More from the Redwoods...

On the Coastal Drive in Redwoods National Park, a view of the mouth of the Klamath River, and from the same viewpoint, looking south down the coast:

A shot in Humboldt Lagoons State Park, and looking north from Wedding Rock in Patrick's Point State Park:

The first elk we've seen since South Dakota (except fot the game park in Sequim, WA)! Here's a big guy lounging in the front yard of a home near Orick, CA:

A fantastic "must-see" park...

We're staying on the Klamath River and took the scenic drive through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Redwoods National Park. We took a sidetrip down Davison road (unpaved, windy, definitely not for trailers) to see Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon (as featured on Huell Howser's California Gold). Fern Canyon was incredible and worth the drive and the fee. It is a fabulous but short walk up a stream bed (you'll get your feet wet, practically unavoidable so I opted to just walk in the stream) with fern-covered canyon walls and redwoods towering overhead.

Sidenote: there is no warning in the literature and only a tiny sign on the road warning that this is a "fee area". You drive 4 miles on this gravel windy road to find there is an $8 fee to enter. Also, note the camping is $35 in most California State Parks (with no hookups), so we think they have priced themselves out of the market. We will not visit California again with any intention of staying at a state park. In Oregon and Washington, the state parks range from $16 - $22 for camping, and most parks include water, electric, plus some have sewer and even cable TV - all with the beautiful surroundings we've come to expect at a state park versus the "parking lot" RV Parks.

That said, we're glad we saw Fern Canyon, and glad we camped elsewhere.

Finally in California again...

We spent our first night in California (after the longest absence of our lives) in Smith River, at Salmon Harbor RV Resort. This was a terrific location at the mouth of the Smith River, and the park was nice, clean, with lots of long term residents but well-kept places. We had considered spending a month here (excellent monthly rate) but we would like to see Yosemite / Kings Canyon / Sequoia, which requires us to pick up the pace and spend less time in the redwoods. Rexie and I enjoyed a nice long walk on the beach. .

More lovely ocean views on our drive continuing towards Klamath and the redwoods:

Oregon Coast - South from Coos Bay to Brookings

There were too many beautiful spots to list on this drive. Here is a shot from the Coquille River Lighthouse and Bandon March NWR looking out at the North Jetty. Bullards State Beach looked like a nice place to stay but we were moving southward.

One of our favorite stops was Cape Blanco Lighthouse, a 5 mile drive west from the 101. It was incredibly windy (you could lean into the wind and be held up), and this was the awesome view up the coast:

There were countless views of rocky coastline, all the way down through Gold Beach and Brookings. RV Parks along the way were expensive, and several terrific state parks were full, so we continued on into California to the Passport America park we had found online.

Oregon Coast - Central....more

Our next drive took us south to North Bend / Coos Bay area. We stayed in town, but on our next trip through the area, we will definitely include an extended stay in this area. Sunset Bay State Park and Cape Arago are magnificent, with rocky shores, steep cliffs, tide pools, plentiful Sea Lions and Elephant Seals, wooded shorelines, and the fabulous Simpson Reef. The Charleston area is very charming. Our visit coincided with the "Cruz the Coos" antique car show, and there were shiny old cars everywhere. It was a fun stop. Now we move on down the coast through Bandon, and into Gold Beach for our next stop.

Oregon Coast - Central

From Tillamook, we drove the 101 south to Carl Washburn Memorial State Park which has a quiet wooded campground with a short path to the beach, on of the top 5 places to stay on the Oregon coast (according to some). It was a fantastic spot - wish we could have stayed a week. Along the way, we drove the Otter Crest Scenic Viewpoint near Cape Foulweather (love the name), stopped and admired Seal Rock and also Devil's Churn at Cape Perpetua. The next morning, we spent some time at Heceta Head Lighthouse which overlooks a beautiful cove with big waves and sea caves, plus the Heceta Churn. We really enjoyed this spot and could hang out for days just watching the waves. We met some friends who hosted for 1 year at an Oregon lighthouse in their RV...if the view was anything like the view from this lightkeeper's house, I'd be thrilled to take that job. :-)
We also visited the Sea Lion Caves; unfortunately, a helicopter has just flown over and frightened all the Seal Lions off the rocks. We were given a $2 discount (paid $9 each rather than $11) and the cave was really neat; however, I think they should have discounted it by 50%, since we saw no sea lions and the cave alone wasn't $18 worth. Heceta Head at $3 for parking, was much more worthwhile, and we saw lots of Sea Lions in the water below the lighthouse!

