To get there, we got to drive through a lot of redwood forests. There's a wonderful stretch of road called "Avenue of the Giants" where you cruise along with huge redwood trees towering on either side of you. It's gorgeous, and it smells really good too.
Along the way, we saw an assortment of wonderfully tacky tourist spots. And we stopped at almost every one. Because, you know, it's a vacation thing to do.
My favorite was this one, "Confusion Hill." What's not to like about a place called Confusion Hill?! Apparently it's one of those mysterious places where water appears to run uphill and gravity seems wonky. We didn't venture back to that part of the attraction. We were distracted by the carved redwood bears.
Do they have these in other areas of the country? I think of them as a California redwood forest thing. Anyway, we admired the various poses and skill (or lack thereof) in making good bear faces.
My sister decided that she wanted to get a small one for her front porch, so we set out to check out all the bears along the way so she could pick the best one. After various stops and much scrutiny of different bears, she decided she liked the Confusion Hill bears the best -- which meant we'd stop on the way home. Oh boy, more Confusion ahead!
I used to drive up to Eureka several times a year when I was taking a long-term bookbinding course up that way, and I always wanted to stop at this Grandfather Tree place (because, as you can tell by now, I love these sorts of tourist spots) but never had the time. This time, we stopped.
At the Grandfather Tree place, I spotted the bear I'd have taken home... if he'd been for sale, if I could have afforded him, if he'd have fit in the car. (And the answer to all of those was "no.") But I liked his look of stoic wisdom.
Then we were back on the road, to see more redwood trees.
About 5 hours after leaving home, we made it to our little cottage. We found this place through VRBO, and we both had the same reaction -- it looked like our grandmothers' house, and brought back a lot of childhood associations. It turned out to be charming -- not fancy, not updated especially, but clean and comfortable with a grandma's house sort of vibe.
What did we do while we there there? Stay tuned!