We stayed south of San Francisco in a town called Half Moon Bay Tuesday night after driving through the Golden Gate Bridge. We drove south for a little while along U.S. 1. The coast south of San Francisco looked a lot different than the northern coast. Brown scrubby hills, then irrigated patches of produce, then the Pacific Ocean.
Wednesday noon found us in Gilroy, CA, just south of San Jose at an RV repair shop to get our air conditioner compressor repaired. Anthony could’ve fixed it himself if he had had the right tools, but….
We weren’t sure how long it would take. Well, it took 6 hours! 😦 We hung out on the sidewalk in the shade next to the office, then walked over to Jack in the Box for some good ole’ fastfood, then over to the truck stop to do a load of laundry, then back to the sidewalk where the kids played games on the iPad, then across the road again to A&W for some ice cream, then back to the sidewalk again….until the shop closed. They got it most of the way fixed. Anthony finished up the job by putting on the v-belt with a wrench we had here in the camper.
So….we didn’t get too far Wednesday. We had hoped to make Yosemite yet that evening. After poring over the atlas and the calendar, we decided to forego Yosemite and take in the Sequoia National Forest instead. Our reasoning was that we had seen Yellowstone and the Canadian Rockies, so maybe that would make up for what we would miss in Yosemite. Sequoia was a little closer to our route south toward the Grand Canyon.
On Thursday, when we got to Sequoia National Park, we headed over to see General Grant, the third largest tree on earth (supposedly). I was glad to see both the Redwoods and the Sequoias to get a better idea of the difference.
- Redwoods are found only in the coastal regions; Sequoias are found only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
- Redwoods can be up to 70 ft. taller than the tallest Sequoias (280 vs. 210 ft.), but Sequoias are at least twice as big around (100 ft. in circumference vs. 40 ft.)
- There was definitely a difference between the Redwood Forest and the Sequoia Forest, at least the ones we were in. The Redwoods were lush, almost rainforest like, with abundant ferns, mosses, and undergrowth. The Sequoia forests were more open, sparse, and scrubby looking. (I’m wondering if the Mariposa grove in Yosemite is that way, or if it’s a denser grove than is found in Sequoia? Anybody know?)
It’s hard to comprehend the size of these trees. It’s like walking up to a huge building.
I was surprised to learn that young sequoias look almost nothing like their ancient ancestors. Here are young sequoias.
We got to walk through a hollow fallen sequoia. Pretty neat!
The amazing thing is that this fallen tree has been in this same spot for over a hundred years and hasn’t changed much. Take a look at this sign.
Here is General Grant himself, or rather the Sequoia named after him. It is actually the nation’s Christmas tree — how about that! It’s 267 ft. tall, 30 ft. in diameter, 107 ft. circumference at base, and is estimated to be 1650 years old.
After coming back down out of the mountains, we drove through the town of Orange Cove, very fitly named for its acres and acres of Orange trees in all sizes and stages.
We got to drive past a couple big dairies, which Anthony was thrilled to be able to see. Also got to see the canals and flood irrigation system close up.
The further south and east we drove, the more desert like the landscape became until we reached the Mojave Desert on our way out of California on Rte. 15 heading to Las Vegas to see the Hoover Dam.