Cool on the Cali Coast

A couple of hours after leaving our hotel outside Yosemite National Park the temps began to ease and the views began to change. Pretty soon the view outside the left and right side of the truck was of nothing by vineyards as far  as we could see. Sonoma and Napa valleys were gorgeous to look at as we drove by, but they were not our destination.

By mid afternoon we had our first look at the Pacific Ocean. The temperatures were now in the upper 60’s! My pores forgot what to do when not busy sweating the place up. The night before we used Air BnB to line up a room in the home of the former Mayor of the tiny town of Point Arena California on Highway 1, the PCH. Having dinner that night, sitting at a bar a stones throw from the ocean was a welcome change to the heat you cannot escape.

The next day we pushed further north up Highway 1. When the road turn inland it became the drool dream of every motorcycle rider, nothing but curves and elevation changes for 30 miles. We will be back with bikes for sure!

Our drive ended in the sleepy college town of Arcata. We had booked, through Air BnB again, an apartment for five nights. We had grown quite tired of waking up, figuring where to stay that night by noon and then spending the rest of the day getting there. With five nights booked we could relax and enjoy doing things and not always be in planning mode.

The apartment way awesome. A small kitchen and the owner’s daughter, she lived in a cottage in the backyard, had a young Basset Hound Tulip that we could play with and take on walks. It was also nice as the house sat on a hill so looking out our windows we were able to see the water….it was a great find.

Now, what the hell do we do up here? After spending time on the internet we made of list of things we wanted to see or do while in town. But, we also just wanted to relax. So the first day we went for a walk in a local park and also walked the local college campus, that was enough.

We quickly determined the available places to kayak were not worth the money. We also recognized that the water was way too cold to just go swimming. So we did what made sense, found a place to rock climb! We found a small sport climbing crag 15 minutes North of town that is right on the beach. Park, walk 50 meters along the sand and peer up at four bolted lines, each about 70 feet. It was a new experience for us, keeping beach sand out of our climbing shoes, listening to surfers hoot and holler as you pull on rock. Really fun!

We enjoyed multiple lazy days. We did spend a good about of time trying to figure out what is next. Five days in one place is great, but how about the 6th day? It was time to embrace what we had learned from the heat, if it doesn’t work and isn’t what you want, and you have the ability to, make a change.

We boiled down our want to do list, with the time we had between then and our August 11th departure date for Africa, to see animals and play in warm water. We first thought of the things, then we said “okay, where do we go for those things.”

In a shockingly short amount of time we had a new game plan in place, one that was way different from the 6 weeks of climbing we had originally planned. The new plan was to turn the truck towards Denver and catch a flight we just booked, that leaves seven days from now.

With one day left before we made the long push to Denver we had to visit one last place. We drove about an hour up the coast to the Redwood National Park. After stopping at the visitor center to talk with the Rangers about the best hikes we drove to a trailhead that lied only 5 miles from the ocean. During our five-mile hike we were surrounded by the biggest trees we had ever seen, and some of the biggest trees on earth. It was hard not to trip and fall as we spent most of our time hiking with our eyes to the sky, mesmerized by the 300 foot trees that were meters around at the bottom.

As it was a bit late in the day to do a 10 mile hike, so we broke into a run and did the last two miles to the beach at a fast clip. Soon we stepped out of the forest and onto an almost deserted beach. Such a contrast standing with the largest trees in the world on one side of you and the Pacific Ocean your other side. After a short walk on the beach we jogged back into the forest of giants for our five mile return trip to the trailhead.

Take Away: Once you find respite from a plan gone sideways, take time to take it all in and don’t be afraid to make more big changes. The first new plan doesn’t have to be the final go forward plan.

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