We had been home for too long and needed to get out and play. So a few months ago I looked up to the top of California and started booking some campgrounds. Now I know it’s a bummer to have to do this but for certain areas it is necessary. The one consoling factor is that there are three CA state parks up in the redwoods that will honor the geezer pass and give you 50% off the exorbitant CA Park fees.
On top of this I had joined Harvest Hosts to see if it would work for me. Basically I paid an annual fee, $70 or so, and they will then provide a list of wineries and other establishments that will allow you to park on their land for the night, gratis. Well you’re meant to buy some of their product and I’ve always spent way more than a nights camping fee when visiting.
It would work for this trip as it’s two nights for us to get from LA up to the Oregon border. One of the few Hosts in the Bay Area is Four Fools Winery near Rodeo on San Pablo Bay NE of San Francisco. I had read the reviews and we were happy to arrive around 4 pm and get shown to a site overlooking the bay. Neat.
Seemed like a popular spot for a bit of Saturday afternoon fun and we paid our $10 tasting fee for 6 wines. Now we had fun and it was a great location to wind down after driving 380 miles to get out of Los Angeles. The wines were palatable but we were only enticed to buy one bottle as a momento. We were surprised when Mark, the owner, stopped by for a chat. Loved to hear of the history and why he was here having fun with the rest of us.
Now they had a food truck on site but by the time Rose & I got hungry they were packing up to go, necessitating a walk into town.
A local tells of of a place, Ricky’s corner, nearby. It must have been the only place within walking distance and I was surprised when they said it would take 45 minutes to fill our To Go order.
Having some time to spare Rose & I took a walk further up the road wary that we were in the hills of pot country and paid special attention to stay on the road and not to wander inquisitively onto private property. Saw plenty to remind us we were’t in LA any more.
Next day, which was a Monday we continued on north and made a brief stop at the refuge just before Eureka.
Plenty of noisy birds but the attraction was the lone otter foraging on something below. He would dive down, forage, surface and chow down whatever he had found. Almost like a feeding frenzy.
First night in the wilds was at Jedediah State park. Now there was an incident getting there in that Google had a different idea as to where the park, or more specifically, the campground was. I soon found myself heading up a narrow, winding, dirt road that was not intended for RV’s and I was desperate for a place to turn around. None, so I had to keep going and might I say, pray? At last a turnout which also appears to be the top of the gradient but I was thankful, turned and headed back down to our campsite.
The sites were amongst these giant redwoods which while magical shut out all sunlight and made for a cave like experience.
Next day was hike day and I strutted off confidently to the bottom of the campground near the river. No footbridge across? Asked some locals and was informed that the bridge was seasonal and had not been erected yet. Shit. Is the a plan B? I want to be on the other side of the Smith river and it was either 1 mile to the left or 3 miles to the right. OK, have to walk along the road to the left to cross.
It’s a great trail and we eventually get to where we wanted to be on the other side of the river. I should put a map in here.
We nose around but can’t even cross Mill Creek without getting our feet wet and I don’t need that right now. Finally turn around and retrace our footsteps back to camp.
Back at the highway bridge over the river, which has construction on it, we have to sweet talk our way past the workers and promise not to trip over their cables & machines.
Next day was a bike day and we ride the 3 odd miles to the right and again cross the Smith along the Howland road where all the tourists also go.
Back on the highway Rose spots a roadside cafe and we stop for lunch, a special lunch, as today is June the 8th and it was 31 years ago that we were wed in Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny, Ireland!
4 thoughts on “Wine’ing it up to the Coastal Redwoods.”
Happy Anniversary! What a nice getaway, and the bike photos really give scale to how big those redwoods are.
Thanks Mark. The redwoods are tall and ramrod straight. It’s one thing seeing one or two together but here they are all over the place.
This trip is right up our alley! We love the redwood forests of California. You and Rose look so beautiful! (btw, that awesome photo you took of the pink flower is a Rhododendron). I learned I loved them when taking John to Oregon for college back in the day.
Thanks for naming the Rhododendron flower.