Max Visits the Mighty Redwoods

We started our long road trip with no clear destination in mind.

Our My simple plan was to head north until we decided to go home.  Our My theory is that good road trips allow serendipity to choose the route and timing. Roll the dice, baby!

This approach, featuring a total lack of planning, drives the obsessive and always meticulously detailed AJF absolutely gibbering crazy. I love it but later pay dearly.

Max in chair

“Another night in a strange motel room. No end in sight. Do we need to talk?”

Ultimately, we worked our way up the coast of Northern California and then into Oregon.

We’ve previously spent time in this magical land of lighthouses, forests and dramatic ocean vistas and always returned from a visit well gruntled and in better fettle than when we arrived.

Given the global scarcity of fine fettle, this is an important point.

Crescent City Lighthouse

The Crescent City lighthouse, right in front of our hotel cheap motel.

As always, the challenge of a trans-California road trip is the sheer size of the state.

It takes 2 to 3 days of driving north just to get from our humble abode in Rancho Cucaracha to the Oregon border and, if one takes the fastest route, much of that journey is through some mind-numbing territory offering a repetitive scenery of almond farms, dust clouds, intersections jammed with fast food choices and the occasional tumbleweed.

Oh, let’s not forget the industrial-sized dairies and pig farms which produce the most horrendous smells, far worse than Max on Taco Tuesday.

Is that…Malt smell?

What a change when one abandons the fearsome I-5 and escapes to coastal California just before the Oregon border!

The temperatures drop from 95F/35C to 68F/18C, brilliant blue muscles out dust-fart tan as the predominant color and the topography is no longer flatter than my date to the junior prom…a pancake.

Whew. Dodged a bullet with that edit. Close call. Sorry, ladies.

Political correctness aside, the hard truth is that Linda wasn’t zaftig and it turned out she couldn’t dance which was a bummer, because, well…prom.

As Men Without Hats said many years after the prom, “you can’t dance and if you can’t dance, you ain’t no friend of mine.”

OK, OK, I digress. Sheesh. Come on, get up and let’s dance!

Perhaps our favorite places on the road trip were the ancient groves of massive redwood trees.

Howland Hill Road road out of Crescent City is a dirt trail that can be driven on through the heart of big tree country.

Spooky forest

Spooky forest. Home of Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Big Squat, all those guys.

It was a grey, spooky day when we drove through the forest. Tendrils of fog crept between the huge trunks of the redwoods accompanied by the gentle sound of water dripping from leaves hundreds of feet above.

We were quite alone on the road which is unusual during the high season for travel in this area.

Machi at Big Trees

The AJF responding to the question, “Who wants to find a restroom/”

Everything was hushed as we passed through the Redwood National and State Parks with our windows down and the Mazda geared to a crawl.

Tom at Big Trees

Vitruvian blogger. This was just a little one compared to many of the trees.

From time to time along the 6 mile route we stopped for photos and sometimes to simply stand beneath the living behemoths and crick our necks peering up.

Redwood Grove

When redwoods grow in a circle they call it a “cathedral.” When there’s just one they call it a “tree.” :snorf:

The Malt was a respectful visitor to these natural treasures. No barking and he only lifted his leg on one tree as far as we could tell.

Although he made no explicit comments, we could tell that Max was very grateful for those wise enough to preserve these giant trees for us and for generations yet to follow.

Look Up

Look up, Max! There’s a squirrel up there! Get him, boy!

23 replies

  1. Safety Dance, eh? I raise you one ‘Elaine dancing in Seinfeld.’ Oh, I love the adventure of an unplanned trip. I mean, really, what in the heck could possibly go wrong? Husband is not a fan. There goes all my fun…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My version was to drive up Highway 1. I never got past Eureka, but that was okay. And reservations? Back then, who needed them? I had a boyfriend who restored an old car. He called road trips like that Jaguar Camping. Cheap motels were our friends. Sadly, he sold the Jag. It was all downhill after that. Figuratively speaking, of course, but downhill nonetheless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, that’s like almost a complete Hallmark story relationship in one paragraph. I think Tarantino could handle the filming if we got the cast just right. A young Rob Lowe for the Jag-man and hmmm, maybe a young Olivia Newton-John for the Bizzy role. Nah…need a little more edge. Sigourney Weaver or maybe Kathleen Turner in the “Body Heat” days. Jacques would have a cameo as himself. Oh, and Eureka really sucks, Victorian houses notwithstanding.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sigourney Weaver. Definitely. I was skinny back then and that was even the guy’s last name, come to think of it. Poor Eureka. It should be so much better. That owl ice cream stand — maybe it was a coffee shop or something — is fabulous and Eureka has one of the world’s greatest city parks. Fortunately my sister lives in Arcata.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I may be too hard on Eureka. As you say, it should be much better. So many homeless and mentally ill on the streets and so much economic distress. I’m guessing legal weed didn’t become a financial boon for poor Eureka. Just kind of sad.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I never went on an unplanned trip, but I think it sounds like fun. Although Max doesn’t look too thrilled with another motel room. 🙄 Not so sure the Safety Dance looks all that safe to do….at least at my age!! 😳

    You and the AJF look like you came out of a fairy house next to those redwoods! I think on your next excursion Max needs to ride in his stroller. Searching out which redwood to pee on must have worn the little guy out!! 🤗🤗
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • We felt a little bit like the Keebler Elves amongst the big trees. I think Max was intimidated trying to pee on such a huge trunk. Our unplanned trips started after retirement. Before then free time was so limited we had to structure all trips with precision. Now we (I) can be more spontaneous.


  4. Wow. Love seeing those enormous redwoods, Tom. You really do have to appreciate the people who had the foresight to conserve them. I’m not sure if you saw my recent tree post where I caught a similar perspective of some local trees backdropped against the sky. They’re totally humbled by your redwoods. Pipsqueaks!
    Ideally, I’d love to go on an unplanned road trip. However, we got caught out once so I do tend to book ahead now. We don’t get away much. Well. make that me. I’m about to change that. I NEED to get away.
    Lastly, no safety dance here. I think I’d have a nasty accident trying to keep up with those moves.
    Enjoy the rest of your trip.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think 90% of women prefer to book ahead when traveling. I usually do book ahead simply to avoid domestic abuse being rained down on me. When young I kicked around the globe and was very happy traveling without planning and I guess vestiges of those times linger on.


  5. An incredible cathedral and I’m not very religious. I’m guessing Redwood squirrels have evolved to keep from being dizzy and falling down to waiting jaws below. Squirrels in general seem to evolve much like cockroaches to avoid capture in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved this post. My husband wanted to take me to see the giant redwoods for my 40th birthday, because I’m a little nuts about trees and always said I wanted to go there. Guess what? Just before my birthday a little bichon frise came into my life and I haven’t been on any holidays since… totally worth it though. K x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand. Before Max we were avid golfers but that sort of ended when he showed up. If you get a chance to see the big trees it’s worth it but thedilemma is where to go and which trees to see? You could fly into San Francisco and see Muir Woods redwoods and combine that with an urban holiday or visit to the primary US wine areas of Napa or Sonoma Valleys. If you go where our road trip took us you would be in a totally different environment of small towns with little excitement but greater swaths of bigger trees. Or you could visit Sequoia Parks ( I posted about that trip before) where the biggest tree in the world is found – the “General Sherman.” Sequoias are much bigger circumference although not quite so tall as redwoods. No matter your choice, it’s definitely a wonders of the world type of thing. Your hubby could lift a leg on them, like Max!

      Liked by 1 person

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