If you try to map your way from Santa Rosa to Tacoma online, almost invariably the maps will take you up I-5, and that’s certainly the quickest way home. Despite that, Leslie and I almost invariably go up 101 instead, even though it adds miles to what’s already a long day’s drive.
The main draw is
a place I continue to photograph even though I have little hope of actually capturing its essence in a single photograph, or a series of photographs, for that matter.
We also stop to see the elk virtually every time we drive through Prairie Creek Park, even though they’re certainly as tame as any zoo animal I’ve ever seen — which doesn’t mean I don’t honor the sign saying to stay back that these are wild animals. I respect any animal that large with that kind of amazing rack:
Nor can I ever manage to drive by the numerous pull outs without trying, once again, to capture some sense of the ocean’s grandeur, at least on a rare sunny day like we experienced this time.
We’d actually planned on spending the last two or three days of our vacation on the Oregon coast, but as luck would have it a huge storm pushed down out of the Gulf of Alaska, and rain was predicted all the way to the weekend. I just couldn’t see paying for a motel room at the beach and watching the rain fall.
I also considered driving inland and visiting Crater Lake, but this was one of those rare summer storms that actually covered both sides of the Cascades. Sure enough, our drive through Southern Oregon was just plain nasty, with rain so heavy I actually considered pulling over and waiting for it to pass. We also encountered two serious accidents, with accompanying traffic jams.
We didn’t get home until nearly 2:30 AM, but I didn’t regret a single stop along the way. There’s no prettier place in the world than the Northern California Coast on a sunny day. Of course, there's a reason those Redwood trees, which need lots of water, have survived there nicely for thousands of years.