I’ve been commuting regularly between Crescent City and Arcata, CA, for seven years now (ranging from one to four times a week), so I know that stretch of Hwy 101 pretty well. I’ve also noticed people Google some interesting topics (WordPress shows the links people use to get to blogs), and thought someone, somewhere might appreciate this information.
When you drive through Klamath, CA (in Del Norte County), the posted speed limit is 55 miles per hour. Be aware, ALL of Klamath is a “speed trap,” from the bridge over the Klamath River (south end of Hwy 101) to Wilson Creek Cove (north end of Klamath, at the foot of Last Chance Grade). The California Highway Patrol has someone working that stretch of Hwy 101 more often than not (though they choose about four or five different places). You can probably get away with driving 58 mph or maybe 59 mph, but if you drive faster than that and the CHP sees you, you are sure to get a ticket. So relax, put on some music, set your cruise control (if you have it), and PLEASE don’t tailgate the person in front of you who is doing 58 mph — they might be saving you from getting a ticket!
And since we are talking about that area, I’ll mention what locals call the Bypass and the Low Road. A few miles south of the Klamath Bridge (at the Del Norte/Humboldt County Line), there is an exit from Hwy 101 called the Newton B Drury Parkway (to the Prairie Creek State Park). The south exit is a few miles north of Orick, where the twisty two-lane part of Hwy 101 widens to four lanes. The Parkway used to be Hwy 101, but it winds through redwoods and created a bottleneck that could be easily closed during a Winter storm. Many years (and much money) went into the creation of the Bypass, which everyone now sees as just being the four-lane portion of Hwy 101 that goes over the hills. IF you are interested in saving gas, or avoiding some steep grades, or are riding a bicycle, or driving at night once the weather has begun dropping below freezing (and want to avoid ice on the Bypass), or want a good look at some of our beautiful redwoods, please take the Parkway. It is actually shorter, but the speed limit is 45 mph, and during tourist season (April through mid-November) there are apt to be people going slowly and walking across the road (at least during daylight hours). It is a beautiful drive. Yes, it is twisty in places, but was once the regular Hwy 101 with lumber trucks on it, so should be okay for most motor homes and trailers. Sometimes after wind storms they close the Parkway (because of branches or trees across the road), but if that is the case there will be a sign at the foot of the off ramp saying as much.
IF you are trying to make time or have no patience, please take the regular Hwy 101. It offers some beautiful vistas, and gives you plenty of opportunity to pass vehicles as needed. Just be aware the pass is about 1,480 feet, and from October thru April may have snow or ice (depending on the weather).