Charles Kellogg's Travel Log.

Charles Kellogg's Travel Log

Field review by the editors.

Weott, California

Oh, to have lived in an era when woodsmen drove in hollowed-out trees along America's byways!

Charles Kellogg's Travel Log display.

Californian Charles Kellogg (1868-1949) was such a fellow, piloting and sleeping in a 4,800 year old redwood log that is currently displayed in the Humboldt State Park Visitor Center. Kellogg "The Nature Singer" was a vaudeville celebrity -- renowned for his mastery of bird calls. He performed in a 12+ octave range with his aviary larynx -- not just whistling, but singing from the throat. Charles "Bird Man" Kellogg was promoted as an artist, scientist, teacher, poet, philosopher.

According to a vintage brochure distributed about him (reproduced by the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association), Kellogg spent nine months each year wandering forests. He had hiked with naturalist/conservationists John Burroughs and John Muir. He conducted nature experiments. He traveled around the world, and was a guest of the sculptor Rodin in Paris (where Kellogg sang to a French crowd while passing overhead in a airplane). Kellogg claimed to have never killed a living creature, and didn't eat meat. He could find underground water with a divining rod.

Kellogg was concerned about the destruction of America's redwood forests. As a publicity stunt, he decided he would drive a mobile redwood tree so America's less gifted landscapes could see the majesty up close. He started working on his "Travel Log" in 1917. The Travel Log was made from a fallen 16,000 lb. redwood giant found in the forests of Scotia and donated by the Pacific Lumber Company. Kellogg took the 11-ft. diameter tree and used a one-man saw to cut a 22-ft. section for what he envisioned.

Charles Kellogg's Travel Log interior.

Claimed to be the "Largest Piece of Hewn Redwood in the World," Kellogg carved the log by hand. The resulting rustic home featured a kitchenette, toilet, 12 lockers, guest room, dining table and bookcase. Combined with a 1917 Nash Quad truck body, the unorthodox vehicle is one-of-a-kind (okay, so maybe there wasn't a golden age of tree driving...).

The outer bark was removed, and there aren't random branches sticking out, but it's all chiseled from the one tree.

The Travel Log motored across the nation, with then middle-aged Charles Kellogg singing and proselytizing about the preservation of his cherished redwoods. Its tour days ended in 1921, and the Travel Log was stored away for 75 years.

Kellogg's Travel Log is now a featured display in the museum at the Humboldt State Park Visitor Center, only four miles from where Kellogg originally worked on it. The park facility sits in the cool gloom of an old growth redwood forest saved in 1917 due to the efforts of a few preservationists and a wealthy benefactor.

It's worth a stop to get a sense of the world Charles Kellogg loved to inhabit. Bonus: a giant redwood log's growth rings are labeled with history milestones.

During the winter holidays the Travel Log is decorated with garland, lights and stuffed toy animals.

Charles Kellogg's Travel Log

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Address:
17119 Avenue of the Giants, Weott, CA
Directions:
Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center, 2 miles south of town, 45 miles south of Eureka.
Hours:
Apr-Oct 9-5, Nov-Mar 10-4. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas. (Call to verify)
Phone:
707-946-2409
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Redwood Log of HistoryRedwood Log of History, Weott, CA - < 1 mi.
Shrine Drive-Thru TreeShrine Drive-Thru Tree, Myers Flat, CA - 3 mi.
The Eternal Tree HouseThe Eternal Tree House, Redcrest, CA - 7 mi.
In the region:
Westernmost Bar in the 48 States, Ferndale, CA - 26 mi.

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July 15, 2018

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