As many of my trips lately, it all started with a photo I stumbled upon somewhere between Pinterest and Instagram. Huge sequoia trees framing an empty road. Immensity and freedom. All I could think of was: I want that. And I want that loneliness with it. A little more research brought me to two cues: Pacific Northwest and Avenue of the Giants.
In the summer of 2017, I was planning on attending the WDS conference in Portland, OR. The occasion was perfect. I bought a ticket to San Francisco, CA and decided to drive the coast up. It’s a trip I chose to do by myself. I needed the alone time, I needed to prove to myself that I was able to travel alone. I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy it.
California Coast: San Francisco to Eureka
As I was planning my trip along the Pacific Northwest coast, my eyes got caught on the town of Eureka, CA. I had to make a pit-stop there. It was such a fantastic name!
So, after a large breakfast in my hotel restaurant, I left San Francisco in the late hours of the morning, driving a Kia Soul. The car is ugly. But the name is powerful. Everything seemed to fall into place just by the names of the elements surrounding my trip. I had planned on checking out the Golden Gate Bridge then, since I had to cross it anyway. Fail.
After a quick stop in Point Reyes National Park, I start driving up route 101 and route 128. Up to Point Reyes, not much to see, but then you hit the wine country, the first sequoia trees and the coastal views are amazing. For a second, I think I’m already on the Avenue of the Giants. Boy am I wrong. It’s big, but it’s not big enough yet. I choose stop for lunch in Mendocino, CA.
That’s when the real fun happens. As I’m driving up route 1, the ocean sight is incredible, and soon after I merged again on to route 101, I split to route 254… The golden ticket. The Avenue of the Giants. 31 miles of feeling so small and so free at the same time. All I wanted to do was to stop the car on the side of the road and stand right there in the middle. Which I did. Of course.
From there it’s one straight line to my stop for the night: Eureka, CA. It’s 7:00 pm. I find myself in the most beautiful room, right above an oyster bar. Things cannot look better.
I drove 300 miles on the first day of that road-trip. It’s approximately six hours of driving. I learned some valuable informations along the way: podcasts are the road-tripper’s best friend, there are places in California where you can literally drive THROUGH a tree, this is Big Foot territory… no wonder with the size of the those trees! I’m in love with the Sequoia trees. And I can’t wait to see what Day 2 will be made of.