Late November 2005

Overnighting Near Willets, California

- Well, we did indeed leave this morning, although as par for the course, the weather suckered us into thinking the rain had ended when in reality it was just waiting for us to commit ourselves to leaving and then start again.
    Anyway, rather than cutting over to Redding to pickup Interstate 5, we ended up staying on US Route 101 the whole way today, stopping after 228 miles of mostly mountain driving. We are 8 miles north of the town of Willets in the Sleepy Hollow RV Park. No TV here of any kind, so it will be a quiet evening of watching DVDs.
    We are also offline since we can't see the internet satellite due to being in the midst of a montain forest and there's no wi-fi nearby except maybe one open network we found in town while we were there to fuel up the truck, but I'll upload this next time we have a convenient connection. No Rush.

Leaving the Northwest Today...Maybe

- As I write this, we are preparing to leave today. It looks like an unpredicted break in the rain has arrived, so we're getting out of here as quickly as possible. This is based on no further problems with the RV and no sudden changes in the weather, which can happen within minutes without warning.
    We are looking at heading down the coast to Eureka then turning inland to Redding and then following California's Central Valley southward until we find the sun again. We might be offline during this trip which may take 4 to 5 days. Hopefully, we'll have cell phone coverage.

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

- Saturday's weather was good enough we decided to drive back up the Oregon coast (photo on the left) to see some things we passed on our move to Crescent City. We drove north to nearly Cape Sebastian before we encountered rain, at which point we turned around and spent some time in Brookings, Oregon, which is just across the state line from California.
    Then yesterday we'd been looking at making the drive up to Crater Lake, also in Oregon, but the weather up there didn't look good enough to justify the effort and expense, so instead we saw some more of the giant Coast Redwoods south of here. The weather there wasn't all that great either but we did get a few patches of sun and it looked like the best we were going to get for the foreseeable future.
    And speaking of the weather, as I write this it is raining, yet again. It is forecast to continue through today and into tomorrow, so while we had planned on leaving here tomorrow, unless the forecast changes for the better we'll probably leave Wednesday instead as there's supposed to be a break in the rain that day.
    At this point, Sandra and I have both had enough of Pacific northwest weather and are more interested in finding somewhere warmer, drier, and sunnier, so we're looking at heading south now as fast as feasible and unless we find a spot we can't resist, the next location we're looking at spending some time around is San Diego.
    A pity we'll likely miss such spectacular scenery as Yosemite National Park, but it is winter here after all and while we've encountered no snow and ice since leaving Banff, the almost incessant cloudy, chilly, and damp weather is no box of chocolates either. I'm glad we made the trip and have seen what we have and despite the weather I've taken some photos I'm proud of, but it looks like summer is the best season to be here. A fellow at the auto dealer told me he's seen more than one December that the sun never shone the entire month. Swell.

First Visit To The Giants

- After the drizzle turned to outright rain last evening, it rained all night and stopped just in time this morning for me to take the truck in for its scheduled maintenance at an auto dealer in Crescent City.
    They couldn't take me in until 11am which left me with a couple hours to nose around town. One of the first things I found was a tremendous view of a lighthouse. Not having my good camera with me, I instead used my backup camera that stays in the truck for just such an occasion. Click here to see the photo I took with it.
    With more time to kill I had breakfast out, then returned to the dealer, where I learned all I could about the area from the people there while the truck was being worked on.
    Then it was back home, got Sandra and the dog, and took all of us to see the nearest giant redwoods which are in the Stout Grove of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
    Pictured here is Sandra showing just how huge one of these giants is. These trees are so large they look otherworldly.
    We then drove into town so Sandra could see it as well. Crescent City is not really all that impressive as towns go, but it's shoreline with the ocean is indeed impressive.

