The Redwood Forest – Take 2

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After a rocky stay at our previous RV resort, we moved an hour away to the nearby city of Crescent City. Its still near the Redwood Forest (much closer), AND has cell service, wifi, local attractions (like an aquarium!), and stores.

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After a quick stop to get a picture of the RV next to Paul Bunyon (!), we made the quick journey to our next park. Just after pulling in, we felt so much better than our last place – the wifi is super fast, its much warmer and there’s a playground right in front of our site.

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We spent the next day exploring the local thrift stores – not too much but I did score some great coloring books for mini-man. After a quick stop at the store, we spent the rest of the day in the RV, resting. The boys have each been going through their own stuff – mini-man’s sleep schedule is way off and little-dude is constantly eating. Both mean that Damon and I aren’t getting much sleep.

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After playing a bit of catch-up on sleep, we went out on Friday to track down a package of ours. What started as a 20 minute drive to the post office, turned into over an hour drive back to our old RV park. They sent someone to get the package but didn’t know when he’d return… ya, this place just keeps getting better and better.

At first, we tried to stay in the area by visiting a local attraction. However, by the time we got somewhere, mini-man was asleep. I was getting frustrated at this point as we had no cell service so we couldn’t research or navigate anything! While the place we stopped at had a map, we discovered that most of the attractions closed soon and wouldn’t be open long enough for us to pick up our package.

At this point, I was done and we headed back to Crescent City. On the way, Damon stopped at a thrift shop so mini-man could sleep. Of course, as soon as he left the car mini-man woke up and started screaming (yup). At this point, we’d been trapped in the car for over three hours. I can’t blame the kids for feeling frustrated and I felt it too because I couldn’t help them. Lesson learned – if the 20 minute trip starts to get longer, stop and regroup. As we learned, our trip soon became not only longer, but went to a place with no cell service or way to get stuff for the kids.

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Thinking fast, Damon took us to an aquarium across the street from the thrift shop. This turned into a fun stop. Ocean City is an old barge turned into an aquarium, home to sea lions, fish, and sharks. I loved how close up we could get to all the animals, mini-man loved all the sishes, and little-dude loved getting to walk around. It was exactly what we needed after that frustrating car ride.

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I think this car ride came back to bite us later. We’d spent a few days trapped in the RV due to all the lovely rain we were getting and needed to get out. So on Sunday afternoon, we planned to go get lunch and do some shopping. However, mini-man was not having it. He absolutely refused to leave the RV. Instead of facing a car ride with a screaming toddler, I sent Damon to get lunch and I stayed back with the kids. In an attempt to relax with little-dude, I set mini-man up with books, food, and his favorite fish documentary. He loved it – for five minutes. Just as I was getting little-dude down for a nap, mini-man started screaming and throwing things. It took some time, but once I was able to get away from little-dude, I was able to help mini-man calm down and figure out what he needed.

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By Monday, we were thrilled to get a break from the rain and have a warm, sunny day – so we created a plan to get out of the RV. Step 1 – get mini-man in the van. This was not easy but banana’s seemed to lure him in. At least it worked.

We had an ambitious day planned that started with going back to our old RV Resort again. This time, we were better prepared – lots of snacks and activities to get us there and back. And, success!, we managed to get our package without too much drama.

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Next we headed to the Tour-Through tree – an old Redwood that had an opening carved in it wide enough to get a car through. Now this isn’t the famous one (that’s in Eureka), but this was cheaper and way less crowded. In fact, we had it all to ourselves and took advantage – lots of pictures and drive through at least four times.

At this point, our quick dash up there meant that we were all getting hungry and needed lunch. We tried to head back to Crescent City but it soon became clear that wasn’t going to happen.

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A quick stop at the Trees of Mystery to get some selfies with Paul Bunyon proved to be the perfect solution. We all were able to get out and explore the gift shop. And, as a huge bonus, there was a restaurant, called Cafe Forest, directly across the street.

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Not wanting to drive 30 more minutes for fast food, we thought we try it. The food was pretty good but the experience was unforgettable. Think Rainforest Cafe on a DIY budget – plastic flowers in the ceiling in one section and a fish section (which is where we sat, of course). They even had a corner for babies and toddlers to play while the food was being prepared. I absolutely loved that the kids were entertained and we all got to eat. It was the break we all needed.

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After piling back into the van, we headed to the Redwood Forest. Thanks to our break, the kids took naps during the drive. We chose the Stout Trail, about 15 minutes from Crescent City, because it offered a short hike into the forest – giving you the experience without venturing too far from your car.

The kids woke up shortly after we arrived and we headed onto the trail, or at least we tried to. Mini-man was not having it. There’s nothing like tranquil silence pierced with toddler screams. After trying to gently walk mini-man with me, I just picked him up and carried him to the trail.

The funny thing is, that once we were on the trail, he was fine. He even started exploring the trail on his own, touching things and laughing. Complete turn around from the screaming toddler we had earlier. Little-dude loved it too – any time he gets to walk, touch, or climb stuff, he’s on board.

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And am I ever glad that we didn’t stay in the car like mini-man wanted. Walking among these gigantic trees was incredible. And each is different – growing, twisting, and forming different from one another. Some had survived fires and natural disasters by combining with other trees and continuing to grow. Other fallen trees helped by decomposing and creating healthy soil for the other trees. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had.

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And to make it even cooler – this is where they shot Return of the Jedi! Yup, Stout Grove is the exact location of the Ewok Village (So cool!)

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I’ve recently started reading Candace Cameron Burre’s new book, Kind is the New Classy, and a particular passage struck me today – I let my negativity shadow the experience. This definitely happened to me during this stop. I allowed my negative experience at the previous RV resort to color my mood (and my lack of sleep definitely didn’t help). I was ready to just pack up and leave this stop without doing anything because of my mood. I am super happy that Damon helped me push through that and get out. I wouldn’t have these experiences if it weren’t for him. Now, I’m really going to try and not let my negative experiences stop me from having positive experiences.

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And now, it’s time to say good-bye to the Golden State and head to a state that I’ve never been to – Oregon. We have reservations as beach RV resorts for the next three weeks – which will hopefully be relaxing and fun.

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