The Avenue of the Giants

posted in: California | 0

Big day today…

Megs Drive in Diner
Mels Diner, San Francisco

We hit the road early today as we had a  five hour drive up to The Avenue of the Giants. As we passed through San Francisco, we stopped at Mel’s diner. Everyone kept telling us we had to try it out, and it was good, but nothing this trip so far toped or breakfast from The diner of Los Gatos! With ourselves and the car filled up we once again crossed the Golden Gate and started working our way north for the last time.

Northern California
It was another beautiful day. As we headed out of the city it really started to sink in that our trip was almost over
Northern California
Just north of San Francisco

It was the Friday of the Labour Day long weekend and luckily we escaped the city with almost no traffic. We had to keep an eye on our speed though as we lost count how many state troppers we passed on the way up. Our first port of call on the way up was to stop in the town of Hopland California which would also be where we would be staying tonight.

Not all things would be giant today

Tiny House
I hope we can both fit in there!

Yes, once again Dayna had worked her magic with Airbnb and found someone renting out a Tumbleweed Tiny House along our route. This particular Airbnb was being rented out though through a business and we were getting a bit worried by a lack of communication from they’re part. Wanting to make sure everything was good to go for tonight we popped in to speak to the manager and had them e-mail over all the info we needed. Dayna loves tiny houses, so this was a dream come true for her!

Back Onto the Redwood Highway

Northern California
As we got further north the trees started getting a lot larger
California Redwoods
Then they start to tower over you

We were still an hour or so away from the southern entrance to the Avenue of the Giants when we saw the signs for Chandelier Drive through Tree Park. Up until the early 1900’s people would carve passageways through these Redwoods to try and generate tourism. They’ve now stopped doing so as most of these forests are now protected, but the drive through trees that remain are a sight to be seen.

Chandelier Drive Through Tree in Leggett, California.
Chandelier Drive Through Tree in Leggett, California.

Chandelier Tree Mustang
Dayna’s first time driving the Mustang

Just outside of Leggett there’s a quirky little outdoor barbecue called the Peg House. They have a slogan “Never don’t stop”. It’s good advice, we grabbed lunch there and got a few more miles behind us. Another recommendation, don’t spend too much time at every gimmicky tourist spot. There are a ton of them, and a lot of the time what they’re peddling isn’t nearly as impressive as what’s in the park.

Redwood Tree House
This little Hobbit looks fun
Redwood Tree House
But its paid entry via this gift shop, and there are enough free ones along the way its just wasn’t worth it.

The Avenue of the Giants

We took the Southern entrance to the Avenue of the Giants and within 5 minutes we found the Chimney Tree. Its every bit as impressive as the gimmicky gift shop tree house we had just past, but completely free! The centre of this tree had been burned out in a fire a little over 100 years ago. It managed to survive though and is health to this day. Inside the Chimney Tree you have a 12 and a half foot round “room”.

Chimney Tree
Chimney Tree Stats
Chimney Tree
This is bigger than where we are staying tonight!

Again these little spots take all of 5 minutes to hop out, look around, snap a few pics. They’re are a ton of little turn off throughout the Avenue of the Giants some with more well know trees like above. Others are quiet little walking trails throughout the park. We found one below where there were a few fallen Redwoods and went exploring. Maybe we’d find Bigfoot!

The Avenue of the Giants
Your neck starts to get sore if you spend too much time here.

Didn’t find Bigfoot… Just a couple of tree huggers

Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Back on The Avenue of the Giants, twisting and turning through Humboldt Redwoods State Park

The Avenue itself is a little over 50km (30miles) and is was probably one of our favourite things we did on this trip. Now Dayna had given me a bit of a hard time when booking this trip for upgrading to the convertible. But what an experience leaning back and seeing those trees tower above you. We probably spent a couple hours winding our way through the park, and goofing around amongst these giant trees.

Sasquatch drives a mustang
I may have caught a Sasquatch in this photo
Dayna found a new friend
Mustang Sally?
Dayna powering through the turns

Last day on the Pacific Coast Highway

At the end of the park, we get back on the highway that runs parallel to the Avenue of the Giants and head back toward Leggett. We grab our second meal of the day at the Peg House (As they say you never don’t stop) and then head towards the coast. We get back on Highway number one, or the Pacific Coast Highway and start heading toward Fort Bragg. The first part of this section is full of hairpin turns and is quite exhilarating!

Dayna was having a blast pushing the Mustang through the turns.
I however was very aware of how close we were to the cliff side…
Mustang Sunset
Made it back to the coast!
Pacific Coast Highway, Northern California
Pacific Coast Highway, Northern

We had heard about an interesting beach in Fort Bragg, which is what brought us out this way. Apparently up until the 60’s the residents of Fort Bragg dumped there trash in this one particular cove. After it had been shut down, the organic, and biodegradable items had flushed away. Metal pickers salvaged any metal and all that was left was glass and pottery. The sea tumbling it over all these years, has turned is old dump, into the Glass Beach.

Fort Bragg Glass Beach Trail
Trail Leading to the Glass Beach in Fort Bragg.
Glass Beach
Smooth glass pebbles everywhere
Glass Beach
You can feel free to pick it up and touch it, but you can’t take any

By the time we left Fort Bragg the sun had set and and we still had close to a 2 hour drive back to our Airbnb. This was our lesson in reading the reviews before booking. Well, I’ll just end this with the review Dayna left of our experience….

Our Tiny House Experience….

Overall my husband and I were disappointed with our stay. The hosts lacked communication initially which caused us to have to go early and ensure we had the place booked. When we got there they just said they’d email us.When we got back later that night the code they had given us to unlock the main gate was incorrect. This meant my husband had to leave me near the road alone with our belongings so he could squeeze through the gate to try to find someone to let us in. This was a scary moment as it was dark out. When we finally got the code (we had to wake up an intern) we got to the tiny house to find it was quite dirty. The floors weren’t swept and there were cobwebs everywhere. The bathroom in the main building was filthy with dirty clothes on the floor and a general lack of cleanliness. The mattress is a very thin futon mattress and is very uncomfortable. We liked the idea of the tiny house but the execution on this was isn’t great. We barely slept and then didn’t shower because of the dirt. The next morning we ended up leaving very early, quite tired, because we didn’t want to stay longer which made us quite tired on our last day. The code for the front gate was also wrong in the book they leave in the information booklet inside the tiny house. Very disappointing stay unfortunately. The hosts are aware of these issues and haven’t done anything to my knowledge as the guestbook in the house references the same issues going back several months.”