Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another Day in the Redwoods

We took another daytrip through the coastal Redwoods - this time south on U.S. Highway 101 to Big Tree Wayside.
This screen shot of the NPS map shows the route we took south on U.S. 101 south along the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.

We stopped at Big Tree Wayside and found plenty of hiking trails to chose from.  First, we had a picnic lunch and then started out on a stroll on the Foothill Trail through the glorious redwoods.
There must have been 15 trails or more along the parkway.  Some are for avid hikers and many more for the recreational casual types.
Our hike was more of a walk - it was all flat and mostly paved.
We quickly found ourself in front of the main event.  This is know as Big Tree and stands 304 feet tall. It is 21.6 feet in diameter and 68 feet around.  This is the big one!
The redwoods were 'discovered' in the 1850's and became hugely popular in the 1880's in the lumber industry.  By the 1920's the big trees were being harvested at a rate that was pointing to their demise.  The state of California stepped in to preserve some key groves and three state parked resulted:  Prairie Creek (1923), Del Norte (1925) and Jedediah Smith (1929).
The 'old grove' was intermingled with other trees and lots of moss.
The trees decay from the inside and look like they could be used by wildlife.
Sometimes, you had to stop and look around and try to absorb some of the beauty.
Even the roots and stumps of these big guys were noteworthy.
A very pleasant hike.

After our time in the midst of these splendid redwoods, we went on over to the Prairie Creek Visitor Center before going back over to 101 and heading north again back to our campground in Crescent City.  It was a great day for a drive and another look at the redwoods.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for the comments - until next time...

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Redwoods of Northern California

We took another day trip through the Redwoods a few days ago.  It was a short drive from our campground in Crescent City up to Highway 199 off Elk Valley Road to the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
This was an interesting drive through the Redwoods.  I couldn't believe that within 10 miles of the coast, we were in the deep woods with the huge and magnificent redwoods.  We were there in no time.  Then it was time to slow down and gaze and ponder these trees.  It was breath taking.  
Everywhere I turned it was another picture opportunity.  Or ten.
The road was mostly dirt and wound through the side of the mountains and between the large trees.
Our little Honda was dwarfed by them.
It was a tight squeeze at times, but we went slowly and there was enough space for others to get by.
We found a trail in the Stout Memorial Grove and had another picnic.
Then we started out on another short hike.
The trail was an easy one and either paved and/or very well maintained.
It is hard to grasp the size of these trees.
It was a nice day, not too cool ~ for a good walk through the woods.
The decaying Redwoods seem to rot from the inside and leave a thick, spiny bark of a shell.
The carpet of needles and mulch made for a comfortable walk.
The trail has been well maintained over the years and goes along side of many fallen trees.
We were not alone and saw 20 or 30 folks on this trail.
We enjoyed it and decided to try some other trails.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Battery Point Lighthouse - Crescent City, CA

We have been here in Crescent City, CA for the last four days, staying at the Sunset Harbor RV Campground.
It is not as tight as it looks.  I thought the coach next to us had a very similar paint scheme and decided to include it with the Roadrunner.

During our stay we have taken a number of day trips and seen the Redwoods and some local sights including the Battery Point Lighthouse.  The cloudy, overcast skies opened up in the evening and we decided to go down to the city park and out to the lighthouse.
Access to the tiny islet only happens only during low tide.
It was a short walk down the trail and across the gravel area up to the lighthouse.
 Once on the other side, there were some very nice views.
The Battery Point Lighthouse was built in 1856 with $15,000 from the U.S. Congress.  It was built and run by the U.S. Lighthouse Service and one of 16 built along the California coast.  In the mid 1800's, travel into harbor towns through the rugged waters was very important for their economic survival.  The lighthouse was automated in 1953 and was operational until 1965 when a flashing beacon at the end of the nearby breakwater took over and the lighthouse was shut down.  It was revived and reconstituted as a navigational aid in 1982.  Today it continues as a residence and navigational aid.

One interesting point of the Crescent City area.  It is susceptible to tsunamis.  The two most recent and noteworthy events was the Alaskan Earthquake of 1964.  The earthquake (most massive ever in the northern hemisphere) caused extensive flooding in the town and most was destroyed.  But the lighthouse stood.

More recently, the March 11, 2011 earthquake off Sendai, Japan caused a destructive tsunami in Crescent City.  Again, docks and boats were destroyed and huge waves flooded the city.  According to researchers at Humbolt State University and the University of California, the city experienced tsunami conditions 31 times between 1933 and 2008.

So the lighthouse has been an important icon on the coast over the years.  It rests atop the islet and is quite picturesque.
On the grounds, it had a nice little walking path and some benches which we enjoyed.
It was a good way to spend the evening after dinner.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  And thanks so much for those comments!  It is always nice to hear from you!  Until next time...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Heading South Along the Oregon Coast

We spent eight days meandering down the southern half of the Oregon Coast.  We left Salem, OR on Tuesday August 13, stopping in Newport, OR and at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park for a few days before arriving in Crescent City, CA the afternoon of August 20.
Along this route, there were a lot of scenic overlooks and pullouts to see the beautiful mountains descending into the sea.
And we have had really great weather.  After the fog burns off, the sun has been shining most of our time here.

The last few weeks on our travel days we have been going about 200 - 250 miles.  This seems like a good length for us and we can get into the new campground by early afternoon and get set up.  Early arrival also allows us to have some choices if we want another campsite.  Usually that doesn't happen but now and then we have overhanging trees or a small car parking area or something like that.

And only going 200+ miles a day means we only drive about 4-5 hours at a time which is fine with us. Even when the road and highway is good, sometimes the stress of being alert and concentrating on safety items can make for a tiring day.  I revert back to some Air Force training and think of 'Safety Procedures'.  One thing about air crew members is that they are always always drilled on Safety Procedures when they fly.  They are always taught to think, "What would I do if…"  So they are ready and are not caught by surprise.

I try to be aware of those things on the road when I drive.  What would I do if I had a flat tire, lost my brakes?…. some of those items.  The main thing I think about is how much braking time do I have with the car/vehicle in front of me.

Other than that, driving is a wonderful thing in this comfy Roadrunner Allegro Bus.  With a 400 HP engine, we have no trouble getting up and down the mountains.  But going down the mountains (especially along the coast here) I have been using my Auxiliary Brake /"Jake Brake" so I don't wear out or burn up my brakes.  Other than those things, I spend a lot of time seeing the majestic views along the coast.

When we pull off at the overlooks and scenic lookouts, we are treated with just breath taking views. I recently posted 15 photos of some of my favorite views.  I didn't show you the hundreds of other shots I took.  Yes - hundreds.  I wish I could remember the vivid details of these places more.  Since I don't/can't I am relying on my pictures to refresh my mind.

On our last leg down U.S. Highway 101 we stopped at a lot of places for pictures.  And lunch.
Later on down the road we saw this
And stopped again
For this
It was another day full of memories.  And pictures.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us!  Until next time...