Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday, June 30th

We are heading up to Port Angeles today with a lunch stop in Forks, WA to visit the Logging Museum.

While you are the next post, I invite you to see "Rocky, the Motorhome Driving Daredevil" as he attempts to jump 35 cars in a motorhome.

Update: 2100hrs

Spectacular weather today! Just perfect!

As we were heading up Highway 101 on the east side of the bay from Long Beach Peninsula, we captured one of four air boats navigating the wetlands at good clip. Yesterday, I forgot to add that we really liked Long Beach. The property values are sane, the town hosts everything from one of the biggest Rod Runs, to Harley meets to a Sand Castle competition and more. It is good to see a local community with life in perspective and not too influenced by lesser humans that live in great concentration, in small boxes, hundreds of miles away.

Highway 101 from Long beach to Port Angeles is a superb road. We made great time. I reccommend this route for any sized vehicle. We stopped briefly on the coast at "Beach #4" for a few photos. On the beach were local, Hoh Indians catching perch by the bucket full.

As mentioned, we stopped at the Forks, WA Logging Museum and bypassed the Hoh Rain forest. The museum, operated by a friendly staff is small but packed with artifacts. Below is a vintage, chain saw display.

My youngest now wants a Log truck for his toy collection, and that is just right!

For 15 miles, Highway 101 sits right on the edge of Lake Crescent, a very deep lake with the most blue waters I have ever seen. The photo below captures the hues of the water from crystal clear to the immediate drop off and deep blue waters.

We are in Port Angeles. The scene out our RV window includes the snow capped mountains of the Olympic National Forest to the south. It's nightfall now and a Circle Track Raceway a few miles away has added proper music for the evening.

Tomorrow, we plan to visit Victoria, BC Canada.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday, June 29th

We are in Long Beach, WA today. We plan to visit the Lewis & Clark interpretive center at Cape Disappointment as well as Oysterville today. It rained most of the night and the forecast calls for 60% chance of rain throughout the day. Like in Hawaii, the rain is periodically interrupted by bright sunshine.

Update: 1915hrs

The sun came out and stayed most of the day for really nice weather.

Below is a shot down the Lighthouse Keeper's trail to the "North Head Lighthouse" at Cape Disappointment. Until 1961, the lighthouse produced light by burning kerosene via a very complicated, multi-wick lamp. The lighthouse keepers toiled daily to haul fuel oil to the lighthouse and to make sure the lighthouse lens and windows were kept clean.

This is the actual lens that has been removed from the North Point Lighthouse. It is on display at the Lewis and Clark interpretive center at Cape Disappointment. Each facet of the lens is a separate piece, hand crafted in France in the 1800's.

The remnants of an old pier in Ilwaco harbor. In the background is the US Coast Guard lifeboat station and training school. This USCG lifeboat base is the most active in the US.

A photo from Oysterville, WA, looking across Willapa Bay. Oysterville is a tiny, sleepy, historic town with a few restored homes and structures that were built in the mid to late 1800's. The town once supplied the majority of Oysters to the newly, wealthy 49'ers in San Francisco during the Gold Rush.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday, June 28th

We are heading up to Long Beach, WA today.

Update: 2130hrs

We are in Long Beach on the sand. The drive up the coast was in rain the entire way. The sky partially cleared for a nice sunset at about 2100hrs.

We made a late start today after finding one of the tires on the Escalade flat this morning. I aired it up with the RV air supply and stopped at a Les Schwab Tire Store for repair. The techs found a small nail and had me out the door in 25 minutes - FOR FREE!

That's right, Les Schwab does not charge for fixing simple flats. What a contrast to Ted Weins Firestone in my home town of Las Vegas, NV where it seems that every slow leak or puncture always turns into a new tire purchase.

Also, if you ever travel the route we traveled today do not expect "RV friendly" gas stations or parking lots from Newport, all the way to Tillamook, although there are more "Rainbow Flags" on this section than I have ever seen prior, anywhere else.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wednesday, June 27th

We are in Charleston, OR.

I took an early morning drive to grab my required, 44oz Diet Coke. The scenery around this small, working fishing town is spectacular. I know where I will be at Sunset with my Nikon in hand.

