West Coast Road Trip Day 3 – The Redwoods to the Golden Gate

west coast road tripOn this third day of our West Coast Road Trip, we again get up early with great expectations for the day ahead.  The first two days of this family extravaganza  have been nothing less than fantastic, and my senses are on overload. Before leaving Crescent City in the rear view mirror, we take a little detour into the Crescent City Harbor, where the sea lions have almost taken over the place.   Before going any further, if you would like to start from the beginning, here is day one.

 

west coast road trip

Sea Lions on shore duty – CashArtBlog

 West Coast Road Trip day 3 – To the Redwoods, but first…

I had heard that the Crescent City Harbor was really damaged by that tsunami from the Japan earthquake. I could not tell if this was the case or not. What I could tell from our short visit on day 3 of our west coast road trip was there were almost more sea lions hanging out this morning than people. These guys made themselves at home, and some were even resting on the dock, right next to boats! Now, what if you have your boat docked, and you want to go out on the water, and you scoot on down to get into your sea worthy vessel, and lo and behold it is surrounded by sea lions? What do you do? These things are big! Are you supposed to go around or over them? Bribe them with food? Will they move when they see you coming? Will they want to wrestle? It was interesting, amazing, and funny, and we had a hard time leaving… 

Now on to the Redwoods…

west coast road trip

Pillars of Society – CashArtBlog

Those sea lions were barely out of the rear view mirror before we were totally immersed in redwood awe. When planning this west coast road trip, I knew that these trees were a must, and they were more amazing than I thought. Thankfully, there were plenty of places to pull over and take photos, and we did. The locals were passing me like nobody’s business, but this is where a person should take their time and enjoy…

 Driving south on highway 101 amidst these giant trees offered up two opportunities to get off the main road and take a more tranquil and scenic route. So of course we did. First it was the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, a ten-mile excursion through Redwood National and State Parks. Since we followed our west coast road trip M.O. and got going early, there was hardly any traffic to deal with on this drive. Once we emerged from the quiet and calm of the Redwoods and got back on highway 101 near the ocean, we spotted a large crowd of cars parked along a beach. As we got closer, we saw that the big attraction was a herd of elk lounging right there on the beach! I certainly never expected to see that. They paid us humans no mind, and they seemed quite content.

west coast road trip

Arizona Beach…I didn’t want to leave – CashArtBlog

There would be more Redwoods coming up, but first we made a much-needed and wanted pit stop at a beach. This particular beach was called Arizona Beach, and it was beautiful. I am kind of embarrassed while I write this because I can’t find it on my map to tell you where it is. There was a campground there, great parking, and only about 5 other people. It was beautiful, and hard to leave.

west coast road trip

The Carson Mansion

We are still trying to get to San Francisco by the end of day 3 of our west coast road trip, so we got back on highway 101 heading south towards Eureka. I knew nothing about Eureka, California before this trip, but my 10-year-old son saw a picture in a book of a mansion, and he wanted to see it, and we did. The Carson Mansion, was built by logging and timber tycoon William Carson (1833-1904), and completed in 1886. (it is now an exclusive gentlemen’s club). This is one of the most grand buildings of its size I have ever seen. The building was in great shape, the landscaping was immaculate, and I found myself wanting to join the club just to go inside.

 

I was hoping to see at least one good mural on our west coast road trip, and I was awestruck by the murals of Eureka. There were some great and I mean great murals. I’ll show just a few here. Kudos to the city, the artists, and anyone else who had something to do with the murals. Wow! There were more than this, but…

west coast road trip

Mural in Eureka on the side of a grocery store. Artist unknown.

west coast road trip

Left side of mural in Eureka on the back of a building. Artist unknown

west coast road trip

Same mural and building as above, right hand side

west coast road trip

Mural on Performing Arts building, Eureka, Artist unknown

Everything on this page you are reading and seeing is just part of one day of our west coast road trip, and we are around noon on this day. You can see why my senses are on overload. This is probably the longest day we will have, and we gotta get to San Francisco, so it’s time to get going… 

Not too long after leaving Eureka came the world-famous Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile journey through old growth Redwood tree groves. It was fantastic, but after driving through both the Avenue of the Giants and the Newton B. Drury Parkway, and making several stops (yes we did drive our jeep through one of those drive through trees, it was fun!) it was time to move on.

West Coast Road Trip Day 3 – South to San Francisco

Leaving the mighty Redwoods behind, we cruise southward down highway 101 through small towns, farms, hills, and finally take the exit ramp and get on California Highway 1. On the map, (which I bought after making a wrong turn in Portland) this looked like a piece of cake. Let me say that I have never been on a more curvy, windy, crazy road in my life, than this stretch of highway 1! Up, down, left, right, and when the signs says 5 mph for the corner ahead, they mean it. I felt like I was a grand prix driver. I had no idea the road would be like this…wow. It seemed like it took forever to get through this stretch to the coast and the ocean again, but I think it was about an hour to an hour and 1/2, or more.

 The plan for this leg of our west coast road trip was to take highway 1 all the way down to Muir Beach, just northwest of San Francisco, and get back on highway 101 again just in time to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Things were progressing well, but this stretch of the highway was, at times, just as curvy and slow going as what I described above, only with an ocean view.

west coast road trip

California Coast, south of Fort Bragg – CashArtBlog

All of a sudden it’s about 4pm, we have made a lot of stops on this day of our west coast road trip, and we are a long way from San Francisco. It’s obvious now that we will cross the Golden Gate much later than we thought. So we push on, grab some food in Fort Bragg, and “endure” the many curves, hills, beautiful views, small towns, as we inch our way south. This part of the trip is dynamic, beautiful and interesting. There’s not a lot of traffic or people, but to be honest, I’m ready to be done for the day.

West Coast Road Trip – At Long Last, San Francisco   

Finally, at around 10pm, after a great, but very long day on this west coast road trip, we cross the Golden Gate Bridge. We pay our toll, we get through the construction as they are working on it at this time, and guess what? We get in the wrong lane because of the construction cones! We get off on the wrong street, and have to do a U-Turn, go back over the bridge going north, and get back on again to go back into the city, pay the toll a second time, and then head down towards our motel near Fisherman’s Wharf. What a day…and so far, a great west coast road trip.

Next: West Coast Road Trip day 4 & 5 – San Francisco

 A tour of the city as our Jeep is given a well deserved rest


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