I spent four days driving along the west coast. Some sections I drove I-5, when I needed to arrive someplace quickly. Other pieces I drove Highway 101, which traces just about the entire coastline through all three (contiguous) Pacific states, from Olympia to Los Angeles.
U.S. Route 101 is a scenic byway in places:
In California, starting in Leggett, State Route 1 hugs the coast closer than U.S. 101, so I left the highway for that two-lane coastal road as soon as it began.
In Oregon, traveling north from Newport, I visited Pacific City.
Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City is a state park. You can see the cape at right in the above photo. Up close, you can see caves, passages, and pillars.
I climbed the sand dunes into the state park area (climbing a sand dune requires some work, as the sand gives way at every step). Here you can see the other side of the cape’s point jutting out into the sea.
After traveling north to Seattle, I headed south again. Here is a nice view of the Pacific Ocean, from US Route 101, in Port Orford, Oregon.
Near Crescent City, the road through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park was very narrow:
At times, the scenery made me think this is what a dinosaur landscape must have looked like:
I took a picture of myself in front of one of the biggest trees in that area:
In between redwoods parks, I saw more glimpses of the Pacific:
During a scenic detour off Highway 101, Newton B. Drury Parkway through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, I saw both a corkscrew redwood tree,
and some Roosevelt Elk:
Notice both the one grazing in the foreground, and the antlers of more resting in the shade.
Further south in California, after joining Route 1, I saw another Westport Beach.
I saw the sun set over the ocean:
That night was a full moon (or close to it):
California 1 is very winding and hilly. Most of the time you are going under 25 miles per hour because there are so many sharp curves and switchbacks. The good side to that is you get to see more of the ocean, and there’s no chance of falling asleep at the wheel because the driving is so active! The bad side is that it added several hours to my trip, and mostly at night. So I didn’t arrive in San Francisco until about 1:00am. More on SF in my next post.
Here’s the first view I had of San Francisco from the north — can you see the city lights in the distance?
The Pacific coast is beautiful, and I was glad I got to see so much of it! I write this now from back in Baltimore, not far from that other ocean. Though it is good to be back home!