As if by some heavenly design, almost the precise moment that we crossed the southern border of Oregon, the fog that previously hung over the coast dissipated to reveal warm rays of sun. California held true to it’s name as the “Sunshine State” and welcomed us into it’s northern reaches with a toasty embrace that only continued to heat up as we ventured further down the coast.

At first glance it could be easy to dismiss the North Cali coastline as more stony cliffs only with an increased temperature, but with a closer, more careful look, we found this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, there are more beautiful rocky facades rising from the sea, but the stone changes from gray slate and green limestone into sandstone and mixed sedimentary rock. The trees and shrubbery transform as well and tiny flecks of bright reds and purples start to spring up from among the otherwise brown and yellow underbrush – their colorful shades belonging to various wildflowers.

Strictly adhering to Highway 101, while it does make for gorgeous scenery, will deprive you of one of the other great wonders of both this area and the U.S. in general: The Redwood Forest. Knowing this, we dedicated a portion of our adventure to searching for answers to the mystery of these living monoliths.

Some of the oldest Redwoods and Sequoias have been around longer than the United States as a nation. These . We were fortunate to make it to the  world-famous “Drive Thru” or “Chandelier” Redwood Tree site just 30 minutes before closing time. I never thought I’d get to drive right through the center of a tree, much less encounter one whose size could accommodate such an experience.

Later on, we stopped off in Ft. Bragg for a quick rest before heading to San Francisco. First thing the next day, we decided to check out some of the local sights and that’s how we ended up at “Glass Beach”. I’ve always had a fascination with sea glass – a translucent glass-like result of tidal pressure steadily refining rocks and sand. Most places, you have to scavenge and meticulously hunt to find even a few small pieces, but here these little ocean gems dominated every inch of the shore. The beach looked like a fever-dream of some colonial explorer: A beach made of tiny jewels!

Next up, we will be finding our way onward to the city of San Francisco for more adventures in one of the West Coast’s most famous big cities.