Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Northern California Trip - Pt 4

NCA_68_ShelterCoveSunrises in Shelter Cove are just as awesome as the sunsets. We opened the window facing the beach and listend to the ocean all night long. What a way to fall asleep!

I don't know why, but I just can't "sleep in" like Dana does. Every day of our trip--except for Tuesday--I was up, wide awake by 6:00-6:30 AM. I normally get up around 5:30 AM, so I guess that's sorta like sleeping in. Anyway, this morning, I made coffee, sat out on the balcony, read my book (vacation is about the only time I have to read just for enjoyment. This trip I took David Baldacci's The Whole Truth) and watched the sun rise while several pelicans flew back and forth over the cove.

We had picked up some donuts and granola bars the day before, so after a quick breakfast, we packed the car and began the drive out of Shelter Cove. As I mentioned in the previous post, the descent was pretty steep, which meant the "climb out" would be equally as precarious and SLOW. On our way out, we stopped to watch several deer and their fawns as they calmly grazed right next to the road. Forty-five minutes later, we were back on Highway 101, heading toward our day's destination--"The Avenue of the Giants."

NCA_81_AveGiantsNorthern California, just above Trinidad, boasts the Redwood National Forest, but southern Humboldt county is home to the "Avenue of the Giants" (AOTG), a stretch of highway that parallels Highway 101. The 31-mile road is lined with over 51,000 acres of giant redwoods, actually cutting through Humbolt Redwoods State Park. There are several small towns along the way, as well as various turn-outs and picnic/camping areas. There are also more than enough "souvenir" stops featuring anything you can imagine made of redwood (or not made of redwood) with "California" or "Redwoods" stamped or screen-printed on it.

NCA_85_AveGiantsWe picked up several brochures about the AOTG that suggested certain stops, but we decided we would just drive and stop whenever something caught our attention. The first thing that hits you as you drive among the giant redwoods is just how GIANT they are! It's amazing to think that some of the trees are hundreds, if not over 1000 years old and standing more than 300 feet tall! The Dyerville Giant, located in Founders Grove, is no longer standing, but when measured in 1972, stood 362 feet with a circumference of 52 feet. The tree fell in March of 1991. The picture at the left is Dana standing at the base of the Dyerville Giant.

NCA_74_AveGiantsWe took our time driving through "The Avenue;" sometimes our speed was 35 mph or less. When you're driving through the redwoods, you just want to take your time and take in the magnificence of the forest. We stopped in Miranda at Korbly Woodworks. Bernie Korbly has been in the same location for over 30 years, designing and crafting all kinds of furniture, carvings, etc. from redwood. Being an amatuer woodworker myself, I couldn't resist the opportunity to just stop breathe in the aroma of this old woodshop.

We also stopped in Myers Flat and drove through the "Shrine Drive Thru Tree." Just north of there, we got out of the car and walked one of the trails along the highway. It was amazing how quiet and peaceful it was. As we walked through the dense forest, I was reminded of Psalm 46:10--"Be still and know that I am God..." In the stillness and beauty of the redwoods, we were awestruck by the wonderfully fascinating creation God has made for us to enjoy. I asked Dana: "If we think THIS is beautiful, can you even begin to imagine what the "new earth" (Rev 21:1) will look like?!" At the end of the AOTG, we stopped and ate lunch under the redwoods. I don't think we've ever had a picnic in such beautiful surroundings.

Cemetary-Ferndale, CAFrom the AOTG, we made our way to Ferndale, CA. Ferndale is a old victorian town, featuring plenty of bed and breakfast inns and specialty shops. One particular "feature" of the town is the cemetary which is built on the side of a wooded hill. We spent a couple of hours window shopping and admiring the victorian architecture, then made our way to Eureka up the road.

NCA_94_TrinidadEureka is similar to Ferndale in regard to the victorian influence, but bigger. "Old Town" Eureka sits on the edge of Humboldt Bay and provides plenty of shopping and eating opportunities. We still had quite a bit of daylight left, so we checked into our motel (first night we didn't spend on the coast) and decided to hit downtown Eureka the next day, opting instead for a quick trip up the highway to Trinidad and Trinidad Bay--home of the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse. The Memorial Lighthouse is a replica of the lighthouse located on Trindad Head; The Trinidad Head lighthouse is still active, but not open to the public. The Memorial Lighthouse sits above the beach, which the best I could tell, was several hundred yards DOWN a steep path that had been fashioned from 8" x 8" timbers, about 4 feet wide. I walked down about a third of the way, then began thinking about he trip BACK UP...I gave up opting to admire the view from the top of the memorial.

NCA_99_EurekaReturning to Eureka, we decided it was time to eat. We headed across Humbolt Bay to Woodley Island and Cafe' Marina. Since we had arrived a little earlier in the evening, we were able to be seated right away. We opted for an inside table looking out over the marina. Dana had fish and chips; I had a "fried platter" with prawns, scallops, and oysters. Good stuff! After dinner, we walked along the edge of the marina, looking at the boats. It had been a long day, so we headed back to the motel. Tomorrow: downtown Eureka and then start heading back toward Sacramento.


nacotaco said...

Wow it sounds like a dream vacation! quiet peaceful and filled with the wonders of wonderful Keith....the picts of the trees, absolutley amazing! I haven`t had a real seafood dinner in years!

Keith said...

"...the wonders of God..." That's the most amazing thing to me. How anyone could look at the world around us an not see an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator is beyond me.

nacotaco said...

Yes, in everything ....just breathing .....our kids being born.....we humans are so blind....