Now Near Smith River, California

- First, let me wish all the American readers of this page a Happy Thanksgiving. Sandra and I certainly have a lot to be thankful for. Not the least of which is we made it safely to our next camp, which is in California, but just barely. The campground here, the Salmon Harbor RV Resort, is only four miles south of the Oregon state line.
    Second, let me notify everyone that the campground also appears to be out of coverage for our Verizon cell phones. I expect we'll have coverage when we're in town, but not out here on the very edge of the Pacific.
    The photo on the right shows Sandra standing on the verge of the campground (our site is about 100 yards behind her and on somewhat higher ground), surveying our view of the Smith River (directly in front of her) where it empties into the Pacific Ocean (out there at the end of the rocks where the waves are breaking). Click on the photo for a larger view of her.
    The map on the left shows we had a very short move this morning, the 67 miles from Port Orford, Oregon to Smith River, California, but this location puts us near the northern end of the giant redwoods (still to be seen) and the road up to Crater Lake back in Oregon. The big appeal to this campground though is that it's a Passport America member so it's half price for us to stay here. We signed up for 5 days.
    The move this morning was uneventful except for discovering low pressure in one of the truck's rear tires, which had to be pumped up before we left. At the moment it appears to be a slow leak and I'll have it looked after when we take the truck in for service in the next day or two. We left Port Orford around 9:30am and arrived here around 11:30am and were setup an hour later..
    Fortunately, the rain and fog that was predicted didn't develop, although it's drizzling rain at the moment. But we had gotten setup and the internet satellite accessed before it started.

Tentative Plans

- The fog I mentioned on Monday that rolled in Sunday evening stayed with us through yesterday! I've never before seen fog that spanned 3 days! Nor has it been localized but covering all of western Oregon and into Northern California. Bummer.
    It is, of course, possible to shoot some good photos under foggy conditions (i.e. photo on the right taken of Garrison Lake just around the corner from us), but it is much more difficult and not the kind of photography I'm wanting to shoot.
    This morning it looks like the fog has lifted but is overcast, damp, and chilly, so the weather here in the Pacific Northwest has once again gone down the toilet. However, it could be snow and ice, so I'm trying to look on the bright side of things
    We are scheduled to leave here tomorrow (American Thanksgiving) and even though rain is supposed to move in later in the day tomorrow, we are still planning to leave and head further south on the Pacific Coast Highway (US Route 101) to Crescent City, California, which is near the giant Redwoods, one of my primary subjects of interest to photograph on this tour of the Odyssey. Fortunately, this kind of weather is good for shooting them, so I won't mind if it hangs around.
    Crescent City is only 83 miles south of here so the move will be a short one. Not only is it near the giant redwoods, it's also the nearest open approach from the coast to Crater Lake in Oregon since the lake's northern access has been closed due to snow, leaving only the southern approach open to traffic.

Seeing More Sights

- Saturday we more or less hung around town and relaxed from our rather long sightseeing trip the day before. We first walked around the neighborhood, looking for a black jay we'd seen on other days, and then stopped for a coffee at the nearby café.
    A while later we decided to see what the view was like from Port Orford Heads State Park, which is right here in town and quite interesting but a bit of a hike to the viewpoints at the end of the headlands.
    That evening I walked along the beach, which has quite a number of the haystack rocks the Oregon coast is famous for, and photographed the sunset with them in the foreground, as can be seen by clicking here.
    Then yesterday, we were back out touring along the coast, going north this time to see some of the other lighthouses and anything else we happened across.
    We ended up seeing three more of Oregon's eleven Pacific coast lighthouses, the Coquille River Lighthouse, the Cape Arago Lighthouse, and the Umpqua River Lighthouse, which is the one pictured here, bringing the total we've seen to six.
    For a while I considered driving further north to see the Heceta Head Lighthouse, but that would have meant driving back in the dark, something I don't like to do if I can avoid it, so we returned home. And it's a good thing we did because when we were only a couple miles from Port Orford we found a dense coastal fog was rolling in which would have made night driving extremely difficult.


For Older News

To read details of our previous stops and camps, visit the News Archives.

Updated Saturday, December 3, 2005

Copyright © 2005 by Gordon L Wolford .
All rights reserved.



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