Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend in the Redwoods: Hotel 1 of 4

The trip started with a nearly three-hour delay at the airport. The flight attendant kept making announcements referencing “the equipment that will take you to San Francisco.” When did “equipment” become an accepted substitute for aircraft or plane?

I had about a two-hour “nap” on the equipment so that when I landed in San Francisco at 10:45 PM (1:45 AM EST) I had enough brain activity to come to two conclusions during the taxi drive from the airport to the hotel: mini-vans were never meant to go 80 MPH – taxi or no; and, several of the billboard signs along the highway were larger than the size of an affordable apartment in the area.

Made it to Hotel 1 – where my husband stays for his business trips – and crashed. Took some shampoo and conditioner for the road and we were off on our adventure which would take us to three more hotels and back to the airport.

This morning (Friday) we walked out to a dreary rain which only persisted for the first three-hours of the trip. It appears weather is destined to factor heavily in any trip I make to California. Even in the rain it was easy to see why driving to/through northern California is a treat. Vineyards, the occasional small-town, rolling green hills, moss-covered rocks, an impressive range of biodiversity, curving highways, and rivers are all serene and refreshing – even in overcast weather and dreary rain.

About halfway to our destination we made it to our detour – Avenue of the Giants. About one mile into the detour, the rain subsided. It still came in small drizzles throughout the trip, but the sun was finally attempting to get through – and that meant the camera could be out! So we stopped, took pictures and basically just appreciated the beauty of our surroundings. We spent a lot of time just ooh-ing and aah-ing at the sizes of the trunks. And when we stopped at the Visitor’s Center, the trunks became even more impressive – a trunk was propped on its side with age markers giving its history – dating back to the signing of the Magna Carta.

Among the Redwoods were other trees with clingy moss that occasionally created a bridge overhead – a creepy bridge in the darkness of the forest. The Avenue of the Giants provides an opportunity to quickly understand the depth of the coverage provided by the massive, old trees. A few minutes on the road are in the open – and allow for some beautiful glimpses of the Eel River following the Avenue – and then we were engulfed in darkness. Even in overcast conditions, the uncovered portion of the journey was distinctly more light than the redwood-shrouded forest.

We made it through and back on the main road in time to see a double rainbow hanging over green fields. It was on to our next overnight stop after just a taste of the statuesque majesty that awaited us in Redwood National Park.

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