Welcome to Day 22 and 23 of our adventure. Off we headed to Sacramento, we got to the oil change place - Specialty RV around 11:30. You should have seen some of the rigs there, the one that pulled in behind us had to be close to $200K. It was gorgeous. These guys were unbelievable, we didn't even have to pull the RV inside the garage/building, they just got under the engine and did their work, maybe 30 minutes total. Part of me was longing for Jiffy Lube so they would clean our windows, but at least they were fast.
Speaking of windows, the RV outside is FILTHY, with a capital F. It was brand new when we got it, so I feel so bad, but when you travel 4,500 miles in three weeks through the dessert in particular it is hard to keep it clean. The girls are very upset with how dirty their bikes are. I am hoping and praying Mr. Clean magic eraser will work its magic when we get back. The bike rack marks them up pretty good so we will need a lot of help for sure.
We had promised the kids Chipotle and we found one within a mile of the oil change so we headed there for lunch. As Arnie would say we had to plan our "exit' strategy. Exit strategies become very important when you are driving a 32 foot RV. You can't just whip into any parking lot, gas station or other enterprise, do what you need to do, and leave. You have to assess how many entrances they have, can we clear the roof at gas stations and so forth. We got a tip from the guy at Specialty RV to go in the McDonald's lot which was next to Chipotle and that worked just fine. It was very long and was next to a park in the back and we could just parallel the RV to the park for the 10 minutes we would be inside. We managed to get out, of course scraped ground with the bike rack on the way out, but we are used to that sound by now. Off we went on Rt 5 heading North a bit before cutting across to the coast. This route, like the central valley was filled with agriculture. It is AMAZING how much there is, we are further north here so we added Olives to the mix, as well as Nuts and fruit. We stopped at another fruit stand to stock up, this had vegetables as well so we got tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, plums. peaches, grapes and more. Here is a pick of the farm where we stopped (if they even call these mega properties farms), we liked the sunflowers, but they were sad with the clouds.
On we went heading towards Redcrest. Today was a driving day, no park touring, so our goal was to get up there prior to dinner so I could just cook dinner in the park to make life a bit easier vs. while driving prepare this (which is possible as the oven and stove work from propane, I could even turn the generator on while driving to run the microwave if needed. This would be a full hook-up site, it was quite nice, flat paved spots with some grass, no trees. Often the RV parks are like this, someone just bought a piece of land and turned it into an RV park. While not the most picturesque of locations, they are flat, pull through sites that make the exit strategy very easy, and they have really nice and clean amenities. We had a nice relaxing night, and refreshing shower before heading out on Tuesday for Redwoods.
Here is a view of the Northern CA coast on our way up, very foggy morning.
Redwoods by far has been the most confusing park we visited. Because the country and state have both protected various areas of the Redwoods over time, it is like a maze and you go from State to National park without even knowing it. They also stretch probably 200 miles on and off up the coast. We were on the far north section, in Humboldt county. I was totally surprised by where we were. My mom and I did the Redwoods 18 years ago, and this was not at all what I remember. I remember driving through a tree, paved roads, etc. This was not the case. I am hoping I documented where we went and assume it was further south, as these looked so different (not as red). We decided to hike to the tallest tree, it is some 304 feet tall, almost as tall as the highest building in Cincinnati. We ended up on a much longer trail than we thought, so probably hiked about 6-7 miles in total before making our way back to the RV. Here are some picks. It was still drizzling at times and quite misty/foggy but this seemed very appropriates for being in the Redwoods.
The highlight for the kids was climbing into the trees. Many of them were hollowed out in some way, so the kids could literally get into them. You can get a sense of how massive these trees where when you see these little faces peering out from the crack or opening. They had a blast doing this, would have stayed all day if we let them. Below are some pics of each of the three kids doing the same pose in the trees. I had a hard time positioning them, so they are a bit scrambled, and of course this was the day they are all in similar colors, so may be hard to tell who is who.
Sarah in tree
Ben and Claire climbing, my two monkeys on this trip
Moss accumulating on a knocked over tree
Literally acting as Monkeys on a branch that had fallen across the hiking trail
Somehow we got into a game of skipping, even Ben has the hip moves needed for a good skip (yes, he somehow has rhythm, thanks to mom not dad of course).
From the pic above you can tell these trees aren't quite as wide at the bottom as the Sequoias, but still pretty darn big as you can see, and SO TALL, hard to believe they can grow that tall.
Here is the nature we saw, a banana slug. Mom spotted it, and it was quite easy as the yellow literally jumps out at you when you are surrounded by brown and green the entire time, for miles and miles.
All an all it was a great day. The Redwoods are priceless and sad to know they are a fraction of what they once were. The Redwoods used to dominate the CA Western coast, today's forest is only a mere 3% of what it once was. Before the ice ages, there were three types of Redwood, and after the ice melt, they were pushed to CA and China where they exit today, Sequoias are one of the three Redwood families in case you were wondering.
Tonight we are headed to Klamath, CA just below Crescent City to stay for the night right on the river. Too bad it is still hazy as it would be a beautiful location for sure.