If you’re still following along on this epic journey that brought Stevie back to her roots, I just want to say, thank you (and I’m sorry)! But really, I know I’m new at this blogging thing and some of my posts can be a little long & rambling, so sincerely: thank you from the bottom of my heart for following along! Throughout the process of finding my camper and learning the intricacies of traveling with a trailer, I read countless experiences from other campers and thoroughly enjoyed them all, so I hope my experiences can have the same effect for someone else.
We are now onto Day 4 of Stevie’s Revival Tour – had it really only been three days so far?! It felt like an eternity! As you can probably tell by my previous posts, each day had the activities and travel time of three days crammed into it, so it’s no wonder that looking back, I had no idea how I even survived this long.
This day was a turning point in the trip for me. After feeling completely defeated after Day 3, there was really nowhere to go but up! In a desperate attempt to leave Mount Shasta/Mcloud with some good memories, we had agreed to wake up early for a well-recommended hike before we hit the road to drive west.
McCloud Falls Trail is a beautiful 4-mile (one way) hike that was only a few miles from our campground, so we set the alarm for nice and early and we were rolling out before Bob even had a chance to hit his snooze button. There are three different sets of falls throughout the hike, so we parked at the trailhead closest to Lower Falls, threw on our backpacks, and headed out – in the wrong direction. We had been walking for about 10 minutes when we stopped and asked. Turns out we had walked about a half a mile in the wrong direction! I remember we both looked at each other thinking, “Not again! Please don’t let today be like yesterday!” but instead we laughed it off and turned our butts around the other direction.
The trail was absolutely stunning, and took us right by some pretty neat little campgrounds. I was kicking myself for dealing with Bob when we could have been out here camping right on the river. C’est la vie! We’ll know for next time not to just rely on ratings, and instead try our hand at boondocking a little more – especially since we didn’t use the hookups anyway! Check out this sweet vintage set-up: now they know what they’re doing! #goals
I could blab on and on about the falls, but really pictures only do it justice. I was so happy that we were able to get such a great view from such a short hike; I was already stressed about getting on the road, but seeing the falls was a breath of fresh air, and time just seemed to stop there. On the way out, we passed several families on their way in, so I was especially grateful that we got an early start and had the view all to ourselves!
The next stop on the grand journey was
Humboldt Redwoods State Park, about 45 minutes south of Eureka, and 20 miles inland from the coast. The redwoods and the Lost Coast were what I was most excited to see, so originally the plan had been to drive up north, through Medford, and down through both Redwood National Park and Humboldt, with a night in each. After the Mount Shasta Disaster of 2017, I had to bite the bullet and cut out one of the redwood forests. So after researching, we decided to just blow right through and go straight to Humboldt instead. Shockingly, when we pulled up the directions, it was still taking us through Medford.
This made no sense to me, and after a little back and forth, we decided “Screw you Google, we’re clearly smarter,” and hopped back on the 5 South through Redding. We stopped there for lunch, and there was a convenient trailer repair shop that I stopped to ask about the lights. The mechanic on duty was super nice, and I could tell he was digging Stevie through the window. “Sure, no problem, that’s a quick fix, probably just a connectivity issue. Go ahead and write down your information, and we’ll give you a call when we have an opening in 2-3 weeks.” …..Gee, thanks Harold*.
Striking out on the lights, we continue on south and then onto the highway that cuts west
toward Humboldt. And when I say “highway”, I’m using this term very loosely. It was at this moment that we realized that no, we are NOT in fact smarter than Google (who is, honestly) and that a trip up north through Medford would have been 8,000x easier than this Highway to Hell that we ended up on.
Picture the scariest road you’ve ever driven in your life – then double it, and add pulling a trailer. We’re talking barely wide enough for two lanes, zero visibility switchbacks, and OH don’t forget, the straight drop-off on our right side. Take a corner just a little too far to the right, and the trailer would have taken a tumble, likely dragging us with it. It was absolutely petrifying, and the beginning of what I was sure was a melon-sized ulcer. The only good news was that we eventually hit road construction from several landslides, so it gave me an excuse to go 8mph without feeling like a total weenie. But also meant that I was riding the brakes downhill, at some points stopped completely in the traffic.
What should have been a 4-hour drive (per Google) was more like six, and when we finally reached the 101 highway just south of Fortuna, I don’t think I’ve sighed a bigger sigh of relief. This prompted the inside joke, “ALWAYS go through Medford,” that we employed the rest of the trip whenever we were temped to not listen to Google. We pulled over at a cute little market to stock up on supplies and do a little shopping for dinner. This would be the first evening we actually had a chance to cook real food in the trailer, and i couldn’t have been more excited! We were also treated to the first cool weather we had experienced, complete with fog and rain, and I have to admit, I loved it. Gloomy weather is my favorite, and I was so looking forward to curling up in the camper with rain on the aluminum roof.
As we exited the highway to drive down the Avenue of the Giants, I can’t even describe what it was like. These trees simply cannot be explained in words, and honestly even pictures don’t do them justice most of the time. Driving through the redwood trees and beholding them in person is always going to be one of my most favorite memories. We had reserved a site in the Burlington Campground, and it is by far my favorite campground of the whole trip. Nestled in the redwood trees, it smells amazing and was shielded from the rain (which was a good thing in the long run). Best of all, it was a site parallel to the road, so no backing up to worry about – finally a break! Several campers had fires going, and we gladly opened all the windows to cool the trailer down and get the wonderful scent of campfire flowing through. It was hard to tell when dusk actually came, because the trees gave such a cover over the whole area. It sounds completely nerdy, but it really felt like being in a magical forest or something. We cooked up some gourmet grilled ham & cheese sandwiches (oh yeah, look out Top Chef) and enjoyed the first truly relaxing evening on the whole trip thus far. If I remember right, I think we were asleep by 9pm! I had no idea what the next few days would bring, but I knew that I would wake up under some of the largest trees in the world with no plan other than to explore the land around me. If that doesn’t bring peaceful sleep, I don’t know what does!
Magical places are always beautiful and deserve to be contemplated; always stay on the bridge between the invisible and the visible.
– Paolo Coelho