Oregon Coast - Northern

We headed from Mount Hood / Sandy area, across to the coast and spent two nights in Tillamook area (Netarts on the coast). We did the Three Capes Scenic Loop, enjoying the sunset at Cape Meares and Three Arch Rocks NWR. We also toured several spots in Tillamook, including of course, the world famous Tillamook Cheese Factory. Yummmm....

Mt Hood - second week of September

We enjoyed a week at Mt Hood Village, sightseeing in the area. Next door was the Festival of the Forest at Wildwood (with some terrific bands), plus nearby Timberline Lodge and Trillium Lake with its fabulous view of the mountain and very nice 2-mile trail around the lake. Gary's sister Sue stayed with us for most of the week - hopefully she will join us again in October in Yosemite. We also enjoyed visiting with Mary's friend Sue plus her hubbie Tim and terrific family who live in nearby Sandy. So glad they were able to come down and enjoy the pool at the Village. Sure wish we could meet for breakfast every week!

Columbia River Gorge - first week of September

We left Cape Disappointment and headed upriver, into the Columber River Gorge where we stayed at Memaloose State Park on the Oregon side - finally, in Oregon! The campsite was shaded and usually had a nice breeze. Here's our campsite in Memaloose and also view from the overlook of Memaloose Island with the campground in the foreground. There were a few things we did not like about this park: noise (lots of highway noise from I84 and the train which is between the campground and the river), it is difficult to access the river (hiking rocky outcroppings and crossing the railroad tracks, or a long drive to the boat launch at Mayer SP), also entering /leaving the park requires miles of backtracking (you have to pass the park, then make a uturn and come back on the highway).

We enjoyed a paddleboat trip from Cascade Locks to Mulnomah Falls, which included going through the lock at Bonneville Dam - that was a neat experience but the trip cost about twice what I think it should be (which is how I feel about most things these days, so I guess I just can't catch up with inflation).

Sue spent some time with us at Memaloose, and we had a nice day sightseeing at Multnomah Falls and at Bonneville Dam / Fish Hatchery (saw some huge salmon trying to make it up to spawn, plus Herman the 10 foot, 70-year-old Sturgeon).

Click here to see Herman!

Cape Disappointment, WA - mouth of the Columbia River

The last two nights of August, we headed south to the Washington / Oregon border - Cape Disappointment State Park on the Long Beach peninsula. The only thing disappointing was that we only had two nights there! A short walk from our campsite was a lovely path to the beach, with driftwood galore. Nearby are two lighthouses, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, the impressive North Jetty of the Columbia River, and many terrific hiking trails. We also toured Long Beach and visited the World Kite Museum.

Though Rexie is really showing his 15 years lately, he still acts like a puppy on the beach, chasing down every bit of fluff / seaweed / feather blowing across the sand. He remembers the grunion in California and is hunting for more! Most of the time, I think he's a very "happy camper".

Fall City, WA through the end of August

Many thanks to Sue and John for their hospitality. Their place is terrific and the cedar plank salmon was absolutely the best meal I've ever had!

Here's a shot of the trailer parked in their yard (note the cool cedar carving and their very cute teardrop trailer - LOVE it's portability but don't think I could live in it!)

Sue and Gary had fun at Rattlesnake Lake which is very pristine (actually a water supply for the city of Seattle). Note Gary's feet in the second picture, as he dove in.

Near Fall City is 270ft Snoqualmie Falls - even more impressive when there's more water than in this shot. It's very developed though, with an expensive resort, restaurant, etc...though for now, viewing the falls remains free, thank goodness.