Coastal redwoods are unforgettable
Thank you so much for Christopher Reynolds' lovely piece on the coast redwoods ("In the Land of the Giants," May 18). While Mark Boster's luminous shot of the redwood canopy offers the perfect companion to Reynolds' narrative, the cover photo of the kitschy drive-through tree seems an unfortunate choice, especially in light of the sidebar's reminder that redwood poaching — damaging or destroying these ancient trees for "trophy" burls — continues to plague this region. An intact tree, without an SUV peering out of its mutilated trunk, would have been an ideal vision to invite us into Reynolds' article and Redwood National Park itself.
Regarding the Travel section's great spread on the California redwoods: I wish I had had this information in 1963-64. On a vacation to Northern California, my husband, brother and I went looking for the famous drive-through tree but encountered instead a drive-through stump. This stump was only a few feet high, and as we were driving through it, an elderly couple approached us, demanding payment. Although I'm sure we were looking for the Chandelier Tree, this episode was hilarious and is a fond memory 50 years later.
Really enjoyed the articles on the coast redwoods. I have been visiting them since 1958 and have seen most everything Reynolds described in his articles. He couldn't write about everything remarkable concerning the redwoods, of course. My favorite is the Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
In my opinion, the coastal redwoods are the most wonderful of the scenic wonders I have seen in my lifetime.
When I walk into a redwood grove on an overcast day, the experience is breathtaking. On a sunny day, the sunlight streaming down, filtered by the tall trees, makes the grove appear like a most magnificent cathedral with enormous stained-glass windows admitting the light of the sun.
The feel of the forest floor covering under foot; the cool, moist air; and the quiet all combine for an unforgettable experience.
Frederic G. Marks
Ike knew best
Liesl Bradner's May 18 article "70th Anniversary of D-Day: Salutes to Be Heard 'Round the World" was superb. It reminds me of the words of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who after beating the Germans at Normandy addressed British Gen. Bernard Montgomery, who had criticized Eisenhower's military skills: "A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of a sheep."
Evan Dale Santos
Thrifty car rental tips
Regarding "Four Rules for Reducing Rental Car Cost," by Catharine Hamm, May 11: May I suggest Rule No. 5: Always check the Web for discount codes, etc. Just type in the code on the reservation for another possible 10% to 15% discount. Also, if you are visiting cities in the Northeast, consider using public transportation from the airport into town. Driving in Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston are a nightmare. Parking costs are high versus public transportation, which is fast and convenient. Another way to save hotel costs is to find lodging close to the commuter rail lines outside the downtown areas. If you are visiting multiple cities in the Northeast, consider using Amtrak's Northeast corridor trains, which will take you into the heart of every major city. Rent a car only for the days you will be visiting outside the city.
A derivative of Rule No. 1 for renting cars: If you are renting a car from a company that has an office at a local hotel, you can do one of several things to avoid the high airport taxes.
1. Rent the car at the airport and drive to the hotel and swap rental car contracts. You pay for a car twice for one day, but the savings if you stay more than four days recovers the extra cost by avoiding the airport taxes.
2. Take the hotel shuttle to the hotel and rent your car there.
I have done this several times, and in all cases I did not stay at the hotel and returned the car to the local airport with no additional charge.