Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Down The West Coast -- Oregon
And On To California!
And Oh Yeah....The Redwoods!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

We had traveled for two days since our stop in Coos Bay, Oregon. There would be be more spectacular coastline, a second overnight in a lovely California town, Arcata (Ar-KAY-ta) and the giant beauties: the California Redwoods. Writing this days later, it's hard to put the memories in proper order. The photos are an aide as they're all dated help to reconstruct our route. But confusion reigns as well: "Where did we have that conversation with the lady selling tomatoes at a greenmarket? Where did we encounter the blanket of fog that appeared so suddenly and shrouded the Pacific from view?" As we go along, I try to remember to photograph sign posts at any particular stop that might give a clue as to where we were.

Just south of Coos Bay was the sweet little town of Bandon, Oregon with a beautiful lighthouse and harbor and an indoor farmer and crafts market. We stopped for a break and a walk around.

The town of Banson. And this is Henry. He's composed of junk: plastic,
paper, other crap that's been taken from the waters and beaches
that surround the town. The Pacific states, from my observation,
seem to have a higher degree of sensitivity  to environmental hazard
compared to some other places we've been.

Poor Henry the fish.

In Bandon, Oregon. A Coquille Indian totem along with  a new recognition of the real history
that talks about the European destruction of indigenous people and their lands. Sadly, quite late.

European settlers, gold miners, invaded the area around Bandon
where the Coquille tribes had lived for thousands of years. At first they
were welcomed. When it became clear that their goal was to
take over and abuse the land, hostilities developed. The indigenous
people lost their lives, their land ... everything.

This sign in Bandon describes the ghastly massacre of Coquille Indians
on January 28, 1854 at this location. The indians were killed as they slept,
burned to death by a mob of gold miners. The dirty deed done, the
surviving Indians were marched by the U.S. Army to a reservation,allowing
the miners to claim the Coquille territory. This is the horrible history, the very
opposite of what was taught in our schools or depicted in past years by
Hollywood. How many Americans know the truth of the expansion
of the United States - "the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

The pretty little fishing village of Bandon, Oregon.
Sign for a fish market on the harbor.

An Indoor farmers and crafts market in Bandon.

The lighthouse at Bandon. Beyond the jetty, the endless Pacific, Inside, the town's sheltered harbor.
Driving along, I pointed to what seemed like smoke blowing and billowing in the hills ahead. But no, it was the famous Pacific fog that was being blown off the ocean on to the road and cliffs. As we drove along, the ocean disappeared from view altogether, covered by a thin layer of fog as far as we could see. The sky, however, was still visible and rocky outcrops jutted out from the mist. It was quiet a fantastic scene.

Is that smoke from a fire ahead? No, it was the famous and
often-present Pacific fog rolling in from the sea.

Rocky outcrops would jut up out of the thin layer of fog that covered the sea.

A panoramic photo of the fog-covered coast of Oregon, looking south.

We continued driving to our next night's stop: the pretty town of Arcata, California, said to be "the most enlightened city in California." I'm guessing that means it has a large collection of residents who have a progressive outlook on life. They care about the environment, the city is filled with bike lanes, the greenmarket, which we came upon on Saturday (the next morning after our stop) was big and thriving. A strong ethic of preservation was obvious from the lovely old restored buildings that lined the city's main square. The "square," as in Sonoma, was a very pretty park. Just a very nice scene all around. A quick walk around some back streets showed us a town with lovely houses, many 1930-era bungalows (in pristine condition) and other pretty and well-kept homes.

Peppers anyone? At the Arcata greenmarket.

Peppers and more peppers.

Tomato farmer plying her produce.

We really dug this vendor!

Flowers for sale in Arcata.

Sweet onions and red ones too.

Peace be with you. Preserved building houses a peaceful law practice.

Cafes and nice shops line the town square.

We drove on from Arcata and after a while we found ourselves on a loop road off the Pacific Coast Highway dubbed the Avenue of the Giants. The road here wended its way through Humboldt Redwood State Park, home of the beautiful Redwood trees, some of whom were many hundreds of years old. Once upon a time, these gentle giants covered vast sections of central California's coast lands. The Fortyniners, coming to seek their fortune in gold, soon found that there was greater money to be made in wood, particularly the amounts of wood provided by these enormous trees. So cut them they did, depleting huge sections of old growth redwood groves. What a crime! Money talked and the redwoods vanished from the California lands. Were it not for a handful of enlightened preservationist/activists (much like today's folk who fight  valiantly fight climate change) these last few remainig groves would be gone today, just a memory like other species that have disappeared - the victims of humanity's greed.

It was very difficult, and I apologize to you, to do a proper job of photographing these beautiful trees with any clarity that can show just how magnificent they are. I'd need many days, which we didn't have, to be there at the right time with the right light and the right vantage and more skill to capture their grandeur and  commanding presence.

Visiting them and walking through these groves is a very humbling experience. These are the tallest living things on earth and the idea that they were cut down  for someone's profit without any thought of preservation is just horrible to contemplate.

Entering Humboldt Redwood State Park.

Avenue Of The Giants - a loop road that runs through groves of old growth redwoods.

It's hard to depict in these "snapshots" the
beauty and grandeur of these tallest of living things.

A woman, a dog, a redwood. 

These giant trees die and then are allowed (in the park) to lie where they fall.
They revert back to soil, other plants feed and grow on them and the cycle is repeated.
Redwoods can live over a thousand years!

Nature's beautiful creation.

The tallest living things on earth.

There are a few tiny towns along the The Avenue Of The Giants inside the park where you can stop, buy supplies or get something to eat. We drove on and late that afternoon arrived at our friends, Ann and Alex Frick's house in Glen Ellen - California wine country!

We unpacked, rested a bit and had dinner in a pretty little restaurant just down the road from their place. It had been a wonderful day. There was more to come on the coast but we'd spend a few days with out friends, enjoying their company, catching up on goings on, taking a hike, viewing the lunar eclipse and, yes, taking a break from driving. 

When we left our friends in Glen Ellen we'd head further south. Next stop: San Simeon and the incredible wonder of Hearst Castle. 

See you there!  - Matt

A stop for lunch in one of the tiny villages that are found
along The Avenue Of The Giants
Hmmm...wonder what Biggie is looking at?

We made it! In Glen Ellen at our friends' house.
And out for a nice dinner at the Glenn Ellen Inn with Ann and Alex.
I know Ann for fifty years from our days at Brooklyn College -- a good friend.


  1. gorgeous pictures! It will be hard to choose a new cover photo for fb! I especially love the one at the greenmarket with those baskets of green, yellow, red peppers that snake back, and the red orange ones after!

  2. A woman, a dogs ass, a redwood. Great photos once again Matt.

  3. I appreciate the effort you mention to do the driving, sight seeing, photo taking...and selection...and writing , all while being a suitable traveling companion....not easy, to say the least. Where were you when Arnold and I travelled, and he never wanted to stop ANYWHERE!!
    Youngest son married three years ago at Stinson Beach, which you will pass...north of San Francisco...along the waters she. The fog was the big issue of the day...could they get ceremony over and the gorgeous photos done before the fog filled in. It was their lucky day...no fog that day!