There were some specific things I wanted to do this trip. Getting to see the beautiful trees of the Redwood forest has been a bucket list item for me for as long as I can remember. The forest and evergreen trees in particular draw me in like a magnet. Much the like ocean, being in a forest is a holy experience.
I woke up this morning in Grants Pass, Oregon. I was joined in my shower by an arachnid. (A decidedly NOT holy experience!) I screamed, finished up and promptly exited the bathroom. (Seriously?!!! How do they find me!?)
Throughout Grants Pass, the town has bears all over dressed/decorated in all sorts of outfits and/or paint. Kitschy, but charming, I snapped some pics as my mother loves all things “road-side oddity”.
After gassing up, (and quickly reminded that we don’t do self serve gas in Oregon – whoops!) I had to see what all the fuss was about with Dutch Brothers Coffee. I have to say, I’m a fan – it was delicious and not hotel coffee.
Caffeine loaded, dogs walked and fed, we were on our way! Hwy 101 – aka The Redwood Highway all the way to the magic of the forest!
I had to stop a bazillion times. I couldn’t resist taking in these amazing views and savoring every second. (And yes, the dogs like to pee at every stop.) What I had in my mind was taking the dogs for a trail walk, hoping for some that would allow dogs. When I turned off to the Avenue of the Giants, I kept seeing no dogs allowed signs. Finally I broke down and looked it up and sure enough – none of the trails in the Avenue allow dogs, leashed or not. Sigh. We’d just have to figure something else out. In the mean time, I took a TON of pics from the car, from outside the car, from the side of the road…you get the idea.
After crossing the state line, the fog was thick. I came around a curve and there to my right was a lookout that sucked me right off the road. SAND! REAL SAND! Not a barnacle in sight! Waves! Crashing water over the rocks made a perfect welcome back to California.
Sea air inhaled and sandy beach tromped through, we headed off to our first destination: the Paul Bunyan and Babe statues at the Trees of Mystery. (Yes, I too, am a sucker for random things – I get it from my mother who tortured me with these kinds of stops! 🤪)
Since the Avenue of the Giants did not allow dogs, I drove back up to the 101 to see if there would be a campground or other pullout to be able to walk. (See? I’m already gettin’ my Californian on with “the 5, the 405, etc. 🤣) At the Huckleberry Campground, we pulled in and I asked what the fee was for a day use pass so I could walk the dogs. The attendant said I could go ahead and park and take my walk free of charge! Perfect! One thing that kept jumping out at me was how quiet it was in the forest whenever I stepped out of the car. Despite traffic and lots of people, the trees insulate sound remarkably well. It would be easy to get lost in this otherworldly place.
The temps were much cooler and more comfortable as we drove to the next destination: The Drive Thru Tree! To be fair, there are a few of these trees in the Redwood forest, but the one I wanted to drive through was the one I’ve seen in black and white pictures. The tree with a square cut out of it!
It was pretty anticlimactic. Everyone lines up, drives through slowly, and out the other side….right into the gift shop. As you can plainly see, the dogs were tremendously excited.
Down the road 2 hours later, we pull into our hotel stop in Sonoma. Sonoma is beautiful, and after all the lush foresty goodness, it was lovely to see a giant palm tree! The cookie, of course was delicious and the dogs definitely approve of tonight’s accommodations. (And after my shower with an 8 legged friend this morning – this is just what the doctor ordered!)