Up the coast to far northern California today. We get up nice and early to hit the road before the heat gets bad. It's been over 100° in this part of the state, but once we get north of the bay area and/or central valley, we should find nicer conditions.
The three of us work our way over to the coast via highways 16 and 20. I'm in the lead, and still experimenting with my GPS. I've had the Garmin for a few months now and have mostly figured out how to use it, but this is the first long distance trip that I've done with the thing. I am discovering that the points-of-interest database is mostly accurate but woefully incomplete. A couple of times I've stopped for gas at what I thought was a last-chance-for-eighty-miles station, only to find another station available twenty miles down the road. Well there are worse things in the world than that.
We reach US-101 around the town of Willits and point north. At Humbolt Redwoods State Park, we turn off the highway and cruise along the Avenue of the Giants (hwy 254) which is our introduction to these beautiful enormous trees. It's been many many years since I have visited this area and I've forgotten how awe-inspiring they are. Coastal redwoods live in a very narrow zone and in fact create their own microclimates ... the temps drop dramatically as we ride through the forest, and we are actually quite chilly which would have been unthinkable just yesterday! Lunchtime finds us in Fortuna CA. The guy at the Shell station says the restaurant next door is good; I sort of want to go down the road sixteen miles to a place I've heard about (the Samoa Cookhouse) and half-heartedly try to talk the girls into it, but they are hungry now and not too interested and I'm not motivated enough to push for it. The family restaurant in Fortuna had a mighty good burger anyway.
North of Eureka, the road follows right along the coast, and the weather has turned cold and damp. We've obviously just missed measurable rain, the roadway is completely wet, but we never get more than sprinkled on so we keep rolling. We reach foggy Crescent City CA by midafternoon and locate our vacation rental, A on 8th. We're the first ones there, and stand around awhile wondering what to do. (Dawg has handled the rental, she'll have the instructions, but from what we've gathered via text messages she is about two hours behind us on the road.) Eventually I think to try the door. It turns out to be unlocked, so we go on in and make ourselves at home.
Nettie and Piggle show up forty minutes after we do, and Dawg and Katie pull in two hours later well before dark. WindShifters gathering is on!