Posts Tagged With: California

The World’s Tallest Trees


No trip to northern California would be complete without a chance to stand beneath the world’s tallest trees.  Our first stop was the Lady Bird Johnson Grove where we walked one of the most popular trails in Redwood National Park.  We arrived early, just as the fog was lifting…and parking was still available.

Coast Redwoods can live more than 2,000 years and reach 360 feet in height.

Our next stop was just up the road to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.  In addition to numerous hiking trails, herds of elk are a popular attraction and are often be seen grazing throughout the large meadows alongside the roadway.
We were not so lucky with the elk, but we saw plenty more majestic redwoods as we hiked through the forest.

Categories: California, U.S. National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Our Lost Coast Adventure

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Not knowing exactly what to expect, and having heard so much about it, we decided to check out the drive along the northern section of California’s Lost Coast in Humboldt County.
We moved to Humboldt County in 1986, and lived there for 4 years, so we were aware of how remote some areas can be.  We’ve always been just a bit intimidated to head into the unknown, especially in the forested areas of Humboldt.

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Our trip began in the Victorian village of Ferndale where the road led us up, up, up, out of the fog.  We would pass through the small communities of Petrolia and Honeydew on our way back towards Highway 101 just north of Weott.  A few isolated homes, ranches and herds of cattle dotted the landscape.  Eventually we caught a glimpse of the ocean and began to twist our way back down to sea level.

We discovered a beautiful rocky beach where we couldn’t resist stretching our legs.  Reg insisted I climb up on one of the larger rocks where I tried to create my best “Little Mermaid” pose.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was coming upon a herd of zebras!  “Stop,” I shouted.  I had to get a picture.   Who’d believe zebras roamed Humboldt County?

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Like an oasis, the town of Petrolia (small and pretty darn isolated) lay ahead as we came over a rise.  The town market was a bustling place where a woman was busy flipping hamburgers.  A UPS driver patiently awaited his lunch.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStopping for our tailgate picnic, we had second thoughts about missing out on those burgers!

Eventually we arrived back at Highway 101, no worse for the wear.  We had envisioned long stretches of a dusty gravel road with steep drop offs and multiple washboards; a bit of a white knuckle ride. What we found was a well kept road, steep but newly paved in spots, scattered ranches and communities surrounded with breathtaking scenery.  Certainly nothing to be scared of!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Timing is Everything

Because Reg and I both were quite sick in early March, we are entering into our fourth week of self-isolation at home in Oregon.  Did we have the virus?  Who knows, but timing, as they say, is everything.  These past few weeks have given us much time to reflect.

We may be stuck indoors, but we enjoy the ever changing view out our front window.

We returned from England and our South West Coast Path adventure last year in early October.  As it turns out, over the past six months, our timing has been extremely fortunate.  Two days after returning home, I found myself driving 600 miles south, to California, to assist my 93 year old father who was still living in my family home…alone.  I bullied him (yes, I did) into a move to an assisted living facility, both for his safety and our family’s peace of mind.  A fortuitous move as his health declined rapidly over the next couple of months.

We said goodbye to my Dad (pictured above) three days before Christmas.  He was the last of his generation on either side of our families.  He hoped to one day celebrate his 100th birthday, but that was not meant to be.  In January, with the help of an amazing realtor (who snapped the official “sold” photo of Dad’s house) we sadly closed the door of the home and life he loved.  Our boys and their partners all made the trip out to California, joining us, along with my brother Kenny, as we said our final goodbyes.

Reg and I returned home in February, feeling somewhat lost as we came to terms with the fact that we were now the “older” generation.  As we settled back into a routine we began to feel the pull of adventure once again.  Perhaps another distance trek would get us back on track.  But where?

As you can see, we are not at a loss for ideas.

Once again, timing proved to be everything.   The decision of where to go was taken out our of our hands.  For the time being, we will remain armchair travelers, experiencing adventure through our television programming.  While not as exciting, it has allowed us some pretty amazing adventures…ones we’d never dream of attempting.  For now, we’ll focus on remaining healthy and settling  for walks around the neighborhood.

 

 

Categories: Ashland life, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Cold Spring Tavern

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Standing in front of Cold Spring Tavern, it’s easy to imagine the dust flying as a team of horses pull a creaky stagecoach ‘round the bend.
Back in 1865 the California tavern was established as a stop for the stagecoach providing mail delivery and passenger service along the route between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.  It was here, on what is now called Stagecoach Road, that tired horses were changed out and weary travelers enjoyed a meal and a break from what must have been a long and dusty, bumpy ride.

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Although the stagecoach ceased operation back in 1901, Cold Spring Tavern remains a popular spot where locals and tourists from all walks of life are welcomed and offered a hearty meal, a cold drink and a glimpse into the Old West.

Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Discover Pismo Preserve

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Rising above Pismo Beach on California’s Central Coast, Pismo Preserve offers 880 acres of unspoiled beauty.  Opened to the public just last week, we were excited to be among the first to explore the 11 miles of hiking trails that weave up and down the hillside.

 

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We chose the Discovery Trail, a 5.2 mile path that led us up the grassy slopes and through groves of twisted oaks.  The views were stunning…we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

We traveled the perimeter of the preserve, eventually arriving at Lover’s Point, 780 feet above the Pacific Ocean.  As luck would have it, there was a bench and it was lunchtime.

