Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Monterey, California

October 14 and 15

We spent two more days in Monterey, which is famous for beautiful scenery, tourist attractions (and former industrial areas) of Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and nearby Pebble Beach.  

We spent one day just wandering around. We stopped at the city’s visitor’s center. We drove though Cannery Row where the locations of former sardine canneries are now shops, restaurants and the Monterey Aquarium. We had lunch at Alvarado Street Brewery located on the street of the same name. We walked the dogs along the bay. 

At the beach we saw two people putting flowers on a marker.  We spotted a women wearing a T-shirt that said "It's a John Denver thing. You wouldn't understand."  She told us that every year at this time, a group cleans the section of beach near where John Denver crashed his plane and died in October 1997. 

I'd always heard that Denver's plane crashed because it ran out of fuel. That's true, but the actual story is more complicated. Denver was flying an amateur-built experimental aircraft. The fuel tank switch was in an awkward position behind the pilot's left shoulder instead of the usual spot between the pilots legs.  Denver knew that, but per the National Transportation Safety Board report, the odd position forced Denver "to turn in his seat to locate the handle. This action ... likely caused him to inadvertently apply the right rudder, resulting in loss of aircraft control."   I also read that the mechanic where Denver took off (at the Monterey Airport which was very close our RV park) asked Denver if he wanted to refuel the plane, as the two tanks were at one quarter and one half full. Denver said no because he was going on a short flight.  

Anyway, so sad.

The second day we debated going to the aquarium, but decided to explore the 17 Mile Drive, a curvy road with magnificent views that goes through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove.    
The lovely  Golden State Theatre across from the brew pub where we had lunch on Alvarado Street.  It was built in 1926, then neglected and later the restored.  Some of the upcoming acts include Paul McCartney and Rosanne Cash.
John Denver's plane crashed just to the right of the rocks in the rear of this photo of Monterey Bay.  
Local artists set up their easels along the Monterey coast line.  That white thing to the right of the easel is a an attached garbage bag flapping in the wind.  It was a breezy but beautiful day.

While on the scenic 17 Mile Drive we stopped at the Pebble Beach Golf course and took this photo from the clubhouse. It seemed like there were golf courses at every turn of the drive, but I read that there are actually four on 17 Mile Drive.
Called the "Lone Cypress," a drawing of the tree to the right is the trademark for Pebble Beach Golf Resort.  It may be as old as 250 years, was once scarred by fire, and has been held in place by cables of 65 years.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Petaluma, CA , then on to Monterey

October 12 and 13

We stopped at a KOA in Petaluma for one night. The campground was a kid's park on steroids with a trampoline, swimming pool, rock climbing wall, playground, and a guy driving a tractor pulling a crack-the-whip-like line of kiddie cars full of toddlers. It was crazy. Plus I think we paid our all time high dollar for an RV park: $86 for one night before taxes. But we had a hard time finding a campground anywhere near San Francisco and had to take what we could get. On the plus side, the Lagunitas Brewery was nearby and we made a quick trip.

Also crazy was our drive from Petaluma to our next stop of Monterey. It started with trips to two different places to get air for our tires -- hoses were both broken, so we made the trip on softer tires. We planned the drive to stay as far away as possible from city traffic, but still had two cars nearly sideswipe us. And we made one wrong turn but quickly corrected. Fortunately, Jim is a good driver and we arrived in Monterey unscathed.

More on Monterey in the next post.
While in Monterey we stayed at the Monterey Pines Campground, a Navy campground literally in the middle of this golf course. We had to sign a statement that essentially said that if we got hit by a golf ball to try to determine the name of the golfer. 
California:  Land of amazing succulents. These were all in our campground.  We also saw a lot of ice plants, which we have in our yard.  Only ours look miniature in comparison. 
Our RV park and site were nothing special, but we were in Monterey. So who cares.  Fellow campers were friendly and seemed glad to be here as well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Willits, California

October 10 and 11

Next stop:  Willits, a small northern California town barely off US 101 and 30 miles from the coast. We stayed at the Golden Rule RV Park south of town, which is owned by a nondenominatinal Christian church.  The campground was small, wooded, pretty, and very much out in the boonies. We liked it.

There were two newspaper boxes near the office so we bought our first hard copy newspapers in a while. The weekly, called the “The Willits News," had a front page article about a local museum exhibit called “Out of the Ashes,” commemorating the one year anniversary of wildfires that heavily damaged Mendocino and five other northern California counties in October 2017. That museum was in Willits so we made a visit.

