Week 33: Our SUV thru a Redwood Tree? 50 Year Memory Solved, Special Birthday Treats (Nov 17-23, 2013)

Exiting the Redwood Tree

Exiting the Redwood Tree

 Along the Avenue of the Giants, and its beautiful redwood forests, is a redwood tree big enough to drive a car through. The tree was one of the original advertisements to bring tourists into the area in 1926.  Would our modern SUV fit thru the hole?  I got out front, taking pictures as Sherry eeked her way thru. If we get stuck part way thru, scraping mirrors or side panels would be a rather expensive downside. We know now what Zero Clearance means.   Afterwards, adrenalin running high, we laughed about what a crazy thing that was to do! In the end, Sherry did an excellent job driving.  Tree never touched the car. We drove our car thru a giant redwood tree! (Don’t try this at home. <grin>) 

Sherry Grinning with Joy after Exiting the Redwood Tree

Sherry Grinning with Joy after Exiting the Redwood Tree

 Receiving tasty treats through the mail is always special, especially when we celebrate Sherry’s birthday! Her niece Brenna mailed delicious pastries to one of our future addresses. Timing our arrival with the cookies takes some coordination. We want to enjoy them without delay, so we use the post office tracking number to get an email as soon as the post office receives the package, then we waste no time picking them up minutes after arrival.  Mmmm Mmmm Good.

Sunset at Brookings, OR

Sunset at Brookings, OR

This was our sunset in Brookings, Oregon!

Every path contains a treasure. Thinking we turn too soon driving, we end up in a beautiful redwood forest with no one else around, except for a family at their campsite waving at us. Turns out their white van would not start, and ask if we have jumper cables. We help them start their van, then they zoom away after quickly thanking us. As we drive out of the state park, we are glad we turned in to the “wrong” place. Bobbie and Mindi were a long way from help in those redwoods, no one else around, and evening not far off. We hope the rest of their trip goes well.

I have very fond memories as a young boy 50 years ago of my family camping in the California Redwoods at French’s Campground. During the day, we floated down the river on air mattresses (that held air about 5 minutes in those days), exiting at Richardson Grove then walking the highway back to camp. On Saturday nights, we danced to live music in the barn with the wood floor. Could I find the old French’s camp after all these years, and a flood in the mid 1960’s? Would the campground still exist? Several long time residents of the area helped piece together the puzzle.

Charmane

Charmane

Mark and Bob

Mark and Bob

Merle Ann said French’s used to be the cabins to the north. The California Highway Patrol officer, who stopped after seeing me in a No Trespassing area by the rickety old cabins Merle Ann described, said he remembers his grandfather telling him about French’s several miles to the north. Charmane, at The Grandfather Tree, tells me French’s used to be on the south side of the campground across the street. Finally, Mark wrapped it all up: Richardson Grove Campground we are staying at used to be called French’s, was renamed several years ago after the campground changed owners, there was an old barn with a wooden floor they used to hold Saturday night dances in, and it was torn down to build

The old French's Campground

The old French’s Campground

a new conference center. The Richardson Grove in my memory is the State Park just up the road. He showed me a book by Diane Hammond about the History of Highway 101 with pictures of the old barn and the campground in 1950. Woo Hoo! I had found it! The campground has a fascinating history, starting in 1926, being the first resort cabins in the area, and eventually adding a campground. But for me, the excitement was starting with a fond, old memory then asking around until all the pieces fit.

Vi and Bill, Bob's folks

Vi and Bill, Bob’s folks

I wonder if my parents, who passed away many years ago, ever knew those wonderful vacation memories would continue to bring great pleasure to me decades later. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Meg and Mari

Meg and Mari

At The One Log House, Mari and Meg, college students bicycling south down Hwy 101, tell us about WarmShowers.org, a website for bicyclists needing just a warm shower and a place to sleep. What a great idea! Another site they mention is CouchSurfing.org, for anyone traveling in the world who wants a simple bed and meal for the night.

Except for Sherry continuing to battle some illness, it was another super week On Our Adventure! Thank you for letting us share, and for all your emails of memories. We enjoy reading every one of them. (Email or using the form below to share with us.)

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