Updated September, 2002
Our schedule called for us to meet daughter Deb at son Michael's home in Martinez at noon and all of us go to lunch together. Alice and I decided to have breakfast at the TTN Family Lodge rather than dirtying the kitchen again. Unfortunately, the park was experiencing a power outage, so the kitchen could not prepare coffee or cook everything. We settled for instant coffee, substandard bacon, eggs, and pancakes.
Rigging for travel did not take very long, and we went out the gate just after 10am.
Highway 101 and I-680 were their normal busy self; even Sunday morning could not slow down some people. The 80 mile drive reminded us that 680 is one of the rougher roads in California. We did see even more construction along the way, and the air quality left something to be desired.
It took almost exactly two hours to reach Mike's home. His family and Deb were ready to go to lunch, so we piled into two cars and headed down to the Food Court at the mall. It was good to talk with the grandchildren, who will be in the eighth grade, a junior, and a senior this fall. Jeremiah is 6' 4" now. I think the kid is still growing. Matt and Rebecca are also growing but I don't think either will be as tall.
Mike just had cataract surgery in both eyes, at the early age of 44. He said the doctors did know why (he did not have any of the standard precursors), but he very obviously needed the fix. He can now see distance without glasses but needs help for reading.
Returning to their home, I borrowed their computer to check messages and send a couple of emails on Board business. Then we hugged all around, fetched the animals, and Deb, Alice and I headed out on our trip to Russian River TTN. We drove across the upper part of the bay on Hwy 37. It has changed from years past. There are no longer passing lanes and a center barrier keeps the two opposing lanes away from each other. -- much safer. We experienced heavy traffic on Hwy-101 until Santa Rosa.
As we drove north I noticed the price of deisel increased, but the fuel tank did not need filling as yet. Deb had one of our Family Band radios and we had the other so we could keep in close communications. Deb followed at a reasonable distance back and we maintained a 55mph average on the level freeway.
We stopped along the way in Cotati at the California Welcome Center for a pit stop. Then it was on up the road. We turned off 101 just north of Cloverdale and came back on Geysers Road to the Russian River TTN Park and checked in at about 4pm. The park is on the side of a hill but well constructed and paved. We found a good spot in C-section and backed in.
With the temperature still in the high 90s, so we decided to stay only one night and head for cooler weather on up the coast the next morning. I left the trailer attached to the truck.
Deb had purchased three large salmon fillets and cooked them for us on her electric grill. At my suggestion she marinated and basted them in Anchor River Sauce (equal parts dill, basil, rosemary, thyme, two parts olive oil and lemon juice). I explained how I invented that sauce to mask the taste of fish on our trip to Alaska in 1979.
Luckily the temperature dropped enough to make
it comfortable before bedtime.
The next morning we took an early morning walk around the TTN park. We saw a flock of wild turkeys in the park and a band of vultures down on the river. Coveys of quail ran all over the place. It might have been a good place to stay longer except for the expected heat.
We returned to Hwy-101 and continued north at a good clip. I decided to purchase fuel and near Ukiah I saw a road sign indicating the upcoming 76 station had diesel. Pulling off the freeway and around to the truck stop pump, I found the price to be $1.739, at least 10 cents more than back down the road. But they did offer 6 cents discount for cash, so I filled the tank and spent a chunk of my spare change. I should have refueled in Cloverdale.
In Legget we stopped at a Safeway I remember stopping at on some previous trip. We purchased a few items for the kitchen, including fruit. The only good deal I found was a fixed price seedless watermelon. We were able to replenish our soda supply.
Our trip plan called for staying on Hwy-101 to Myer's Flat, a distance of about 133 miles to the campground Alice had chosen from Trailer Life. I found the highway to be in good repair. Towing the 26' Alpenlite, the truck had no problems with hills or turns, and we made good time. However, I remembered the nice time we had in Benbow a couple of years ago, and when we started passing by some of the redwood groves we decided to should stop sooner then later. This cut our trip to 116 miles.
