The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Gone West 4

Gone West 4
San Francisco going up North to Oregon
May 25 to May 27
We were up bright and early, well may be not so bright but it certainly was early, we had packed everything the night before so it was simply a matter of shower and we were ready for the off. Luckily Richard lives a short distance from the Metro-tram so it was out of the door, locking it and as Richard had said take the key with you so that on your return you can come whenever you wish. So now it was a tram to Embarcado then change to the BART (the Bay Area Rapid Transport). When I first visited this city in the early 70's, the BART was quite new and the citizens were not all together sure about it (it travelling along an Earthquake fault line), in fact I did hear the conception that “I don’t wish to be trapped inside of a cigar tube”. But now they do seem to have warmed to it and are using it very regularly. We caught the Bart that ran out to Oakland Airport on the other side of the bay. It took us about an hour to get there, but then another hour to discover that there is no transfer from the airport to the hire car place,  so even though the taxi rank insisted that there was a transfer and after contacting the “LUCY” hot line, we did get a taxi out to the place. On arrival we discovered we were far too early, but never mind, the helpful Brian informed us that we could pick it up early and while we waited we chatted with a young couple that had just returned from  a trip along the very same coast (North of San Francisco)upon which we were about to embark. We picked up a few tips, so that was worthwhile and did stand us in good stead.

Brian informed us that our home for the next 24 days was ready, we checked it over and were shown the rudimentary functions and that was it, off we jolly well went in the direction of Richmond and across the Richmond Bridge to pick up Highway 1.

The trip up the Highway one was a wonderful experience, the highway hugs the coastline for most of the way with spectacular views of the guano encrusted rocky outcrops and empty beaches on the one side and the forested hills on the other. It is a winding road, that I would hate to try in one of these XXL Recreation Vehicles (RV for us in the know), that seem to be the preferred method of travelling for holiday makers.

We stopped for a spot of lunch at a small western town (a phrase that you will be hearing a lot), called Point Reyes Station at a busy little place called the Station House Café, I dined on crispy peppered squid and fries and Linda had the soup of the day, (potato and leek) with garlic bread, cloves of roasted garlic squashed over the top of slices of sour dough bread that had been fried in olive oil, very, very tasty even if not all that healthy. We have both noticed that the Americans do not over season their soups, salads and foods in general, but leave the decision of how much salt to apply to your own discretion, very democratic.

We then headed further north along the coast stopping to take in the views,
One Such View

Another View?

We decided to stop for the night, and we noticed a sign for a RV park as we crossed a typical high tresses bridge, turning left a small track wound down the hillside, to the Albion River campsite.

It was a little late, but they had a self-registration system (as do most sites) you pick your site and then put the overnight fee and the completed registration form into an envelope and put into the box provided. We done the requirements and then popped into the town of Albion to get some supplies. On returning I noticed some anglers cleaning their catch of the day, so I popped over to the cleaning tables to have a chat with like-minded fellows.

I enquired about the days catch and like all fishermen it had been a bad day, well if that had been a bad catch then I would love to see a good one! We chatted a bit longer about the species and they said it was a pity I hadn’t been there in the morning as I could have been out with then, they invited me to go out the next day but alas we were only staying the one night so no fishing off the Albion River for me.
I also took some photos of the bird life on and at the river.

Turkey Vulture 

We popped into town to buy some food for that evening, it was just a small local store and the supplies were minimal, so it was to be Chilli with beans with bread that evening, we also bought a pack of bacon and a dozen eggs for breakfast.

We returned to the campsite and were greeted by the camp warden, who lived on site and was making his evening rounds, he stopped and we had a good chat about nothing in particular, but it is always nice to be nice, he said if we needed anything “Jus Holla”, but we didn’t.

We put the gas cooker on and we heated and ate our chilli and watched the sun go down directly between the trestle legs of the bridge, and it was a very nice sunset.

We both agreed that it had been a nice start to our “Gone West” holiday.

Next morning we were awake early, I think our inner clocks hadn’t quite caught up, but we decided to get an early start and have breakfast along the road. So packing up our things and getting the van ready for the trail took a bit longer than anticipated (it was to get better) but at last all stowed away and Bristol fashion  we headed out onto Highway 1 and pointed the van up North towards he Redwood Forests of Norther California.

The HW1 follows the coast but does in places head into the dense Redwood Forests with those mighty giants.

We stopped off for breakfast at a small town called Headlands and had a cup of coffee in a wonderful cafe that was a magnet to the art scene, with paintings by local artists adorning the walls and proclaiming live music every night, pity we couldn’t stay longer.

