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August 18, 2014 / Jim Fenton

Northwest Day 1: Return to Grizzly Creek

Monday, July 21, 2014

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As I have done in previous years, I will be blogging a journal of our summer vacation activities following our return home. This gives me time to edit, find pictures, and not alert the world’s burglars that we’re away from home (an overblown concern, but a good excuse anyway). The recurring characters in our story are myself (Jim), my wife Kenna, and our 14-turning-15 year-old daughter Celeste. Unlike previous years, I expect to post the blog articles irregularly, rather than daily, so I’ll probably get them posted more quickly than one post per day.

We did the usual soul-searching to choose this year’s vacation trip, looking at options including Europe and the Canadian Maritime provinces. But, noting that Celeste hadn’t yet been to Oregon or Washington in her almost 15 years, we decided to take a classic camping road trip to the Pacific Northwest. Kenna and I took a very similar trip together in 1993, and we wanted to share that experience with Celeste.

The car top carrier gave us a little unexpected trouble, so we didn’t get on the road until about 11 am. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge is a fine symbolic way to start a trip. We drove to Petaluma, where we had considered moving in 2000 because of the crowding in Silicon Valley during the tech bubble. We still like Petaluma. While deciding among several options downtown for lunch, we found a parking spot right in front of Maguire’s Pub, which turned out to be an excellent place for lunch.

Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants

It was getting late, so we kept going to get to our intended camping spot, Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, before dark. Along the way, we took a slight detour and followed the “Avenue of the Giants” that parallels US-101 through several dense groves of old-growth coast redwood trees. It was well worth the few extra minutes.

Grizzly Creek is about 20 miles southeast of Eureka, and was also the first night’s stop in our 1993 trip. We found a great campsite and had time to cook a simple dinner (grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup) and do the dishes just as it started raining. We got a bit of rain in the night, but the timing worked out well. Kenna and Celeste tell me that they heard a loud party in the night, but apparently I slept through it.

Mileage today: 325 miles

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