Hi there!Mark Whitworth I am Mark Whitworth -
writer, educator, traveller
and all round good guy.
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Horizons: Route 101 & the West Coast 2012

family, Long Beach, Washington, USA, Mark WhitworthHorizons –Route 101 and the West Coast

It has to be said that I would be rather less well acquainted with the West Coast of the USA if I had not had the good fortune to marry into Andrea’s family. My first trip to California was as recently as 2004 and yet I’m now up to seven visits. All but the one last winter has been in the summer time, which has meant I’ve now adjusted to the extent of wearing shorts and sandals but, as can be seen in this photo, not all the time!


The saving grace for me has been the pursuit of altitude (here pictured at 2500m (8000 feet) with Andrea and her Mother, Sandy on Mount Lassen) Sandy Kight, Andrea Kidd, Mark Whitworth, Mount Lassen, California, USAand sometimes the pursuit of latitude. These first two shots are more than 5 degrees apart (the family group shot is some 650km (400 miles) north of the one taken in Lassen.

One other factor is paramount in the comfort levels to be found on the West Coast and that is proximity to the sea. At this point I have to laud the intelligence of my Father-in-law, Jerry (pictured here with Annie), for it seems he never goes anywhere near the sea, thus avoiding the seemingly distressing weather one is likely to encounter on the California coast. For what no one tells anyone is that from San Francisco northwards the sea is about as inviting Jerry Kidd, Annie, Stockton, California, USAas an ice bath and the weather marginally worse than a bad day in Whitby, North Yorkshire.

Special thanks also to Ron for the hour we spent in Loomis Lake in his canoe; it’s a long time since I’ve felt a paddle in my hands and it made me think I must do it again soon. Cheers, Ron!

I’d like to thank one and all of my extended American family for their warm welcomes, year after year. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to be introduced to some of the most wonderful scenery on this planet, for housing and feeding me, as well as providing liberal supplies of liquid refreshment, and for finally making me understand why Americans wear shorts.

Google Earth, West Coast, USA, route, 101, 97The road trip outlined below incorporates stays with all of the above and I would wish them all well until I next see them.

You might get your kicks on Route 66, but you’ll have more fun on Route 101!

We performed a huge figure of eight on our trip this summer, the southern loop we did twice to take in Andrea’s Dad at Sutter Creek. The places listed here are where we overnighted, obviously there were many others we visited.

The only stretch undertaken on Interstate 5 were three trips betwen Redding and Sacramento but on one of these we took the alternate route through the hills to avoid the monotony of the Central Valley highway. The main roads we used were: Sutter Creek to Redding - Routes 49, 89, 36, Redding to Gold Beach - Routes 299, 101, Gold Beach to Seattle - Route 101, Seattle to Trout Lake - Routes 410, 12, NF-23 and Trout Lake to Redding - Routes 141, 14, 97 and I5.

The two roads dominating the journey were routes 101 and the 97, the former being the coastal road that stretches from Los Angeles to the Canadian border and the latter being the north-south route from Canada to California that lies to the East of the Cascade Range. To my mind route 97’s biggest claim to fame is that it terminates in the town of Weed, 95km (60 miles) north of Redding, although it is also a very long road, actually extending to the Yukon through Canada.

Needless to say we did not have the time to undertake a trip along the entire length of both roads, although that remains a dream until Andrea accepts an RV (campervan) will be essential! It is also more than evident that we did not confine ourselves to these roads and took many a side trip and alternate loop, sometimes finding ourselves on tracks quite unsuitable for our Ford Fusion saloon.

Having buttered up the family in the first page it is now essential to restore my image!