California’s Gold | Tall Tales of the PNW

Sticking with the evident theme of “out-of-the-ordinary” attractions along Highway 101, have y’all met my friend Paul?

Not sure how common of a story this is for children nowadays, but for me Paul Bunyan and Babe were up there with The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood.

The gist of the tall tale is that Paul- an immensely large, red blooded American lumberjack- cleared all the trees in the Pacific Northwest, with his equally large companion, Babe the Blue Ox, at his side. Amazing strength and skill aside, what I took away from this fable  was that Paul could eat 10 huge “flap jacks”, while it took five men to eat just one. That’s a big appetite.


Stop #3 on Huell Howser’s California’s Gold Guide Map is The Avenue of the Giants– a road off the highway that drives you through the towering redwood trees– but unless you’re looking to be the most touristy of tourists, I don’t think it is worth the drive. Now hear me out, I’m not hating on trees by any means, it’s just that the entire drive of 101N is redwoods and I see no need to lengthen your trip for something you are already driving through. 

A great alternative to lengthening your drive is stopping in Klamath at Trees of Mystery!  This place lives up to its name with trails through the towering and misshapen redwoods as well as a sky tram for those not as inclined to hike (raises hand). There is also a free museum on the local Yurok, Karuk and Tolowa tribes, mouthwatering fudge and a gift shop that has my favorite post card ever “Formerly World’s Tallest Redwood”. You can also check out the giant statues of Paul and Babe that rival the height of the surrounding trees! PSA Paul can talk so don’t freak out!


An extra word of advice: if you have a car with a sky roof, take it one your road trip! It’s pretty crazy looking out the top and watching the trees zoom by (that is if you’re the passenger. Keep your eyes on the road, drivers!)


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