Visiting the redwoods of northwestern California seems to becoming an annual trip for me. This year I’ll do it twice. I just returned from a car trip to visit relatives near Mt. Lassen in northeast California. My wife and I stayed two days there, then drove west to Crescent City on the coast and visited the Prairie Creek Redwoods state park near there.

We saw elk up close, including a young bull in the velvet that passed within 10 feet of our vehicle. We also parked at the base of Cal-Barrel road and walked up to the Remembrance Grove. That truly is a holy place.

We stayed overnight at the Northwoods Inn Best Western in Crescent City. If I had paid $49 for the room I would have thought, “This makes sense.” We could hear every sound from adjacent rooms and when the people above us took a shower it was as loud as our own. To further frustrate matters, a half dozen Harley-Davidson riders were staying there as well. That’s all well and good, but they decided to fire up their un-muffled bikes early the next morning and rev them so loud car alarms went off in the parking lot.

We left the next morning and headed northeast on highway 199 back toward Oregon. This road follows the rugged Smith River and is a real nail-biter if you’re behind the wheel of a large vehicle. I was driving our Ford F-350 crew cab and several sections have tight turns with zero margin. It would be a blast on a motorcycle but in a large vehicle like ours it was a little tense at times. The scenery is absolutely fantastic, however. I have an upcoming bike trip to the same area and have altered my intended route to include that particular road.