I had the impression that California was full of palm trees and rich people but it is actually more varied than that! We did not see palm trees until the southern half and we drove through some very rough looking areas where people seemed to be living on very little.
Entering from Oregon on the 101, you immediately encounter the redwoods. They are certainly majestic and driving through a forest of 600 year old trees towering over the van, makes you feel like you are just a speck in time.
Veering off on to Highway 1, we headed for Fort Bragg on the coast. The road went up on switchbacks so relentless that I became nauseous. Once we reached the coast, we stopped at a small pullover, high over the ocean, no guardrail in sight. This turned out to be the exact spot where a woman drove her wife and five adopted children over the cliff in March. They stopped momentarily, then like Thelma & Louise, she tramped on the gas and they sailed right over to the ocean below. Passing motorists have left mementos with tributes to the adopted children.
At this same spot we met a man who lived in his $500 van, which had stopped working. His battery needed a boost. Bob tried for quite a while but only managed to get a chug out of the battery. The guy told us that he made his living by picking the ditches along the highways and selling his finds. Later as we drove along we were just asking each other what could possibly be of value in the ditches when a propane tank flew off of an oncoming truck and bounced across the highway in front of us. OK there’s ten bucks.
We loved the coast but Bob really wanted to see Yosemite so we drove across country to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Yosemite was very pretty but still as crowded as Banff on a summer weekend. Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks both protect the Giant Sequoia trees, not found anywhere else in the world. We did a few hikes, one to see General Sherman, a 2200 year old of this species, the largest tree in the world. Impressive.
The Plan Take Interstate 15 today to the Mexican border and cross over tomorrow at Tecate. Cross your fingers.