Monday, May 18, 2015

California to Oregon; Banana Slugs to Mosquitos

 Banana slug at the Emerald Forest of Trinidad

I spent five blissful days at one of my all-time favorite campgrounds, the Emerald Forest of Trinidad.  I'd planned to stay three nights, but I was enjoying myself so much that I extended a couple more.

Each day, I walked into town and had coffee at the Beachcomber, a little natural foods restaurant in town.  Sometimes I visited the local artists' co-op gallery or a gift shop or the grocery store or the beach or the Humboldt University Marine Research Lab.  It was a nice place to take a break from being on the road.

 An eight-pack of fabulous chocolate bars!

 Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse 
(The real lighthouse is still in use, but it was too much of a hike for me.)

 Mermaid and dolphin sculpture in Trinidad

It was hard to leave Trinidad, California.  I just love that place.  All of the best of the northern Cali coast (beach, Redwoods, cool weather, lots of artists, no biting insects, etc.) in one small place.  I could've had a job there and stayed for the summer, but I passed.  However, Steve and I have applied to workcamp at the Emerald Forest of Trinidad next summer.  We shall see.

With mixed feelings, I headed north on Highway 101 again on Friday.  Fifteen miles north of Trinidad, I was in the Redwood National and State Parks.  This involved more beautiful drives through Redwood trees, similar to what I'd seen further south on the Avenue of the 100 Giants, and also some awesome stretches of road where the highway paralleled the shore.  

I'd expected to camp at a California State Park on Friday night, but I happened across a very nice Del Norte County Park instead.  I've been really noticing how impossible it is to fully research my destinations on the Web.  There are many fine places to camp that don't seem to show up in my Internet research--and I used to be a librarian, so I'm pretty darned good at research.  Florence Keller County Park, north of Crescent City, was $15 per night with no hookups, and it had lovely, large, wooded campsites.     

My campsite at the county park

The view out the back picture window

Before leaving Trinidad, I'd gotten my propane tank refilled, and afterwards I was unable to relight my refrigerator.  So I spent a lot of my time at Florence Keller on my belly on the floor of the rig, where I can reach the fridge controls, but to no avail.  So I got some ice and put it in the vegetable tray, and used the fridge as a cooler for several days.

On Saturday, I headed to Oregon.  I had some wonderful moments that day, visiting a few beaches and scenic outlooks on my way out of California.

 My lunch table at Klamath River Overlook, Klamath, CA

 The view at Klamath River Overlook
One last California beach walk, at Smith River, CA

And then it was on to Oregon, where the beaches are a little bit more wild and rocky.  All along the Oregon Coast, there are State Parks with campgrounds every 30 or 40 miles, sometimes closer.  I looked at most of them on my way north and finally decided on Cape Blanco State Park, in Sixes, Oregon, which is about 70 miles north of California.  It was a great choice.  

Cape Blanco has a wonderful beach and big wooded campsites, and it was very interesting because the Pacific Coast Trail runs right through the park, so I got to see lots of hikers and even horseback riders passing by my site.

 The approach to the beach at Cape Blanco

 Cape Blanco Beach
I liked the park so much that I stayed a couple of days.  It was a nice time.  I took a picnic lunch down to the beach, I had a little campfire one night, and I FIXED THE FRIDGE!  A friend suggested that maybe all that was needed was to remove some corrosion from the igniter.  So I used an emery board on all of the surfaces, and the fridge lit on the first attempt!  I felt very empowered.  And I needed it, too.  I was getting a little travel-weary, and the ever-lengthening list of things that need to be fixed was not helping. 

 An evening in my campsite at Cape Blanco
 Riders on the Pacific Coast Trail, just below my campsite

This morning I left Cape Blanco, but not before I took a little drive out to see the lighthouse, where I got another great view of the sea.  Between Cape Blanco and Highway 101 (about 5 miles of beautiful rolling hills), I saw sheep and goats.  I'd intended to drive to Bandon, Oregon, for breakfast, but I found a great greasy spoon in the tiny but world-renowned town of Langlois (famous for its blue-veined cheese).  I had pancakes made with local blueberries.     

 Cape Blanco Lighthouse
 A misty morning near the lighthouse


 Where I had breakfast

And that's my story for now.  I decided to stop rather early today, mostly because I came across a much cheaper campground than the State Parks.  I'm at the Horsfall National Recreation Area near Coos Bay/North Bend.  I usually avoid these places because they're full of off-road vehicles, but this one happened to have two campgrounds, one for people with toys and the other for people without.  So I'm at the quieter campground and am about to go explore the area on foot.  It seems like a nice quiet place.  There are about a gazillion mosquitoes, but I'm pretty thoroughly sprayed.  I am close to miles of sand dunes and I can hear some seals barking from my campsite.  Pictures of this next time!    


  1. I love Trinidad. You seem to have a knack for finding neat campgrounds. Love the pictures. :)

  2. Maybe you need to write a book about the spots not disclosed?

  3. Great post Sue. And I love the pics. :-)