Our fifth wheel and the truck

Friday, November 5, 2010

Giant Redwoods, Napa Valley and San Francisco - how amazing!

Hello family and friends.

Does anyone else have a blog? If you have, have you ever looked at your ‘Stats’? Interesting that! I thought that I would have family and friends reading this here story but the stats tell me otherwise! I have people all over the world reading this soooo….. if you are reading this please, please leave me a comment or message so I can get to know you and include you among my friends.

Just a note about last week. We left the Crater Lake area with the weather threatening and the next day five feet of snow fell up at the crater!! Is our timing pretty good or what?

We are in Eureka, California now, having driven down from Oregon through those amazing redwood forests.

Let’s skip Monday as it was totally boring and wet and Norm had to get the truck serviced. Don’t get me wrong I love the rain but I have got used to having some sort of extraordinary experience nearly every day.

So, the plan for Tuesday was to drive south from Eureka along the Redwood Highway and through the Avenue of the Giants. So the new superlatives for this week! This was one of the most wonderful tours with the most majestic examples of Mother Nature’s handiwork. Every time you drive around a bend there are more new and gigantic specimens of these magnificent trees.

We spoke to a ranger who explained that when a giant redwood falls it can take centuries for them to decompose completely. I am not sure how he knows that because I don’t think he has been around to watch but science may have the answer. One of the walk trails we took was just stunning! It was dark due to the canopy of leaves and branches and the sun would be streaming through a gap in the canopy and lighting up the fall colours beneath. It was really quiet with the only noise - the occasional drop of water landing on a leaf or the leaf litter on the ground. Awe-inspiring!

Reluctantly we came to the end of the Avenue and made our way back to the highway towards the quaint Victoriana town of Ferndale. Once again we were greeted by Tsunami warnings but we know now you don’t worry about that until you feel the earthquake!!!!

Ferndale is the cutest little town with buildings that are absolutely gorgeous. They are painted in an array of beautifully coordinated colours with lots of fretwork - otherwise called ‘gingerbread’. Obviously the people of Ferndale are extremely house proud. We wandered around for a while before deciding to head home via somewhere for dinner. Just as an aside - we still haven’t christened the barbeque!!!!

We headed towards Eureka for something to eat and ended up at the Samoa Cookhouse. What an awesome place. The building is an original cookhouse where all the lumber workers used to eat. Much of it has been maintained including the long tables and plain wooden chairs. The walls are covered with old photos of the time the timber industry was in its hey day. Some of the trees that were felled were unimaginably huge.

There isn’t a menu to choose from. There is a set menu. We sat down to the lunch meal as it was about 4.30pm. For $11.95 we started with huge slabs of home made bread and butter followed by chicken and vegetable soup. Then we were served a garden salad with beans and dressing. Then the main meal arrived - ribs with potatoes, baked beans corn. And finally, for dessert we had strawberry cake. Oh and don’t forget the bottomless cup of coffee! I think that Norm just about had to roll me out of there I was so full. Mind you he certainly put quite a bit away.

Wednesday we left for our next stop at Santa Rosa, about fifty miles north of San Francisco where we stayed in the Sonoma County fairground. I know we have avoided many of the larger cities along our way but I really want to visit San Francisco while we are in the area.

A quiet start to the day on Thursday didn’t last long as we headed off to the Napa Valley at lunch time. We drove to St Helena which is at the northern end of the valley.

St Helena is the most beautiful old town. Lovely old buildings and the wineries - well need I say more? One of the wineries we stopped at was so beautiful and they had a picnic ground where you could sit and consume the gourmet food and yummy cheeses that they sold along with some great wines and liquors.

And how lucky am I? On the way home we stopped at the Culinary Institute of America. The building was constructed in the 1800’s and has been maintained beautifully. The garden’s are spectacular with an interesting twist - many of the gardens have herbs and vegetables growing amongst the roses and other flowering plants. In fact while we were out the front we saw a couple of people in chef’s outfits running out to the garden to pick something. I just had to buy myself a souvenir so came away with a mortar and pestle with the Institute’s name on. I may never use it but never mind.

We decided to have a day off on Friday so Norm did some reading and I got some time to sort some cupboards and do some patchwork. Tomorrow is my day in San Francisco and I am so looking forward to it.

Early start today as we are not sure how long it will take to get to SF. We got up and left while it was still dark at 7.00am, thinking that if the traffic was heavy or there were road works we could take up to two hours to get there. Wouldn’t you know, limited roadwork’s and no heavy traffic. So by 8.00am we were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. There was a bit of rain threatening but no fog. Woo Hoo no fog! We managed to get some terrific photos before heading down to Fisherman’s Wharf.

We had booked on a tour and had a bit of time to fill in so we went for a walk. And wouldn’t you know there was a camera shop where I stopped to get another battery for the little digital camera I have. Well I walked out of there with a fabulous new Canon camera. It wasn’t the one we were looking for - it is so much better! So while the photos may not look any different for a while when I get used to it, just look out.

Okay, so we jumped on the tour trolley and went to the Golden Gate Bridge (a bit foggy so the other passengers didn’t get such great photos - hmmm). From there we crossed the Bridge where we had a ‘photo opportunity’ before coming back across. The tour took us through the Presidio, Nob Hill, China Town and close to the Crookedest Street in the world. It was a bit rushed but I got to see some of the touristy things everyone sees in SF. After the tour we walked along the wharf, looked in some museums and had some lunch on Pier 41½. Did you know that all the SF wharves have odd numbers so when they needed to name the wharf between Pier 41 and 43 they wouldn’t be able to use 42 hence 41½? Well that is my rationale!!!

I just loved San Francisco and would love to go back there but I think that living there would be fairly expensive. The rents are pretty steep with some of the houses in the Presidio rented out for $4000per month. No way!

Our next stop will be close to Yosemite where we will spend a couple of days.

So till my next episode I wish you all health and happiness. Please take the time to leave a comment as I would love to hear from you. Take care and I will catch you next week. Hugs from me.

PS: I was very late adding this post, so I know some of what is going in next week's chapter so hurry back. It was really exciting.


  1. Pictures are still bootiful. As I said before, I'm learning a lot about my own country through you. Thanks. So what model camera did you get - a digital SLR by any chance?
    Nita in coolish Florida

  2. Thanks Nita. We thought about a SLR in fact we were going to buy a Canon Eos but the guy in the shop showed us this one. It has a better zoom length (500mm) than the Eos with the second lens (300mm) and was quite a bit cheaper. I am finding it really easy - no having to switch lenses when you see something you want to take a picture quickly.
    Take care

  3. Gday, you are gonna have to do a wall at home of your pics, they are beautiful. :)