This tiny road took us down a hill from US 101 to the Golden Rule Campground, where we stayed for two nights.  
We drove by this sign on our way to the campground. Ridgewood Ranch is where legendary race horse Seabiscuit trained, recuperated from a ruptured ligament he suffered in a race, and lived out his retirement.   When Seabiscuit retired in 1940, he was horse racing's all time leading money winner. The RV park where we stayed was once part of Ridgewood Ranch.
Our campsite site at the Golden Rule RV park. 
In the center of town is the "Willits Arch." Parts of the arch once stood in Reno, Neva, which donated it to Willits and got a new one. The town is named for a settler who arrived in 1857.
After the terrible fire last year, a Ukiah, CA, artist held a mosiac workshop for fire survivors.  Many of the "Out of the Ashes" items we saw were amazing creations made out of broken glass, melted metal, and other charred or melted objects from homes. The exhibit was at the Mendocino County Museum in Willits.
Jim looking at a display about nearby Buddhist retreat that was damaged in the October 2017 fire.
Another "Out of the Ashes" mosaic.

This statue of Seabiscuit, his owner Charles Howard, and a physician stands at the Frank Howard Hospital in Willits.  Frank's father, Charles Howard, was a benefactor of the hospital.  It was named after his 15-year-old son who died in a truck accident in 1926 at the family's nearby Ridgewood Ranch.  Howard was an auto magnet and owner of thoroughbred horses, included Seabiscuit.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Fortuna and Ferndale, California

October 8 and 9

We spent two nights at Riverwalk RV Park in Fortuna, California.  It was a short walk across a road to the Eel River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean just nine miles to the west.  

Most of our local exploring, however, was done in the nearby smaller town of Ferndale. The the entire town is registered as a California historical landmark with dozens of well preserved Victorian-style homes and business. It's also the site of what we read is the only cattle cemetery in the US. We had to see that.

The Eel River,  as seen from a two mile walking path just across a road from our Fortuna, CA, campground.  The Eel River is 196 miles long; along with its tributaries is the third largest watershed entirely in California. I read that the city was named when early settlers saw the nearby forests and the river and felt "fortunate" to live there.  
Above are just a few of the intricately painted and gingerbread-detailed homes and business in tiny (population 1300) Ferndale, California. Some of the buildings are known as "butterfat palaces" because they were built with wealth from the local dairy industry.
Jim at Ferndale's Champion Cow Cemetery.  It's at the local fairgrounds and the entire "cemetery" consists of three grave markers for Jersey cows.  Sunny King Berna was a world butterfat champion; Silken Lady Ruby of Ferndale was a Lifetime Butterfat Champion; and Challengers Joyce VG was a national Jersey milk champion.  All were owned by Ferndale dairy farmers.
And then we stumbled across the Historic Ferndale Cemetery, which climbs a hill near downtown. 
The Cemetery also has a wonderful view of the the city of Ferndale.  Ferndale is 260 miles from San Francisco but 40 structures were damaged by that 1906 quake and almost all of the cities chimneys fell to the ground.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

In Northern California Near Crescent City

October 6 and 7

We are at a beautiful northern California RV campground called Redwood RV Resort, and parked among huge trees.   

Our first night we got settled in and wandered around the park with our dogs.  The second day we drove to the Hiouchi visitors center of the Redwood National and California State Parks, which have established a cooperative management effort. Together they manage one national and three northern California state parks covering 105,516 acres. Per the park brochure, those parks have 36 percent of the old growth redwood forests.

Jim asked the rangers for a recommendation of where we could hike with our dogs.  A very enthusiastic ranger gave us advice about that, recommended a scenic bypass on our way to our next stop, and even recommended a GPS system made especially for RVs (it’s called Garmin 769 RV, he said.)

When we got to the trail, however, a sign said “No Dogs.”  We weren't sure if the sign was old, or if in the ranger's enthusiasm to describe a favorite hike he didn’t hear the word "dog."

So we went with the first and kept the dogs on literal short leashes. In retrospect and after some research, it was a no dogs hike.  We try to be responsible dog owners, so our apologies to the beautiful trail. We will not do that again. But as usual, we packed out all dog "by products."

