The highway winds it's way along the coastline...where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Lucia mountains.
The views in the Big Sur area were stunning...even more so because of the fall colouring on the ground cover, which was some type of succulent. Big Sur is a ninety-mile stretch of coastline...several hours south of San Francisco. It has three state parks within it's boundaries and is a popular place for hiking. We stopped at a few lookouts to drink in the view and then carried on our merry way...since we had a hotel reserved in San Francisco that night.
From San Francisco we travelled north through Napa and Sonoma...
...among the world's premier wine producing regions. Napa Valley alone is home to over 400 wineries. We enjoyed our lesiurely tour of the area...and were amazed to see vineyards even on the highest and steepest of hills.
Yountville is a small town in Napa Valley that bills itself as the culinary capital of the area...and so we thought we would check it out. The car needed gas and we needed coffee...so Yountville was at the right place at the right time. A world class restaurant in the town books reservations two-months in advance...but we were looking for something that needed two-minutes notice.
Bouchon Bakery on the main street looked more our style...and we enjoyed our French pastries on their outside patio. And don't let the appearance fool you...we discovered the bakery is a very popular place and the line-ups are usually out the door. If you'd like to check them out, but aren't planning a trip to Yountville anytime soon...you could also visit the Bouchon Bakery in New York or Las Vegas.
Yountville may have lots of great places to eat...but we discovered that their one and only gas station was like something from another era. The self-serve pump didn't like our Canadian credit card and with no attendant on site...we may still be there if a local patron hadn't stopped by to help us out.
Several hours north of the wine-growing country...we reached the Redwood Coast. The redwood forests have giant trees that are over three-hundred feet tall...
...and we even found one that we could drive-through. We like drive-thru's! It's called the Chandelier Tree...and is 315' tall, 21' in diameter.
We drove the Avenue of Giants...
...a 31 mile avenue winding through a series of old-growth groves. It was the best place to view redwoods from the car. We stopped at Founder's Grove in Humboldt Redwoods State Park...and took a hike in an ancient forest.
Coast redwoods only grow naturally in a narrow forty mile strip along the coast of northern California and southern Oregon.
We checked out the Dyerville Giant...believed to be the largest of all redwoods when it fell in March of 1991. It was 370 feet tall (taller than Niagara Falls)...and was thought to be 1600 years old. Now it lies on the forest floor where it will stay for centuries.
We felt small!
It's an awesome place to visit!
Still in Humboldt county...not far from the redwood groves...we passed by a herd of elk grazing next to the road.
These gals were checking themselves out in the mirror...it appears. A little further down the road we came upon this sign...