April 22, 2019 – I know, it’s been awhile! Let’s see how far we can get today.
3/26/19 – Drove out of Lone Pine/Mt. Whitney, down along the Southern Sierra Wilderness Area, skirting Sequoia NF, west along a pass/canyon/river through the Greenhorn Mountains. These hillsides were aglow with flowers, absolutely carpeted! And the pass along the river was spectacular.
Spent the night in Bakersfield then made my way to Soda Lake at Carrizo Plain. The hills there are even more covered with a carpet of flowers, but these hills are smooth and rounded rising above the plain and lake.
You can see how the patches of flowers make nice designs on the hills in the background.
3/30/19 – And finally on the California coast!! San Simeon State Park, near San Luis Obispo. And a million Elephant Seals flopped on the beach!
And magnificent coastline, rugged coastline.
Rock cliffs you can climb around and see the life in the tide pools. Mussels, limpets, Sea Anemones, a few open, mostly closed, little blue jelly fish.
4/1/19 – After a delightful few days there, I moved north, a fantastic drive up the coastal Hwy 1, Big Sur!! It is everything I’d ever heard it could be! Amazing views and overlooks all along the way. The road riding high above.
I camped at Sunset Beach State Park a little south of Santa Cruz and drove in to meet up with an old friend from 30 yrs ago in Durham, Cynthia Elliot. Had a delightful catching up visit with her, tho much too short.
The campground was dunes and beach on one side and agricultural fields on the other. My view was a strawberry field, a huge one, acres and acres, covered in plastic, no strawberries yet. I love farms, but really strongly dislike industrial agribusiness, so this wasn’t really a happy sight. It was cloudy and rainy, and chilly so a visit to the beach was a bit dismal, tho beautiful in it’s own way. One lone couple and child were sitting out with umbrella, if you make the effort to come to the beach you gotta do the beach thing, regardless of weather. 🙂 It’s part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, so there were birds, tho not many.
4/3/19 – From there I went up the urban road to the Anthony Chabot Regional Park within spittin’ distance of Oakland. I’d come to Oakland to visit another old friend from the triangle who moved out here 20+ yrs ago, Liza. Once again, a wonderful visit! It’s so great to catch up with old friends after many years.
The Chabot park is really fabulous. And so close to a busy metropolitan area. All along the coastal area, I’m so amazed there are mountains so close to the coast. Great campground and wild turkeys everywhere!
4/4/19 – I’d planned to go through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate and into the Muir Woods on the way out, but I made the mistake of leaving at rush hour and refused to go through that while towing a camper. So went around the north side of Oakland, over the San Raphael bridge (I think that’s what it’s called) with a toll of $16!! and north on 101 to Petaluma before crossing west back onto the coastal Hwy. I was very disappointed I didn’t think that through enough, really wish I’d seen the Golden Gate and the Muir Woods.
But onward. The rest of this part of the journey really is all about crawling up the west coast. I’d originally thought I’d be crossing inland back and forth to the northern California National Parks and Forest sites and inland Oregon and Washington en route to Canada, but little did I know, those Parks and Forests aren’t even open this time of year. It’s too cold, it’s snowing still, roads are impassable. They are mountains after all. So we’ve adjusted to make it all the way up the coast, which means the rest of this blog post is all coastal. There’s also no cheap or free BLM, National Forest camping, and Walmarts and rest areas don’t allow sleepovers, so we’ve stayed in state parks mostly, which in California are expensive and don’t have amenities like elec hookups and showers. Gas went over $4 while we were here, so it’s been an expensive leg of the trip. I expected California coast to be more expensive, and was very happy to have been able to go on the cheap in AZ and desert Calif. However, since it’s so expensive we’re moving along pretty quickly, the fact that we can’t explore inland means moving quickly also. There’s very little cell reception which surprised me, often just enough to text but nothing else, sometimes not even that. With all that pushing us, we haven’t really settled anywhere long enough to have some time off for blogging, what little internet time I have goes to planning and mapping next steps. The coast is fabulous, so I certainly can’t whine too much about these little inconveniences.
4/4/19 – Back to the coast. Next stop – Bodega Bay. Sweet little fishing port, not too spoiled by tourism, and being off season even less so. Good seafood. Great hike up the Bodega Head, a mound/hill high above the coastline at the tip of the harbor. Very cold and windy, but great views. Campground right on the harbor. Could hear the sea lions barking.
4/7/19 – Managed to find a free campsite for a couple of nights at a Vista Point (overlook) near Fort Bragg (no, the other Fort Bragg). Great views. Great price.
And with a little sun.