Alice signed us up for two nights to give us time to visit the redwood groves in the area. I could not get into the first campsite they assigned because the truck across the road blocked my turning path. The fellow from the office assigned us to a different spot that was much easier to enter. We took our time setting up and then rested.
Later we went to the office for a swim. They keep their pool at the mid-80s and have a hot-tub nearby. Alice and I did some of our aquasize then rested in the spa.
Deb fixed chicken and long beans in black bean sauce for supper. The next morning she made eggs and chorizo for breakfast. Afterwards we went for a tour of the Avenue of the Giants, just north of Benbow. The Eel River is running low this time of year, and there has been an outbreak of "blue algae" that makes it dangerous for dogs to get around the water. The redwoods in the different groves remain spectacular, even as you get older.
We made it up to the Founder's Grove and walked the loop path through the grove. The Founder's tree is 360 feet tall. The tallest redwood in the area is 369 feet. I am not sure just how they measure the height, because there appears to be no way to actually see the top of the tree.
Several fallen giants lay about the grove, and some of the root structures looked as if they had been larger than the Founder's Tree. We saw one recent fall with some green branches laying near the trail. Later I heard that the redwoods intertwine their roots and reach out fifty or more feet.
We returned to the car and drove back down to Myer's Flat for lunch, which was fairly good. Then we headed back to camp.
Alice and I visited the office to try to use
the Internet. I had problems getting AOL to dial the number I
wanted so did not pick up any messages. I did manage to check
voicemail -- no messages.
Deb rose early to check if they offered breakfast at Benbow Inn on the other side of the freeway. She returned all enthusiastic and shortly we headed off that way. A path under the freeway took us to the historic structure, now a bed and breadfast place. It is an elegant place. We had what amounted to a standard fare breakfast I would rate only moderately good. The ambiance ranked quite high, but did not match the price for an old guy like me.
Back at camp we rigged for travel and soon headed on up Highway 101 on our way to Crescent City. The weather continued delightful with temperatures in the mid-60s. The drive through the middle of Eureka went smoothly with the traffic lights timed for 35mph. Once we reached the less-urban areas we speeded up to 50mph and continued our journey.
We hit a bit of fog just north of Eureka, near Trinidad, but it soon cleared and we were back into sunshine. At the Redwoods National Forest headquarters just south of Orick the highway passed along the beach, and the white caps on the flat beach made a beautiful sight in between the multitude of RVs parked alongside the road.
We had considered stopping at a different park near the center of Crescent City, but decided that since Bud and Marge Lewin might be meeting us at Ramblin' Rose we continued eight miles north of the city to where we had reservations, arriving about 3pm after a 163 mile drive. The literature said the park lay nestled in a redwood grove, and I expected there to be only shade and no TV satellite windows. In fact, the park is more open than I anticipated. I quickly found a spot for the antenna and we had TV.
I also found some ripe blackberries and some beautiful autumn flowers in the campground and took some pictures of the surroundings.
Once settled in we reviewed our plans for the next couple of weeks. We now plan on staying here for a few more days, then heading back down the coast then along the Klamath River to Mt. Shasta, Burney Falls, Lassen Park, and on to Truckee to visit Bob and Penny Fink and check on their new home. From there we return to the Sacramento area.
After sleeping in and having a leisurely breakfast, we drove into town to find the Chamber of Commerce. I found the Northcoast Redwoods Writer's Conference is still on and signed up to attend. We also researched the Trees of Mystery and the Klamath River JetBoat Tours and decided to do the JetBoat that afternoon.
We shopped for groceries at Safeway, hurried home for a quick lunch and then drove 29 miles south to Requa near the mouth of the Klamath River. I purchased tickets for the boat ride ($35 each) and steak dinner ($15 each) at the lodge upriver. The boat pulled away from the dock at 3pm.
In the mid-1800s the Klamath River harbor was a deep navigable port. Now the river now fairly broad typically 100 yards wide. This time of year it flows just over 2,000 cfs. During the flood of 1964 it flowed 6,000,000 cfs, wiping out the old Highway-1 bridge. Only the butress remains.
