After Portland I made my way down to northern California.
The Redwood National Park was on my to-do list. I really thought it would be a “Mona Lisa” type stop. You go, you see it, you verify that it is actually there, it looks like everything you have seen in school and on TV, and then you move on. But the redwoods are different. They are more like a Vatican stop. The size and scale of the trees will have you scratching your head and keep you looking up.
I swear that these trees are where the Wild Things live. You can drive your car into the groves and it is amazing how a vehicle is soon dwarfed in size compared to the trees. The 12” thick bark has allowed these trees to survive through fires, drought, disease etc. Pictures don’t do them justice and you will have to go to see them. Easily in the top 10 coolest things I have ever seen in my life.
After the Redwoods I headed East to a town called Redding to fish the Upper Sacramento River. This is one of California’s famous trout streams, so I couldn’t say no to that!
I got to The Fly Shop and talked to a guide there. I told him I wanted to fish and that I was sleeping in my car…so where should I go. The next lines were priceless:
Well, you will want to head north on I5. When you see the exit for Gibson, check your odometer and watch for one mile. After a mile the guard rail will end. When it ends, pull over. You will see an opening in the trees. Drive down that. You will see a flat area where you can camp, but then you can drive down further and be closer to the river.
Mmmmmk, sounds crystal clear to me. I fished Sunday evening in the 100 degree heat and didn’t really do that well. Caught a couple of small fish, but nothing to brag about. Monday I got up and fished before heading into San Fran. I didn’t have my hopes up, but I donned my waders and headed into the slick stream. After about 30 minutes I got into the best fish of the trip…and I didn’t have my phone on me to take a picture. Please just take my word for it that it was a gorgeous 17” rainbow. That fish totally made it worth making the trek to the Upper Sac!
After fishing I jumped in my car to go to San Francisco to see the city and my friend Katheryn Redmond. Just for the record, California is a MASSIVE state. It takes forever to get anywhere…then you add in some traffic and it takes even longer.
I got into San Fran before Katheryn got off work so I went to a park by her house to get a view of the city. I thought to myself, “well, that is a nice view” and admired all the people taking pictures. It wasn’t till later that I found out it was actually a famous spot where the “Painted Ladies” houses were.
I had my bike and was warned not to move my car because having a parking spot around the city was like finding gold.
I toured the city on bike and absolutely loved it. Great feature of an Android phone is Google Maps with the bike turn by turn directions. Amazing when you have no idea how to navigate a new city and which streets are bike friendlier than others.
So, I feel like I did most of the touristy things: Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, China Town, Ghirardelli Square (let down) and other stuff. The one thing I didn’t do was go to Alcatraz. I didn’t want to do it alone because I knew I wouldn’t give it the attention it deserves. I need to go to a place like that with someone who will make me stop and read all of the signs.
That brings me current again. I am heading down to LA today. Another 7 hour haul. After LA I begin to head east to return to Denver.