National and State Redwood Parks
Somewhere along the visit to the Redwoods, high over the California Beach, we meet a retired American Army tanker. He's traveling light and camping out of his car. He reminds me of the Beatles song," all the lonely people...where do they all come from?" We talk about the Bonus Marchers from WWI, Patton, Killer Whales...ships and shoes and sealing wax, walruses and kings...
He tells us that the pink flowers on the trees on the redwood groves are rhododendrons. He's been camping here for weeks. Someone broke into his car and stole his clothes and tools. As we drive away, I feel grateful for Mrs Phred and very lucky not to be alone.
The first place we stopped for a hike was the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, She was an interesting Lady. She limited billboards on the interstate highways, made the auto junkyards put up fences and beautified the Austin Riverbank. I always thought that she owned the Wake Island Facilities Management Corporation and made millions feeding aircrews who had to stop on Wake Island on the way to Viet Nam.
Robert McNamara died today. He was 92. He was the architect of the Viet Nam war. A bright man, a Berkley graduate, CEO of Ford, Secretary of Defense for both Kennedy and Johnson. His book in the 1990s admitting the his own stupidity in pursuing that war kicked off yet another firestorm of controversy
I wrote a paper in 1965. My conclusion, after watching the British in the 1950s in Malaysia was that we would need 5,000,000 American ground forces to prevail in that war. That was based on the British experience. It's a shame that a stupid 2nd Lt could figure this out and a whiz kid like Bob McNamara was apparently clueless. Of course, the British victory in Malaysia, based on a 10:1 superiority of of conventional forces to insurgents was on an island with no resupply routes. Viet Nam had the long Laos border.
The tanker guy said that this is a foxglove.
The redwood forests grow along the coast as well as slightly inland. The beaches here were rich with a very fine "flour gold" , which was difficult to recover.