09 Sep 2020

Forest Fire

Some days just don't work out as planned. Today we were planning on a leisurely drive from far north California through the redwoods ending up in Napa Valley for a relaxing afternoon and dinner.
Not so fast. A new fire started and grew to the point of widespread evacuation at Willits on US 101. The problem was that was our route and there were virtually no alternatives including skipping Napa and just going east.
I found the one road that left 101 to the coast (Fort Bragg) and back to 101 on the other side Willits. It not only cost us two hours but it was the windiest steepest road either of us had travelled. It was 60 miles of torture.
Later on I read that the evacuation route was exactly what I charted out.
Early on, we did have one fun photo op at the one- log house.
At 1:30 it was dark out and smelled like a camp fire.
Finally we reached Sonoma County and then Napa where the sky was lighter although still clouded up. Grape vines stretched mile after mile. I wonder if the 2020 vintage will be terrible because of the smoke. Did you know that 2017 had serious fires locally and much of the wine juice had to be tossed because it smelled like cigarettes?
The latest rage in opening champagne is with a saber. Allyn did it her first time out.
While here we had dinner with our friends Dorrie and Dan. They were kind enough to bring us a bottle of his private stock that he produces with friends.

08 Sep 2020

Goodbye Oregon; Hello California

We spent six nights on the Oregon Coast and loved every minute of them.
Driving down the far southern coast of Oregon is the 12 mile Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. It is breathtaking and received our vote for the prettiest views along the Oregon and Washington coast. It is thickly forested along steep and rugged coastline with a few small sand beaches.
Then we crossed into California and in no time we were off the beach and in the beautiful Redwood Forest.
Did I tell you that these trees are BIG?

06 Sep 2020

Gold Beach, OR 2020

On the way to our final Oregon Coast stop we spent time in Florence to ride a Dune buggy and eat outside overlooking the water. How much fun is that? (The dune buggy part.) I was so glad that we decided to rent from James at ATV Rentals. The prices were competitive and on the sand we had both the best equipment and James personally showing us the ropes which made a big difference.
Our last two nights on the Oregon Coast were at Tu Tu Tun in Gold Beach, located on the bank of the Rogue River. It was our best hotel yet and best dinner of the trip yet by far. It is a destination place for ultimate chill.
They even had a miniature three hole pitch and putt "course" in front. The deer was so at home that I had to ask it to move when he blocked my short chip.
The highlight of this stop was the 64 mile round trip on the gorgeous Rogue River. We traveled with Jerry's Rogue Jets. To this day they still deliver the US Mail 32 miles upstream (where we visited) via boat up the river on this very boat.
We even saw a bald eagle. I still can't get over the camera quality of my iphone. The bird was so far away I couldn't hardly see it, yet here it is after significant enlargement.
Every so often the driver would purposely get all of us drenched. Absolutely everybody thought it was a hoot.... except me 

05 Sep 2020

Depoe Bay, OR 2020

We spent two days in Depoe Bay at The Whale Cove Inn. What a view from our room and, yet again, from our dinner table.
This quaint seaside beach town happens to be the world's smallest navigable harbor. More importantly, for its tourist business, is that it is the whale watching capital of Oregon. Plus it is lovely.
A professional photographer said "Thors Well, located on the Central Oregon Coast, is the most dramatic, awe-inspiring seascape to photograph on the entire West Coast." We visited it today and it was quite a sight indeed. Many folks (wrongly) think it is a sink hole that is draining the ocean.
Close by our hotel is Devil's Punchbowl, thought to have been formed when two caves collapsed. Try to visit during high tide; even better is during a storm.

04 Sep 2020

Moving Down the Oregon Coast Part 1

As we head south from Cannon Beach our first stop today was Hug Beach. Although stunningly beautiful in its own right, it is an important historic place.
In the late 19th century before Highway 101 was built, there was no road up the Oregon coast. The only way to travel along this part was via the beach. The pioneers in their stagecoaches had to wait for low tide and then hug the rocks in order to get around the point. In the 1910s, a roadway was blasted out at Hug Point, which made the road accessible to automobiles as well as coaches, though it was only usable at low tide.
In was exciting to see the old stagecoach wheel ruts still carved into the rock.
The tide comes in quickly.
Cape Lookout is well named. We stopped at the side of the road for a quick snap of the beauty.
Tillamook Creamery is a mandatory stop along the way.It is giant, immaculate and good folks. It is owned by a farmers' coop not shareholders. They dedicated $4MM for covid relief to the community and their workers.
Since there is only so much beauty a guy can take, I took Allyn to Garibaldi for a few minutes. There we saw the veritable Cellphone phone booth. I think it is really where superman goes to change clothes.
I spent eight summers in the 50s and 60s and have my best childhood memories of B'nai B'rith Summer Camp. The nostalgia rush was incredible. What they have done with the facility is also incredible. 
I recalled a nice sized beach. Where did it go, I wonder?
Our cabins (one is left) had no heat, air, windows, electricity, or bathrooms. Things have really changed.
I even found my son's name written by him on the one remaining cabin. He spent 10 wonderful summers there.
As a kid, I remember being fascinated by the D River in Lincoln City. At 440 feet in length it was in Guinness as the shortest river in the world. Now that is being contested. It is still the shortest in my book.