Wednesday, November 18, 2009

from big sur to the redwoods...

If you enjoy a scenic drive...and don't mind winding roads with next to no services...California Highway #1 from Cambria to Monterey is the road for you. It seemed to me to be the road the bikers prefer as well!

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.

We spent a few fabulous days in San Francisco...the city of bridges, cable cars, and so much more...but I'll save that for another day.

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 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 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 appears. A little further down the road we came upon this sign...

...and smiled. I'm thinking they have a live billboard!

Off to one side stood the boss. Needless to say, we never took the Davison Road exit to view elks!

And so ends my travelogue of our meanderings along the coast of California.


  1. I've really enjoyed your coast trip through your photos. You have made my hurry up and go see list a lot longer :0)
    The last time I was in Big Sur was during our honeymoon :0)
    Hope you are staying warm and cozy with these storms we're having...

  2. Beautiful photo's, thanks for posting them. My daughter and her husband have made this trip and have similar photo's.They have grown a number of redwoods from seed, they are about 10" tall now!

  3. I took a gravol pill before reading the post. .Even the idea of winding roads sets me off.
    I love your little people picture. .and I wondered what ever happened to the picture of our car in that tree. . or a tree like that. . now I'll want to look for it.
    I appreciated your elk. .and thought was lovely tree decorations their profiles would make. .woo boy .. I'm starting to see tree decorations everywhere I look.

  4. Wow amazing to drive through a tree!

  5. I love the shot " upwards" of the tall redwood. You need to frame that one. I'll have to keep the name of that bakery in mind.

  6. It's all so lovely Judy! California reminds me a little of Italy in that it is long and has such varied terrain, and also that every place you visit can be more beautiful than the last! It is hard to chose a favorite place....could you chose one?

    We can't wait to return to San Francisco one day, and instead of driving south along the beautiful coast, we want to drive north beyond Napa Valley which we also visited last time and see Muir Woods and Yosemite.

    Bouchon Bakery was a nice choice! The French Laundry restaurant has the celebrity chef, but it is not only is it booked solid for months, but it is too expensive a meal for my liking.

    We always pump our own gas in NYC -- self service is significantly cheaper in price.

    I love the photo of you and your husband under the redwood! That's also wonderful frameable shot!

  7. I'm glad you got to visit the redwoods...they are awesome! And thanks for taking us along.

  8. This post was one of the most fascinating posts I have read in a while. Places that I would love to visit, scenery I would love to view, and you made it possible for me. Your new camera is doing it's work beautifully. The photographs are gorgeous! The one of you and your husband shows just how huge the trees were. I really enjoyed this trip and the breathtaking views.

  9. What a gorgeous tour! You are whetting my appetite for a trek along California's coastline.

  10. PS - my dh would love the redwoods but would be so tempted to bring his chainsaw along. firewood for a lifetime! :)

  11. I remember that trip many years ago...Do you believe 30? Brings back many memories. We would love to make another road trip in that direction soon...Spring 2010?
    You have a real eye for details and would make a wonderful tour guide.

  12. Great travelogue. Happy Thanksgiving (oops, you've already had yours in BC--oh well, anytime is good for thanks giving)

  13. This brings back many memories, Judy. We've done this highway with the big Chvy truck as well as on the motorcycle and I have to admit the latter was the most fun. The curves are so tight you can see your own licence plate as you go around. The redwoods are awe inspiring and driving through those groves are like driving through a cathedral. They all point to the grandeur of God.