Saturday, June 30, 2012
We loved the coast highway, US 101, which travels right up the amazing coast of the Pacific. This route offers some of the most magnificent scenery we have ever seen.
We saw some signs that warned about high winds that blew in from the ocean. Soon, we began to see trees that were pushed over by constant wind -- we could only imagine how hard and often the wind has to blow to make a tree grow like this.
Once in Gold Beach, we went down to the dock area and saw this wreck of a tugboat. A bit of investigation revealed that it was the Mary D. Hume, built right here in 1881. Interestingly, after almost 100 years of service in 1978, the ship came here under its own power and was donated to the City of Gold Beach. Unfortunately, a short time later, the ship was lifted out of the water for maintenance, but a sling broke and the ship dropped and was damaged beyond repair. The tug has sat here ever since.
Friday, June 29, 2012
After a couple nights at our first RV park, we moved a couple hundred yards down to the Beachfront RV Resort. Here Orinda checks out the entry to the park which features this sculpture of the St. George's Reef Lighthouse (this was carved out of a redwood tree trunk).
Beachview RV park is a unique spot and a very interesting place to visit. In fact, we were fortunate enough to get an ocean front full hookup rv site! Pretty cool.
Fortunately, we found a postcard featuring this lighthouse and Rick was able to get a great picture of it. Imagine working out here where you would work in 3 month shifts operating the lighthouse. Not surprisingly, this was one of the most dangerous lighthouse assignments since it was very difficult for crew members to board the lighthouse from a small ship and several men perished over the years before it was closed in 1975.
One of the great things of our location is that this is the view out the motorhome windshield. Rick is delighted to be able to sit in the driver's seat and watch the surf pound in just feet away.
Just a couple hundred feet away from our RV site, the Chetco River empties into the Pacific (on the right side of this picture) while Orinda checks out the jetty protecting the port.
Facing the other way (looking away from the ocean), we could easily see the Chetco River (to the left) and the boat basin (right). We could also better understand how the tsunami pushed the river outflow back into the boat basin and really compounding the damages from the tsunami.
It is great to be able to walk a few feet to the wide beach and enjoy a walk on the beach. At low tide, we could see the huge rocks that dot the beach and have been worn smooth by the wave action.
These beaches are much different from beaches we have been on in South Carolina or Florida. Rather, these are very rugged beaches with dark sand, huge rocks, and lots of driftwood. In fact, we were amazed to see these huge trees washed up on the beach. Imagine hitting one of these while running your boat!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Rick wondered if the chowder was any good and turning the corner, he saw this sign -- and decided that lunch was in the offing. Turns out that the sign was right -- the chowder was great!
After lunch, we continued to explore the marina, which was filled with boats. We also learned about a calamity that occurred a bit over a year ago.
Here is a shot from local press coverage showing a small portion of the damage -- compare this with the shot I took above (for photo reference, see http://www.newslincolncounty.com/?p=18631)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
We began to climb rapidly as we hit the coastal hills (small mountains!), with the road taking some amazing twists and turns. 180 degree switchbacks were nothing, as can be seen by our GPS above. The interesting thing was that this sort of picture was repeated many times during our drive. Fortunately, we were in no hurry and enjoyed the scenery.
We popped out of the ravines to find the mountain top as shown here. The terrain is amazing as we approached the Pacific Ocean and the road, while indeed paved, was very rough, but we had no problem as we took it slow.
Obviously, before we got to the ocean, we had to descend, during which we crossed this old truss bridge. Orinda was a bit surprised at the wood roadway and Rick thought that yet again, he was delighted to be in the Buick and not the Winnebago!
Finally, after about 50 miles, we hit the Pacific. This was really interesting since we were twisting back and forth with the road and all of a sudden made a turn and there was the ocean. We also realized that we had seen only a couple of vehicles on much of the route -- be sure your car is in good shape and that the gas tank in full!
The road paralleled the ocean coast for several miles and provided amazing views. This may have been the first time we have visited an ocean coast and seen no one else.
This area is known as the "Lost Coast" and we could see why.This rugged beauty is very hard to access and there is absolutely no development here other than a few cows that we saw. This is amazing and allowed us to see how the coast looked to the first explorers hundreds of years ago.
This is a forbidding coast line with rocks and heavy surf wherever you look. While beautiful, this would be a scary view for any mariner in the area and we could easily understand why so many ship wrecks occurred along the coast.
While there were no people around, there were thousands of birds on this large rock located about 1/2 mile offshore. The birds looked to be mostly gulls, but there were many others as well.
After a few miles on the coast, the road turned inland and we began a terrific climb that seemed to go straight up the hill. This is no place for the car to stall!
After the summit, the fog hit and we crawled along for a couple miles, then it cleared as fast as it came. We drove back to Fortuna and back to our RV, and were impressed at the great variety of terrain we had been in during the past few hours.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
It turns out that the Buick is a pretty big car when you drive it through a tree trunk! Rick eased through, but only had an inch or so on each side of the mirrors. Orinda figured that he was going to scrape the side, but good; however, he made it with no problem -- but he declined to do it again! Notice that the tree is 275' high and some 5,000 years old. Wow!
Another interesting attraction is this real "tree house"! This house is actually located in the base trunk of one tree as Orinda shows. The house has windows cleverly inset into the side.
What an amazing day in the Avenue of the Giants!
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Orinda is located to the east of San Francisco, past Oakland, CA. We took I-80 across the Oakland Bridge which is some 4.5 miles long. Unfortunately, we were on the lower level, so could not get a view of the harbor, or upper bridge area.
Heading north on I-580 after leaving Orinda, we crossed the last of the three major bridges in the San Francisco bay area and headed by to our RV park in Petaluma, CA. It was a long day, but we had a great time.