Inside the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Visitor Center resides a curious behemoth of a vehicle. It just may be the original RV. In 1917, Charles Kellogg, an American naturalist and lecturer, hoisted a 6-ton hollowed-out giant redwood log onto the chassis of a Nash Quad, a large truck the Nash Company built for the military in World War I and one of the very first 4×4 vehicles. Kellogg used an ax and an adz to hollow out the log and fashion it into a cabin on wheels. Inside the log he built a complete home with a kitchenette, lockers, beds, dining table, dresser, electric lights, running water and a guest room. This was almost 100 years ago!
The log is completely solid: the walls, ceiling, and floors are all one piece. Kellogg first toured the United States in his Travel Log to sell Liberty Bonds for the war effort during World War II. After the war, Kellogg, also known for his surreal ability to imitate bird calls, traveled the states to promote preserving California’s giant trees. He crossed the country four times in his lumbering motor home. Today, the Travel Log is in beautifully restored condition. Guests at the Visitor Center may get close to the log, but are not allowed inside it. The exhibit also features information about Kellogg’s life and teachings. This ancient truck is a historical artifact, and consequently is roped off to keep it preserved. However, if you want to have a similar experience, you can visit the Immortal Tree in Redcrest on the Avenue of the Giants, and climb aboard their lovingly restored log truck.