Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
In Part IV, we left off with sunset at Red Rock State Park outside of Mojave. Say good bye to the desert everyone we're headed to the coast!

The drive from Mojave to the coast took us through the fog in the mountains and the almond orchards outside of Bakersfield, tinged pink in full bloom and into the hills to the west carpeted with wild flowers.

Wildflowers in bloom west of Bakersfield CA

We had wind and rain and sun breaks and just when we were beginning to wonder whether it was such a great idea to go to the coast at all, the sun came out for good. We spent the night at San Simeon State Park which is just north of the great little town of Cambria. Another storm blew through in the night and it poured and blew like crazy --condolences to the poor folks in the tents next to us! And then as the storm passed the temperature fell to 34 degrees--that's big time cold for a place you can hear the surf from!

The next morning, we put on our long johns and headed north into an absolutely gorgeous day.

Coast north of San Simeon CA

This little guy came out to greet us and since he posed so nicely I couldn't resist. Doesn't he look like the head of a greeting committee?

San Simeon Ground Squirrel

North of San Simeon but south of Big Sur there are a series of beaches that are home to elephant seals in the winter. We stopped at the first turn out and found this big old guy taking a nap.

Male Elephant Seal north of San Simeon CA

The males are supposed to be out at sea feeding at this point but clearly he hadn't read the instruction manual.

There's a major viewing area at the next turnout, complete with docent to answer questions and point out interesting things. Normally, both the male and female adults are gone out to sea at this point. But there were still a number of adult females lounging around with their pups.

Elephant seal mom and pup north of San Simeon CA

The pups stay on the beach for another month or so teaching each other how to swim before they go out to sea to feed.

This pair were playing in the water falling from a big storm drain. They live on all the fat they developed nursing until they're able to figure out how to swim and hunt.

Elephant seal pups playing in water north of San Simeon CA

Wasn't it nice of this little guy to lift his head and give me the look?

Elephant seal pup on beach north of San Simeon CA

It was cold and windy but sure worth the time we spent watching these guys. Not bad to see California Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions and Elephant Seals all in one trip!

Hwy 1 winds it's way up the coast until it reaches Big Sur and all those wonderful views.

Big Sur Coastline CA

When we stopped at this turnout, I was focused on the bridge in the distance and I didn't notice the waterfall at first.

Waterfall along Big Sur coastline CA

Around the next bend there was a better view of the bridge and a perfect place for us to have lunch.

Scenic bridge along Big Sur coastline CA

There were also wild flowers here and there. Like this
California Lilac (Ceanothus confusus).

California Lilac (Ceanothus confusus) at Big Sur CA

And these California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica).

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) at Big Sur CA

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) at Big Sur CA

Even better were these Wide-throated Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus brevipes)--remember the red monkey flowers in Anza Borrego? Well these guys belong to the same genus.

Wide-throated Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus brevipes) at Big Sur CA

And this Hillside False Bindweed aka Cambria Morning Glory (Calystegia subacaulis ssp. subacaulis).

Cambria Morning Glory (Calystegia subacaulis ssp. subacaulis)

The surf was up and the water was a wonderful combination of colors. Needless to say I took way too many photos.

Big Sur coastline CA

But who can resist views like this?

Big Sur Coastline CA

We camped that night at Big Sur State Park which is in the heart of Big Sur. There are redwoods in the campground itself and we camped in a sunny meadow where we could get warm and enjoy the late afternoon sun.

We drove north the next morning to Pacific Grove for a stroll along the beach. There's a great walk that goes for several miles with continuous ocean views. The surf was still up and I took a whole lot of photos before I got this one with the water boiling and crashing on the rocks.

Surf at Pacific Grove, CA

The cypresses stood still for me without a problem!

Cypresses at Pacific Grove, CA

There was a flock of cormorants on the rocks and I guess this guy was trying to dry out his wings. In any case he held this pose for a long time.

Cormorants at Pacific Grove, CA

We'd spent 7 nights in a row without an electrical hook up and the forecast was for another cold night so we decided we'd head inland and find ourselves a campground with electricity for a change.

