We started our adventure by taking a train, how cool is that? If you have been following me, you already know that we love trains...all kinds of trains, so put that together with seeing these magnificent trees and what better combination can you have for the day?
The Skunk Train was like no other train we have ever taken before. First off, the one we were on was almost more like a bus with train wheels (and noises) than any train we've been on. It was built in 1925 and was their Motorcar M100 (the only one of its kind still working).
The nickname “Skunk” originated in 1925, when motorcars were introduced (today sometimes referred to as railbuses or railcruisers). These single unit, self-propelled motorcars had gasoline-powered engines for power and pot-bellied stoves burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm. The combination of the fumes created a very pungent odor, and the old timers living along the line said these motorcars were like skunks, “You could smell them before you could see them.”
The trip was a 4-hour journey from Willits CA to Northspur CA and back again. It took us forty miles of railroad running through majestic redwood forests, scenic mountain meadows, and over 30 trestles and through one tunnel. It even included a delightful minstrel who sang and played "railroad songs" along the way! It was a fun way to jump start our trip through these beautiful woods!
From here we went to the coast and settled into Eureka for a couple of days. We took the toad and then ventured into the Avenue of the Giants! Holy cow! Now we were really getting up close and personal. Jack pulled over at every little pull-out so that I could jump out and "venture in" to shoot, oh & ah and smell, smell, smell! It was heaven! The weather was cool, but clear and beautiful. Hardly anyone around, it was like we had the place to ourselves. Each grove was just a little different from the last. One with ferns, one with clover, one with lots of fallen trees, etc. Pure magic.
We stopped at the Visitor Center, where they had some wonderful displays, and one gave us quite a chuckle...it was of an RV made from one very large redwood log! The Nash Quad Travel Log (c1917). It had a truck body, but the rest was made from the redwood log! What a hoot! Mr. Kellogg lived and traveled in that RV for years too! Good for him!
Our love of the redwoods wasn't quite quenched, so we ventured further north and headed to Crescent City for a couple more days. We then drove through the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Amazing how each area can be so different from the other. While here we got out and took a small hike into the the Stout Grove and wandered around and around these beautiful trees. Their size, their strength, their various shapes and colors, their smell, knowing their age...all of it is amazing and mesmerizing.
We will be leaving them tomorrow, heading northeast a bit, but their grandeur will stay with us forever. There was a quote posted at one of the parks by John Steinbeck that I thought summed it up beautifully "The redwoods, once seen, create a vision that stays with you always...they are not like any other trees we know, they are ambassadors of another time." I'm so glad we took this time to spend with them...
...on the road, Marie
If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/