I woke up in Willits to more of the same enthusiasm-crushing greyness that was really coming to define my trip. I checked out around 9:00am, passed the laughable outdoor pool, and got into my Hyundai Accent, which had - thus far - conquered wet roads, steep hills, and high speeds without even a hint of complaint.
Considering the persistent crappy weather, I gave up on many of the sights I had marked to see along the coast and and made speed a priority, since my only real requirement for the day was to drive the scenic Avenue of the Giants, see the massive California Redwoods, and cover as much ground as possible, since my rental car was due by 10am the next morning in Eugene, Oregon.
I hauled ass out of Willits after getting some gas, and skipped breakfast aside from a 3 day-old banana that I had been saving for just such a crisis.
The Avenue of the Giants was as promised, lined with huge redwoods on both sides close to the road. It basically winds parallel to 101, and both roads cling close to the surging, brown, Eel River. I stopped a few times to get out and take photos, of course, but the scale of the trees is hard to comprehend without being there in person.
Day 4 wasn't everything I'd hoped it would be, but I am beyond proud that I crushed about 438 miles in a single day, roughly half of my total trip. I left Los Angeles on December 19th, and about three days, 857 total miles, and some amazing sights later, I arrived at my brother's house in Springfield, Oregon - a night before I had planned - due to some real commitment to "flooring it".
Now, I've returned my rental car to Budget, and will have no choice but to spend the next couple of days sitting on my ass and dreaming of my next adventure.