Later we drove into Crescent City, about eight miles north of our campground, to get some groceries. I read online that Crescent City is susceptible to tsunamis and that a large part of the city was destroyed by a tsunamis caused by the 1964 earthquake near Anchorage. in 2011 the city's harbor was damaged by tsunamis after the 2011 earthquake near Sendai, Japan.Thirty-one tsunamis have hit Crescent City since 1933.

One of our first views (this trip) of the Pacific Ocean as we drove from Coos Bay, OR toward Crescent City, CA. It's a typical Oregon coast scene:  pretty beaches and big rocks.

Our RV site at Redwoods RV Resort.  Jim saw a light peaking though the trees and thought it was some sort of streetlight -- until he realized it was a sliver of sunlight beaming through the heavy tree canopy.  We are not getting a lot of natural light in this spot.
Bev and Maddie on the four-mile out and back Hiouchi Trail at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.  The tree we are standing in front has a hole near the bottom that we walked through.
Jim and Arlo admiring a stand of redwoods.  Per our park brochure, some of the redwoods along the Pacific coast are 2,000 years old.
At our campground: A fallen redwood becomes a "nurse log," providing water and nutrients to a seedling that sprouted on top of it. Now that seedling is another very big tree. 
A few redwood pinecones Bev picked up in the campground. So tiny.  

Monday, October 15, 2018

Coos Bay

I'm many days and one state behind on the blog, so I'm going to start adding dates.  That way when I look at the blog in the future, I'll know when we were actually at a certain place. And so will you.

October 4 and 5

From Corvallis we drove to the Oregon Coast town of Florence, turned left and started down Highway 101 South. We traveled parts of it before and it's beautiful. But it's also curvy, bumpy, and something we just might not do again in the motorhome. 

First stop was Coos Bay, Oregon, the largest city on the Oregon coast with around 16,000 people. 

Our tow car battery was dead again when we got to our RV Park.  I called AAA for the second time this trip; the customer service rep (who later told me he was in Arizona)  thought "Coos Bay" was a pretty weird name. Originally known as Marshfield, the city gets it name from the Coos Indians, one of several area tribes.

Coos Bay looked a little economically depressed to us.  Maybe it was the fact that it rained pretty much constantly the one full day we were there.  Or maybe it was because we were just off a very active week with family and in Corvallis, and needed a "down time" stop. Sorry, Coos Bay. We probably gave you short shrift.
The McCollouch Memorial Bridge spans the bay on the north side of the city of Coos Bay. It was built in 1936 and is named for Conde McCullough who designed (or helped design) this bridge and ten others on Oregon's section of US Highway 101 -- plus over 600 others. The bridge above is on the National Register of Historic Places and is 5,305 feet long.

Some ships seen in downtown Coos Bay.  Coos Bay was historically a ship building and lumber center. But per the web, forest products (isn't that lumber?) tourismfishing and agriculture now dominate the Coos County economy.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Corvallis, Oregon

Next stop was Corvallis, Oregon, home of Oregon State University where Jim got his degree in forestry -- plus most of his hoodies and many of his baseball caps.

We stayed at the Benton Oaks RV Park at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis. I wished I had taken photos of the campground.  While the sites themselves weren't anything special, the setting was pretty darn nice for a fairgrounds campground, with a huge grove of big oaks in the middle.

I kept thinking "why do they call it 'Benton' Oaks?"  Turns out to be the most logical of answers: Benton is the name of the county.  Thomas Hart Benton served as a US senator from Missouri 1821-1851 and advocated for westward expansion of the US, including control over the territory that is now the state of Oregon.

We walked and drove all over Corvallis and the campus and took the dogs to two dog parks.  We had lunch at a McMenamins, a local chain that buys historic buildings, restores them, and turn them into pubs, hotels, and breweries.  And Jim stocked up on his Oregon State gear.
Oregon state has an experimental turf field next to our Corvallis campground. They also had master gardener plots still in bloom.

Oregon State won the most recent college baseball championship, held last summer in Omaha.

Oregon State's mascot is the beaver and there are beavers galore on campus.  This guy is a door knob at the student union...

