Pre-day – The Drive to Eugene, Oregon
The first night of our trip, we left after work for the long drive to California. We had decided to split up the drive – drive to Eugene the first night and then on to California the next day. We stopped at the Starbucks drive through on the way out of town for a snack and a pick me up – the rain was just starting as we headed out. But the rain kept getting worse. Unacceptable. And there was a lot of wind. At points, you couldn’t drive the speed limit! UGH! The late start and the slow-downs from the torrential downpour meant that we didn’t get to Eugene until midnight. We were still so on edge from the rain and wind that we needed a glass of wine to settle down before bed. Covey Run Syrah. Inexpensive, nothing special, but it did the trick. As a matter of fact the wine kind of fit right in with our lodging for the night. Inexpensive, nothing special, but it did the trick.
Day 1 – the First Day of Spring! Eugene, Oregon to Crescent City, CA to Eureka, CA
We woke up early (especially considering we were up until 1 am!) and were on the road at 8 after having the hotel’s continental breakfast. The rain continued. During the first part of our drive, we passed a lot of farms with lots of sheep and baby lambs. I have never been on that stretch of I-5 in the daylight (as an adult), so that was kind of interesting. We also saw a lot of moss hanging from bare trees. And strangely, they were doing logging right off the side of the freeway! The torrential downpour let up north of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, but not for long.
We stopped in Grant’s Pass to get gas and then headed over to the Northern California Coast on Highway 199. Highway 199 is a narrow twisting road in places, but it is not scary like the Bear Camp Road we took to Gold Beach, Oregon in 2011 (never again! You can read about it here). It would be nice if Highway 199 had more scenic pullouts though, as you are traveling along the river for a good portion of it. Towards the end of 199 we drove through stands of Redwood trees. They were enormous! We learned later that those aren’t even the big ones. We got to Crescent City and had lunch at the Good Harvest Cafe. Jon had the seafood salad with shrimp and grilled fish. I had the crab quesadilla. Both were delicious and very filling.
After lunch, we went to the Redwood National Park Visitor’s Center – where I got a stamp for my National Parks Passport! The ranger gave us some great information on the best scenic drives, the best hikes, and the best place to see Sea Lions nearby. He was very helpful. After leaving the Visitor’s Center we headed out to go find the Battery Point Lighthouse.
The Battery Point Lighthouse is one of the earliest lighthouses on the California coast – actually the 10th one finished. It is built in the Cape Cod style of architecture. It was first lit in 1856, with a fourth-order Fresnel lens. The light was automated in 1953. The light was decommissioned in 1965, but it was lit again in 1982 when it became a privately owned lighthouse. Fresnel lenses are smaller, compact lenses with many sections of prisms that reflect light extremely efficiently. The “order” of the lens indicates its size – Fresnel produced six sizes of Fresnel lens, with first-order being the largest.
Battery Point Lighthouse is only accessible during low tide, but when the tide is low you can walk right out to it; it is open for tours on weekends from 10 am to 4 pm during the winter months. I wasn’t expecting it to be low tide, but it was! So we were able to walk across the spit and walk right up to the lighthouse. It was closed because it was a weekday, but we were still able to get some great shots of the lighthouse.