and the southwestern corner of Oregon.

We continue through the park until we reach Chandelier Tree, we did the obligatory stop under the tree to snap some pictures and then move over to the visitor center for a refreshment.   It's amazing how the tree continues to live and grow even with so much missing from the trunk.

We continue north on route 101 now known as Redwood Highway passing various little towns and then just north of Garberville enter route 254 known as Avenue of the Giants.  The avenue is notable for the Coast Redwoods that surround the road.  We continue past Phillipsville, the road winding alongside the scenic Eel River providing beautiful vistas.  We stop a little later to walk around the forest and really appreciate the majestic Redwoods.  We act like little kids playing hide and seek, the giants trees providing various places to hide.

We enter Humboldt Redwoods State Park still on Avenue of the Giants returning back to route 101 just north of the park, the road now taking us west again towards the coast past Fortuna until we reach Humboldt Bay.  We pass Eureka and continue along Arcata Bay past Arcata, route 101 bisecting the little town.  We stop at a visitor center just before Redwood National Park and take a walk on the beach, the sun now out and providing much needed warmed.  The beautiful blue sky presenting a beautiful backdrop to the dark sand.

We continue north passing a herd of elk resting on someone's yard, we quickly stop for a few pictures, the beautiful elk totally ignoring us.

We enter Redwood National Park, the road winding past majestic Redwoods.  The roads in this part of California are trully amazing, perfect for riding a motorcycle.  We pass a group of cyclists going south as we leave the park.

We next stop at the Trees of Mystery, a roadside attraction in Klamath, it includes a 15 meter tall statue of Paul Bunyan and a 10 meter Babe the Blue Ox.  We visit the store but quickly leave after finding most of the stuff for sale is made in China.

We reach Crescent City just as the sun is setting over the Pacific providing a beautiful end to the day.  We quickly find a motel and then head out to dinner after unpacking our bikes.  We didn't cover a lot of ground on this day, a mere 220 miles, it was a different pace, a leisurely pace allowing us to really appreciate the beauty of the coast and the Redwoods along northern California.  Tomorrow we enter Oregon.


  1. Wonderful photos
    Reminds me of our trip to the Redwoods a couple years ago, beautiful area. Afterwords the trees here in Oregon looked positively puny!

  2. Thanks, I'm sitting here on my couch daydreaming about my trip, wish I could go back right now :-)