“Big Trees” Trip

It all started when Bruno (Daddy) said, “I want to see the Big Trees one more time.” At 87 years old, this request was not taken lightly. “As you wish,” replied his sons.

Flights to California

Southwest 1085 ABQ 8:30 AM LAX 9:15 AM
Southwest 379 LAX 10:40 AM SMF 11:55 AM
Southwest 401 BWI 7:10 AM LAS 9:25 AM
Southwest 188 LAS 10:30 AM SMF 12:00 PM
Dad & Tim
American 1209 DFW 9:35 AM SMF 11:05 AM

Tuesday July 6

July 6 — the Big Trees adventure begins! Sacramento was our ground zero launching pad. From the North, James flew in from Michigan; from the Southwest, Tim and Daddy arrived from Texas, and Andy took flight from New Mexico; and from the West, Dan coordinated our arrival at the airport via his home in Lodi, California. Tim and Daddy were first to arrive from Dallas, and Dan promptly took them to the waiting area for about an hour. Minutes after James touched down and made his way to baggage claim, Tim called and asked for the terminal location. No sooner had he hung up then Andy walked into the claim area looking for James who was standing next to a pile of luggage reaching from floor to ceiling like the Cliffs of Insanity. We piled our bags into the pickup and took the hour-long drive from the Sacramento airport to the RV place in Lodi.

This sculpture of stacked luggage greets visitors at the Sacramento Airport, Terminal A.

“Farm boys, fetch me the RV.” But where was it? At 2:00 p.m., we arrived about 20 minutes early at the Rent My RV office. Then the RV was delayed, because while Charlie, the RV hand, went to fill the RV with gas, a cabinet door flew open — and crash! — the dishes fell out and shattered. 30 minutes later a new set of dishes was delivered. “How many of you have operated an RV before?” asked Charlie. Silence. “Okay. Nobody. I’ll walk you through the process.” The RV checkout (this button is for water, this hose for sewer, this button for the heater, this one for the slide out and do it in this particular order) took about 45 minutes, and we were cleared to start the adventure, no quick start manual in hand. Oh well, it’s going to be an adventure.

First stop was at Dan’s house in Lodi to pick up supplies. Dan’s wife Sue had stocked up on groceries which we loaded into the RV, along with camp chairs. We were off on the first leg of our journey only two hours behind plan.

Tim drove the RV on the first leg, which went through California’s central valley. This is a rich agricultural area. We saw fields of tomatoes, corn, strawberries, vineyards, and orchards. We stopped at a roadside stand to buy 6 pints of fresh strawberries. Oh, were they good! Most of us had not eaten since early morning breakfast before our flights, so we stopped at Taco Bell before continuing.

The trip up I-5 was uneventful, but after we got onto CA-20 the road began to wind as we traversed the hills between the central valley and the coast. I found it interesting that the central valley is approximately at sea level – the GPS was recording elevation between +20 and -20 feet. Even the hills did not rise above 1500 feet.

It was a long and winding road. So winding, in fact, that James and Andy were turning green in the back of the RV. So at the town of Lucerne Dan and Tim moved to the back and James and Andy took over the driving and navigating. Despite traveling slower than the recommended speeds on the yellow caution signs, the passengers in the back were constantly fighting carsickness.

By the time we got to Leggett, it was dark. All of us have jobs and families, so in the rush no one had brought written directions to the Redwoods River Resort. No problem — with two iPhones we should be able to pull the information off the Internet. But AT&T has no service in Northern California, at least not in the Redwoods region! Inconceivable! The campsite was not listed on any of the maps we had with us. As we traveled US 101 along the Eel river we tried to correlate the curves in the road with our recollection of the map showing the destination. “It’s on the left, just past a big curve.” We were saved by Tim getting a weak Sprint signal, and found that the RV park was just a couple miles ahead.

