Saturday, July 18, 2015

Redwoods State and National Parks

This morning we headed out to do one of the scenic drives in the park that was near our campground. This is a drive that the RVs aren't allowed on so it was good that we had the jeep! It was foggy and cold though so we couldn't really see anything.

When we came back to the campground we were planning to leave, but we got caught up talking to one of our neighbors - they were in a smaller class c and ended up touring everyone's RV!

Finally we headed out, back down the Newton B Drury Parkway (same road as yesterday, I just found out the name of it!) to the Rhodendron trail head! Dad was able to park the RV right there and we took off on a loop, we had no idea how long the loop was, but it looked good on the map!

Instantly we were ensconced in redwood forest! Giant trees, moss, ferns! No way pictures can do it justice!

Eventually we came to a trail junction, with a sign that had mileages on it! We'd already walked 1.5 miles and to complete our planned loop it was 3 more miles back to where the trail crossed the parkway, then an unknown mileage back to the RVs. Hmmm... This was going be at least 4.5 miles...but the scenery was awesome and it was nice and cool! These trees were every bit as cool as the ones at Trees of Mystery but it was free to see them and there wasn't anyone else on the trail with us! We saw no one on the Rhodendron trail!

After we crossed the parkway there was another mileage was 2 miles from there to the car! So 6.5 miles! The last part of the trail wasn't as scenic, still had groves of huge trees, but there was a lot of places that were open with lots of weeds!

It was almost 3 before we got back to the trailhead! We hightailed it out of there and headed for the NPS visitor center so we could get our passports stamped. When I arrived at the visitor center, I pulled in right next to another Pleasure Way! The owner was just getting out and she and started talking, and showing off our rigs! Inside the visitor center we got more information than we needed about carnivorous plants (I'd heard there was a botanical walk near the visitor center with pitcher plants and wanted to find it, turns out it was the visitor center in the northern part of the park!) and headed out.

We'd seen on the map where there was a trail that ran along the beach and it was open to bikes. At the visitor center we picked up a brochure about biking and it listed that bike path as "easy" and it would only be a 6 mile round trip. We decided we had time before dinner to head out and ride it. It ended up taking about 30 minutes to drive out Davidson Rd, another non-RV road, although technically I could bring bring my RV - nothing over 24 ft. Davidson Road is narrow, windy, dirt, and has several stream crossings, and there's a lot of traffic! We got to the trailhead and unloaded the bikes, had a minor setback when we thought dad didn't have the key for his bike, but he did, then we headed down the trail.

The first part of the trail was a popular hiking trail be there were a lot of people. The terrain was fine for riding, but there were too many people, so we walked the bikes. Once we hit the Fern Canyon trailhead the people thinned out and the trail became more like a hiking trail! Rocky, roots, narrow, unsuitable for our bikes or ability or desires. We walked the bikes back through all the people, to the car, loaded them up and headed back to the visitor center where we'd left Mom and the RVs.

We had cell signal (for the first time since Brookings, over 24 hours signal free, first time the whole trip!), so we texted and told her to start heating dinner!

When we pulled back into the VC parking lit the first thing we noticed was the "road closed" gate that had been closed across the road! WHAT? When the visitor center closes at 5:00, they lock the gates! Turns out the Rangers were really nice about it, they don't actually lock it until you move your vehicle, thru close it but don't lock it. Mom and had talked to a Ranger who'd asked her to drive the RV out of the gates, she explained how she can't drive the RV and how the van was mine and she didn't have the key! Luckily we were almost back and we moved the RVs out! Although, getting locked in the visitor center parking lot might not have been all bad!

We ate dinner in the NPS day use area and tried to figure out where to stay for the night. There were campground options, but also a Big Kmart about 30 miles down the road in the direction we needed to go. It was already 7 so we opted for the Big Kmart. I'm sure it's going to be fine but Big Kmart is a few notches below Wal-Mart on the food chain and there are some shifty characters. If I was alone I wouldn't have stayed!