Joe & Eloise, (Rob Skillin’s in-laws and our hosts in Fremont) were already up, though still in pyjamas, when we showered and presented ourselves for breakfast, around 6:30 as we had a fair distance (c 240 miles) to go, to get to the city of Eureka, in northern California. The distance was not the main problem, but we wanted to follow Route 1, the coast road, which was a slow, standard two lane road. The additional problem was that there were various locations along the road that demanded to be visited.
A minor complication was added when we missed a turn and ended up on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. This actually turned out to be a bonus, as it took us along downtown San Francisco and provided the opportunity to add to our San Francisco Tourist Picture portfolio (S1257) and a further bonus was that we had to cross the Golden Gate Bridge again and stopped off at the vista point again, for a Now & Then session, as Rudolf would say – yesterday’s, threatening to rain and today’s, basking in sunshine (S1254#2). Time constraints prevented us from repeating yesterday’s other stops.
Paul Thomson’s monograph on the genus Dudleya records D. eastwoodii from Bodega Head, easily reached from Route 1. S1258 saw us climbing over ‘the head’ in search of this ‘apple green’ coloured Dudleya, without any luck. We wasted quite a bit of time here.
As we drove up to this spot, we noticed an alterative car park facing the Ocean, so we agreed to have just a quick look there. (S1259) and I thought that I found the plant. Nice rosettes, succulent leaves, but hang on – after a dozen or so pictures I found a plant with flower remains and these were NOT from a Dudleya. So what had I been taking pictures off? A Lewisia? No idea at this stage. As we climbed back to the car park, I stumbled across ‘the real thing’ – a patch with quite a few plants, but these were D. farinosa, NOT D. eastwoodii. The honour of finding that plant goes to Cliff, who had stayed in the car park and, bored, had found the plants when he strolled along the car park’s edge.
S1260 was Sonoma State Beach, S1261 was north of Elk (no, NOT E.L.K!), S1262 was south of Albion and S1263 was at Ocean Meadows Beach – all were scenic locations and gave us more information about the distribution of D. eastwoodii and D. farinosa. At S1262 we also found Sedum spatulata (?).
Time was against us and we turned inland to find the 101 to speed up the remainder of today’s journey, as the light was now too poor for photography. As the road wound its way through pine forest, we noticed that the tree trunks along the side of the road were getting fatter and fatter. We drove right through the Giant Redwood forest (coastal form) but in the dark, so will see them properly, hopefully in sunshine, tomorrow.
For a future occasion:
For much of its length, Highway 101 is unremarkable, but for a 78 mile stretch from Eureka to Crescent City, the road transforms into a breathtaking Redwood Highway. Winding along the Pacific coastline, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush redwood forests punctuated by dramatic cliffs and pounding surf.