In 1967 my father bought a Pontiac Catalina and a dingy old travel trailer and took his girlfriend, my brother and me on a road trip. Over the next 8 weeks we drove 13,498 miles, visited 51 parks, and saw wonders like geysers, redwoods, grizzlies, and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. The trip made an indelible impression, cementing my appreciation for the natural world and the American landscape. This summer Pamela and I hope to repeat the experience for our family.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Monday, July 26

9:20 Leave the Inn of the Beachcomber.

9:30 Stop at a scenic point to view ocean rocks and take pictures with the Jurisich family. One of the rocks has a cool sea tunnel carved through it.

10:00 Stop in Brookings to buy cherries and nectarines as a roadside stand.

10:15 Stop at Dutch Bros. Coffee for coffee and hot chocolate. Very hot coffee!

10:40 Enter California and had to surrender cherries we just bought. We were allowed to proceed to the safety zone and eat as many cherries as we could before surrendering the rest.

10:52 Coffee now cool enough to drink.

11:35 Searching for a charcuterie in Crescent City. Fail to find it. Have to stop at Safeway for picnic supplies.

12:15 Photo op of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox.

12:20 Purchase some smoked salmon from the Klamath Trading Post.

12:30 Entered Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

1:11 After making an incredibly beautiful drive through the redwoods, we meet Jurisichs at the visitors center and picnic at Big Tree, which, as you might guess, is an exceptionally big redwood. Then we take a three mile hike through Cathedral Grove. At the very end, Linden and I peel off and head our own way, convinced that everyone else is heading the wrong way. We are correct, and we spend the next half hour driving between Big Tree and the next trailhead looking for our compatriots. Eventually they find their way back to Big Tree.

4:30 Say goodbye to the Jurisichs for now.

4:45 Stop at visitors center for Redwoods National Park for my last patch of the trip.

6:30 Swing through Garberville looking for lodging and restaurants. There are a couple decent looking motels, but the restaurants are all pretty grim and the town seems to be crawling with grubby, pseudo-hippies. We push on for Leggett.

7:00 There is nothing in Leggett. We have no choice but to head for Fort Bragg, but that’s a torturous 50 mile drive, starting with 22 miles through narrow winding roads. The kids have become extremely good road trip travelers and tonight they get to prove it as we make this long drive without a single complaint, despite the fact we are all starving.

8:45 Stop at the North Coast Brewery and Grill in Fort Bragg and devour some nachos. Then proceed to dinner

9:45 Check into a Best Western in Fort Bragg for our last night of the trip.

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