From the Redwood Forest to the …

The California Redwoods have inspired poems, songs, and many dreams.  This was one National Park we just had to check out. Warning: Be prepared for a lot of pictures of trees!

After leaving Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks on the Western slope of the Sierra Nevada range, we drove north towards the Bay Area. We spent one night at a nice park in Lodi and another night at the KOA in Petaluma on our way to the most northwestern corner of the state. While the Redwoods were our destination, the journey through California’s wine country was very much worth it.IMG_8184

In Petaluma we enjoyed what Steve considers some of the best IPA in the world: Lagunitas Brewing Company. Here Bob and Mia could join us in the outside restaurant which was amply spaced to accommodate social distancing.

While in the area we also took a 30 minute drive to the coast for our first view of the Pacific on this trip. Bodega Bay is a beautiful hamlet on the coast with a nice harbor and sweeping views.  We were only there for a short while to take in the views.

Our first peek of the redwoods was on the Avenue of the Giants, part of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, a 32-mile diversion from Highway 101. While technically not part of Redwoods National Park, this stretch of road gave us a glimpse of what was to come.

We spent one night at the funky Emerald Forest Cabins and Campground in Trinidad. Trinidad is a beautiful little seaside city but we only stayed long enough to check out the town and for Steve to have a Cuban cigar beside the fire.

The next morning we drove to our home for the next three nights, the Klamath River RV Park.  This is probably the best place we’ve stayed so far in terms of space between vehicles and overall setting. We were right on the Klamath River and just a few miles upstream from where the river meets the ocean.

Redwoods National Park wasn’t established until 1968. Even then it was a surrounded by several state parks.  Today, the National Park and three State parks are jointly managed and share the goal of preserving and protecting this incredible natural wonder.

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We began our exploration in Lady Bird Johnson Grove, the site of the dedication of the National Park in 1968. The easy 1.6 mile loop trail through old growth forest gave us a great introduction to the uniqueness of this forest. With my boot, I was able to comfortably make it all around the loop.

From there we entered Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and explored Fern Canyon.


This little hike was a little less than a mile but the planks and occasional logs made it a bit challenging for a booted hiker.  Nevertheless, we soaked in the verdant green fern covered walls, site of the film Jurassic Park 2. You could almost imagine the dinosaurs coming down from above.

The next day we headed north to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park, north of Crescent City. Today’s short hike was to Stout Grove and Steve did this one on his own while I waited with the dogs in the parking lot.

It seems I may have overdone it just a little with over 4 miles of hiking yesterday. A little ice and elevation and it’s all good.

This area of the Redwoods protects 10,000 acres of primeval redwood groves and was a feast for the eyes.  We drove a back road with trees so close to the road that our Ford F250 barely fit.

Around us were 2000 year old California redwoods, ferns, and a lush undergrowth of rhododendrons and azaleas. IMG_6186One of my goals for 2020 is to say, “Wow” at least once a day.  Today we said enough “Wows” for the entire year!

Of course we are still traveling in the age of COVID-19 and the signs are everywhere. For the most part people are wearing masks and keeping their distance. But still, we are warned of COVID and other things (including attacking elk)  everywhere we go. Yes, we are being very careful.

At least once a day Steve is running or biking. In Klamath he took the bike out for a 16 mile ride along the coast. I really wanted to go but he brings me photos.

Here are a few things we’ve learned during our time in Sequoia and then Redwood National Parks:

  • Coast Redwoods and the Giant Sequoia are in the same family but are different in many ways.
  • Giant Sequoia are found on the Western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Coast Redwoods are in northern California along the coast.
  • Coast Redwoods grow a little taller than the Giant Sequoia (279 ft vs. 314 ft)
  • Giant Sequoias are larger by volume than the Coast Redwoods, with larger bases and diameters.
  • Giant Sequoias have a cone the size of a chicken egg and it can stay on the tree for two decades. The Coast Redwood has a cone like a large olive that is shed after 1 or 2 years.

We give the win to the larger Giant Sequoias but the Coast Redwoods were certainly impressive! If you’ve seen them both, we’d love to hear which species you prefer. Here are a few more photos of this amazing part of the USA.  Happy Independence Day!

