Day 15 – Catching up

I’m hanging out in Eureka, CA this weekend.  On Friday I drove from Yosemite over to San Francisco and was able to visit Claus and Ingrid and meet their new baby, Markus.  I think this was the first time I had seen them since their move to SF, so it was great to hang out with them again.  After driving through some of the most desolate parts of the country during the last week, the congestion of the bay area (even at non rush hour) was a bit of a shock!

I drove up the coast Saturday morning from Petaluma (just north of San Francisco) and arrived here about 6 in the evening.  It was a nice leisurely (slow and winding) drive up the Shoreline Highway (California 1).

I had woken up to an apparently typical foggy/misty/drizzly morning in the bay area and was not looking forward to breaking camp with everything being wet.  I hung out in my tent for about an hour, watching an episode of SG-1 (portable DVD playerslaptops are awesome!), and by that time things had dried out enough to make it bearable.

By the time I hit the road, about 9 a.m., it was stilly cloudy and not very pleasant.  By about 11, I had gotten far enough north andor the sun was finally able to burn off some of the cloudsfog and it turned into a beautiful day on the coast.  My car is a blast to drive on all of the curvy, steep roads I’ve been on for the last week or so!

It had been pleasantly cool along the coast, around 80, in the bay area, but here in Eureka, it was even cooler – only in the upper 60s but with clear blue skies and down to the upper 40s at night.  It’s fantastic!

This morning, Sunday, I drove up to Redwood National Park which is about 45 minutes north of Eureka.  The trees here are the Coast Redwood, which are related to the Giant Redwood (Sequoia) that I saw in Yosemite.  While the Giant variety is the largest overall (volume) tree, the Coast variety is the tallest, by at least 50 feet, but only about half as big around.  These things are just enormous.  The Coast variety is just as limited in its range as the Giant.  It only grows in an area about 450 miles north to south and about 25 miles wide and below an elevation of 3000 feet.  Also, unlike the Giant variety, the Coast Redwoods were heavily logged.  Of the 2 million acres of Old Growth forest that were present when white folk arrived, only about 100,000 acres have now been preserved in state and national parks.  They are still being logged today, but at least there are now areas where recovery is occurring.

Most of Redwood Park is only accessible via unpaved roads, so my visit there was fairly short.  But, to be honest, once you’ve seen one humongous tree, you’ve kind of seen them all.  It’s definitely something to see though.  So after a quick hike I headed back to the camp to do a load of laundry and just relax.  I’m on vacation but I’ve been going steady for two weeks and realized I need a day to just sort of hang out.  This is a great place for it as the weather is perfect – it’s 68 degrees and sunny with a nice breeze blowing in off the ocean – my campground is just off of Humboldt Bay, which is separated from the ocean by just a narrow strip of land.  I feel for all of you back in the midwest with the near 100 degrees – but you do have AC so it’s not that bad!

I hope to have my website all caught up this evening as that’s how I’m actually relaxing. This is the first chance since I left Yosemite to work on it and the next few days I won’t have internet access in order to do any updates.

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