California Adventure Day 5

Day 5 – May 15
Today we left the Yosemite area to head to the coast for our beautiful drive down Highway 1. This California trip is a birthday gift to myself. I wanted to do something super fun to celebrate my 30th year. I remember seeing the cliffs overlooking the ocean in scenes from the old reality tv show Laguna Beach. I’ve wanted to see them in person since.
We decided to take the mountainous road (I-5 to Highway 299) through Sacramento and up and over to Arcata. From there, we will travel Highway 101 to our final destination for the day, Crescent City. We want to start pretty close to the top of California and drive on down to at least San Francisco.
We got to see all sorts of landscapes today. Golden hills on one side of the highway with a mountain range as the back drop and different orchards and tree farms plush and green on the other side of the highway. We saw a plethora of dust devils on both sides of the highway at one point. As we entered the mountains, we saw a new type of forest. Different types of trees and flowers, a huge lake and a nice calm river running beside the highway. There weren’t too many people on the road and so it really felt peaceful.
At some point Siri told us to turn left and get off the highway. We looked down the road and it was a one lane bridge. We knew adventure most certainly was ahead on that road. We contemplated which way we should go. My Dad had noticed flashing lights that prompted him to turn to a radio station for road updates. The radio station did not come in clear at all and he was only able to make out a few words (I had my head out the window GoProing; you can see what I looked like after bringing my head back in the car below). We kept seeing big trucks that usually carry asphalt or something of the sort going by us the opposite direction. My Dad figured Siri routed us on this back road to avoid whatever construction and/or delays that were ahead. We decided to go ahead and take the more adventurous route.
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There was only a little more daylight left. We ended up being on this, what seemed to be endlessly curvy, road for 1.5 hours with the GPS being in and out of range. We were surprised coming around every turn not knowing what to expect. My Dad was avoiding fallen rocks and trees and pot holes along the 1.5 car-wide road. We experienced two road shifts (part of the road had shifted downward due to the ground being washed out) that made it difficult for our little Toyota Camry. The Camry definitely experienced some off-road time! We did not see another car until we had almost merged back with Highway 299. At one point on this road my Dad thought it would be funny to hum the tune from “Deliverance.” Super cool Dad… Below is a picture of what the GPS looked like for some of the road.
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We got back on Highway 299 and saw some construction signs on the other side of the road. We aren’t sure if they had the road closed or not but we will go with it since it makes us feel better! 🙂
We got down the road a ways and I looked up at the sky. Immediately I was breathless. I told my Dad he was going to want to pull over and see this. He stopped at the next turnout and we got out of the car. The stars were absolutely breathtaking. What made it even better was there was a new moon, so the stars were the main attraction. There has only been one other time that I have seen so many stars and that was in Flagstaff, Arizona at a star observatory. My Dad was in awe and said he had never seen so many stars. I could’ve stayed there all night dumbfounded. It was a beautiful moment and a wonderful memory.
We continued on and found our way to Highway 101 near Arcata. We headed north to Crescent City.
It was crazy to see on the GPS that the ocean was beside us at times. We looked out in the night sky into a big abyss of nothingness. It reminded me of my trip overseas to Amsterdam. I remember looking out the plane window and knowing that the ocean was below but was unable to see anything but the flashing red light at the end of the plane’s wing.
We passed through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The big redwoods were intimidating in our headlights. They spanned upwards past what we could see and hugged the road. I felt as if they were closing in on us. It was truly another moment of awe.
We went through a couple more one way passages that were regulated with a red light. More of the many landslides from the crazy rains this year in California.
We checked in late to our hotel in Crescent City. We are excited to see all of what we drove through on Highway 101 in the daylight tomorrow.
Check back later for Day 4 video!

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