WEEK FIFTEEN: WILD COASTS AND GIANT TREES

CONTENTS
Rearview Mirror - Summary of the past week
Pups Across America! - Maxwell
Favorite Photograph - Enough Walking
RV Gourmet - Rene’s Classic Mojito
Camper’s Corner - Salt Point State Park, Fort Ross, CA
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading: Redwood National Park

REARVIEW MIRROR
Start: San Francisco RV Resort, Pacifica, CA
Stop: Salt Point State Park, Fort Ross, CA
Stop: Creekside Cabins & RV Park, Willits, CA
Stop: Ancient Redwoods Resort, Redcrest, CA
(with a quick trip to Vegas in between)



Sunday
Ocean-side Walk
Once again it was windy, chilly, and gray as Jan and I walked the Pups out of the park and north along the ocean. While I did morning chores and packed, we listened to a few holes of the British Open.

3 Hikers Explorer Jerry

On to the Airport
Just like the Sunday before, Jan and the Kids drove me the short drive to the San Francisco airport and dropped me off at the terminal.

On to Vegas
My plane landed into 112-degree heat, the kind that grabs you by the throat and tries to wrestle you to the ground when you first go outside. A quick taxi ride and I was checked in to the Bellagio, an over-the-top hotel among dozens of over-the-top hotels in an over-the-top city.

Bellagio Foyer

Dinner at Nobu
Five people from my client company took me and a client of theirs, who was also a speaker at their meeting, out to dinner at Nobu, a high-end Japanese restaurant known for the high quality of their cuisine. They were correct! We had at least ten palette-tingling courses and it was all wonderful. Highly recommended (if someone else is paying :’>>>).

Back at the Bellagio, my dinner mates went to the tables or to the clubs while I went back to my room—one tends to get a little wiser with age. :’>>> I took a soaker and hit the hay early.

Monday
I spent the day training the salespeople of my client, a software company, on how to sell services. A long day but a good day. I ended it with room service and a tub.

Tuesday
Photo Fitness Walk
During my past visits to Las Vegas when I came from Florida, because of the three-hour time change I would be up and out around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m in the hope of getting some exercise and some interesting pics. This early morning time proved to be the golden hours for seeing strange sights in Vegas, as many revelers were returning to their hotels in various degrees of intoxication (and sometimes dress). I’ve seen many a scene over the years that I dare not publish in a family blog! However, since my biological clock was set to Pacific Daylight Time, I didn’t get out and about until 5:30 a.m. Alas, all was pretty quiet on the strip—I shared the sidewalk with walkers/joggers and service workers heading out to start their day.

Vegas Pre-Dawn

Workshop
My training session went as planned, and the feedback confirmed it was a success. I had lunch, took a cab to the airport, changed into jeans and tennis shoes, passed the security ritual, and did some work while waiting for my flight. The air travel part of the journey went off without a hitch, and to save Jan an evening shuttle, I took a cab back to our RV park by the sea.

Wednesday
Half Moon Bay
After working all morning, the family loaded up mid-afternoon and went back to our favorite destination in the area, Half Moon Bay. We picked up Jan’s new friend Zephyr, and went downtown for a cup of tea. Zephyr is a very interesting person. She has lots of experiences to share, as she has led a long life (she was married before WWII) and is inquisitive by nature. For years she taught the art of Tarot card reading, and she explained to us the basics and the process the devoted follow. Interesting. The three of us took the Pups for a walk down by the ocean with everyone enjoying the setting and the company.

Zephyr _ Jan

The Distillery
On our way home, a sign advertising a restaurant called The Distillery caught our eye. It was off the road but smack on the ocean. This place earned a reputation as a prime spot for Canadian bootleggers during prohibition. The dog-friendly patio had two big fire pits roaring with people and pups gathered round chatting away and enjoying the ocean view.

We struck up a conversation at the bar with Victoria and Greg, a good-looking couple of upstate New Yorkers who transplanted to California five years ago. Check out their picture with Peter, our bartender. The food was wonderful. Jan had a huge bowl of clams and I had the seafood sliders. Highly recommended. www.mossbeachdistillery.com/

Greg_ Victoria _ Peter Clam Special

Thursday
Life Is Golden
We had enjoyed our stay in the Bay, but it was time to depart the land of the chilly fog and constant breeze. By 9:30 we were northbound on Highway One with Jan at the wheel and me at the maps. Instead of taking interstates around San Francisco, we stayed on Highway One (19th Avenue) all the way through the city. Yes, there were quite a few red lights and heavy traffic in some areas, but it was interesting to see the neighborhoods and small businesses. We passed through a couple of tunnels in the Presidio before connecting with Highway 101 and leaving the peninsula via the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge. Through the light fog we viewed Alcatraz off to our right, and then drove by the beautiful Sausalito. After a few minutes, the sun broke through the haze and we continued up past San Rafael, Novato, and Petaluma in good moods, free from the constant overcast.

