The last time we visited Northern California was way back in 2011. It was my second trip there and that time, mom decided to drive instead of riding Amtrak. She said it’s too boring and slow. A one-way trip from Salt Lake City to Sacramento would take 15 hours by train while 10 hours by car. I think she’s wrong though. Driving is much more boring than riding a train, at least for the passenger.
The picture above is Interstate-80. We remained on I-80 heading west for some 8 hours before switching to highway 99 in California to get to the suburb of Sacramento, where our friends live. There was nothing to see along the way except salt flats and desert and it got much more boring the moment we crossed into Nevada.
About a week later, after we moved to another friend’s house in the expensive suburbs of San Francisco, we decided to visit Redwood National Forest. The day we decided to go, mother nature decided to ruin our trip with rain. Not long after we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, rain began pelting on us and for a long while, we couldn’t see a thing, even the windshield wipers couldn’t work fast enough.
Mom wanted to turn back. She kept turning on and off her blinker, wanted to exit and turn around while continuously throwing questions at me. Do you think the rain will stop soon? How can it rain this hard? How far are we until we have to exit?
“Soon,” was all I could tell her as I mentally counted down the miles left ’til the exit to highway 299. Honestly though, I couldn’t watch anymore. She was gripping the wheel so tight that if the steering wheeling was a person, it would had been dead. She was more afraid than I was and I was the passenger.
Pretty soon, we made our way to highway 299 (I think). The sky began to lighten up and the rain stopped. She exhaled a deep breath and I did the same. “Now how far do I have to drive on this road?” She asked. I read the number from the paper on my lap and immediately, she said, “Are you kidding me? I think I’m going to faint.”
We drove mostly in silence since there was no cell or radio signal not to mention I had nothing to do. So what could I do but look out at the endless trees outside the window? Just tree after tree.
At last, after I think two hours, after listening to the countless times mom tried to confirm we were going in the right direction, we finally saw different scenery, the ocean. That’s when we knew we have headed in the right direction because Google Maps said Redwood National Forest would be near the ocean and highway 101 goes through the forest so anyone headed to Oregon from California would have to pass through Redwood Forest.
We were planning on staying the night in Crescent City before continuing up to Oregon before going home but mom got bored of the forest fast and she decided to brave the trip back to Sacramento and stay the night at our friend’s house before leaving early for home the next morning. On the way back to Sacramento, mom decided to implement a shortcut, to go through Napa, which was a route I did not research before leaving that morning.
We ended up spending about a hour driving around Napa trying to find the highway back to our friend’s house. By the time we found the entrance, it was dark and by the time we arrived at our friend’s house, it was half past eleven.
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4 thoughts on “Trip to Redwood Forest”
I’m sorry you missed the redwoods. When I drove from Oregon through California on Highway 101 more than 40 years ago, I felt as though I was in the midst of a fairy tale when I reached the redwoods. I felt I had to stay in the car because if I got out and walked among them, they would disappear. They were magical.
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I didn’t really miss the Redwoods, I just didn’t get to see a lot of it. I was only in the forest for like 30 minutes before my mom wanted to leave. They were indeed magical, just wish my mom slowed down. Oh well, I guess I just have to go by myself to really see it all.
I actually recommend the Redwoods as one of those “bucket list” places to visit at some point in one’s life. If you stay in Crescent City, it’s easy access to the Jedediah Smith Forest. “Howland Hill Road” is an improved dirt road (cars are fine) that goes right through the forest. It’s an absolutely amazing place.
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Thanks for the recommendation, I will have to go explore sometime.
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