Birthday Trip – Crescent City, CA to Salinas, CA
Blog entry 10/8 for Tuesday, Sep 23.
The Battery Point Lighthouse isn’t where MapQuest says it is. However, there *is* a neat little museum there, and Ali and I deduced (after leaving the museum with directions to the lighthouse itself) that the lighthouse’s mailing address (which is what MapQuest apparently uses) is that of the museum. Both are run by the Del Norte County Historical Society. It wasn’t far from the museum to the lighthouse, so it only took a few minutes to drive the distance. This is what we found:
The lighthouse sits on what’s called a “tidal island,” meaning that at some point in the tidal cycle the land is surrounded by water, while at some other point in the cycle the water recedes far enough that people can cross without requiring a boat. Unfortunately for us, the tide was in, so we couldn’t walk out for a closer view. But a telephoto lens will often ease that problem,
and we were pleased to have seen the lighthouse, even if only from a distance. We also walked out on a pier in the bay / harbor, and looked at the breakwater. The breakwater has been deemed too dangerous for people to be on, due to the possibility of sudden, large waves. We didn’t argue with the logic.
After a while, we decided we had looked at the water long enough, so we again turned southward on US 101. Eventually it turned somewhat inland and headed for San Francisco, but not before it spawned CA 1 (which returns to the coast). I opted to continue on US 101 because I hadn’t budgeted enough time to explore CA 1, but very close to where the two routes meet in Leggett, there is a private park with one of the three “drive-through” California redwoods. There also used to be a drive-through giant sequoia, but it toppled back in the ’60s. Ali had wanted to see some redwoods, and this park seemed like the right thing at the right place at the right time, so we stopped in.
At the entrance, as I paid our fee, the lady looked at the truck and told me that if I turned the mirrors in, she thought I’d probably fit through the tree. Probably. Well, that was good enough for me, so when we got to the tree, I asked Ali to get out and take pictures as I drove through. (In hindsight, I should have gone through twice, so that Ali could also ride through. Sorry about that, Sweetheart! My bad.) The left mirror *just* touched in a couple of places, but I don’t think the right mirror touched at all. The radio antenna, of course, clattered all the way through the tree. But I *did* successfully navigate the truck through the tree-tunnel!
It’s called the “Chandelier Tree” because of how its branches are shaped – they angle out from the trunk like any other tree’s branches, but then become vertical and grow parallel to the trunk. To me, it looks more like a candelabrum than a chandelier, but I didn’t name the tree, so my opinion doesn’t count. After I drove through, we spent some time in the gift / souvenir shop, where we found some Grumpy Cat merchandise.
When we had had our fill of Grumpy Cats, large trees, and miscellaneous other sights, we pushed south again on US 101, reaching San Francisco just as the fog was rolling in over the Golden Gate Bridge.
We continued south, relying on the MapQuest “GPS” to get us through Frisco and on toward Salinas, our destination for the night. Ali used to live in Sunnyvale, and visited San Francisco regularly, so she was sometimes mystified at the directions Ms. MapQuest was giving me, but ultimately we got where we needed to be. As usual, it was late when we got to our motel, but not *as* late as previous nights. I was making minor improvements in my scheduling and timing abilities, but I was also running out of week. I would have been happier with more days to get from Vancouver to San Diego, but we had to be back home by Friday night (9/26) because we had another commitment on Saturday.
So off to sleep and the end of another day traveling down the West Coast.