Christmas (YES, CHRISTMAS!) Trip – Part 1

Crescent City, CA — I really, really, really did not want to stay at home and make a turkey or ham shaped meatloaf for me and the cat while everyone else was having a wonderful, festive Christmas holiday with their families… like I used to do.  Nor did I want to be the orphan or odd-man out and recipient of an “Oh poor guy” invite so decided to do a short Christmas Photo trip.  The time was opened up because the doctor at Kaiser seems to refuse to believe I have something seriously wrong with my shoulder so won’t order an MRI to check it out.

And by a fortuitous sequence of events, one of my students and friends, Larry Coffinberry, found himself “batching” it so fired up Rocinante for her first real shake down cruise and determined to take four days, head up the Califonia northern coast to photograph redwoods and whatever else leapt in front of our cameras.

We took off Saturday, December 24th and headed north.  Right away one small problem surfaced… the fan in the dash heater does not work so we froze our tails off until the sun came up to warm the coach.

Second problem was I made a navigational blunder at the junction of I-5 and US99 and took 99 by mistake, not noticing the error until Bakersfield.  At that point we decided to just ride it out until it rejoined I-5 near Modesto.

Since we had already screwed up the initial plan we also created an ad hoc course correction and took US20 across to US101, planning on stopping for the night at an RV park in Glenhaven.  But for the first time since I’ve had it, my little Garmin completely bombed out and we missed it.  So we went ahead to 101, turned north and found the Creekside Resort and RV Park north of Willits.  They graciously opened the gate for us since we were running late and in the pitch dark we got settled, sat up the connection, and  chatted for awhile and then went to bed.  Santa would have had a hard time finding us…

I was exhausted and my shoulder was screaming from wrestling the RV through the mountains so I was pleased to get into bed.  The beds are pretty comfortable but I could have slept on a rock at that point,

CHRISTMAS MORNING!!!  We slept late and got sort of together about 8:30.  Looking outside now that it was  light there were some interesting frozen leaves  to photograph (oh yeah, it was COLD) and then we noticed that around us was an RV park that looked like something out of World of Warcraft AFTER the big battle.

So off we headed north and through the Avenue of the Giants. 

Finally some Redwoods!  I’ve not had time to fully process them but here are some unedited shots from the Avenue of the Giants and from Redwood State Parks.

The Avenue of the Giants is a VERY narrow road with trees growing right to the very edge of the lanes.  I hadn’t noticed it so much when driving normal cars but driving an 8 foot wide motor home is a whole ‘nuther thing entirely.  And finding places wide enough to pull it over to get out and shoot was a challenge.  It is not like it stops on a dime!

There were some frustrating times when an incredible scene appeared off to the side but there was no place for ANY sort of vehicle much less a 26 ft Motor Home to pull over.

 The day went from overcast when we got up to clear when we started down the “avenue” to raining and foggy (and visually WONDERFUL) before we had completed the tour of the Avenue, to finally clear off as we were ending the day.

But in the Humboldt Redwoods it was a pretty steady heavy drizzle and it made the colors just leap out at you.

The old growth timber and the ever-present moss plus the lush ferns give this place a most unique feel.  Not a jungle exactly, but more than just a forest. 

It is a photographer’s paradise but bizarrely, it is often at its visual best when the weather, like today, is really pretty miserable to be out in.  But you do have to watch out for your equipment.  If it is not pretty well weather sealed on its own then you ought to have a rain cover for camera and lens because it will definitely get wet… not just a few drops, I mean pretty wet.

Along the coast the storm was ending its run with some awesome power..

Our target for the night: Crescent City.  We made it about 4:30.  Our RV Park of choice was far less colorful, shall we say, but clean, the gang of hill folk from “Deliverance”  were not anywhere in evidence so we shut down and even went to take some shots of boats since we were parked next to a boat repair dock.

Tomorrow we will probably hit Jedediah Smith Park and then head back south.

About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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3 Responses to Christmas (YES, CHRISTMAS!) Trip – Part 1

  1. You fortunate guys. There is another side to the coin called “family.”

  2. BTW: Love the image of the sea striking the rocks with the fog shrouded coast as a backdrop.

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