Monday, August 2, 2010

CALIFORNIA COAST : JULY 2010 : ATTRACTIONS

Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Pigeon Point : Pigeon Point is about an hour south of San Francisco along CA-1.

The beach at Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Pigeon Point is home to a 115-foot lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America. The lighthouse is currently closed to the public, but the grounds are open. There are also several beaches to explore in the area.

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Shops in Sausalito

Sausalito : Sausalito is a quaint little town on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge. It has art shops and cafes and a nice view of San Francisco, unless there’s a lot of fog.

San Francisco is barely visible in the upper left of this photo

You can easily drive there from San Francisco, or if you’re adventurous you can bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and then coast downhill. There is also a ferry that goes to Sausalito.

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The California coast north of San Francisco

CA-1 : Driving from San Francisco to Ferndale should only take 5 hours if you take US-101 N, but I didn’t want to drive up US-101 N, I wanted to drive along CA-1, which would take about 6.5 hours, not including time to stop and admire the amazing views or stop at the many state beaches and state parks. The GPS wanted us to drive US-101 N, but we were able to convince her it was our way or the highway.

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Redwoods : Shortly after CA-1 joins OH-101 N is the beginning of the redwoods. Some of the redwoods have been turned into kitchy road-side attractions, but I like kitchy road-side attractions.

The Chandelier Drive-thru Tree

Chandelier Drive-thru Tree : Located in Leggett, there is a redwood tree that you can actually drive through. There was a modest admission fee, which isn’t mentioned on their website.

One Log House : located in Garberville, this is a house made using just one really big log.

Our rental car looks like a toy next to these trees

Avenue of the Giants : A 31-mile portion of the original Hwy 101, which now parallels the new US-101 N and goes through 50,000 acres of redwood groves. The south entrance is near Phillipsville and the north entrance is near Pepperwood. This is probably one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever been on. (CA-1 would also be in this list.)

The view from the top at Trees of Mystery

Trees of Mystery : Sky Trail! Cathedral Trees! Elephant Trees! A Giant Talking Paul Bunyan! Plus Some Really Big Trees! There is a little bit of walking, and some slight inclines.

We rode the sky trail (tram) up to the top and decided to walk down the 1-mile Wilderness Trail, which was really steep going down and then at some point actually started going uphill again.

You can get married at these catherdral trees

Cathedral Trees are when several trees have grown up along the perimeter of the living remains of the stump of a fallen redwood.

Scott and a really big tree
To read more interesting information about the redwoods, click on the “Redwood Trees!” tab on the Trees of Mystery web site.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

The 49' 2" tall Paul Bunyan and his 35' tall friend, Babe the Blue Ox, wave and greet visitors. Paul can actually talk and interact with the kids who sit on his foot. The day we were there, his favorite expressions were “All right!” and “Right on,” so we think Paul might be an old hippy. And considering that we’ve been quoting him almost every day since we visited, I think he was one of the unexpected highlights of our trip.

The $14 admission includes the Sky Trail and I think it's worth every penny.

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The hotel across the street from the one we stayed in

Ferndale : 21 miles north of the “Avenue of the Giants” is the Victorian Village of Ferndale. There are some hotels located in historic buildings and several gift and art shops. Of personal interest to me was the Itsy Bitsy Quilt Shop, and yes, I did buy some fabric there.



A UFO at the Kinetic Sculpture Museum

There is also a Kinetic Sculpture Museum, for sculptures created to compete in the Kinetic Sculpture Race. (You can read more about Kinetic Sculptures once I get the Corvallis post up.) There were several places along the west coast that advertised, but Ferndale claims to have held the first Kinetic Sculpture Race in 1969.

If you want to see more photos of the California coast, go to: California Coast photos on Flickr

Want to sleep and eat? Here's my post on lodging and dining along the California coast.

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