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USA Road trip,on to the California Coast

Updated on September 2, 2019
Johan Smulders profile image

Johan is a marriage counsellor and evangelist with a BA from the University of South Africa and an MA from Abilene Christian University.

From inside a redwood, Crescent City.
From inside a redwood, Crescent City. | Source
Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach | Source
Oregon Coast
Oregon Coast | Source
Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker | Source
Osprey | Source
Magnificent Redwoods
Magnificent Redwoods | Source

Moving on to the Calfornia Coast

After the four nights at the campsite on the Trinity River and two nights at Big Bar Forest Station we started our way west to the coast and Eureka. Here we found a RV park on the River Walk on the Eel River just south of Eureka with warm showers, a swimming pool and a hot tub! The hot showers were great but the weather for the first time on the trip was decidedly cool and so we skipped the hot tub and swimming pool. We put up the tent for the first time in two weeks but ended up sleeping in the van as my mattress had sprung a leak and as it was dark we left repairs to the morning.

After a discussion as to where to head on Thursday we followed Audrey’s heart and headed for the Avenue of Giants to the south. What a good decision that was! Again the many photos we took of the giant Redwood trees can never even come near to describing the sheer grandeur of these 1000+ year old trees that surround the winding road and extend 100m into the air, for about 30 miles. Quant little logging towns dot the roadside with beautiful wood furniture and a variety of mementoes including a Davie Crockett coonskin cap that Audrey bought at the shop next to the place where you can drive your car through the tree. Matilda was too big to do the drive through but we took photos and posed next to the largest tree in the world that had fallen down on was now becoming part of the forest.

Some good birds along the way and a pleasant lunch break at a picnic spot overlooking the Eel River completed a perfect day getting to our camp site at the Emerald forest near Patrick Point State Park in a wonderful private owned RV camp site surrounded by huge Redwood trees late that evening. This left us falling asleep and as we did so dreaming of one of the best days on the trip so far!

Two days of collecting Agates on the beach at Patrick Point State Park ended with Audrey becoming quite an expert on finding these beautiful stones polished in the river and then in the surf as they are washed onto the beach. I was distracted by the many polished stones in a variety of colors and shapes that caught my eye and so when I eventually found my first Agate it was quite amazing. We also identified our first Western Grebe, a trio of Surf Scooters and our first Pigeon Guillemot that were breeding at Wedding Rock.

This is Tsunami country and all along the road between Eureka and Crescent City you are warned on signposts next to the road about this! In 1964 a huge wave hit the town of Crescent City wiping out the business area. This was caused by an earthquake that took place in Alaska resulting in 4 waves flooding this low lying coastline.

This was our first evening on the west coast and so the sun going down over Trinidad Bay was a great photographic opportunity, as was the next evening of week 8. We booked into a motel called The Pacific Coast Motel in Crescent City in anticipation of going to worship tomorrow morning (Sunday) in this major city/town in Northern California. We are now about 55 miles from Oregon.

Worship on Sunday morning at the local Church of Christ was enjoyable and up- building. Bought a roasted chicken at Safeway and then had to decide where we would spend the night as we had booked out of the motel – at $62 that was our weekly treat before Sunday, a time to do washing, tidy up and enjoy our own bathroom and some space. Sleeping in the van is like climbing into a box, quite comfortable but sometimes a little claustrophobic. Added Black American Oystercatchers, Ring-billed and Western Gulls to our growing list of birds seen and identified at Crescent City Bay area.

Deciding where to camp tonight was difficult as we had some great choices. As usual some common sense and a lot of luck put us in just the right spot. South of Crescent City was the Del Norte Coastal Red wood State Park (no showers), to the north Tolowa Dunes State Park(no showers), on the beachfront overlooking the harbor and beach a nice looking RV Park. But about 5 miles inland on the Smith River we discovered the Jedediah Smith State Park. The Smith River is the only free-flowing river (no dams) in California. It proved to be a great choice. I am completing this episode in a big camp site amongst towering Redwoods, we hiked on the Mill Creek hike this afternoon after I swam in the clearest flowing river in the world – my judgment.

The showers near our site are closed for repairs and so we will have to look for somewhere else in the camp ground to shower tonight or simply have a bucket bath – not really a problem as we showered in our hotel room this morning anyway. Just read that this State Park was voted one of the top 25 places to visit in the USA. Don’t know who voted but it gets Audrey and my vote as one of the top 10!


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