4K Mile Drive To The Pacific Northwest In a 2015 MAZDA 6 – Part III

Welcome to the fourth and final post of the Pacific Northwest drive. Let’s resume:

Still drove on down the Oregon Coast, Hwy 101.

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Along this route are many pullouts for scenic ocean views.

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Much of the scenery feels like a different county…or maybe I’m just used to the sparse terrain of the New Mexico desert.

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The night stop was at Crescent City, CA. We also stopped by a portion of the Redwoods National Park. Last time I was here was in the Accord.

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Here we are arriving at the park and taking a 2 mile hike to get up close and personal with these massive Sequoia trees.

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Certainly makes the trees most of us are used to look like twigs in comparison.

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I’m about 5’11” and this trunk lying on its side is significantly thicker than my height!

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After the hike, a nice drive down a dusty one lane road took us deep into the redwood forest.

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Our stop in Crescent City took us to Ocean World where we had Jennifer and Alec pet some sharks!

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Happy to report, we still had all our digits afterwards.

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The next day on our way to San Francisco, I had to make a quick stop by the Chandelier Tree again for a quick photo with the 6.

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A $5 pass and 15 minute wait was well worth it. Even with the wide stance of the 6, it made it through just fine. Pulling into the dark hole triggered the auto headlights…

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Success!

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Now, it was time to brave the mighty San Francisco traffic! A few hours on I-5 and we arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge.

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A 23,000 ft masterpiece and it’s just as impressive as the last few times I stopped by.

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Now, time to enter the messy traffic which drips off the narrow, steep hills.

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So congested with those skyscrapers that it looks quite dark here. IMG_8546

We soon found public parking and climbed (not walked) up the hill to China Town where we’d grab some food and browse the shops.

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We wanted to get to our hotel in Palo Alto before too late, so we headed out before dark. My only complaint with the 6 on the entire journey was how the transmission handled the hills. As I attempted to accelerate up some of these streets with massive grades close to 29%, the transmission would upshift to 2nd even when my foot is at 3/4 throttle. The whole car would bog down and proceed to downshift back into 1st which resulted in a nasty jolt.

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Dispite that, the 6 cruised the busy streets with a breeze.

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Over the next few days, the remaining leg of our trip was a solid freeway driving back to New Mexico. It didn’t take long for the landscape to rid the trees.

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Made a quick stop outside of Tucson, AZ at the Saguaro National Park. IMG_8552 IMG_8553

And then finally, the New Mexico state line! As much as I loved seeing the rich culture and picturesque landscapes of other states, it’s always a nice warm feeling getting back home.

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The 6 has been a noble friend. Reliable, comfortable, and fun to drive. My best recorded gas mileage was 39.6 MPG and the lowest was 32 MPG. Despite the added weight of passengers and luggage, A/C blasting nearly 100% of the time, and 75+MPH freeway driving, I never saw the MPGs dip below the 30s. That’s impressive. The total miles driven were ~4,300 miles for the entire trip. Those miles consisted of freeway, dirt, gravel, beach sand and twisty coastal roads. The 2.5L motor charged us through areas with temperatures ranging from 50-115°F with 5-100% humidity. Not one hiccup or mishap.  I rewarded it with a thorough hand wash to bring the Blue Reflex paint back to life.

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Surprisingly, the interior didn’t look like it suffered over 4,000 miles of cookie crumbs, sandy shoes, sweat, blood (yes, there was some) sunblock sudges, and general valuables being moved, thrown, and shoved into every available space.

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The front end however, collected its fair share of West Coast bugs. I had to get those off pronto!IMG_5597

That concludes yet another grand summer adventure. I thank you for coming along!

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4 thoughts on “4K Mile Drive To The Pacific Northwest In a 2015 MAZDA 6 – Part III

  1. James Lee says:

    Wow lots of good stuff still! That drive through Red Wood Tree…. how neat was that!

  2. tysonhugie says:

    I’m with James – the Chandelier Tree never gets old. I can’t believe you’ve been there twice now and I haven’t been there at all! Going to have to move that one up a notch or two on the priority destination list. Wow – petting sharks? I think I’d only do that if I had a very protective glove on! The Golden Gate Bridge is always a nice sight. Have you ever driven down Lombard Street (“curviest road in America”)?

  3. pawela says:

    Thanks, Tyson! I love driving through there. I really could live in that area. Petting sharks was pretty wild! They felt like sandpaper. I haven’t been on Lombard since it was blocked off this time. Wonder if it’s closed to tourists now? 😦

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