Change of Plans
We had planned to stay in wine country, so I called to confirm availability at a campground at the outskirts of Rohnert Park, strategically located in close range of Napa and Sonoma. However, no sooner had I hung up, when we both looked at each other with the same question: “Do we really want to stop?” We both acknowledged that we’d rather continue on—besides when you think about it, in California most of the state is wine country!

Through the Countryside
Therefore, I made some quick navigational changes. My plan was to turn west at Santa Rosa and head back to the coast. Immediately at that exit was something else we had been looking for, a fuel stop that carried diesel and was big enough for us to get around. Jan pulled around back and I jumped out to help direct her into the pump and also capture the image of one magnificent pup, Maxwell, guarding his dad’s car from the passenger seat. We fueled up and removed ten days worth of salt spray from our windshield. Jan made the tricky maneuver to get us out and back on to the highway, and we were soon back northbound on Highway One. After two miles, we headed west on Bodega Highway. This road took us through some beautiful countryside complete with an abundance of brightly-colored flowers and the greens and browns of the groves of trees that were becoming more prevalent the more north we traveled. We made our way through Sebastapol, Bodega, and then picked up our old friend Highway One at Bodega Bay.

Pretty Seaside Rocky Flowers Sea Rocks

Seaside Saunter
The trip north from Bodega Bay rivals our earlier seaside jaunt from Morro Bay to Monterey in beauty and surpasses it in turns—that stretch of highway has more curves than a Vegas showgirl. However, Jan has honed her big rig driving capabilities and took this challenging stretch with ease. We drove through the quaint, artsy town of Jenner, and hugged the coast past the historic Fort Ross, finally stopping at our place of rest for the day, Salt Point State Park. The ranger at the park station was a pleasant, helpful young woman, who said we could scout around and try to fit into one of their campsites, or we could easily pull into the large overflow lot and dry camp for $5 less ($30 instead of $35). Since we were only planning on staying one night, we thought the overflow lot sounded simpler and more convenient. It turned out to be a great choice! Just one other rig in this very big lot, and we had a full view of the ocean from the front and from the side.

20 Acre Campsite Lazy Seal Seal #2

Seaside Hike
With hardly anyone else around, we let the Kids run free and we hiked along the shore. For two hours we strode among the flowers, viewed the relaxing seals on the rocks, and watched the passing pelicans before returning to our home on wheels.

Alex _ The Kids Janny Monochrome Mitzy

Friday
Early Shoot
Being ten feet from the trailhead that leads to the ocean five minutes away is a tremendous benefit to the person wanting to take pre-drawn photos. More sleep, less hassle, and the ability to wait until the light is just right before heading into the day. I was up early, prepared my camera gear, and sipped on strong black coffee while waiting for the ideal time. As I looked out from my chair, I saw and huge expanse of dark gray waters contrasted with the splashing whites of the rhythmic breakers. I walked along the trails in the misty morning, taking a few pictures as I explored the seaside, thoroughly enjoying the solitude. Before long, Jan and the Kids met me and we walked and scouted together.

FlowerBoy Jerry Side Stepping

Long and Winding Road
Soon BALY, our motorcoach, was lumbering along, heading north on Highway One. Slowly, we passed through Sea Ranch, Guatala, Anchor Bay, Pint Arena, Manchester, and Elk, Albion, Little River, and Mendocino. A park ranger had assured us that the drive north on Highway One would be easier than our travels in the past, however, he was wrong. We were met by a series of signs: “15 MPH Curve,” “7% Grade,” “Road Narrows,” “Road Work Ahead,” “Narrow Bridge,” 20 MPH,” “9% Grade,” “Slow and winding for the next 23 Miles.” When they said 15 miles per hour, they meant it. The road had more twists and turns than a Michael Jackson video.

Another Change of Plans
Hence, after averaging 20 miles an hour in challenging driving conditions we decided to call it a day early and pulled into a campground just before reaching Fort Bragg. Alas, they had no room for us, but the woman behind the counter gave us advice not to take Highway One north any farther, as it got much worse! Well, we could not imagine such a thing, but gravely accepted the warning as truth. I relieved Janny behind the wheel, and we turned east on California 20 for the 33-mile trek to Highway 101. The roads were almost identical to what we had experience the last couple hundred miles, but after a few miles the fog was replaced by sunshine and the chill replaced by warmth. Seven miles north of Willits we found a campground, Creekside Cabins and RV Park, and set up camp.

Saturday
North Again
It was a gorgeous day when we pulled out of our campground heading north on 101, also called the Redwood Highway in this part of the state. For the most part, this stretch of road was much, much better than what we had been accustomed to lately—hey, it was even four-lane in some stretches! Furthermore, the weather was perfect and the scenery was gorgeous. We enjoyed a wonderful drive through Laytonville, Leggett, Piercy, Benbow, Garberville, and Redway.

