Monday, July 28, 2008

California and Big Trees

Day 34, July 27, 2008-252 miles. Not many miles today, but boy what trees!

We got up, walked for the day, and got on the road before 9am. We stopped at Florence to get gas and to get a bite of breakfast at Fred Myers. The gas was cheap ($397) and the sweet roll was good along with the coffee.

However, I spoiled the morning by dropping the bike at the gas pumps, scarring the left sidecase to match the scarred right one. Damn!! I had left the helmet on top of the gas pump and reached over to pick it up. My mistake was forgetting that I had raised the kickstand before realizing the helmet was still on the gas pump. It just tipped over, making me mad and embarrassing myself in front of strangers. Gary had already rode off to go inside the store, so he didn't know it had fallen.

The gas station attendant and I picked it up. I got on it and rode off. Mad at myself.

We had breakfast and headed south. The morning was beautiful; not cold, and bright sunlight. Beautiful!! The road was also very good; it rode mostly right along the water's edge, on cliffs high above the surf. The sparkling sunlight, coupled with the blue skies and blue-green water, made the scenery stunning.

After noon, we crossed into California. Actually, we stopped for pics on the border first. Then south on Hwy 101 to Crescent City. There, we had a snack for lunch and got directions to the BIG TREES. The park ranger advised us to ride a 11 mile dirt road through a grove of the giants.

We rode to the road, and I can't begin to describe the trees we saw. Redwoods reaching to the sky. A small one is 6 feet in diameter. There were trees probably 15 feet in diameter. The trunks, with deep, grooved bark, reached sky-high before any branches were growing. Awesome trees! We took pics, but I know the pics will not show the majesty of the trees. And ferns growing everywhere. Big ferns, brilliant green with moss covering most everything else. And quiet. Almost silent. Beautiful!

When we emerged from the grove of trees, we headed south towards Klamath, where we had been told there was a redwood tree through a car could pass. We both wanted to see a tree so big you can drive a car through it.

We stopped in a bar and asked for directions to the big tree. Turns out it was only about a mile away, so we sped on to the tree. A toll of $2 per car was required, so it was paid and we rode about ¼ mile down and up an asphalt driveway to the tree. Magnificent! Just as advertised, it was huge, and a hole had been cut large enough to drive a car through it. Amazingly, the tree is still alive, and appears to be healthy. I don't know how it manages to be healthy with a 7.5 foot slice cut through it. We took pics of ourselves and several cars and motorcycles.

By now, it was getting late, so we started thinking about dinner and a place to stay. The people at the bar had told us about a place, the Steelhead Lodge at the end of the road several miles away. So, we went in quest for the Steelhead Lodge.

Exactly as told, we found it, went inside and inquired about lodging and dinner. The dinner was very good; we ordered a small rib plate, and they brought out two slabs! Way too much food! With salad, rolls, baked potato, and ice cream, we left stuffed. But it was good.

In the end, we stayed at the lodge as well. The room was fairly spartan, but did have a TV and kitchenette. Used mostly by fishermen searching for Salmon, it was adequate.

Tomorrow—more California and big trees.