Redwoods And Raindrops

 Posted by at 12:24 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 042011

We said goodbye to Greg and Jan, made a quick stop at the dump station, and left the Lake Minden Thousand Trails a little before 10 a.m. yesterday. We took State Route 99 north about eighteen miles to Yuba City, where we picked up State Route 20, and followed it west 112 miles to U.S. 101.

We took Route 20 in the opposite direction years ago, in our first summer as fulltimers, and I remembered it as a winding two lane road that crossed some low mountains and skirted the shoreline of the huge Clear Lake (43,785 surface acres), the largest natural lake in California. There were several small resort towns along the lake, and even on a dreary, rainy day, there was a lot of traffic.

Clear Lake

One of those towns was Lucerne, which bills itself as “the Switzerland of America.” I didn’t see anybody in lederhosen, and nobody offered me any chocolate as we drove past, but it looked like a friendly little town. We did see a lot of wineries along the way, and several offered free tastings.

Welcome to Lucerne sign

Most of Route 20 was two lane road, but there were frequent passing zones and pullouts, and we used them to let faster traffic get past us.

Route 20 lake curve

Route 20 downhill 2

It was raining pretty steadily by the time we got to U.S. 101, and usually we prefer not to travel in the rain. But if you wait for a dry day in the northwest, you might never got anywhere. For the next 150 miles, the highway changed back and forth from divided four lane to two lanes, and was pretty narrow in a few places.

US 101 downhill

We climbed up and around several mountains, many of them shrouded in clouds.

Fog shrouded mountains 2

If it would have been dry and I could have used my exhaust brake, I’d have enjoyed the trip a lot more. In several places, signs warned truckers to reduce their speed.

 Truckers tight curves sign

They mean it when they say there are some sharp turns along this stretch of the highway.

30 mph curves many signs

At one point, one lane of the highway was closed for a landslide.

Land slide

Willits is the Gateway to the Redwoods, and the highway is the town’s main street, with a lot of stop and go traffic for a small town.

Willits sign

I can’t remember the last time I saw a Rexall Drugstore.

Willits Rexall

Before long, we started seeing redwood trees. While not as big as the giant sequoias we saw a couple of weeks ago in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, they are still very impressive trees.

US 101 redwoods

Big tree road 3

We started passing old time attractions, like Confusion Hill, and the World Famous Tree House, featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

Confusion Hill sign

Tree House sign

In some places, the road was very narrow, and wound through the massive trees. It was a tight fit in a big motorhome, when we encountered southbound traffic. We saw several side view mirrors laying along the edge of the road here, but made it though in one piece.

Winding tree road

About 4:30, we arrived at the Elks lodge in Eureka, with 277 miles behind us on this wet driving day. The Elks lodge has full hookup back-in RV sites with 30/50 amp electric, for $20 a night. I was tired and more than ready to shut it down for the day.

Today we have an easy run, just over 100 miles, to the Elks lodge in Brookings, Oregon. It’s good to be on the road again, but after traveling together for three months, it’s strange not to see Greg and Jan’s American Eagle parked next to us! They’ll catch up with us in a few weeks, at a Thousand Trails further up the coast, and I’m sure by then I’ll have broken several things, so Greg will have something to fix!

Thought For The Day – Business conventions are important, because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  3 Responses to “Redwoods And Raindrops”

  1. Welcome back to Oregon. You picked the first sunny week-end this year.

  2. The ‘locals’ here in San Francisco say they haven’t seen a June with this much rain and cool weather in …forever. I don’t know if that’s true or not but it sure makes me homesick for the warm weather in the South!

    By the way, we’re looking at a Winnebago Adventurer to buy….any advice?

  3. The pix of the mirror-snatching redwoods along 101 brought back memories of our drive thru there in our 40′ Itasca. You didn’t mention meeting any logging trucks on that stretch. Meeting one of them on a curve really makes it “interesting”.

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