On our last day in Crescent City, we wanted to see more redwoods, but we also wanted to ride our bikes. Problem solved: Barry planned a ride through the redwoods for us!
We drove down to the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, the scenic alternative to coastal Highway 101. This ten-mile parkway is in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and is a great place to see redwoods. There are numerous hiking trails intersecting the parkway we would love to check out one day, and thanks to the lower speed limit of 45 mph and ban on commercial vehicles, it's also a perfect place to get a fine bike ride in.
At the southern end, where we started our ride, there's an open area in the park before you enter the redwood forest. Although we had nice sunshine in this section, you can see by what I'm wearing that it was not a warm morning. And the temperature in the shady, damp redwood forest felt even cooler.
In the open park fields before we entered the redwood forest, there were numerous signs warning of elk, and we were delighted we got to see a couple of them when we first arrived. They were gone later, so we felt lucky that we got to see them.
According to information in the visitor's center, it is rutting season for the males, so you definitely don't want to piss these guys off. And don't worry, we weren't as close to them as it appears -- we used our zoom lens!
Here I am about to enter the redwood forest.
It looks very different in here! The road was still damp in places from rain the previous day and the moist, shady micro-climate.
The road starts out mostly flat as you head from south to north. It does climb slightly, but the grade is barely perceptible. However, in the last couple of miles, the road steepens and begins climbing...and climbing. I was really huffing and puffing. When I got to the top and turned around to head back down, I saw why it was so tough without my mountain gearing.
The descent was fast and fun, but I had an RV on my tail, so it was a bit less enjoyable than if I'd had a clear road behind. Fortunately, it couldn't go much faster than me on the curves, so I don't think I held them up. As soon as the road straightened out, I pulled over so they could get around me.
We stopped to take a picture in front of this huge redwood whose innards were partially hollowed out, and a man taking a break from riding his touring motorcycle offered to take our photo together. It's not so good because of the angle of the sun, but it was nice of him and the only one we have of the two of us together on this ride, so I wanted to include it. We chatted with him for awhile in the parking lot later, and turns out he used to be a bicycle tourist, so I guess that's why he was so nice to us.
Here's the Memorial Grove named after the couple who gave the scenic parkway its name.
I thought this was a particularly pretty trunk with all the moss growing on it and greenery all around.
Barry ended up riding out and back on the parkway twice (would you expect any less of him?) I didn't want to face that climb again so only rode it part way the second time. One monster climb per day is plenty for me! We both had a great time, though.
This is my favorite photo of the day.
Stay tuned as we leave the beautiful California coast and the amazing redwoods and head inland to Redding!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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