Saturday, July 19, 2008

Redwood National Forest

Brenda grabbed a much deserved day off Friday and we hustled North to the edge of California where we found the Redwoods National Forest. It was a long trip for an overnighter, but we've gotten pretty good at finding the good stuff when the opportunity arises. We made the most of this trip by taking a nice back-roads drive up through the perpetually congested Napa wine region, and then up through Geyserville before rejoining Hwy 101 at the Southernmost end of the Mendocino National Forest. The roads North of Calistoga on this route are excellent motorcycle roads, but there was alot of construction near where we joined up with 101. In CA they like to just shut down a lane and let cars through from one direction for a half hour and then the other direction. We hit it pretty bad this time and had a few long waits for our turn.

Having gotten off to a late start in the morning and being blocked by construction a few times, we arrived at our motel and turn around spot in Klamath, CA at about 7 PM and had some dinner. There was still light after we ate so we ambled over to a little trail near the hotel that said "Hidden Beach" but didn't give any indication of how far it might be. The trail was nice, but it was jungle. You know how dark it can be in the woods during the day and for us the sun was barely up when we entered the trail. Brenda led us briskly down the trail for about 15 minutes and we finally started hearing surf. A few minutes later and we were rewarded with the coolest beach I have ever seen. The beach was a half moon shape with huge rocks jutting out of the surf in random places. The beach sand was charcoal grey, almost black and as fine as flour, but more dense. The surf was "angry" and it just could not have been a more interesting place. I hated to pull us away after a 15 minute visit, but I knew the forest would be even darker by now. Sure enough....

We made it back to the world just fine after taking the right turn that we knew we had to take whether we could actually see the trail or not and somehow remembering the following right hand turn where the trail wanted to go straight. No big deal and definitely one of the things that made this trip and adventure.

In the morning we got up and rode the gondola to the top of the hill across the street from our hotel. It was foggy so we couldn't see much at the top, but the ride up was still interesting to see the sequoias, firs and spruce from this squirrels eye view.

We jumped back in the car and made our way to Fern Canyon where we walked down to the beach for more angry surf, then continued our route south homeward, but not before ignoring our GPS plea to keep us off an unpaved road that we figured would be a mile or two long. Forty miles later our jostled and juggled sports car looked like it had survived a Texas dust storm. Just another adventure. I must admit that when the GPS finally gave up and started plotting our position on a completely blank screen with no roads shown, and we had to decide if the spray paint arrow on the tree trunk saying "Hoopa ------>" could be trusted, I had had enough adventure for a bit.

When we emerged from the wilderness, we found ourselves blocked by a sports car club that had commandeered the road for the day to run speed trials up a 2.5 mile section of road. We had to wait for the heat to end before we could go back down the mountain with the race cars. They offered to let us run with the next heat since we were in the right kind of car, but I found out that the fastest time for the 2.5 mile course was 2 minutes and 13 seconds. This was on a mountain road, uphill with at least 6 hair pin switchback turns. In other words, they were averaging almost 70 mph from a standing start. I wasn't sure I could go that slow (HA!) Only one guy had lost his car off the road so far that day.

After more great mountain roads Southeast through Trinity National Forest we finally joined back up with the Interstate crowd to make tracks home. Great trip.

Click on any of the pics to see the rest of them at the web album