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

We’re on the road again and our first destination was California’s Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. It’s two parks for one on this leg of the trip as the parks are jointly managed by the National Park Service.

On the way we stopped for a night at Yermo, California’s Peggy Sue’s Diner, where we parked for free. Well, it’s not entirely free. We did buy dinner and strolled the grounds of this funky place.

Steve is living out his trucker fantasy by stopping at truck stops to fill up with diesel using our TDS Fleet card. The card allows us to get a fleet discount on gas and we get to fill up at the trucker’s pumps. We’ve even used the CAT scale to weigh our rig. It’s a new world for us.
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After two solid days of driving through the hot, June desert we made it to our camp for the next three days. We made the Sequoia Resort in Badger our home base and enjoyed the close access to the national parks.

On our first full day in the area we explored Kings Canyon National Park. Using a very cool app called Just Ahead, we listened to interesting narration as we drove the 30 mile Kings Canyon Scenic Byway past giant sequoias, sweeping vistas, and roaring rivers all the way to Roads End. Along the way we stopped at the General Grant Grove to catch our first up close look at the incredible sequoias.

Further down the road we soaked in the sweeping views of one of the deepest canyons in the U.S.

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Before reaching Roads End we stopped for lunch at Grizzly Falls and the dogs enjoyed exploring the banks of the South Fork of the Kings River.

On our second day we explored the highlights of Sequoia National Park, which is adjacent to Kings Canyon but has a separate entrance. We hit all of the highlights…

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The General Sherman Tree is the world’s largest tree, measured by volume. It stands 275 feet tall, and is over 36 feet in diameter at the base. Sixty feet above the base, the Sherman Tree is 17.5 feet in diameter.

We did the easy walk through Big Trees Meadow, following along with the great interpretive signs. Here we learned how these giants grow so big and can live up to 2700 years.

While in Sequoia NP you can’t miss the Tunnel Log, which allows you to drive through a carved out sequoia.

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We skipped climbing the iconic Moro Rock on account of my still tender foot, but Steve did a little hike and got a great panoramic shot of the famous landmark.

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One of our favorite photos from the day was this shot of the root ball of a downed sequoia.  It almost looks like abstract art, huh?

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We could have spent many days in this area if hiking were on the agenda. It just means we need to return to continue to explore one of America’s oldest National Parks.  Here are more photos of our short time in this beautiful place.

On the Road with our Grand Design

The past few months have been a challenge for everyone. For us, being forced to abandon our travel plans and come home due to the coronavirus was disappointing. We know, however, that we are supremely lucky to have such minuscule problems. We are also overly grateful to have been able to use this time to 1) fix my foot and 2) shop for and buy a new home away from home.  Our next adventure begins now.

When we bought our trailer last year we really liked it and thought it was just what we needed.  It didn’t take long, however, to find out that we just needed more space. And, since we are planning to travel for months at a time, a little more elbow room was really appealing.  So, without further ado, meet our new fifth-wheel…a Grand Design Reflection 150 295RL!IMG_8047

The trailer has a lot of the same features we had before including a fireplace, TV, recliners, and separate bath. And then it has more…a convection microwave, a kitchen island, auto leveling, and a huge pantry! We know this is a bit “over the top” but we justified it by planning months-long trips over the next years.

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Here’s a gallery of photos to give you an idea of the extravagance we’ve just gotten into.

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So what’s next? Well, we’re headed to the northern California coast and then north to Oregon.  We plan to spend July in Oregon and August in Washington State. From there we aren’t sure where we’ll head. Our goal is to socially distance, use the bath and kitchen in our rig, and get a lot of fresh air.

And the foot? It’s all good news. The doctor cleared me to slowly begin transitioning out of the boot. I’ll wear it when I’m up and active but can walk around the house without it.  Continuing physical therapy on my own, I’m supposed to return to the see the doctor in September/October.  That will likely determine our travel plans.

So, we’re off! We hope you’ll follow along with the blog and our Track My Tour map. As always, we love your comments.