Update: 2100hrs

We drove up to Reedsport and Winchester Bay. Both are in the heart of the open areas of the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area. I also spent time in Charleston harbor and out to Cape Arago during the late afternoon and early evening hours.

ATV's on the beach!!! Just north of Coos Bay.

ATV's up and down a steep dune near Winchester bay, OR.

The vast dune system south of Winchester bay, OR.

One of the many, vintage fishing boats in Charleston Harbor.

More of the old boats in the afternoon light.


An old fishing boat in a Charleston Boatyard.

Low tide near the Charleston Municipal Dock as a fishing boat and fishermen unload their catch.

At Cape Arago, looking north up the coast. The Cape Arago Lighthouse can barely be seen in the photo.

Sunset above the offshore marine layer and through the trees at Cape Arago.

Whenever we find a great local eatery we will report! Today, we had lunch at Crabby's Cafe in Winchester Bay, OR. I had a fresh Cod Melt Sandwich and the fish was as light and delicate as fresh Opah in Hawaii.

An outside view of Crabby's Cafe.

Inside the eatery.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday, June 26th

We are driving to Coos Bay, Oregon today. Our route follows Highway 101.

Update: 1840hrs.

We are in Coos Bay, Oregon. The Oregon Coastline north of the California border almost rivals the beauty of the California coast north of Bodega Bay. I have a few photos that I will post a bit later.

One stark realization was that as soon as we crossed the border into Oregon and stopped for lunch in Brookings we found ourselves back in small towns and cities that displayed economic vitality. The roads are better as well and the timber harvest is active. All of this was good to see after witnessing widespread economic depression in the Northern California Redwoods. Perhaps this can be attributed to the wise Oregonians keeping the San Francisco Bay Area, radical, environmentalists at bay with their common disrespect for Californians as a whole.

Coos Bay is a big city with it's own share of issues both good and bad. We will set out tomorrow to capture some of the natural beauty of the coastline via our faithful, Nikon D200.

The Brookings Harbor with the marine layer still overhead at 1400hrs.

A look up the coast, north of Brookings.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday, June 25th

We are off to the Lost Coast today and then a dinner up at the Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka. Here is our route for the day.

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th due to the Internet be unusable at our campground the evening prior.

We left camp off of Highway 101 about 0930hrs and went west to Shelter Cove on the south end of the Lost Coast. The road was a patchwork of asphalt with sharp switchbacks and very steep grades at what I estimate to be 12+% at times – a tough road.

I was not too surprised to see a sign near Shelter Cove counting the RV accidents on the road. What really surprised me was the amount of RV’s at Shelter Cove as well as large truck traffic. Like I said, this road is tough and no place that I would ever take the Monsterhome.

Regardless, Shelter Cove is a clean and orderly small town dependant on dollars from vacation homes and a very strong fishing industry. I was told that the local catch is flown out daily from the local airport.

Here is a look up the Lost Coast from the Black Sand Beach, just north of Shelter Cove.

From Shelter Cove we took Horse Mountain road and Wilder Ridge road to Honeydew. Horse Mountain Road is a well maintained, gravel and dirt road with steep grades and the sharpest switchback I have scene outside of the Baja outback. Kim’s Escalade handled the road easily with superb, processor controlled, all wheel drive.

Honeydew, CA is like something that might rival a forgotten town in Appalachia - a run down little berg with idle characters and not much else.

We took Mattole road west to the ocean, stopping near Petrolia in the heart of cattle ranching country. Below, local kids hang out at the swimming hole on the Mattole River.

This barn has a date plaque that states its date of construction to be 1880.

The coastal road rides along a coast like none I have ever witnessed. It is barren, windswept, with shallow shore rock formations and all gray. The only standout was the large rock at Cape Mendocino as scene below and as we climbed up from the shoreline on another very steep grade. Cape Mendocino is the western most point of the continental, United States.

The road back to civilization was more of the same - tight, uneven asphalt, gravel and with very, very steep grades and switchbacks, and no people! Just the way we like it.

We finally dropped down into Ferndale, a Historic city with many buildings of Victorian Architecture. Below is the ‘Gingerbread Mansion” which is now a B&B.

