Ed Clerkin’s Avenue of the Giants run – 2017

On Thursday, May 25th, 2017, 19 brave souls endured the long drive up to the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County for a 4-day scenic tour. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Avenue of the Giants is a 31-mile scenic section of old Highway 101 (State Route 254) that runs parallel to US 101 with 51,000 acres of redwood groves. Members attending included Roger Hoyt (with guest Sammi Butler), Ed & Janice de Bruin, Ray & Terry Seider, Frank & Barbara LoMonaco, Dennis Merenbach (with guest Yolanda), Hib & Sandy Halverson, Tony & Paula Megowan, Dave & Deb Hanks, Mike & Sandra Christeson and their fearless guide Ed Clerkin.

Day 1:
Our first stop on the run was to have lunch at BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse in Salinas, CA. We then cranked up those pesky Model T’s (oh sorry, Corvettes) and headed up to our first overnight stop at Inn Marin in Navato. But first, a little R&R on the center patio after that long drive then dinner at the on premises Rickey’s Restaurant.

Day 2: Our day started off with a quick freeway entrance/exit onto the back roads of Novato where we enjoyed a beautiful scenic drive past the hillsides and lakes alongside the roadway. Next, we had 2 Cheese tasting stops:

Marin French Cheese Factory and Nicasio Valley Cheese Factory. Both provided plenty of samples for our group and a little history of their cheese making processes. Our next stop was lunch stop at Rancho Nicasio Bar & Grill (next to Nicasio Valley Cheese Factory) but we were ahead of schedule so we did a group photo at the steps of Old St. Marys church (click link for a video of the church). Lunch was outstanding and as soon as we rounded up the group, we headed to our final destination at Miranda Gardens located on the Avenue of the Giants under the giant redwoods. The evening ended with dinner at the famous Benbow Inn which is south of Miranda Gardens off US 101 .

Day 3: Today was our trip to the City of Ferndale which is a quaint, page turning, back-in-time town full of old Victorian homes, iron working shops, old fashion general stores and even a class on how to build a Kayak. After everyone’s dawgs were barking from walking the streets, we then headed south on US 101 to GO EAT! Lunch was at a popular local restaurant Eel River Brewing Company that was a huge hit with the group. Even though we felt like popsicles lined up in the freezer section sitting out in their “heated” patio, we headed back to this same restaurant the next day for lunch when our first restaurant selection was too busy. We later headed back to Miranda Gardens to thaw from the chilly weather at Eel River Brewing Company by sitting around a fire pit in mostly full sunlight. I think we sat there in the sun thawing out for at least 2 hours before heading down to Benbow Inn for dinner. And wouldn’t you know it, someone brought 2 bags of chips to the fire pit while we were all enjoying the 75 degree weather. [Ed. Note: In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, no one leaves hungry! ]

Day 4: Today was our official cruise through the 31-mile Avenue of the Giants road. Even though this is the 3rd time I have organized this trip, I am still in awe of these giant redwoods every time I drive through the many groves. We started out at the south end of the Avenue down by Phillipsville and meandered up the road to Pepperwood and then back onto US 101. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center to see the latest exhibitions and took some time to inspect the Travel-Log (read about it by clicking on the link). After about an hour visiting, we completed the drive through the Avenue of the Giants and headed to lunch at Eel River Brewing Company then continued on to Eureka. By the time we reached Eureka, the temperature had dropped significantly and doing a walking tour of old-town Eureka was pretty much out of the question. So, most of us just relaxed in our rooms or in front of the fireplace in the hotel lobby until dinner at Shamus T-Bones – a short walking distance behind the hotel.

Day 5: Most of the members attending needed to get back to their daily routines and starting heading south to destinations known and unknown. Since its a grueling 10 hour drive to Santa Barbara, many members opted to stay overnight at various hotels along the route home rather than endure that long drive.