After my birthday night in Coos Bay, Oregon I was off to set foot in California! My plans for the day were to visit the Trees of Mystery in Klamath. This is about 12 miles south of Crescent City, where I’d be spending the night at the Motel 6.
Trees of Mystery
I’ve stopped at the Trees of Mystery a couple of times before, mostly to browse the gift shop, but I’ve never paid the admission to wander through their park. Generally because I’ve arrived later in the day closer to sunset and I’m not all about moonlit tramps in the forest.
This time I was planning the whole enchilada. Since the last time I’d visited, the Trees of Mystery has put in a gondola skyride that takes you up the top of the mountain for a good look at the forest. The best part? Dog friendly! When you’re traveling with your furry friends, you want to plan as many activities as possible to include them. I find myself willing to spend a few extra bucks on attractions I might not have visited, but because they’re dog friendly – here I am!
A Walk in the Forest
The Trees of Mystery is easy to find on Highway 101 with Paul Bunyon and Babe waving you in to their large parking lot. Admission was $18 to walk the trails and ride the gondola. Unfortunately it’s kind of misleading where to catch the gondola. Most people are under the impression that you buy your ticket and it’s a short walk in to the air tram.
No such luck.
You go for a good walk through the forest, all very pretty, nice scenic route, but if you have difficulty walking long distances, it’s not going to be a lot of fun. The winding trails have easy inclines and it’s at least half a mile to the gondola.
I was a bit concerned with my 12 year old lab who’d been showing a little stiffness over the past couple of days that the walk might have been too much for her, but she was fine.
I call them as I see them. The Trees of Mystery tram or gondola is officially named the SkyTrail. There’s an attendant at the gondola who slows it down so people can walk on while it’s in motion. If you’re not real fast or you have a stubborn dog who puts the brakes on (thanks Shadow!), the operator will stop the ride. As you’re flying above the tree tops heading up the mountain, the gondola will slow down and sometimes comes to a complete stop for a few seconds. At the top of the mountain there’s a viewing platform where you can look out over the redwood forests and see the ocean off in the distance.There are even binoculars, chained down, to help you enjoy the view.
It’s a small tram with two bench seats across from each other, would fit 4 people. But when you’re bringing two big dogs no one else wants to join you! Go figure!
Proving the Trees of Mystery is a dog friendly attraction, dog water bowls were available at the gondola.
The Trail of Tall Tales
After exiting the gondola, the path in the forest takes you to a section called the Trail of Tall Tales. It’s a fun experience that embellishes the tales and folklore of Paul Bunyon and Babe. There are chainsaw carvings of forest creatures and folklore legends, and guests can push a button to get a narrative of Paul Bunyon through the years.
At the end of the trail is a huge gift shop and there’s a fudge counter with free samples. I managed to resist. I sort of overdid it the day before at the Sea Lion Caves and Cranberry Sweets!
Is Trees of Mystery worth the money?
We have gondolas near where I live that are also dog friendly, so I say any attraction where you can bring your furry friends is worth a visit. Easy to spend a couple of hours here. Or if you’re just driving through and don’t want to pay admission, the gift shop is worth a visit, and hanging out watching Paul Bunyon interact with tourists is fun.
Motel 6 at Crescent City
It was getting on to mid-afternoon and I headed back to Crescent City to check into the Motel 6.
Without a doubt this Motel 6 is the weirdest Motel 6 I’ve ever stayed at.
It’s conveniently located on Highway 101, in a section that is one way southbound. If you’re heading north, about half a block away going through town, you’d have to go up a block and make your way over to Southbound 101. It’s a small motel, about 40 units, and you can see right away they might have a problem in the parking lot judging by the signs threatening towing if you’re not a guest.
A pleasant young lady checked me in, and I asked if she knew of any restaurants that had an outside seating area where dogs are allowed. She didn’t, though she thought about it really hard and gave a couple of suggestions, but just wasn’t certain whether there was outdoor seating where dogs are welcome. She did confirm their parking lot has problems with cars not registered which is why they took down my license plate. Don’t tow me! Please and thank you!
My room was located near the office on the lower level. When traveling with dogs, first floor rooms are much more convenient. There were three parking spots in this area, two already taken and I got the last spot. Though there was plenty of parking in front of all the lower units and in the center of the lot. There were four rooms in my section, and then it made a U turn where the majority of rooms are located in the longer motel section.
When I got inside the room it was very warm. That surprised me because the outside temperature was about 70 and I didn’t think it would have affected the interior temperature, all that much. It seemed to me to it was hotter inside than outside. I put the air conditioner on. I think this was the only time on my trip that I used the air conditioning anywhere I stayed.