...And this guy -- named Bennie -- posed with Jim in the student union.
The Oregon State University campus. With 28,000 students its the largest university in Oregon.
Maddie, Arlo and Jim at one of the two dog parks we visited. This one was not fenced so we kept the dogs on leash - both of then are too prone to run off, usually with Maddie in the lead and Arlo willingly joining in.
Jim found one of the apartments he lived in while going to Oregon State in 1973-74 and is standing in from of his former home.  They were new at the time and Jim said they were especially nice for a guy who had recently gotten out of the Navy.  He loved that the door of this one opens to a woods. They still look nice.
As seen in downtown Corvallis:  No bikes and ... no large pickles?  Tubular vegetables?  Blimps?  The list is endless, although it's probably skateboards.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Silverton, Oregon

After two days in Season and Lee's yard in Stayton, we moved to nearby (18 miles away) Silver Spur RV Park in Silverton, Oregon. Big RV park, plenty of room to walk the dogs, and other than terrible signage it worked for us. 

Silverton is a great small town. We were there three days and barely scratched the surface of things to see and do. We'll go back next time we visit Season and her family.  

Day One we hiked a trail at Silver Falls State Park with Season, Lee and their boys. The park allows dogs on some trails, so we took Arlo and Maddie.  Day Two, Jim and I explored Silverton which has lots of antique and second hand shops. I bought a pin for $3 and earrings for $2.  Day Three we toured the Oregon Garden, a beautiful 80-acre botanical garden -- which again allowed dogs -- and includes a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Over the two days we went to two brew pubs: Silver Falls and Seven Brides -- we liked Silver Falls the best.  Better food, better beer, better atmosphere.  For us, anyway. 
We did a three-mile hike at Silver Falls State Park near Silverton with, L to R: grandson Owen, daughter Season, grandson Connor, SIL Lee, Jim and Arlo.  Silver Falls is Oregon's largest state park and has a 177-foot waterfall that you can walk behind.  We didn't get to the waterfall this time -- next time we will.
A scene from the Oregon Garden, which is pet friendly.  They had us bring our dogs through the gift shop, which seemed a little odd, but no gifts were destroyed by anyone's tail.  
Jim and Arlo at the conifer area of the Oregon Garden.  Including the conifer area, there are 20 specialty gardens.

You can barely see Jim, but he's in the middle of this Oregon Garden photo going up steps with Arlo.
A downtown Silverton memorial to "Bobbie," a dog who was lost by his Silverton family while they were visiting relatives in Indiana in 1923.  Per the story, Bobbie found his way back to his family's home and became a celebrity once his story got out.  People who said they saw/fed/cared for Bobbie on his journey wrote to the family.  From these letters it was determined that Bobbie may have traveled 3,000 miles.
When my Mom sees photos like these she says "Did you really eat that much food?"  Yes, Mom.  We did. But my grilled cheese sandwich and Jim's sliders at the Silver Falls Brewery were both lunch and dinner that day.

This Frank Loyd Wright-designed home is part of the Oregon Garden.  It was designed in 1957  and completed in 1963, four years after Wright's death.  It was one of his last designs meant for "working class" Americans.
Like a lot of town we visit, Silverton has murals painted on building walls.  This one honors NASA astronaut Don Pettit, who was raised in Silverton,  traveled twice to the international space station, and per NASA's web site is still an active astronaut.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Family Time in Stayton

After Sisters, we drove west to daughter Season and SIL Lee’s home in Stayton, Oregon, which is near Salem. Season and Lee have a big yard, a creek, huge trees and plenty of room to park the rig and tow car.  Not to mention two of our grandsons. And then there are the chickens, rabbits, dogs, and reptiles. 

We “camped” in their yard for two nights, went out to dinner with them in Salem, and had a great enchilada dinner made by Season. We walked our dogs all over their property, Maddie took of after their bunnies, Arlo took off after a deer, and the  boys roamed between their house and our motor home. And none of their livestock was injured by our livestock.
Season and Lee have a big front yard with a forest and creek in the back yard. We parked in front of their big garden.
Grandson Owen is nine, in the fourth grade, and posing with Maddie in our sleeping loft .
Seven-year-old Connor in the sleeping loft with Maddie.  I think Connor explored every corner of our RV.
Chicken Hedda thinks she's a dog and always wants in the house.
One of two roosters.  This guy seemed like top rooster and is named Blue.

Season and Lee have a lizard and a snake.  Here she's feeding Mr. Lizard who -- if you look closely -- is in mid grab of a meal worm. Mr. Lizard has an actual name, but I had a hard enough time trying to remember the chicken names, let alone names for a lizard and a snake. :) 

Connor, Season, Owen, and Lee on Monday Night Football night.  Jim told Lee he had his "full Amish" on; Lee said we should have seen his beard earlier as he'd just done a major trim.