Lumbering and mining upriver resulted in much scrap logs, silt, and rock that have filled the river to produce the long flat bars and riffles that are now common. There are some deep pools, up to 45 feet, but in places we saw fishermen who had waded out almost halfway across the river.
The three of us sat in the front row (suggested by Amy, the sales lady -- its the driest place) and had a great ride. When skimming on the water, the 35 foot boat powered by 750 hp from dual engines draws only 4 inches of water. It can carry up to 20 passenger plus crew; there were 14 plus 2 on this trip.
Many fishermen lined the banks, and we saw many large and small fish jumping in the water. There were many birds, ranging from ospreys to eggrets to herons (blue and green) to many kinds of ducks, turkey vultures, and crows.
There were no furry animals on this trip (except for a horse and a couple of cows), though I understand the tour occasionally sees a black bear.
We saw an amazing sights along the way, a home perched on stilts atop a rock next to the river. It must have been sixty feet up. Captain Kevin explained that in 1964 the water ran so high they had to put cables around the stilts to hold the house in place.
We went as far as Johnson's Bar, about 28 miles upriver, where the road from Weitchipec comes down and ends, then headed back down to the lodge where we had our meal. The accompaniments and properly-cooked steak made the meal a great success. A glass of wine set it all off perfectly.
After eating and resting, we reboarded and headed back down the river. The Captain spun the boat several times, thoroughly wetting those passengers towards the rear. Since the weather was so beautiful, everyone seemed to enjoy the thrill and did not mind the inconvenience of being wet. Amy's suggestion proved useful and I had no problem protecting my camera from the spray.
On the trip back it grew a bit colder and the boat went faster, but as the sun set the lighting became beautiful and almost surrealistic.
All in all, we had a great trip. Some on the tour suggested that we should go do the mailboat tour on the Rogue because of what they considered to be better scenery on that river. I believe either one is a good tour, especially in the right kind of weather.
We all returned home tired out from the trip. Once we satisfied the pets it felt good to sit back and relax.
Friday morning we decided to hang out around camp. It offered a good opportunity to work on this travelogue and the pictures I have recently taken. Alice did the wash and I checked the water levels in the tanks, adding new water to both tanks. I checked our voicemail, handled problems getting our prescriptions set up for mail-order, and made an appointment for Monday morning to talk with the consultant on Jojoba's computer system about our planned upgrades.
Shortly before 6pm I headed back into Crescent City for the opening session of the Northcoast Redwoods Writer's Conference. I also spent Saturday at the conference. The speakers all provided very useful information and the attendees were all serious writers. I learned answers to several important questions and found a backup agent. After returning to the RV Park we collected email and then went to supper at the Grotto next to the wharf.
Sunday morning we visited Walmart and then drove to Trees of Mystery, south of Crescent City. It is easy to spot the entrance with Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox standing in the parking lot.
Alice checked the time, but on a cloudy day in the middle of a dense forest she found it hard to make out the sundial.
It was a beautiful walk through a dense grove of redwood trees, many of them very, very old. We saw examples of the various ways in which the trees grow, even when they have been broken or weighted down in the midst of the forest.
At the top of the walk is a tram that takes the tourists to the top of the ridge, providing a view of both the tree covered mountains behind the coastal range and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The ride up the tram was interesting and gave us a great opportunity to see a forest from above.
An osprey has located its nest in the top of a dead tree to the east of the ridge. You can see it sitting at the end of the long branch below the nest. Well, maybe you need to click on the photo to see the full size picture. There were many other views around us, but at the top of the ridge the wind whistled through the trees and we soon headed back to the tram to go down.
As we returned down the path to the shops, there were one very interesting exhibit in the burned out hulk of a former giant. People tell of how the tree was struck by lightening, setting it afire from within, and for several days its flames could be seen from the distance. All that is left now is the skeleton around its base.
On Monday we celebrated Deb's birthday. She's looking great for a forty-five year old daughter. I expect her to hit me over the head for telling the world her secret.
After calling 4Tech to understand the basis of their quote, we went to breakfast in Brookings at Maddy's. It was not as good as it was advertized.