We stopped for lunch in the San Jose area and I shot this photo of a wonderful old live oak.

Live Oak San Jose, CA

That night, we ended up in the wine country in the hills above Cloverdale in a campground with electricity, WiFi and a view.

Rosita Casita Cloverdale CA

The lawn here was full of daisies that were much bigger than your usual lawn daisies.

Lawn daisies in Cloverdale CA

And there were deer that strolled through the next morning as we were packing up to leave.

Deer at Cloverdale, CA

The weather forecast was for sun in the morning and rain by late afternoon so we high-tailed it north to Redway in the Redwoods so we could get a hike in before it rained.

We ate lunch and then drove the old Avenue of the Giants up to the visitor's center for Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The last time we spent time visiting here we hadn't been able to hike in the Rockefeller Forest in the north section of the park. So we picked up a trail guide for the Rockefeller Loop and the Big Tree Area. Here's Walter at the beginning of the Rockefeller Loop.

Walter Cooke at trailhead to Rockefeller Loop Humboldt State Park CA

The redwoods aren't easy to photograph because they're so darned tall. But you can get the flavor of the hike from this one.

Redwoods in Rockefeller GRove Humboldt State Park CA

When we finished the loop we drove out the Matiole Rd to the Big Tree parking lot and wandered our way down the trails.

Walter Cooke in Big Tree Grove Humboldt State Park CA

After a while, we found a tree labeled "Tall Tree". At one point they thought this was the tallest of the redwoods. In 1957 it was measured to be 359.3 feet tall, 42 feet in circumference and 13.4 feet in diameter. Needless to say it's gotten bigger.

Tall Tree Humboldt State Park CA

Just look up and you can tell!

Tall Tree Humboldt State Park CA

Every once in a while the sun would break through and light things up.

Redwoods at Big Tree trail Humboldt State Park CA

The trillium were in bloom.

Trillium in Humboldt State Park CA

And there were Milkmaids (Dentaria californica ssp. californica) too.

Milkmaids (Dentaria californica ssp. californica) at Humboldt State Park CA

The trail lead to Bull Creek. In the summer you can cross the creek and follow the trail through more of the groves. But the bridges don't get put out until June so we stayed on our side of the creek.

Bull Creek Humboldt State Park CA

On the way back to the car we discovered this old tree whose center had been burned out but was still growing. The little kid in me thought it made a great cave!

Sara Schurr in burned out boll of redwood Humboldt State Park CA

We got back to the trailer just before it started to rain that afternoon. And boy did it get down to business. In fact, the next morning it was pouring when we had to hitch up the trailer and we both got soaked. It poured most of the way up through the redwoods but by late afternoon it had changed to showers. We camped that night at Gold Beach on the Oregon Coast. The campground had a little sliver of beach view.

Gold Beach from Honey Bear Campground OR

And then we got a wonderful sunset out of the deal too.

Sunset at Gold Beach OR

The next morning we had sun for a few hours in which to enjoy the beautiful southern Oregon Coast.

Oregon coast north of Gold Beach OR

Once again we had high surf. I love how you can see the mist above this wave as it crashes over.

Surf north of Gold Beach OR

At Reedsport we turned inland and drove along the Umpqua River. This is a lovely scenic drive complete with Elk!

Elk along Umqua River  Elk along Umqua River

We stopped at a bend in the river for lunch and got this row of daffodils as a bonus.

Umqua River OR

From here we went on to Eugene for the night and discovered that the lambs and ewes we'd seen on our way down were gone--moved to another field no doubt. Tired and happy, the next morning we drove I-5 home to Monroe.

This trip wasn't a big wildflower trip but we did get to see a lot of different kinds of daisies. Being as how I have a great fondness for them I made this little montage of daisies photos I took this trip.

Daisy montage

Daisies always provide a bit of sunshine even when it's cloudy so they were very welcome given some of the wild and wooly weather we had this trip.

I hope you enjoyed riding along with us. I certainly enjoy sharing our adventures with you.