The narrow road through the stout trees should have alerted us that the final challenge would narrow down ever further.
Sure enough. It did. Such a narrow passage, we had to fold in our mirrors.
If you are planning a trip to the Redwoods, the Northern California or Southern Oregon coast, you might be interested in more pictures of our road trip three years ago. To read about our Accidental Vacation click any of the links below. What started as a disaster ended up to be one of our favorite trips.
Like the fog lifting the in the morning sun, The Twilight Zone of optimism surrounding Vince began to burn off. With each telltale defeatist comment coming from Vince’s mouth Marsha’s opposing positive comments became more frequent. Vince relaxed and began to enjoy a real vacation. “They’re not going to start on the truck until Thursday. They have to get the part from Las Vegas. I bet they don’t even have the part. We won’t get out of here until Saturday.”
“That means we can settle back and enjoy this beautiful place,” Marsha answered naturally. She would miss the cheerful Vince, but normal Vince meant that HE was relaxing. “What do you want to do today?”
“I’m happy just hanging around here for a while. Look at these pictures I took this morning.” Vince took out his cell phone and shared some gorgeous sunrise pictures with fog clinging to the redwoods on the hill and sun sparkling on the Klamath River as it charged its way to the Pacific Ocean a half mile away. The fishing boats had either gone back to their winter homes or lay still in the docks. Water lapped rhythmically against their sides, a metronome for the chirping birds catching their breakfast.
Marsha couldn’t argue with the natural beauty that surrounded them. She and Puppy Girl made several rounds around the RV Park. The manager tanned from many years in the sun, and missing many teeth from years of neglect and poverty rode up on his bicycle to chat as the couple walked down to the dock, this time with Marsha carrying the camera.
“Have you been here before? People stay here for months at a time. You just missed the salmon run. It slammed! This couple here,” he pointed to a man maneuvering his boat toward the dock, “they’ve been fishing here for years. They are both retired police officers. Gil caught his first fish in 1957.”
Even a distance Marsha didn’t think Gil looked old enough to be catching fish in 1957, but she had her first and only fishing experience at age 9, so she supposed he might have started fishing at an early age. Soon his wife joined him. Marsha, sitting on the dock snapped pictures of her appropriate fishing boots as she approached.
“Take a picture of where I ran into a wire. It took forever to heal, but it’s almost gone now.” The attractive blond with a ranger hat modeled for Marsha’s camera.
“We’ve heard you are good at catching salmon. You just made two new best friends,” Marsha called down to her, flashing a beaming smile teasing, as the couple revved off in their utility boat. They waved back, and were gone.
“You two should go up to the lookout point, right over there on the north side of the Klamath,” the friendly manager offered his tour guide advice to the neophytes. “You can see the mouth of the river, and the jetty where all the fishermen just catch salmon from the dock. Then if you go across the Golden Bear Bridge, you can go up the other side. Those are nice drive. Have you been to the drive through tree? That makes a great picture.” He chatted for several minutes before his wife came and put him to work again.
Vince, tired of standing on the dock watching Marsha take pictures of the seaweed decorating the dock’s underbelly, headed back to the chairs that lined the shore. “I say we go to the Trees of Mystery that’s just down the road today,” he called as he left her sprawled face down camera pointed into the water. “Don’t drop your camera!”
Vince couldn’t believe his wife could be so klutzy. She had already dropped her camera, with its brand new lens on the ground when she took it off the tripod. She broke another lens trying to climb up on a wall and misjudged the step, smashing it on the rock wall. She didn’t even wear the watch he gave her since the last one had fallen in the toilet, and another smashed on a grocery cart. “I might lose it,’ she had told him batting her innocent looking blue eyes. He bet she didn’t even know where it was. It amazed him that she could wear clothes without some catastrophe. Her wedding ring sat on the table by her bed, having rubbed a finger sized bulge onto her finger. Earrings turned her ears green then red and oozing – if she didn’t lose them first. Necklaces with delicate chain links or clasps broke, and if there was any inexpensive jewel, it dropped off unnoticed by his unobservant wife.
“Come on, let’s go. You’ll find some more mossy stuff on the trees you can photograph.”
With child-like obedience Marsha rolled over and stood up to follow Vince as he strode away, confident that she would do just that. They left Puppy Girl at the trailer, and ventured out in the rental car to see the Trees of Mystery, a famous spot they would have missed if the truck hadn’t broken down. Paul Bunyan and Babe welcomed them, and directed them to pay at the gate and make themselves at home. “Take your time,” the ticket person said.
Just as Vince remembered from forty years before when he brought his three-year old son to see the trees, the Trees of Mystery didn’t disappoint.
In addition to the carved redwood statues, and ancient living giants, the Yurok Tribe had added a sky cab that escorted them to the top of the mountain, where even the tallest trees became tiny as they ascended. From there they could see over the mystery forest to the ocean.
Like gazing at the Grand Canyon, after seeing pictures of it for years, Vince and Marsha stared at the magnificent forest framed ocean view, posed for pictures, and then stepped back onto the moving sky cab to go down. “The trees are beautiful from up here. So is the ocean,” they both agreed as the cab descended, then stopped, then descended again. “It looks just like the pictures.”
“You have to be patient to take good pictures,” Vince told her like the father lecturing his 10 year-old daughter. Marsha let him walk on ahead and enjoy the walk back down at his own pace.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like anyone can be patient with Mr. “We’re Burning Daylight Here” pushing all the time,” Marsha muttered as Vince raced down the path in front of her. Sometimes wanted to punch him, but that wouldn’t change his natural mothering tendency, nor was that her way. He still treated his grown son the same way. In 43 years Vince, Jr. had learned to tease his dad out of it. In twenty, Marsha still steamed quietly and went her own way.
Clear down out of sight, Vince called up to her, “Take my picture down here in the Cathedral Trees.” He spread his arms as if preaching to the multitudes, and beamed a happy face up to her. She snapped several pictures. “Was it the camera setting, or did Vince just move THAT fast? Maybe my camera broke,” Marsha thought as she checked each picture after she took it.
“You moved, Marsha. You ALWAYS move just as you snap the picture like you see something else you should take,” Vince instructed helpfully when she explained that she DIDN’T get the one picture or which he voluntarily posed. Maybe she would kill him in another life. It didn’t help that he was usually right.
After about two hours the tourists had taken every record shot, every sign. After a quick spin through the gift shop, Vince and Marsha headed back down the familiar section of Highway 101 to their new digs at The Golden Bear RV Park. No internet meant they would have to just sit outside and enjoy the healing sunshine. Marsha’s cold was melting away like ice on the hot pavement, but she could sure use an afternoon nap.
Is it a sin to take a nap when the weather outside is perfect, and be awake all night reading or writing?