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Old 07-18-2014, 11:54 AM   #21
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

Continued......Sorry to drag this out. Been busy.

Next we headed west to the Bay area. We were able to stay right in the city, which was quite awesome. We have lots and lots of pics here, but they are pretty much your average family vacating in San Francisco, so I'll spare you that. It was great. Here's a shot of the classic 'touching of the Pacific Ocean water' with Alcatraz in the background.



Not really planning to spend more than a day or so in the city, we began to make our way up the coast. The beautiful rocky coast!





On advice from several, we wanted to check out Usal Rd., the Lost Coast area. Viejo, DaveB and Calclimber put us on it. It was really dry and mosquitos were horrible, but it was pretty cool. There was some sort of classic cafe racer (motorcycle) rally going on so it was really cool to see lots and lots of guys flying around corners on Hwy 1 with "bugs in their teeth and their nostril hairs on fire". Sorry, old quote from somewhere that fits. When we turned on to Usal Rd., which is kinda gnarly in places, we still continued to see these guys, covered in dust. It made the curvy mountain gravel road pretty riveting.



As is normal for us, we got to the campground/beach later than we wanted to, but not too late to see the sun set. We had the beach to ourselves. No mosquitos on the beach either. We had no idea why the 5-6 other campers were back up in the woods where the mosquitos swarmed you as soon as you got out. Here's the bridge coming in to the campground.



The Lost Coast!





While firing up the grill, we realized we had some visitors in the meadow behind us



We got lots of pics of them, but retreated behind the van when they got curious about us



A few more of the sunset







Having no luck with night shots, I only got blurred images of all of the fishing boats that showed up after dark. It was really cool. After dinner we stepped out and saw about 5 or 6 fishing boats just offshore. No idea how close they were but they were close. It was pretty neat. Next morning, we packed it in and decided to do the rest of the Usal Rd. loop, which I think was about 50 miles offroad, some pretty rough. After breakfast in the van, we got the tripod out for a quick family pic since it was a glorious morning





Had it been anything but totally dry it would've been a real party. We saw NO ONE on the entire loop except a 4-wheeler almost back at the pavement on the north end near Garberville. Usal is where I got my van good and twisted up. It preformed flawlessly and managed to average 10.5 mpg even while offloading half the day. At least the 460 is consistent.





Pavement, Finally! I didn't want the trail to end, but then again I did



More to come........

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Old 07-18-2014, 01:12 PM   #22
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

Thanks for this awesome trip report. Can't get enough of the photos
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:53 PM   #23
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

Continued..........It's about time we got to Oregon. After Usal, we were ready to check out something at least 5 people had told us about along the way. Funny it never came up in my plans, but Avenue Of The Giants is a stretch of old 101 in Northern CA inside Humboldt Redwoods SP with unbelievable Redwood groves! It's a really neat area. It's kind of what you picture the Pacific North West to be like if you've never been. Deep, dark Redwood groves with huge trees right along the road, etc. We stayed at Hidden Creek CG, which is the first you will encounter if driving North. It's a great CG with lots of privacy, lots of nice free showers which we took lots of, and lots of beautiful Redwoods throughout the campground. Our site was nice, but as usual, it's hard to capture the glory with a picture of a campsite. Why is that?



One thing I must suggest is that if you are anywhere near here, go to the visitor's center right in the middle of the Avenue.

http://www.redwoods.info/showrecord.asp?id=3952

It has some amazing stuff in it, though it doesn't at all look like it would from the road. The wildlife displays inside are really awesome, but one thing the van guy in me enjoyed was the display of the first Sportsmobile! Built on a Nash chassis, some historic dude who's name eludes me right now built a 4 wheel drive Redwood log car/wagon/truck/whatever. It is really neat. I'm sure some of you local to the area, or older and wiser than me, can fill in the blanks. It is an actual 4WD truck built in the 1920's or so, and is the shell is one huge piece of Redwood.







There are also some short but beautiful nature trails right across the road. We were feeling motivated to move on that day but I wish I had spent more time in this area. I guess I'll have to go back soon. Next, we wandered on up the coast towards Eureka/Arcata hoping to meet up with Viejo. He wasn't home though, so we moved on and about 30 minutes after we left his house he called. Oh well, I with we had time to go back and meet Bill. He was super helpful in our planning and gave us lots of good advice. We moved on and were soon once again caught off guard by something amazing we didn't know was there. The LBJ (Lady Byrd Johnson) Grove in Redwoods Nat'l Park, just north of Eureka/Arcata. This is just a 2-3 mile nature walk but is the most diverse and beautiful forest I've ever seen. I can't possibly show the best pics here, but don't miss it if the forest calls to you the way it does to me. It's a spectacular place.





Then, shortly after, we finally made it to....................



And we were able to do more of this! (here at Harris Beach SP).



We actually skipped Jedediah Smith just south of here since we were ready to find cheaper groceries and fuel which we did in Brookings OR. We stayed at Alfred Loeb SP, which I highly recommend, in Brookings. It's not on the beach but a few miles up the Chetco River east of town. We woke up to rain here, and it rained for the next 4 or so days. Oregon. Rain. Just what we heard and didn't believe.

More to come...............

