On the last leg of our California trip, we spent some time in the Redwood Forest. Tenille’s MUST-DO list included driving through a tree. So, we paid the $6, folded in our mirrors and drove through a gigantic dilapidating tree. For $6, you also get to take a picture with your car on top of a tree as well as play in their “tree house”.
There was also a cross section of a redwood tree that showed how old these redwoods were. Some were more than 2000 years old. Some were alive in the days of Jesus! That’s old. That’s magically old! Is there anything else alive today that we can see that is more than 2000 years old? It’s a bit sad to think that more than 95% of these trees have been cut down. I wouldn’t call myself a tree hugger, but as I saw what remained of these giant trees, it was difficult not to be awed by them.
There’s a sense of reverence that these trees inspire. What must it have felt like to chop down a 2000 year old tree? Maybe like being at a big fish fry where you cook up the Loch Ness Monster. Very exciting, but a little guilty at the same time… where you know you’re taking something special out of the world.
On our first evening in the Redwoods, we ate at the Samoa Cookhouse. I thought it was going to be a pit-roasted pig combined with some fire dancers, but it actually had nothing to do with Samoa the Pacific Island. Samoa was the name of the island that this restaurant was on. It was mainly a logging island and the restaurant was primarily used by loggers through the last century. You paid a fee and you get to eat as much as you want of the 2 different entrees they cooked that evening. In our case, it was Pork Ribs and Beef Roast. Both were quite good. Half of the restaurant was a museum of old logging tools and artifacts. Like good parents, we told our kids to go horse around in the room with all the rusty saws.
At every National Park, we try to have Caleb (and Andrew) participate as much as they can in the Junior Ranger program. Here is Caleb after he was sworn in as a Junior Ranger.
We also participated in the Junior Ranger Program with the State of California. The Junior Ranger badge for the state of California was MUCH more impressive than the National one. Unfortunately, we were told that a lot of the state parks were going to close down this year due to budgetary reasons. A bit sad, but can’t blame a state for trying to get their house in order.
Aside from the trees, perhaps one of my favorite attractions was seeing Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox, Babe. They are not just statues and the pictures probably don’t do them justice. First, Paul Bunyan’s arm waves. Second, he talks. I’m not sure if it’s a guy inside Paul Bunyan or watching from the building across from Paul Bunyan, but he will talk to you. In the picture below, he encouraged us to sit on his shoe, then counted down for us “3…2…1.. cheese!” I saw a man bring his teenage daughter up to Paul Bunyan and start talking to Paul, “Do you remember us? Last time you saw my daughter, she was 5 years old!”
“OH!” Paul Bunyan replied, “My, how you have grown… I think the last time we met, you were a little scared of me…”
Seems like 10 years later, she was still scared…
There were some other hecklers that asked Paul about why there was a door in his shoe. Paul explained that his shoe was actually second hand, and it used to belong to an old woman who lived in it. Seems plausible.
Anyway, I’m not saying everyone should pack up their families and go see this Treasure of the West…. but if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s a fun place to snap a photo.
In Crescent City, we stayed in a wonderful house that was 50 meters from the beach. We took a walk to the light house on the last day. My only complaint was that the flies were of a biting variety. Caleb, Andrew, and myself all came away with big welts where flies nipped at us.
We spent quite a bit of time at the rental house. Caleb discovered Monopoly and he loved it. We played it twice. In one game, he owned all the squares on the side of the board with Boardwalk and we started calling it Caleb Row. He was hooked. Perhaps a tinge of irony that we were playing Monopoly in a house we were renting…
All in all, it was a fun vacation. Great time spent together with family. The driving was not so bad. And there was plenty to see that were first-time experiences for all of us.