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The trail system is open to the public daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. with hours extended to 9:30 p.m. from March through October.  Best of all, it’s free!  Parking is competitive…the lot is on the small side, but you might get lucky.  We had to park about a quarter mile away and walk in.  There are restrooms and drinking water available at the parking lot.

Pismo Preserve is located at 80 Mattie Road, just off Highway 101 in Pismo Beach, California.

Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Our Night on a Riverboat

The Delta King is docked on the banks of the Sacramento River.

The historic Delta King, a 285-foot riverboat, offers landlubbers (like us) the chance to spend a night bobbing about on California’s Sacramento River. Reg was skeptical when I tossed the idea out to him, but the ratings were good and it was just one night…what did we have to lose?

Old Town Sacramento is home to the Delta King.

The Delta King was originally built in Glasgow, Scotland and in Stockton, California. It was christened in 1927 when it began a daily 10 1/2 hour voyage between San Francisco and Sacramento. What a trip that must have been. If you listen carefully, you might just hear the ghosts of days gone by…days of prohibition era drinking, gambling, jazz bands and fine dining.

We checked into one of the smaller rooms that could be described as “filled with character.” In reality, while small and a little rough around the edges, it was comfy enough and the lifeboats were right outside my door…just in case!

We discovered the full bar, complete with beautiful wood paneling and none of those pesky prohibition restrictions, at the bow of the boat. We settled ourselves at a table, enjoyed the view and chatted with a senior couple from Boston who were on an extended bus trip through the west. All in all, we loved the experience and would certainly recommend a stay on the Delta King.

Having been submerged in the San Francisco Bay for 15 months, restoration of the Delta King began in 1984 and lasted over a 5-year period.
We called it a night as watched the sun go down from the stern.
Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Driving the PCH

We chose the long way home after a visit with my Dad (for his 93rd birthday). Highway 1, California’s Pacific Coast Highway, stretches the length of the state and offers some of the most stunning coastal views you’ll find anywhere.  We drove the section from San Luis Obispo to Monterey, taking advantage of a few of the roadside stops along the way.

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Even our liquor store deli sandwiches tasted gourmet with a view like this.

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Spectacular views come into focus around every bend of the Pacific Coast Highway.

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When the views open up to the east, they are every bit as beautiful as the scenes across the Pacific.

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It’s not easy to keep cars moving along this highway.  Roadwork continues along parts of the road.

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A trip to California is not complete without a drive up the iconic Pacific Coast Highway.

Categories: Road Trips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Mount Shasta stands between us and lunch.

Heading south into California.

Yesterday’s blue sky was simply too inviting to ignore. While the temperature was just a little cold for much in the way of outdoor activity, the day was perfect for getting out of the house and scouting out a lunch spot south of the border.

Mount Shasta provides a spectacular backdrop for this California ranch.

We have a soft spot for The Dutchman, a quaint hometown cafe in the center of the sleepy, little community of Montague, but we pulled up to see a “Closed Monday” sign hanging in the window.

Not ready to call it quits, we continued south along a 2-lane road toward the larger California town of Weed…to another of our favorite local cafes. The view of Mount Shasta was irresistible, and by the time I finished taking photos, Reg had (patiently) worked up quite an appetite.

We don’t often see the top of the mountain without clouds.
Another storm is due to roll in shortly and, once again, Mount Shasta will be hidden behind snow and clouds.

On a good day, 14,000 foot Mount Shasta is visible for miles in Northern California and from some spots of Southern Oregon, but yesterday’s clear view was a rare wintertime treat.


Categories: Ashland life | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walks, Wildflowers and Wine

Brad and his girlfriend Ashley kept us pretty darn busy during our recent visit to Chico. Ashley planned an action packed Saturday, beginning with a wildflower walk atop North Table Mountain near Oroville, California.

Formed by ancient lava flows, and looking suspiciously like our own Upper and Lower Table Rocks just outside Medford, Oregon, it rises 1582 feet above the valley floor. The wildflowers were spectacular!

We meandered along a series of interconnected trails, eventually arriving at Hollow Falls where we cautiously followed Ashley down the face the cliff you see behind us in the above photo. Fortunately, we discovered a trail that led us easily (and safely) back up to the top.

After a quick bite to eat, we took a short drive north of Chico for some wine tasting at The Abbey of our Lady of New Clairvaux, located in the tiny town of Vina. The history of the land dates back to 1843 when it was a part of a 22,000-acre Mexican land grant. Established in in 1955, the monastery sits on 600 acres and is one of only 17 Trappist-Cistercian monasteries in the United States.

Our tasting included a variety of whites and reds, all of which were quite good. Even Brad, who loves his beer, admitted the reds were pretty good.

New Clairvaux Vineyard offers a unique setting and is well worth the detour when traveling through Northern California.

Categories: family travels, Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tee Time?

Well…more like Tea Time for us!
While teeing off at Pebble Beach sounds like a dream, lunch has always been a far better fit for our travel budget. We made a day of it though, riding our bikes south from our Monterey Bay hotel along the famed 17 Mile Drive. As you can see, we arrived right on time to scored a front row seat at the 18th hole!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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