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Old 07-20-2014, 02:23 PM   #24
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

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Old 07-20-2014, 02:47 PM   #25
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

Continued............Next we slowly worked our way up 101 on the Oregon Coast, taking it in slowly. We had a nice stop at Gold Beach and lunch at the Chowder House on the main drag. It was very good and I recommend it highly. It's a relaxed atmosphere and a great place to stop in for wifi and coffee or a pint and fish n chips. After lunch we hit up the Forest Service office just down the street. All we knew is that we had heard the Rogue River area was neat, so we asked for some pointers. The kind lady at the desk gave us some maps and info and pointed us up Jerry's Flat Rd headed east along the Rogue River. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon drive. There are several campgrounds along the river through here, all organized FS campgrounds from what we could tell. We followed this 30-40 miles over to Agness and then took a gravel rd. (NF-33) north to Powers, then headed back west on 42 into Coos Bay. We saw some wildlife on this loop and just enjoyed the peace and quiet. We noted several tiny, wonderful looking campgrounds on our to-do-list, mostly on the north end of NF-33 near Powers. We noted several great looking hikes as well.



Rogue River



Foxglove. My wife loves this stuff









Lighthouses. Something about the Oregon coast makes you think of lighthouses. Luckily there are 7 or so notable ones on our route. I think we managed to see three. The first was the Umpqua Lighthouse at the mouth of the Umpqua River just north of Coos Bay. It was cloudy and raining here but we could tell the views in this area would be great when clear. That would be some random Wednesday in August probably. Maybe we'll luck out if we're there again.



Young buck



We found a decent pizza joint in Winchester Bay after this and discussed our dilemma. It was time to find a motel. We had not stayed anywhere except the van for two weeks except one night with family. We were ready to stretch out and dry out. The next day was my wife's birthday and I just didn't want us to have to wake up to a wet campsite. We found a locally owned roadside lodge on 101 and it turned out to be a gem. Very clean, reasonably cheap, safe parking, huge rooms and LOTS of towels! We watched TV for the first time in weeks and took advantage of wifi to catch up on things.

The next day was the best one. We don't plan far ahead by choice, but we had hoped we would hit Heceta Head lighthouse on this trip. We took a trip out to Portland about a year after we got married, rented a car and drove down to Crater Lake, over to the coast and back up again, hitting Heceta Head and lots of other cool spots. We wanted to go back to that same beach at Heceta Head, take some pictures, and enjoy a nostalgic moment since two kids and almost 20 years have passed since then. It turned out to fall on her birthday and I think it really made our trip. The weather was nice, and with the tripod we were able to get some awesome pics of the family with the lighthouse in the background.





Oregon is just greener than anyplace else!

















Time to head inland to Crater Lake, another place we've always wanted to return to with the kids

More to come..........

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Old 07-20-2014, 07:46 PM   #26
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

You know what I like is your kids will be able to look back at what you guys have done. Maybe I've posted this or told you but all my memories are only on black and white photos and not many at that. Memories are huge Eric for you and your family.
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:46 PM   #27
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

I'm tryin' to finish this, but man it was a long trip! From Heceta Head we headed inland towards Crater Lake. We left the coast at Reedsport and took 38 over to Roseburg at I-5, then 138 up into Umpqua Nat'l Forest. 138 over to Crater Lake is a gentle climb and a beautiful stretch of highway along the Umpqua River. There are LOTS of beautiful falls and small FS campgrounds along this stretch. We hiked to two of the bigger falls, Toketee and then Watson Falls. I couldn't really get a good pic of Toketee but Watson Falls is great.

Sorry for the crooked pic





We stayed at Clearwater Falls CG which was beautiful and empty, except for a few trillion mosquitos



Here's Clearwater Falls, which we could hear loudly since the tiny campground is only about 50 yards away



The next morning it was on to Crater Lake. As we climbed in we started seeing snow, and lots of it, with continued storms blowing through which had been with us for days. Even though it cost us the view for most of the day it was neat to see Crater Lake during the storms. We hiked down the Cleetwood Cove trail the boat dock and the wind was strong enough to knock you down.



In moments of clarity though you could see the unmistakable blue water of Crater Lake



Here's Rusty posing for a pic.......again



It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon





From Crater Lake, we headed up 97 in more of a hurry than we liked. We were due to visit family in Portland the next day and were out of time to explore central Oregon. We made the best of it even though it continued to rain. We cut a rug through Bend and Sisters and began to look for a place to stay as the rain got heavier and the night got darker. One of those nights. We wound up in Riverside CG which is somewhere in the neighborhood of Detroit Lake.



It was a beautiful riverside FS campground and I wish we had time to stay longer. From there we headed up in to Portland and had a nice drying out session for a couple days at my wife's aunt's house in Clackamas. They've been there since 1971 and have a really nice farmhouse looking out at Mt. Hood. Here's a view from her porch, which looks like a painting, but it's not. It's really just a pic zoomed all the way in and kinda grainy.



Dang work..............gotta run

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Old 07-22-2014, 07:06 PM   #28
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

clearwater falls looks really cool. i love oregon. everything is so green. had a buddy camp at detriot lake and the pix he showed me were awesome. was cool to see you stopped in there on your journey too. please tell me you had time for silver falls national park. i havent been there since the mid 90's and im really itching to get back.

what a cool trip! enjoying the pix keep'em coming...when you have time of course.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:18 PM   #29
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

Nope. We missed that one. I'll add it to the list for next time.

Thx Shenrie
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:52 PM   #30
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Re: 20 states in 24 days, our PNW trip

Been enjoying the trip report and the pictures Eric. Keep them coming! After all, you're only in Oregon. Got to make it all the way back to Tennessee.

Mike
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