From there we drove along the coast back towards Crescent City. We visited Lake Earl and saw several birds and flowers. Alice said she looked forward to telling our friend in Jojoba that she saw his lake.
Further south we sighted the St. George lighthouse. It is far out to see and the photo was not worth the trouble.
We returned to Ramblin' Rose and shortly afterward Bob and MaryLou Stringer from Jojoba Hills arrived. We had a discussion about Jojoba matters then went to supper in Brookings at the Smuggler's Cove Restaurant: very expensive and not that impressive.
Afterwards I helped Bob plan his return trip
to Jojoba Hills and we agreed to go to dinner together the next
evening. They recommended we stay at the Sounds of the Sea RV
Park in Trinidad.
With a bit of fog in the air we got a slow start on the day. After breakfast I called Jojoba and gave the go-ahead for the new disc drive. Finally, we started rigging up to leave camp and made it onto the highway about 11am. The 66 miles drive to the RV park north of Trinidad was uneventful.
Deb and Alice went shopping in Eureka for pet supplies while I napped. In the evening we drove into Samoa with the Stringers for supper at the Samoa Cookhouse. It was a family style meal of tasty food and plenty of it. The food was not the best thing for my diet. Afterwards we visited their gift shop which was chock full of figurines and such. Serios collectors should avoid that place. Alice purchased a couple of wind machines to replace Gertrude, our cloth flamingo, back at Jojoba.
When we returned Alice and Deb started washing
clothes because we expected to be away from facilities for the
next few nights.
It was overcast and a bit cool as we prepared for the next leg of our journey. The Stringers left camp about 9am, but we did not get out until after 10:30. The clothes had not dried sufficiently the night before, so Alice had to wait for the office to open and get more quarters for the driers. In the meantime Deb and I rigged the trailer for traveling.
We returned to US-101 and headed south. In Arcata we took the CA-299 exit to the east. Within a few miles we had cleared the overcast and the day was warm and sunny. The further we drove the warmer it became. At Blue Lake we started to climb, first to about 2,200 feet then back down to 1,000 then on up to 2,900 feet, all on 5% and 6% grades. That is the nature of driving west to east across the waves of ocean floor that have been pushed up to form the coastal range.
At Willow Creek we were back down to the 600 foot level to pick up the Trinity River to follow on east. The river looked great with a good flow of water. However, the water was too clear for steelhead fishing. The country needs some rain.
We drove past the place I caught my first steelhead just below the South Fork, and Burnt Ranch where I watched the salmon and steelhead as they climbed the falls, and Hayden Flat where Alice, the kids, and I camped in the rain with the Walt and the Borgeses. I found it hard to keep my attention on the road driving past forty years of old memories.
We climbed the pass west of Weaverville and came upon the devastation left by a recent fire in the area, over forty-thousand acres as I remember. It is always sad to see such a burn, but in other places we had seen where the new forests had begun to recover. It is part of nature, but it is such a violent part.
We stopped in Weaverville for lunch at the Nugget Restaurant, another memory from the past. It had changed, and the food was not as good as I remembered. After purchasing fuel for Deb and new batteries for my camera, we head up CA-3 towards the Trinity Alps. The drive was only 14 miles, but we went from 2,000 feet to 3,200 feet in the first 10 miles. Then we drove around an arm of Clair Engle Lake to our campsite at the Pinewood Cove RV Park. The total trip totaled 125 miles.
We found a nice campsite and settled in. The temperature was definitely warmer than it had been on the coast, but we found in the evening it cooled enough to be comfortable. The red dirt was pervasive. It covered everything, including shoes and autos. The trees grew fairly thick and I could find on clear path to sight the antenna, so again no TV. We sat outside until dusk and watched a couple of deer and squirrels search for food around the campground.
On Thursday Alice and Deb drove into Redding while I spent some time writing and resting. I took the opportunity to start converting my RV Companion NetLink articles into a format for the website.
Alice purchased a new memory stick and floppy
adapter for my camera. I tried the memory stick first and it solved
the problem. We will return the adapter. That evening I cooked
chicken on the propane grill and we fought the hornets at the
picnic table. We won, 8 to 0.