Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coast Vacation 4: Avenue of the Giants

That night we spent the evening in Eureka. Oh, wait, how could I not mention the Sky Trail at the last stop? I thought I'd be OK, but once I got in that bucket held by a wire, I got a little scared. Steve said, "Why'd you wait till now to say something?" He wasn't too thrilled himself about it. My photo taking in the little tram made him nervous. Me too, to tell the truth. Once at the top, the view was worth it.

The best views we had from our hotel were in Bandon, and here.

We also had our best meal in Eureka. A gritty-quick google search unearthed Avalon. Their website doesn't even list a closing time; I wasn't sure we could get in. I called, got an enthusiastic yes. We shared a specialty appetizer pizza with local gourmet cheeses and I had roasted vegetables and mushrooms fresh from the farmer's market. There were homemade beet chips. Step aside, Terra Chips. Steve enjoyed his steak with potatoes. We shared a bottle of wine, I drank most of it as it went down so easy, a fine pinot noir from Merry Edwards. Because I was feeling it, I joked to the waiter that it was going down like juice. Steve was embarrassed at my gauche comment, but when the waiter came back he told us about wineries selling specialty juices. See, I wasn't feeling it that much...I still remember that after a month. I opined to Steve that a vacation had to have at least one exceptional dining experience, and then realized how lucky I am that I can have that. Oh, and the creme brulee. Oh wow. The candied sugar crust on top was over an eighth of an inch thick, and the creme unlike any I'd had before. (For those readers that can't afford the fine restaurants, just go for the dessert. Go for the creme brulee.)

We noticed at least two small buildings in Eureka with this style of architecture.

Eureka coffee house

This place roasted their own coffee, and it was good. (Steve had the coffee, I had the chai.) From the free postcard I learned this is an award winning building designed by Joel Miroclio.

OK, on to more redwoods.

We already had the brochure for Avenue of the Giants, but of course we stopped to see the sign at the beginning.

Entering the Avenue of the Giants

We had several stops on this 30 mile stretch of road. First, the Immortal Tree. She survived lightning, loggers, forest fire, flood, and tourists. I have noticed when hugging or touching such trees among trees, they have different feels to them. After all she'd been through she is still friendly. She is stronger than us mere quick-living humans. Maybe it's all in my head, but the baby tree in front of her had a lighter quicker energy.

Immortal Tree

When we first got to the redwoods the day before, I hugged a tree at the trail's beginning fork. The energy felt prickly to me, grumpy, I thought maybe too many people still buzzing with human world sparks came along and disturbed her. Later along that same trail, another tree felt more comforting and welcoming. I think that was the one where Steve took the photo of me.

When I hug a tree, it takes me several moments to get into their space rather than my flitty quick moving (compared to them) energy. I feel my thoughts slow down, I think of the time they've lived through, and slow myself down accordingly. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes, especially when I first start doing this, I can't find my breath. The tree's space and time is too breathtaking. If I allow myself some time to embrace the bigness, I get a better feeling for the majesty coursing through this great living being's cells.

Since this vacation, I've been pausing to connect more often to certain trees while I'm walking in the neighborhood.

The next stop, or rather a pause, a rolling stop, the Drive Thru Tree. Actually this was the second one we drove through, but the first photo to turn out.

Shrine Drive-thru tree

Finally, the One Log House:

inside one log house

After the Avenue, we drove back on Hwy 101 to Eureka, and from there over to Redding. No view from the hotel, just a place to sleep. The beds were the best, Red Lion. The road through Six Rivers National Forest was as winding as a passenger could wish for, and a driver would not.

Six Rivers National Forest

See the full slideshow here.

One more day before our fabulous coast tour was over.

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