On our last full day of vacation, it was time to leave the magical and mystical world of giant trees and head back to the reality of drought stricken California via a seven hour drive. And, of course, the reality of heading home. We decided however, to head home with one more scenic drive, a pretty touristy drive called the "Avenue of the Giants". It is a 31 mile scenic route that travels through some very small towns (think, population: 31), and some very big trees, along highway 101. Not only was it an absolutely beautiful drive, but it saved us from some of the more treacherous and curvy stretches of the highway that made us (okay, me) a little sick on the way north.
The Avenue of the Giants was pretty crowded, much different than the farther north forests we'd been in days before. After a lot of research, I'd decided that our best bet was to just make one stop, inside the Roosevelt forest in Founders Grove. Here, we'd find some walking trails and we'd also be able to see the Dyersville Giant, the tree that had been the tallest documented tree in the redwood forest (well over 300 feet tall) until it fell down decades ago.
This stop did not disappoint as it had the Founders Tree, which was 325 feet tall and just amazing to look at and had a dozen or so giants that had fallen. Their root structures were absolutely amazing and so large. We learned on our first day that redwoods have very shallow and wide root structures and that if the ground around them is trampled too frequently that it will destroy the roots and the trees will die. So, when a tree actually does crash, all it's roots become exposed and just hang out. It's really a pretty cool thing to see and I was pretty excited that we were able to stop and see them.
Once we finished walking and seeing and stretching, it was time to get some lunch and get back to San Jose with as few stops as possible.
We did our best.
The boys were definitely running out of steam, but we'd had a great vacation and were ready to head home.
We managed to avoid all the traffic that we hit on our way to Eureka and with a stop at an outlet mall got back to our hotel with only moderately numb butts. After finding some dinner, getting the boys showered and bathed, it was time for bed. Our sleeping arrangements were a little odd for the night; Wyatt was alone on the fold out sofa; I was with Elliott and Ross was with Quinn, but it worked out well and I think that Ross and I, sleeping on tiny beds with tiny bodies probably slept a little better than we had the rest of the trip. Minus Elliott kicking me in the face and Quinn falling out of bed head first anyway.
As with all trips, they end in a pretty anti climactic manner. We got up in the morning. Found some breakfast, packed our bags returned the rental car and made it to the airport. Our flight was on time. Quinn had a complete and total melt down that was so extreme we thought they were going to kick us off the plane because he didn't want to wear his seat belt. Then, he fell asleep for the entire flight.
The flight was uneventful. Which is always a good thing.
It was so strange, in the last few minutes before we arrived home, to realize that the day before, we'd been among literal giants, and now we were at an intersection with a Walmart and a Costco. But, I guess that's the beauty of a vacation. It lets you experience those amazing and cool things with your family that you wouldn't otherwise be able to experience.
This trip ended up being part of my birthday present. It was the best birthday present. I'm so grateful to Ross for planning and cooperating and being so willing to go along with my schemes. The trip was really an absolute dream. I couldn't have asked for anything better.
Except for maybe a glimpse of a real bigfoot. But, that maybe would have been a bit too much.