Most of us would rather not spend the night in a highway rest area--particularly along an interstate highway. The noise, lack of privacy, frequent dirtiness, and all the rest, make rest areas less than desirable overnight spots. But for some reason, "the first and the last" along California's Interstate 5 seems to break the mold on that thinking.
Traveling northward, the "last" rest area (or going south, the first) along I-5 is just south of Hornbrook. Officially called the Collier Rest Area, this stop is sandwiched between the interstate and the beautiful Klamath River. But what really sets this rest area apart from your typical, "get off the highway and hit the bathroom" stop is the setting. While the average rest area sits on the same level as the interstate, the Collier Rest Area sits way below the nearby interstate. As a result, the noise level from the freeway is dramatically reduced.
Adding to quiet, the rest area is nicely landscaped, and a separate parking area for RVers is set aside from everyone else. With pull throughs dedicated to recreational vehicles, you're set apart from noisy "reefer" units on semi-trucks, and the typical round-the-clock in-and-out noise of the passenger vehicle area. Roll in, set up your rig for the night, and you can actually get a good night's rest. Next morning, if you have the time, take the scenic Klamath River Highway south and follow the river and its wonderful scenery.
It's not often we really get to pass along "kudos" to state government, but this one really got it right!