Redwoods and Blue Seas

California stopped us right in our tracks. We had just crossed the Oregon state-line, only to be unexpectedly diverted to a border patrol checkpoint.

“What could we have possibly smuggled into California from Oregon that would need further inspection? Maybe they’re looking for the coyote who’s been running Canadians into the States?” I posed.

“More likely, there’s a bounty or some kind of quota for captured Mexicans,” Leah contributed.

Ahead of us, the RV from Nevada was being questioned. He pulled away, and then it was our turn.

Waiving us forward, “Wow,” the California agent exclaimed. “You guys are all the way from New Jersey?”

I’m almost certain his eyes lit up behind his dark glasses. “Do you know anything about gypsy moths?” he asked.

“We are, and I do,” I responded to both questions.

“Well then, since you won’t be needing this brochure about gypsy moths, would you do me the favor of pulling up to those cones over there,” he indicated, “and I’ll have an officer come by to check things out in a jiffy. We won’t keep you very long.”

“Are we really getting checked for moths?” I asked rhetorically, as I crept to the cones.

“I don’t know,” Leah admitted, “but I can see two guys in my mirror, and they’re coming up to the Airstream, and one of them is carrying something big, but I can’t make it out.”

“I suppose it makes sense, considering the importance of protecting America’s timber land,” I stated. “In fact, what this country needs is a net. The United States government should cast a tremendous net over America’s airspace to protect us from immigrant leaf-eaters that only mean to do us harm. These are very bad bugs–the worst you’ll ever find anywhere–and these bugs have to be stopped before they threaten the security of this great country. Believe me. Thank you very much.” I campaigned.

“And this net…are you gonna get the bugs to pay for it?” Leah mused.

The inspector set the car dolly on the ground and crab-walked around the Airstream undercarriage while on his back, poking around with his fingers and a flashlight. He started on the left side of the Airstream, and I followed him as he scooted under the tail to the other side for more of the same.

After completing the circle, he stood and declared, “All clean. These campers are completely sealed. Those guys do a good job.”

“And made in America!” I chimed in.

He stamped my official Certificate of Inspection, and bid us safe travels.


Certified predator-free, we were now permitted to resume our journey throughout California, with Redwood National Park as our first stop.

Redwood National Park is a splinter of a park that hugs the rocky northern coast, and reaches across the Yurok Reservation and reciprocating California State Park affiliates.

Because Redwood is not a traditional National Park, it can easily get under your skin. Navigating through the blurred lines of park boundaries always had me wondering if we were “in” the park or not, as we rode Redwood Highway through forests and meadows to beaches and towns.

Unlike other parks, there is no entrance fee, but then again, there’s also no practical way of collecting a fee when the road is open to all traffic.

We set up camp on the bank of the Klamath River,

Klamath River sunset (2).jpg

and explored in earnest the following day when we followed the river to the estuary,

Klamath channel (2)

where a family of barking sea lions,


and humans…

ocean play

…frolicked in the sea spray and sea foam.

sea foam

We continued our hike along the Coastal Trail, with views north…

Bird Rock

…and south of High Bluff overlook.

coastline overlook

“I miss the ocean,” I confessed to Leah. “There’s something serene about staring into the surf.”

Although three months had passed since visiting the Jersey shore, I was immediately transported back to a familiar scene of waves rhythmically crashing against the rocks.

crashing waves

“Let’s go find some redwoods,” Leah advocated, pulling me out of my trance.

We branched out to a deeper part of the jigsawn park, and settled on a grove of giants dedicated to the beatification efforts of Lady Bird Johnson by Richard Nixon.

Lady Bird plaque

With ancient redwoods as old as 2500 years and reaching upwards of 380 feet, the notion of something bigger than oneself becomes more than a literal interpretation.




redwood grove

How fortunate we felt to be bathed in streaming shafts of light–dancing between feathered limbs, and flickering in the balmy breeze.

shafts of light

There’s much to learn from trees that have survived the dinosaur. Redwoods are a family of trees that share root ancestry to keep them anchored. They propagate by seed or by sprout, and are known to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the younger and stronger sibling.


The redwood’s bark may grow to two feet in thickness to protect itself from fire damage. However, repeated fires can eventually penetrate through the bark, leaving the tree to rot out from the core,

burned out redwood

and yet…it may still survive.

burned out but alive

Even in death, there is a twisted beauty to be found in its decomposition.

rotting stump

At the dedication ceremony to honor Lady Bird Johnson, President Nixon intoned,

…to stand here in this grove of redwoods, to realize what a few moments of solitude in this magnificent place can mean, what it can mean to a man who is President, what it can mean to any man or any woman who needs time to get away from whatever may be the burdens of all of our tasks, and then that renewal that comes from it…

As I strolled through the grove surrounded by God’s fingers, oh, how I prayed that Donald Trump could take Nixon’s advice, and listen to the trees’ whispers for just “a few moments”.

13 thoughts on “Redwoods and Blue Seas

  1. If you crossed the Oregon/California border on Aug 31, you may have gotten a taste of the smoke from the nation’s #1 wildfire outside of Brookings. Lovely blog, lovely images. Glad you made it through the moth checkpoint. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just recently found your site. Excellent narratives and pictures, you two! Going back in blog time, I see our paths are crossed as my hubs and I travelled cross-country from Maine last summer in our fifth wheel. Lots of similar sites and experiences. If you are interested, see our blog at I’ll continue to follow yours for insight on where to go next! Tony and Dianne

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the Giant Redwoods…. Are you going the full coast in California? Torrey Pines State Park has some wonderful trees and views as well, near Carlsbad/LaJolla. As a long time Master Gardener Volunteer, I also love that they checked your vehicle for gypsy moths…..I hope it is not too little, too late – but a good effort, anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will watch for your posts. I have not yet made it to see the Redwoods, but have long been interested in them. When we travel, I try to find unusual plants/trees indigenous to the area we are visiting. Torrey Pine Trees only grow in that one area in California. Since I am a Master Gardener, and teach children about horticulture and try to excite them about our natural world, I am always looking for something to inspire awe. Redwoods definitely have that quality! Thanks for sharing your journey!

        Liked by 1 person

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