I took the dog water bowls into the bathroom to fill them up. The cold water ran hot. Thinking the taps might be reversed, I turned on the hot water tap but it ran even hotter. I tried the cold tap and after awhile the water ran cold enough to fill the bowls.
A short time later I removed my shoes and walked into the bathroom. The floor was hot. Not yow, yow yow and hopping around unbearably hot, but it was very obviously one of those heated floors. I looked around for the switch to turn it off, but there wasn’t one. The pipes are in the floor, so mystery solved why the cold water tap runs hot. Weird!
Crescent City is a temperate climate. I have no idea why they’d install heated floors. I’ve never stayed at any hotel with heated bathroom floors, and it’s very surprising to find this luxury at a budget Motel 6.
I was hungry and decided to head back to a place where I’d seen a few restaurants earlier. It took me awhile to get my act in gear. I load up the dogs. I get my bag. I get my GPS. I start fiddling with it.
You get the picture!
This takes me a few minutes and during this time I see an SUV in the center of the parking lot, who drove ahead, and then backed up a few feet and stayed in that spot the whole time, engine running. This car is pretty obvious because there’s only about seven cars in the lot at the time and none of them have the engine running.
I finally drive off and the SUV pulls into my space. Like WTF? He sits there with his car running the whole time just to pull into a parking spot that may have been a few feet closer to his room. I don’t know if he was one of the rooms on either side or up on the second floor, and the stairs were nearby.
I had flashbacks to my ex mother-in-law who would cruise parking lots for 30 minutes waiting for a closer spot to open up.
I was interested in the Chart Room Restaurant because I heard it had good seafood. I walked around it but didn’t see outside seating which meant my dogs would have to stay in the car. I walked them around the parking lot and checked out a couple of other places. I stopped at the North Coast Ocean Sports and Grill. A seafood restaurant that also rents out water sports gear. They had outside tables on a sandy area. A waitress came outside to tend to clients at a table and I asked her if it was dog friendly. And it is! I found my spot for dinner. I had a shrimp melt sandwich on sourdough bread with sweet potato fries. Excellent! A warm, sunny afternoon and a lovely water view. Ah, man. I could used to this life!
Sea lions and a lighthouse
I might not have seen sea lions at the Sea Lion Caves in Florence, Oregon, but there were at least a couple dozen sunning themselves on a dock and barking away. Dinner entertainment. I walked my dogs along the shoreline so I could get a better look, and my girls were quite intrigued.
Don’t worry. The wharf and closest sea lion were at least 300 feet away.
I’d asked my server about a lighthouse fog horn that blasted periodically. She was new in town and not sure how to find it, but I was able to figure out the lighthouse is at Battery Point and easy to find from the main street in Crescent City. There’s a good sized lot to park the cars, and a path to walk up to the lighthouse that sits on top a rocky mound.
There’s also a sign that says no dogs.
Well boo to you Battery Point Lighthouse.
Meanwhile … back at the Motel 6
A short time after I returned to my room, I heard a car engine roar to life. Yikes! It sounded like a motorcycle in bad need of a muffler. Instead it was that SUV leaving. I thought this will really suck if this jerk is an early riser and wakes me up in the morning with that noise. So I took a page out of his book after he left, got in my car, and parked it back in front of my room.
Remember how hot it was in the room because of the heated floor in the bathroom? I had to lower the air conditioning a notch. It was still so hot I had to ditch my jammies! In the morning when I was combing my hair, I had static electricity. It was like I’d been rubbing a balloon on my head! Flyaway hair. Yikes! Not a good look for me.
As I was loading up my car, I noticed a man working in the office. When I was ready to leave I walked over to turn in my key. There’s a note on the door that says “back soon” and he’s nowhere to be found. Well when is “soon”? I’m ready to leave NOW. I looked around for a window with a key drop box but there wasn’t any. I crammed the key card into the door jamb and left.
Next stop: Crater Lake, Oregon!
Final thought on Crescent City
There’s not a lot of pet friendly accommodation in Crescent City. I wouldn’t stay at this Motel 6 again, and I probably wouldn’t overnight in Crescent City unless I was really stuck or had enough driving for the day. I thought Crescent City was a cute seaside town, but as an overnight stop – keep driving.
Don’t keep on driving just yet. Check out my video for photos I took on the drive from Coos Bay, Oregon to Crescent City, California and the Trees of Mystery.