Saturday, July 18, 2009

All the Tall, Tall Trees...

Day 19: July 15, 2009 – Red Wood National Parks, CA to Coos Bay, OR
And all The Water in the Seas

We are fools, fools, fools for Oregon.

From east of the Red Wood National Park we made our way toward the park to crane our necks and admire the height of the tallest trees in the world. Yet before we could enter the park we were fortunate enough to see a large herd of Roosevelt Elk. We are continually surprised by the amount and types of wildlife that we have seen on the coast. The sea mammals and birds were to be expected, however we were not prepared to see deer, elk and bison in such abundance. It may be concluded that the National Parks and National Forest systems have done well in their preserving the natural habitats of these animals.

Upon entering the National Park, which interestingly enough does not require a fee of any sort, we made our way down the road to the Tall Tree Groves just to discover that we were supposed to have a permit and it would be wise to retrace our steps and make our way onto the main road and into a grove for non-permit holders. These criteria then lead us to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove where we enjoyed about a miles worth of meandering and admiring. The redwoods are incredibly tall however it may be the forest in which they live that is more impressive as it is incredibly dense with a significant amount of groundcover from flowers to ferns. While wandering the forest, we spotted the ever so popular Banana Slug which was quite the treat! The redwoods were impressive; however neither of us can back down from our admiration of the Giant Sequoias. Tall is just tall when you’re a small being, but wide is wide and happens to be easier to see when gazing upon a tree. Sorry redwoods.

From hiking to driving we began the short trek to the border of Oregon. Just as we left the park, we spotted a young couple in need of a ride, something we could hand out freely. So it came to be that we journeyed into Oregon with John and Sheena. John hailed from Southern California and Sheena was from Missouri – they too were desirous of leaving California, so we held a small celebration in the car when we passed the “Now Entering Oregon” sign. Having met their goal of getting into this beautiful state we said our good-byes and continued on our journey up the coast after experiencing the worst welcoming imaginable… a story for Mike to tell at another time.

Recovering from the rudeness of some people, we hit the Oregon coast with two new hitch-hikers; Sprout and Lifter. These two gentlemen were brothers who hailed from New York heading to Portland for a party of sorts called FIRE. They educated us on the art of hitch-hiking and train-hopping. They claimed California was horrible for hitching and Minnesota and Ohio were some of the best. The four of us made a pit stop in Bandon, OR as per recommendation of our nights CouchSurfing host. The stop would have been superb if it had not been for the heavy fog and gale-force winds. We were soon in Coos Bay, OR walking the boardwalk and enjoying the downtown area before making our way up the hill to David Allan’s beautiful home, our home for the evening.

David warmly welcomed us into the beautiful home which he had spent two years building. Showcasing many windows and therefore amazing views of the bay, David’s home was by far, one of the most extravagant places we have been on our trip. He quickly engaged us in conversation about our trip, made us a cup of Oregon Chai tea, and offered to prepare dinner. So, we enjoyed many hours of conversation late into the night after having enjoyed the best and biggest meal of our travels thus far: salad, pizza and shrimp fettuccine. He educated us on some details of the CouchSurfing project,, shared a little of his love for dancing, asked about highlights and was eager to join us in our first viewing of the documentary-type DVD we had picked up at Salvation Mountain.

Having enjoyed our conversation, dinner, and showers we made our way to bed and it was wonderful.

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