That day we planned to spend the night with friends in San Jose, a seven hour drive. The drive included the Avenue of Giants, a thirty mile scenic route beside the 101 among the Redwoods. The weather and environment stayed misty, green hills covered in Douglas Pines and Redwoods until we reached Eureka CA. There, all of a sudden, we were in the California we knew.
Though still Northern California, it was no longer misty and wet, the sun shown. We saw the first of the Eucalyptus trees that would continue to dot the hills all the way to LA. We also saw the first Palms, Mexican restaurants, and Spanish road names, and in that recognized the California we were familiar with. Here also the topography changed, fertile valleys stretched out, green and filled with agriculture. There were also more people at this point. Roadside advertising brought me back to everyday life and checked the “other worldly” impression left by waking up among the Redwoods that morning. Everywhere grass and trees were green, but I no longer had the impression that the whole world was about to burst into new growth.
And so we came to Humboldt National Park, and the Avenue of Giants. Here the road went inland; we no longer were flanked by the sea. From the freeway we could see the tops of Redwoods poking up over the other trees. We happily got off the now four lane 101 and entered the Avenue of Giants. Immediately we were permeated by the quiet awe that draws one to the forest, and I pitied the other travelers bypassing this scenic route. We stopped the car and ventured into the cathedral. I made friends with one giant ringed by smaller trees. Josh bounded through the underbrush like a deer. We returned to the car excited to see what else we could discover. I enjoyed taking photos of our magnificent view from the sun roof. We meandered on, stopping whenever we wanted to explore a little more.