Well, I left Portland yesterday. It was really nice to get the chance to spend some time with my family, and have the opportunity to get dressed standing up. And more importantly, pee inside in the middle of the night. Plus, I needed a break from wall to wall dudes, as great as the dudes of Skipley Farm are.
I was already getting tired of being in the car after a few hours when this happened:
I did it! I made it as far west as I could go, the Pacific Ocean. No where to go but south. I imagine Lewis and Clark had a similar feeling of accomplishment.
I should explain a little about my route. I was headed to California to an olive farm not far from Yosemite. About 11 hours if I were to stick to the interstate, I-5. You may remember my resolve from Montana to stick to the interstate. Well, I didn’t remember, so I decided to take the scenic route down Highway 101, along the coast on the Redwood Highway.
But why, you might ask. Well, anyone who has more than 3 conversations with me knows about my obsession with the redwoods, which is why I decided to add 5 hours onto my drive. It was at about mile 400 that I started to question my decision. But then this happened:
I got the Redwood State and National Parks, located on the Northern California coast. I can’t quite articulate the experience. They’re just so old, and so alive, and so tall. I pulled over several times. Every now and then there was a sign with yellow letters telling you the name of the stand. I came across one that had fallen, and one that was I think the largest I had seen. I sat for a moment and cried.
After I left my crying stump, I remembered that I was getting dangerously close to my 600 mile/day limit. And then this happened:
So, that was cool. Luckily my dad learned me good, and I was able to get it fixed. But no less than 3 dudes stopped to try to help me. Though more than help with the tire, the directions they gave me were the truly helpful thing.
I had planned to cut across to I-5 from 101 by way of Highway 36. I was told this was a bad idea and that Highway 299 was the better, less curvy option. Boy, I am glad I took that advice. Considering how nerve-wracking the turns on 299 were, I think I would have been in tears on 36. Plus, I went over my 600 mile limit, and had to find a camp site somewhere in the Shasta National Forest. How the hell do people in their 45 foot campers do it?
That was the first night that I ever felt uncomfortable with where I was staying. There were no lights, and no host, and no other campers. I had to seriously think to myself if I was uncomfortable because of the darkness and isolation, or because I actually felt unsafe. Turns out, once I realized I could hear the highway traffic, I felt immensely better, and stuck it out.
I woke up early in the hopes of getting to the Olive Farm before noon, but as it turns out, driving a trailer in California is stupid, and you can only go 55 mph. I dutifully obeyed after the speeding ticket in Montana, and did not roll into Coarsegold until 5 o’clock.
I haven’t been here very long, but I am fairly sure this might be paradise. But more on that tomorrow. For now, here’s the view from my trailer.