Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Get Lost!: A Better Way to Road Trip.

Originally uploaded by rudedog78
Early this summer my girlfriend and I went on a road trip up California. Our plan was to go North on inland roads up to Redding cut across to the coast of Humboldt County and take the coast all the way south back to LA County.

Unfortunately after camping for a few days in the Sequoia National Forest over 1000 (yes one thousand) fires developed across California. Seeing as how we were out in the wilderness without any reliable forms of communication we had no idea what was going on.

Once we left the forest we set on our way. I called my brother to let him know when we'd make it to his home in Humboldt. With that phone call I found out I had to stop immediately and take a detour. Our plans were all completely changed and we had to find alternate routes to get to my brothers house. The ultimate goal was to get to Humboldt so we HAD to find a way to get there.

We had already gone through Sacramento on the 5 but Redding was on fire and the stretch of road between Redding and Humboldt was closed. We stopped dead in our tracks and explored a map for about 15 minutes. We found an old highway by the number of 20 that would cut across to the 101 so that we could get to our destination in Humboldt. (though I didn't take this photo, it is of some of the scenery along hwy 20)

This detour was by far the best detour I've ever taken. The hills were beautiful like the drive from LA to San Fran in Gorman. But it also had the ancient rock formations protruding from the ground like the drive to Sequoia from Tulare. Parts of those hills were freckled with oaks (or black walnuts, it was hard to tell from a distance) This valley was hidden and beautiful with horses roaming and oaks telling their old stories. It started getting dark by the time we got to a city called Clearlake Oaks on a lake that's about 10 miles wide and 5 miles across (the lake is obviously called Clearlake). This lake was also very beautiful, the street front properties lining the edge of the lake reminded me a lot of Malibu. There were a number of quaint towns along this northern edge of the lake, and a number of unlisted campgrounds. I even began to fantasize about settling down here.

By the time we ended our trip along the 20 connecting to the 101, I was excited to have gotten "lost" just to experience this long stretch of road especially being able to see its tranquility at night.

On the way back home we even took a one night detour from the 1 to the 101 using the 20, we were able to see the rest of the stretch of road which was a dense redwood forest. My brother told me of a secret campground around the area which he won't allow me to share with anyone.

Had we not been forced to make this detour I may have never seen this stretch of highway. I could have ended up living my life never knowing this place was there. (who knows you may end up finding a secret camp ground.)

My suggestion? The next time you take a road trip, get lost, take detours,and like Robert Frost take the road less traveled (literally).

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