Friday, July 1, 2016

Northern Callifornia and the Redwoods

We left the bay area on Thursday,  16 June  and drove to Willits, CA.  125 miles up Hwy 101.

Easy drive.   Pulled into a KOA about 1230.  We rarely do KOAs.  We think they are  mostly overpriced and offer a lot of amenities that don't interest us.  Having said that,  if you're a family with younger children this is the place.  Pools, water park, nice play areas, petting zoo, miniature golf, frisbee golf and western themed store fronts to play "something." Here is the kicker, our site is immediately adjacent to the water park.

 Also, there are 10,000 children.  Bailey is scared to death.

Thursday afternoon we drove about 35 miles to the Mendocino coast.  We imagined it would be a pretty stretch of coast.  We stopped at a couple of public areas with coastal access.  All very nice.

Then we stumbled upon a real jewel.  Point Cabrillo Light Station and Preserve.  I'm telling you just the cutest light house.

 It was closed but a light keeper's house was open as a museum.

Huge grounds. Easy to imagine what a great assignment it would have been back in the day.  If the pictures look a little gray and gloomy there's a reason. We had a little bit of rain, the first of the trip, but not a problem.

The only downside to the outing was that the drive to the coast was via  a death defying, 2 lane, winding road.  Deborah Louise is not interested in returning to the coast via Hwy 20.

Friday was another easy day.  Finally got underway about 1100.  First stop, the dog groomer.  Bailey had developed what we would describe as a curly dew claw that was at risk of poking into her leg. Great folks.  Very efficient, confident and competent.  Moments and $10 later, all 4 feet nicely groomed. Would you call that a pedi or a mani?  On the way home we discovered a little store selling Krispy Kreme donuts.  We restrained.  Only got 6.  So much fun!

Later, Debbie and I went to a local museum.  We thought it was to be about trains and logging. Nope. Neither, but still enjoyable. We did make a great purchase though.  As we've traveled we've often bought magnets representing the local area we visited and/or our activities.  Debbie has converted some of these to Christmas tree ornaments. So we found 2 unique ones in the museum gift shop we couldn't resist.  First, "Forgive quickly, kiss slowly."  Come on now, it's a nice thought.

The second one is the best.  "I love you more today than yesterday.  Yesterday you really got on my nerves!"

 We laughed all the way home!!

Saturday, we moved on to the land of the giant redwoods, arriving in Fortuna, Ca. around  1ish.  We don't often rush about in the mornings.  I do at home but not on the road.  We kinda get up when Laska demands it and move on as the spirit motivates us.  Also, Debbie has designed our trip so that most moves don't require a long drive. Getting into a campground early seems to make it an easier, less hectic event. So 1ish is great.  After we get settled, which always includes giving the dogs a good walk, we head for Ferndale and Eureka, CA. I'll tell you why in a minute.  En route we stop at Centerville Beach County Park

and, adjacent to that, Lost Coast Headlands.

Both locations are scenic but not really world class. What is notable is that there are zillions of acres of land, to include breathtaking oceanfront property and there's "nothing" there.  Few people, a few homes, I don't think any businesses, just open unspoiled land leading right to the ocean shore! Remember when we were young and there was a lot of rhetoric about overpopulation and running out of land.  I'm thinking not the concern we earlier imagined. Good!

Back to Ferndale and, best of all, Eureka.  What a great name!  Like Hallelujah or Shazam.  Both were settled in the mid 1850's.  I love to ask the question, "why did people settle here?" Ferndale, primarily with dairy farming pioneers and Eureka due to fishing, farming and the logging industry.  Today, much of their tourist appeal is the Victorian homes and hotels. These are in Ferndale.

Beyond that, Ferndale is small and quaint.  Eureka is considerably larger, with a significant harbor coupled with a nice boardwalk,

many more Victorian homes,

The "Famous Carson Mansion" now a private men;s club
and a sizable downtown enjoying impressive restoration.  Having said that, we were there Saturday evening and there were few people in town.  Puzzling, but what do we know. Came home and ate homemade taco soup.  We still don't eat out very often.

Sunday on to the Avenue of The Giants.  This is a 31 mile scenic drive running parallel to  Hwy 101 and through Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  The "giants" are the wonderful redwoods. Earlier in our trip we enjoyed and marveled at the Sequoias.  They have impressive height and massive girth.  Kinda like huge football players.  The redwoods certainly have ample girth but oh so tall! Like long legged models.
Along the Avenue

The day was perfect!  Sunny, mid 70's and a pleasant breeze.  So our day on the Avenue included gentle driving and numerous stops to gawk/enjoy short hikes.  The forests with Sequoias include a relatively small number of Sequoias. The redwood forests include a very large number of Redwoods.  I know you have to be there to fully appreciate what I describe but imagine: The huge trees standing are complimented with huge trees on the forest floor.

Even those downed trees contribute great drama.  They'll take decades, or maybe hundreds of years to decompose. The stumps! Ladies and gentlemen, you must take a moment to soak up the enormity of the

Even the splintered trees are a sight to behold! 

Much of the forest floor is crowded with clover and ferns. 

Thank you decomposing trees.  As you stroll you truly think in terms of grandeur and majesty. The setting genuinely warrants peaceful contemplation. Enough?