4/9/19 – And then into the Redwoods! Coastal Hwy 1 ends above Fort Bragg and you get on Coastal Hwy 101, a little farther from the coast at this point. The next couple of nights at Humboldt Redwoods State Park. All along it has been mostly at least cloudy, misty and foggy, if not rainy. Going into the Redwoods was a little difficult, sooo dark under the trees in addition to the cloudiness. Into the rain forest in addition to rain. Obvious major change from the coast. But oh my, being among the redwoods!! Breathtaking. Many hikes, long and short. Xena can’t go on them so I keep to the shorter ones. Just walking in the redwood forests is otherworldly – so powerful, beautiful, magnificent, magical.
After seeing a wonderful National Geographic video in the visitors center and reading some more, I realized how the Redwoods parks, first by the state then national, are much more about preserving the old growth redwoods that remain, and rehabbing the forests that have been cut. These huge giants, how could anyone see only their $$ value. The gold rush brought prospectors out here, but then they saw the real value was in the trees and started cutting them. Only 3% of the original old growth still stands, thanks to those committed to saving them. They had to buy the land from the logging companies, including the lost value ($$) of the uncut logs. Brought tears to my eyes.
4/11/19 – From Humboldt we went to the Redwoods National Park, really State and National, they coordinate managing it. There are several other state Redwood parks too, all run together. More awesomeness. This time the campground, Elk Prairie, was true to it’s name. Most sites were in the Redwoods, dark and wet and muddy, but we chose sites on the edge of the prairie. And yes there were Elk!!! And more elk. The sun even shone a few days. More great hikes, giant trees, and down to the coast. And since it was a National Park, we got to use our senior discount! Yay!! Finally. If you look at a map, all along the coast there are many state parks, one after another, many very small, many only day use. I really appreciate that, the coast is saved from the kind of development that is present on the east coast. I just wish they were national, they are so expensive for camping and day use. It was so great, including the 1/2 price, we stayed several days.
4/16/19 – Port Orford, OR. OREGON!!! What a sweet little port. The Port Authority allows RV parking in a parking lot up on the bluff above the docks for $10 so another good site. Hopefully OR will be better park price-wise and gas-wise anyway. The harbor/port is for day fisherfolk, both commercial and private. The boats are put in and taken out of the water daily via crane!! By necessity they are pretty small fishing boats. What a fascinating operation to watch. More great views of course, and more huge rocks to walk among and explore at low tide. A little seafood restaurant on the docks. I’m talking little and unpretentious. Good fish!!
Now while in Oregon I was also planning to visit some womyn’s lands and other friends inland from the coast. None of them are very far inland, but far enough to feel it a lot of gas to go over. By this time I realized I’d be making another trip out here, to go up inland California, Oregon, Washington, in addition to northern NM and AZ, Utah, Colorado, etc, places I couldn’t go because of cold this year. In the warmer summer months, instead of trying to get to Canada and Alaska for the summer. Next year’s trip begins to take shape. I will be back.
4/18/19 – So on up the coast of Oregon, Yachats, Siuslaw National Forest, Tillicum CG, 1/2 price! Yay!! The CG is again on a bluff above the beach. This time the beach is a very long, wide sandy beach at this point. At low tide must have been 1/4 mile wide! Could hear the surf from bed, nice. And full moon time. Sunny one day. But just down the coast a bit is very, VERY rocky coastline. Cape Perpetua, Hard Basalt, continuous rock seawall with nooks and crannies and caves and tunnels that allow for very active waterworks, spouts, crashes, especially during high tide or storms. We caught it at full moon high tide in the rain (but not stormy). What a show!! I have great videos that I can’t post here, if you see me remember to ask me to show you.
All along the coast is supposed to be great whale sightings Spring and Fall as they migrate from Alaska to Baja and back. Here at Perpetua is a resident pod who don’t bother going any further north for the summer. We’ve been “whale watching” a lot, finally spotting 2 spouts. Pretty exciting, even tho far, far away.
Just north of Yachats is Newport and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. On Sat. I went up there. After having seen the Elephant Seals, a few sea otters, heard (but not seen) the Sea Lions and spotted a couple of whale spouts, I needed to go see more. Especially since I opted out of going to the Monterey Aquarium. I loved it, it was fabulous, must have spent 4 hrs there.
Then went to the Newport Old Harbor town and saw crazy lots of sea lions jockying for position on docks and rocks.
4/19/19 – And from there, Tillamook, OR, home of the Tillamook Cheese Factory. But we’re camped at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. It’s an old dairy converted to a store specializing in cheese and wines and regional farm products. Wine and cheese and other product (jams, spreads, sauces, syrups, etc) tastings all day. And a tourist stopover with petting zoo: pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, llamas, peacocks, guineas, and a donkey!! Felt right at home!
They allow RV parking around the edge of their parking lot through Harvest Hosts. And of course the name alone attracted me, reminding me of my friends and especially Barbara Lorie, at Blue Heron Farm community in Pittsboro. Much love to you Barbara.
Guess what? That brings us up to date!! I am sitting here at Blue Heron, free camping, time and internet all at the same time!! Wow!! I did it!! Yay!!
Hehaw, til next time down the road,
Lynn and Xena