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Brookings, OR 27 August 2019

1959 : 0

We're on the road, and at rest in a lovely suite at Lowden's B&!B beside the Winchuck River, with the Pacific busily waving out the window. There's a grumpy conversation going on amongst the Sea Gulls – 'Myanh?' says one. 'Myanh!' says another. After a while we'll walk (and clamber) down to the beach while nabbing blackberries.

A relatively easy day, except for the congestion and citified driving in Eureka, that apparently now considers itself a metropolis like LA and therefore in a Big Hurry. Funny how right next door, in Arcata, the cars seem to be driving through molasses, they are so considerate of any person who even looks like they might cross the street.

1967 : 0

On the really windey stretch, from Westport to Leggett, we were preceded by an entitled dummy in a pick-em-up who wouldn't pull over ...followed by an amateur from Oklahoma and a bashful biker, who wouldn't pass even when possible ... so we took that to be Dancing Lessons from God, and enjoyed the scenery. I hope that's what they were doing, too (but I doubt it; it's a pretty intimidating road for flatlanders.)

We got into the valley of the Eel River, and Rochelle exclaimed, 'It's so green!

1961 : 0

The ride from Caspar through the Redwoods and up the coast (on the Redwood Highway) is, except as noted, one of California's best. The roads are lightly traveled, even when they devolve, as they often do, to two lanes. There's plenty of trucking, as this is the main thoroughfare between the Bay Area and the Oregon Coast, but the twisties and ups and downs mean that only the best drivers get this run.

After a good short walk on the driftwood strewn beach, we headed into town to the Black Trumpet Bistro and Roasted pepper soup, salad, and Cajun local-caught cod, bacon and jerk spice polenta, and fresh local spinach. Their brulée-er was on the fritz, so tiramisu instead.

But now, I apologize for writing out of order, and back to today's ride:

1960 : 0

What makes the difference between Eureka and Arcata drivers? Could it be the civilizing effect of the stretch of Highway 101 between the two where a strict 50 mile an hour speed limit is enforced (and, mostly, observed circumspectly!)

This year's trip, if you see an photo by Rochelle Elkan in the image, it's been taken by Rochelle Elkan. Otherwise, it's by me: Michael Potts unless credited differently.

2155 : 0

Not in training. Had an interesting lunch at Slice of Humboldt Pie. Interesting concept: individual pies, savory and sweet from one vendor, ciders and beers from the next booth in this two booth food court. Not particularly photogenic – that's my excuse, anyway.

1962 : 0



I have always struggled with how to show how tall a Redwood Tree is. Stuck down here on the ground, these immense beauties foreshorten as we look up, typically, as here, over 300 feet up, to the crown far, far above us.



We found this particular beauty up at the end of a windey 3-mile gravel one-track road (not, to Rochelle's dismay, one way!) that takes off from the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway in Redwood National Park, and then along a short trail. It's by no means the biggest tree in this grove; I chose it because I had a good view of it from (nearly) its base to its top.

1963 : 0




Below the crown, the trunk seems to descend straight down forever. Notice how the bark appears to twist clockwise (looking at it from the top.) Any idea why?


Driving this road, I recalled the constant disagreement between my father (who, like me, adored narrow back roads, the narrower, bumpier, steeper, and backer, the better; he'd have loved this one!) and my mother (who didn't stop fretting – another car's coming, no it's a truck; the axle's gonna break; this is too steep, we'll never get back up it (and on one notable occasion, at Drake's Bay, she was right!)) The dialogue went like this:

“Baby [our cars were always called 'Baby'] hates this road. She says, 'Oooh, this hurts my feet, and makes my springs ache.'”

“No, no, she says 'This is the life! I love to get my feet scratched; they're so worn out from all that hot, hard asphalt.'”

1964 : 0





What a forester told me about the twist: it's due to the turning of the earth! These wonderful old things grow forever; they're so primitive (again, so she told me) that they don't have any senescence gene: they are not programmed, like more recently evolved trees like Pines and Firs, to stop growing at some point they just keep getting taller, bigger, indefinitely, as long as favorable climate holds. Therefore, because they are so long a-growin', they are very sensitive to the slight coriolis force of the planet's rotation.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

1965 : 0






And we're not even at the tree's base!  It's rooted in a little gulley below the trail, hidden from me by the understory. This is a not-particularly-large example of an old growth Redwood, probably somewhere in the 3,000 year old category.

And here's a sad (but obligatory these days) little tag end for this story. Our climate is changing so rapidly that the Redwoods, down at the southern  end of their range, along the Big Sur coast, are dying. Even those on the Eel River along Highway 101 south of Ferndale are showing signs of acute stress in their crowns where they do all the growing and light harvesting work. We are lucky to be living when these mighty trees are at their peak.

1966 : 0

Rochelle caught me trying to fit a Redwood tree into my little camera. Good luck with that. And here's her selfie for the day:


Rochelle and Redwood Sorrel


1968 : 0

We got to Lowden's just before 5pm, and were greeted warmly. Cat services were provided by Grimmie. It's worth noting that Lowden's B&!B doesn't serve breakfast (although there is instant oatmeal and nice morning beverages,) but the soothing sound of the surf, the brilliant rooms with views, and the comfortable surroundings – not to mention the cat services! – more than make up for it. Barbara and Gary Lowdens and the good restaurants here make Brookings a great half-way stop for us on our way north.

2154 : 0

We ate an excellent dinner at the Black Trumpet Bistro, but weren't in training yet, and took nary a picture. We'll do it right next time, because we will go back.

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