Cowboys

Avenue of the Giants
We took the Phillipsville exit onto the 31 mile scenic highway, The Avenue of the Giants. Holy Mackerel Momma! These are big trees! We slowly moved our big rig through the darkness caused by the shade from these huge redwoods. It was a zig-zag course with huge trees sometimes only a few inches from the road’s edge. Rays of sunshine blasted through holes in the canopy of leaves, emphasizing the contrast of the dark browns and greens with the brilliant light. We pulled over at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park visitor center to see if we could camp there. They could only accommodate vehicles up to 33 feet, so we continued north on this trail of really big trees, oohing and wowing as we went. Highly recommended. www.avenueofthegiants.net

Redwood Grove Redwoods Stump

About seven miles further north we pulled into our new place of lodging, the Ancient Redwood Resort, just a little over a mile north of the village of Redcrest. After setting up at this brand new, big-rig friendly park, we had Ruebens and fries at the best restaurant in Redcrest (actually the only restaurant). Here we met the pup Jiggs, and we also checked out the redwood treehouse. Over lunch I studied the guide 101 Things to Do in Humboldt County and devised a plan for the afternoon.

Redcrest Looking Up Jiggs

Road Trip
Soon the four of us were in the car, starting on what I originally thought would be a two-hour trip. South of Redcrest but before reaching the state park visitor center, we turned west on Mattole Road and were soon in the 10,000-acre Rockefeller Forest, home of many of the tallest redwoods on the planet, including the “Champion Coast Redwood” which is 370 feet tall, 17 feet in diameter, 52 feet in circumference, 1,000 years old, and weighing over 1,000,000 pounds. That’s a big tree. After walking over a creek and doing a little close-up exploring, we continued west. Eventually we were out of the woods and driving through the countryside. Luckily we were not driving the motor home, as it would have been quite a challenging experience, as now we were confronted with 10-mile-an-hour curves, loose gravel, one-lane bridges, big-time bumpy roads, and really steep inclines. However, the scenery made up for it. After an hour and a half from leaving the forest, we finally pulled into the town of Honeydew. I walked into the post office/general store and asked the locals the best way to return to our RV park. They confirmed there were three routes: back the way we came, or turn right, or turn left. After conferring with each other, the spokesman summed it up: “All the roads around here suck.” However, they all agreed that turning right was the most picturesque.

At this point I calculated that it might take us three hours or more to get back, but so be it. We turned right as directed and slowly made our way to another really little village called Petrolla. I knew it was a town as there was a sign. From here we angled northwest and were soon driving by the Pacific Ocean on a stretch called the Lost Coast. Big roaring waves pounding on the rocks, fog speeding along the banks, birds soaring above it all. This stretch had a wildness about it that is hard to describe. The road angled back into the mainland and up into the hills lined with flowers of all varieties and colors. Eventually we made it to the Victorian town of Ferndale, where we headed east and south on Grizzly Bluff Road. This stretch took us through the dairy shed for this part of the state and our scenery was made up of the green of hay fields spotted with the tans of Guernsey milk cows. Finally, at Rio Dell we picked up 101 South, flew down the road at 60 mile an hour and arrived back home in no time. Great trip and wonderful week.

Lost Coast Vulture

PUPS ACROSS AMERICA!
We took lots of good shots of our Kids this week, but my favorite is Maxwell, the big boy in his dad’s passenger seat.

Maxwell

Pass the Word
Know other Pup Parents that might enjoy this blog? Please spread the word.

FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPH
My favorite this week is “Enough Walking.” We had been out exploring the trails of Salt Point State Park when Mitzy just stopped and looked up at Jan—no more walking for this princess.

Enough Walking

RV GOURMET: Rene’s Classic Mojito
When we were in LA, I mentioned the great mojito’s that our new friend Rene had prepared for us. Suzanne and David requested the recipe, and Rene was kind enough to share.

1 Teaspoon of sugar
2 oz Lemon juice
6 Mint leaves
2-3 ounces of white Bacardi Rum
Ice cubes
Club Soda

Take a long glass (Collins glass), put in the lemon juice and the sugar and stir. Put the leaves of mint (one sprig) and smash just enough to get the mint flavor. Add 5 or 6 ice cubes, then add the rum, then put in enough club soda to fill the glass. Stir gently and enjoy.

CAMPER’S CORNER: Salt Point State Park, Fort Ross, CA
This is just a gorgeous location. Since we dry camped in the overflow lot, I can’t comment on the campground, but the view alone is worth at least one night’s stay.

HEADLIGHTS
July 25 thru 27
Ancient Redwoods Resort, Redcrest, CA

July 28 to 30
Redwood National Park

July 30 to September 17
Up the coast of Oregon then ???

September 18 thru September 25
Kalamazoo, MI

September 26 to 27
Cincinnati, OH

September 28 thru October 2
Lexington, KY

October 4 thru 6
Asheville, NC?

October 7 & 8
Charleston, SC?

October 10 & 11
Savannah, GA

October 12 thru 14
Apopka, FL?

October 15
Return to Pine Island?

Going to be near? Look us up. Have some suggestions concerning places to see? We are open.
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