A photo of the Ring’s Rexall Drug store on the main drag, the oldest continuously operating drug store in the California.

After Ferndale, we were off to Eureka for a planned dinner at the Samoa Cookhouse. The establishment is a genuine, logging camp cookhouse that ceased camp operation a few decades ago yet, is serving up the same fare in the same style to all takers and as a working relic of a proud and bygone era.

A small museum of logging tools and equipment as well as old kitchen equipment from the very early days of the cookhouse, circa early 1900’s is also on the premise.

Inside view.

Outside view.

Great food and a super price. We recommend the Samoa Cookhouse highly.

On the way out town we spotted the Carson mansion, the most photographed, Victorian architecture building in the US. The mansion now belongs to some strange, private club where a myth surrounds the amount of actual members of 1 member short of 400.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday, June 24th

We are just south of the Avenue of Giants and Garberville, CA. We are off to find the Drive Through, Redwood Tree among other "must see" natural attractions!

Update: 2030hrs

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! We found the "Drive Through Redwood Tree". The Escalade squeezed through with just an inch or less on each side of the fold-in side mirrors. We may have been the first Escalade through the tree, according to staff.

A scene on the Avenue of the Giants, just south of Myer's Flat, California.

All these kids need is a big 'ol STIHL saw,

We stopped at "Founders Grover" for the walking loop. Below is a shot up through the canopy near the founder's tree which is 346 feet tall.

A young redwood sapling, reaching for sunlight.

The fallen, Dyerville Giante tree, said to have been the tallest Redwood in the forest at 380 feet high.

When I was a boy, we traveled through this area in the 1960's. The logging economy was vibrant and every little town was teaming with life and economic vitality. That is no more, in fact it is just the opposite, almost every town appears to be severely depressed and largely void of productive young people.

At the hands of radical, self serving environmentalists with the "Spotted Owl" as their surrogate for extortion, the logging industry is less than a shadow of its former leadership in life long multi-generation employment, economic infusion and reliability. Today, it is replaced with Marijuana farmers, shoddy and almost comedic tourist industries and geriatric Hippies - all likely locked into monthly welfare checks.

Very sad!

Pacific Lumber Company operates the only working mill in the area located in the company town of Scotia, which by the way is the only town showing a degree of housekeeping and economic vitality.

Exactly alike company houses in Scotia.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday, June 23rd

Here is our route today. At over 200 miles on country roads, I figure we will be traveling for 7 to 8 hours today. We have a planned stop at the Point Arena Lighthouse and likely in Mendocino.

Update: Sunday, June 24th @0930hrs

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS! -- I am ready!

The route north of Bodega Bay to Mendocino is by far, one of the most scenic we have ever traveled. Highway 1, below Monterrey is not even close. This area warrants a complete week to see the incredible natural beauty. Our schedule this year unfortunately does not allow. We will be back with camera in hand and the time required to do this place justice.

Back to the road! WOW that was fun! I really enjoy these roads, tight, twisty and little traffic. I'll take them any day over a more straight, more crowded and more stressful road.

This switchback required that I use the outside, oncoming lane to make the turn. A first ever in the Monsterhome.

We witnessed bike riders pulling trailers, pumping up incredible hills along this stretch. Notice how these errant riders are outide their designated bicycle lane!!!

We found another "top spot for eats" - Bone's Roadhouse in Gualala served up superb BBQ. I had beef brisket and Kim had pulled pork. Both were super tender and championship quality. The service was superb and friendly.

We stopped at Point Arena to visit the Lighthouse which has been in constant service since the 1870's and is one of the only lighthouses where you can ascend to the top.

I have always been fascinated with technology from the 19th century. Think about how the lighthouse had to operate in that era. The light was a pressure fed, oil lamp that had a type of carburetor. The huge lens rotated on a base of liquid mercury via a weight and pulley system that had to be reset every 60 minutes via manual action from one of the three light keepers. Then there was the Fog Horn - how did that operate so reliably in the 19th century? Here is a great link to learn how -

The view from the lighthouse to the northwest.

The staircase in the lighthouse.