We’re on day seven here of our California road trip and feeling a little punch drunk by the sheer breadth of experience, climate, terrain that we have gone through since we arrived in San Francisco last Thursday evening.
I would have liked to have been posting every day that we have been here but there has been little or no 3G signal during the days, and what wifi there has been in the evenings has been very slow, certainly too slow to upload images.
There has also been the twin issue of not arriving until around 7pm most evenings as we have been driving for four or five hours most days and then passing out around 830…we have been so exhausted, felled by the heady combination of jetlag, altitude, long periods of driving, and unaccustomed very strenuous physical exercise.
As you may know from the post I wrote last month, our road trip has been in a loop around Northern California, heading east from San Francisco to the Sierras, starting out in Yosemite National Park. We then headed north via Eberts Pass to South Lake Tahoe, with a very brief incursion into Nevada, before heading north to Lassen National Forest and the Lassen Volcanoes Park – at this point we were about a seven hour drive from San Francisco – as the crow flies.
Sadly we had to abandon our plans to explore the rest of the beautiful Shasta-Cascades on Tuesday because of the Helena wildfire around Redding and Junction City. September and October are peak wildfire months in California and it’s just a fact of life here.
On Sunday night we were staying just 11 miles from the Railroad fire in southern Yosemite (the road was actually closed from right by our hotel), and saw first hand the effect of smoke and ash on the district – our car was covered the next morning. Reading the news reports from Shasta Cascades it was clear that this was not a good time to visit the area and, as it turned out, highway 299 – the Trinity Scenic Byway that runs from Redding to the Coast was closed to traffic.
So after after hiking Lassen Volcanoes Park on Tuesday morning we bypassed the area completely, removing Redwoods National Park further up on the Pacific Coast from our itinerary and cutting across on highway 39 further south in order to visit the Redwoods in the Avenue of the Giants.
Then we headed down the PCH – the 1, to Mendecino to stay at the Brewery Gulch Inn and explore the beautiful coastal town. And that’s where we are this morning.
We have Sonoma and Point Reyes National Seashore to look forward to, and then I fly back home on Saturday night.
With huge thanks to Visit California and the individual local CVBs here in California for organising seven of our nine nights of accommodation in the state.
Rachel and I organised and paid for our travel ourselves.