Please bare with me.  I have to take a moment to tell you a little something about the logging of these huge trees in the days of old. Back in the day, the logging dudes were frothing over the potential of these huge trees.  But after you spend a day cutting one down, how do you move it?   Now for the rest of he story - Paul Harvey.  You don't!  Mostly the trees were cut into comparatively tiny pieces to make shingles, grape stakes (think wineries) and railroad ties. Something we read compared it to chopping a grandfather clock up for kindling. Currently, there are about 200,000 acres of Redwoods secured on public lands.  There are about 2 million acres of Redwoods in private hands, primarily lumber companies.(So I'm told by a local, third generation timber man.)  His observation was that they are currently enjoying responsible stewardship.  So there you have it.        
This perpetual vacationing thing can be wonderfully exhausting.  Monday we got off to a very slow start.  After a full breakfast at home we finally made our way, midday, to a habitat we always enjoy. That would be wetlands. You know, they're just peaceful.  Typically you just mosey along a gentle, level trail looking for shore and/or migratory birds.  We are wannabe birders at best.  My father, rest his wonderful soul, was a highly motivated, accomplished birder.  He enthusiastically guided and encouraged us as we would let him.  So we're at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge just north of Fortuna, CA.

Their peak birding season is winter so there are only a few birds for us to enjoy but any sighting seems worthwhile.  A huge element of our visit at the refuge includes an animated conversation with the park ranger regarding volunteering as RV'ers.  As our visit winds down it becomes apparent that we're probably not good candidates for the job because they don't allow the public to bring in dogs (lord knows we have dogs) but it generated an interesting dialog between Debbie and I about possibly returning to the RV volunteering world!  Very interesting!  On the way home we swing by the Loleta Cheese Company located in, stand by, Loleta, CA.  Everything about the town and the cheese factory seemed mighty tired but the cheese is quite good.  I guess that's all that matters.  Despite my "tired" comment, the cheese folks maintain a beautiful garden behind their place of business.  We strolled, took pictures and went back inside and bought a couple of chunks of cheese.

 I guess the garden served its purpose.

We then moved north to Crescent City, CA. Upon our arrival we get into our campsite and, step one for me is to always connect our surge protector.  For those of you who know of some of my more stupid stunts, you'll recall I fried some of the electrical systems in our previous camper because I was too lackadaisical to plug in my surge protector at my own home.  Consequently, I now ALWAYS go with the surge protector.  So, it says the power at the pedestal is not good.  I check other vacant sites. They're good.  Obviously my site is bad.  I go to office.  After a little tap dancing, they give me another site.  I pull the camper there.  New 30 amp plug installed upside down.  Can't connect with surge protector. Remember, ALWAYS.  I go to office.  They find another site.  Nothing special but everything works. Phew.

Our outing for the evening is to ride the coast (beautiful) and we kind of stumble upon another lighthouse.  It's not that we're necessarily lighthouse enthusiasts, but they're so often located in such picturesque settings.  Plus, the lighthouse career/culture of those "good ole days" is intriguing. This proves true for the Battery Point Lighthouse.  You can only walk to the lighthouse at low tide.  Dumb luck, it's low tide.

We hang around the area and enjoy the sunset.

A large part of July is to be spent on the Oregon coast.  But, when we leave Crescent city in a couple of days, we're going inland to Crater Lake.  So we load the dogs into the truck (They LOVE TO RIDE IN THE TRUCK) and head north to cruise some of the coast we'll miss with our inland jaunt.  It's just a great day.  We cruise.  Get out.  Walk the dogs. Enjoy the scenery.

  Enjoy the dogs.

Bailey has gone from Desert Dog to Beach Baby.  I now refer to her choker as "bling" and her red Easy Walk harness is her "bustier."  I'm so amused!  For those of you familiar with Bailey's story, think how her life has changed.  We are SO pleased to be a part of her life.  She's currently laying at my feet as I type.  Here's the rest of the family.  They do look good!  (Debbie said I can't say this, but obviously I can.)

I think  those of you familiar with this portion of the west coast would agree it's exciting scenery.  For those of us most familiar with the east coast, the Oregon coast is endlessly OMG scenery. As the sun sets we go home.

It's 23 June.  Just a reference for you and I.  We start our day going out for breakfast at a small cafe across from our campground that advertises the "best breakfast in the county".  I order an omelette and hash browns.  The guy at the next table is having platter size pancakes. I can't resist but I do tame my order a bit requesting only two and I'll have the "sissy" size please.  How big can they be?  Debbie and the waitress do suggest getting only one but, of course I'm brilliant, so I go with two.  I rarely, like maybe never, not finish any meal out.  I did not finish the pancakes.  They were delicious but for sissy size think a fat, over sized Frisbee.  The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, going to Walmart, a little more time at Crescent City coast and thinking why did I eat such a huge breakfast.

Our last day in Crescent City we're out the door at 6 am.  We're impressed.  We're driving just a few miles to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.  Our plan is a 6 mile hike on the highly recommended Boy Scout Trail to enjoy more redwoods. It's dense.  Few trees are not redwoods.  Referring to the enormous trees quickly becomes redundant, but necessary.

You have to be careful that looking up all the time doesn't cause you to fall.

Going out we only encounter one other pair of hikers so largely the trail is ours. Debbie, declared it's one of the best hikes she's ever done. Believe it or not, after the hike we, at Debbie's suggestion, go back for more pancakes.

"Sissy" size

I may order pancakes again in 2020!  That evening we returned to Stout Grove (another area of the state park) for our last fix of redwoods.  Such a life.  We're grateful!!!

Next stop, Crater Lake National Park.


1 comment:

  1. I SOOOOOOOO LOVE that you are having fun this summer! Sure do miss you and wish we were with you!!! Continue "sort of" makes me feel as if we were with you!!!