Driftwood – Nor. Cal. coast

I think California has the most varied landscapes of any state in the US of A., and I’ve been to plenty of ’em. I grew up in Maine and NH, traveled much in New England, the NE.

Maine has some very nice coastlines, that’s probably why i like Northern Ca.

Massachusetts / Cape Cod? reminds me a lot of a few beaches at Pt Reyes Nat’l seashore.

A lot of the landscape south of there is pretty homogenized – glaciers have stripped it down.

When you get to Delaware? Flat as a fucking pancake. Just like ‘Flaw-ree-da’.

The Appalachian Mtns. are pretty impressive… until you see the Sierras or the Rockies.

A lot of the south is.. well… just plain boring.

I moved to CA on a wing and a prayer in late ’91, drove from Virginia to my sister’s place in So. Carolina, then went west on US 40. Thru so many states (Arkansas?…..etc)…  

Texas? Forget about it. New Mexico? Arizona? I perked up a bit. A winter storm stranded me along w/ many others in Holbrook AZ for a day or so, i took in the Petrified Forest park there, drove to the north end, saw for the first time what’s called ‘painted desert’. I was awestruck.

I took a side trip to see Santa Fe – what impressed me was how the city center was really old, quaint, b-b-but! WTF?! it was surrounded by 4 lane hi-ways with all the trappings of trashy commercial crapola. (And that was 25 years ago.)

Don’t bother – whatever ‘there’ is there… is probably over-rated.

To get back to the topic? 

!!California, one incredibly varied place!!

Yes, indeed. 

Deserts in the south east… the central valley, they need GPS to figure out where to start the trickle down watering, it’s that flat to the eye, various coastal mountain ranges from south to north (plate tectonics at work here, big time!). Then you get to northern Ca, things change radically, San Francisco is a city built on rolling hills (of sand!)

And Nor. Cal. is a completely different place. There start to become forests, trees, lots of ’em, and huge ones – redwoods! Approaching Mt. Shasta from the south – it looms on the horizon 75 miles away.

Lassen – Snow doesn’t melt to the top, probably ever. Let’s remember – even in summer there is snow on the top of the peaks surrounding Death Valley that never melt entirely.


In past times, it was lumber country. That’s gone, history, sayonarra, adios.

But lots of wood of various sizes/descriptions still ends up carried by rivers, to the sea, tossed and turned at least eight ways to sunday, sanded, warped and eroded… and ends up on a beach somewhere.

So here’s the gallery you knew was coming 🙂 Driftwood!

1.3008StumpWhorl 8DrftWdPool1 9DriftWdTxtre 103_DriftwoodPano 109_Driftwood 2907TreeTrunk Driftwood_0202 NC3.3016 NorthCoast1.3008 NorthCoast2 NorthCoast3.1006

A few good links? You got ’em!


Nevada is a unique state, and state of mind.

Do you know the Little Feat song “Willing’?

“I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah

Driven every kinda rig that’s ever been made, driven the back roads so i wouldn’t get weighed….”

Tonopah (pronounced TOE-nuh-PAH) Neveda is located halfway between Las Vegas and Reno. You’ll know you’re going in the right direction if, on your way up from Vegas, you pass Rhyolite ghost town and an alien-themed truckstop. Stop and get a coffee at one, and get out and see some stars at the other. If you end up on the Extraterrestrial Highway, you’ve gone too far.



A very good article, good read, with excellent road trip advice.