Finally, we arrived at Redwoods River Resort about 10:30 pm. Of course, the office was closed, but they had left info about our campsite taped to the door. We found site #16, with the campers next door connected to our power. They were nice about disconnecting. Before long we were hooked up to power and water, had the slideout opened, beds made, and were sleeping the night away.
2:00 PM Pick up RV; 1935 South Stockton Street, Lodi, CA 95240

Depart Lodi

Destination Distance Time
Redwoods River Resort
241 miles 4 hr 25 min

Editable Map

View 1-Lodi to Leggett in a larger map

Wednesday July 7

Smithe Redwoods State Reserve
Avenue of the Giants
Editable Map

View 2-Leggett to Eureka, CA in a larger map

July 8

Exploring Coast Redwoods Parks
Redwoods National Park

Tall Trees Grove
Boy Scout Tree Trail
Big Tree Loop
Emerald Ridge and Tall Trees

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Trees of Mystery

Editable Map

View 3-Eureka to Crescent City, CA in a larger map

Friday July 9

Jedediah Smith Grove and State Park
Oregon Caves

Editable Map

View 4-Crescent City to Grants Pass, OR in a larger map

July 10

Crater Lake

Editable Map

View 5-Grants Pass to Klamath Falls in a larger map

July 11

Lava Beds National Monument or Lake Shasta Caverns

Editable Map

View 6-Klamath Falls to Redding in a larger map

July 12

View 7-Redding to Lodi, CA in a larger map

July 13

10:00 AM Return RV; 1935 South Stockton Street, Lodi, CA 95240

Southwest 0975 SMF 2:40 PM ABQ 7:20 PM
Southwest 129 SMF 1:40 PM LAS 3:05 PM
Southwest 1605 LAS 4:15 PM BWI 11:50 PM
Dad & Tim
American 1800 SMF 2:05 PM DFW 7:30 PM

Common Expenses

These are expenses incurred by the group, which we split among ourselves.

Type Description Amount Per Night Per Person Per Night
RV Rental Rent My RV, LLC $2050.44 $292.92 $58.58
RV Park Rent Park Fee, extra persons fee, firewood, internet $267.81 $38.26 $7.65
Fuel Gas for the RV $437.07 $62.44 $12.49
Food Groceries, restaurants $435.35 $62.19 $12.44
Entrance Fees to get into attractions $19.00 $2.71 $0.54
Gift Grandfather Tree tee-shirt for Bruno $21.63 $3.09 $0.62
Totals $3231.30 $461.61 $92.32

4 thoughts on ““Big Trees” Trip

  1. I’m going to be redoing this page from a ‘planning’ page to one that describes the trip. Bear with me while I reorganize and add content.

  2. Not sure we can make it to Leggett Tuesday night. Depends on when we can leave Lodi.

    Google Maps driving directions:
    I-5 N, CA-20 W and US-101 N/Redwood Hwy
    235 mi 4 hours 19 mins

    Redwood River Resort Policies:
    Campground check in time — 2:00 PM.
    Quiet hours are between 10:00 PM and 8:00 AM, loud music is discouraged anytime.

    We pick up the RV at 2:00. There is about an hour of checkout before we can leave. We won’t be going full speed, so allow 5 hours for the trip. That puts us in at 8:00. If we want to buy groceries on the way, add at least an hour. I’ve sent an inquiry asking how late we can check in.

  3. The distance from SanFran or Sacramento is the same to Eureka. So i think that we should start our trip and stay the first night at The Redwoods River Resort in Legget. The loop will be approx. 1000 miles and we need to find out how many days we want to spend in the redwoods. There are at least six good groves to visit along the coast. Tuesday we would start at smithe redwoods state reserve then travel the avenue of the gaints and stay the night in Eureka. Wednesday would be redwood natl. park the tall trees grove and lady bird johnson grove and trees of mystery. Stay the night in crescent city and thursday see the jedediah smith grove and state park, travel to grants pass or medford oregon for the night. Friday travel to crater lake and stay in klamath falls that night. Sabbath we could go to lava beds natl. mon. or mount shasta caverns and stay the night somewhere close to redding. Sunday mosey on down to sacremento to stay the night and monday drop off rv and fly home. Open to all suggestions Tim.

  4. I think we should consider flying in to Eureka instead of San Jose. It would probably save a couple days driving time and allow us to do the “Circle of Parks” in the Klamath region of southern Oregon and northern California.