We popped into the store and bought supplies for the coming day or two, had a quick look around the town, it was full of art shops and galleries a very nice place to live I would imagine.

Back in the van and onto the 1 again and then we once again hit the trail, this time the Redwood woods started to close in, at Leggett the 1 joins the main coastal road Highway 101, we actually took a wrong turning into Leggett, but soon legged it out, as we turned a couple of road runners scooted across the road, that was our excitement for the morning.

We again headed North once again surrounded by the majestic Redwoods, we turned off the 101 and followed the signs for Avenue of the Giants, this little detour is a wonder the Californian Redwood trees soaring into the heavens, but they are so dense together there is no sky to be seen, the only blue sky is above the road. We did stop on a few occasions to take photos and to admire the beauty of the giants.

The detour road once again joined HW 101 but we stopped a few times to go to the Redwood that you can drive through, well you could if you were small enough, our height prohibited it.
We visited the, the souvenir shop and guess what we bought some souvenirs, we came out into the sunshine and I walked down to the small lake full with croaking frogs and the warming sun had done its job and the shoreline was black with tadpoles, I noticed a movement in the water and saw a water snake disappearing into the reed beds, it had obviously eaten enough.

Back onto the Highway we travelled further up North to a town called Eureka, well it certain hasn’t anything to shout about, we found a RV park and that had even less to shout about than the town, but you live and learn. Most RV parks are nothing to shout about, and this one will remain unsung and unloved, but as it was only for one night we suffered and next morning we were soon on the road. We popped into town, just to have look, we went down to the harbour and took some photos of the boats and some very interesting buildings in the old town, one of which could have belonged to the Adam’s family.

But enough is enough so heading up North in the direction of latitude 42° and the Oregon Border, but to reach that we still had another days travel.  
We stopped at a few places on the way North one being the bizarre rock formations near Trinidad (not the one in the Caribbean, though I have been there) there was an arch hollowed out by wave erosion and some small craggy islands close to the shore.

We travelled through more and more  Redwood Forests, until in a clearing we saw some Elk grazing by the road side, they were large males just coming into their prime, they certainly would have made a few nice Sunday roasts.

A good shooting position (wink wink)

We travelled a bit further and saw a sign for a state park; we turned off the Highway and took the smaller road, until we saw a nice rest at a Park Ranger Station near the Klamath River.

In a meadow were grazing 3 large bull Elks, we too our time had a rest, took some photographs of the Elks and the Butterflies gorging themselves on the Honeysuckle nectar.

Lunch was taken at a roadside diner and store run by the local Indians, I had a monster roast beef sandwich and Linda a sandwich with chicken (Linda reckons "all the girls like chicken")

Well this boy likes beef and the rarer the better

The sign outside the Indian store

Suitably rested and de-watered we headed off onto the highway 101 again and towards our destination for the night in the middle of the Redwood Nation Park near Crescent City.

This is a spectacular campsite, not a state run one, but immaculately well-kept. We registered and got settled into our site, I bought a bundle of kindling and logs and set about making the fire to cook our evening meal, yep steaks by the roaring fire, well we were out west.

The Camp Reception

Our steaks and a healthy salad
After our meal I wandered around the park, taking photographs of the massive trees and the slowly setting sun through the trees, we got our bags packed into the penthouse suit, made the bed and settled down to read our e-mails, contact home (well Linda did) as the private camp and RV sites have WiFi connection which is handy, but it does have its price, you will pay up to $15 more a night. But I was able to post my last Blog from SF.
Sunset through the Redwoods

A Lightning Strike

Horse Shoe Throwing Pit

The shower, toilet and laundry facilities were impeccably clean, but as with most sites they do not have kitchen utensil washing facilities, the Americans travel in massive units and they travel with everything including their own bathrooms and fully equipped kitchen, they have full hook ups, electricity, fresh water and disposal for the connection for the sewage. But we did have a grey water holding tank so we waited until we found an RV dump site to discharge our waste water. (Not every site has a one).

I slept well that night, but unlike Linda I always do, the lady at the reception had informed us that there had been a prowler robbing RVs so to keep an eye out for any strangers (how they were all strangers, some more strange than others). Our Jucy had become a magnet and a talking point were ever we stopped or parked up, not only because of its colours, but also because it stood out like a sore thumb in between the normal RV monsters, but we loved it, we were now getting into a routine and getting used to her foibles and were to store everything.

Next morning we had a quick cup of coffee and headed off onto, yes you guessed it HW 101 again in the direction of Latitude 42. We had seen on a map that Richard in SF had loaned us that there was a Wildlife area called Lake Earl it is situated near the small town of Fort Dick.

(we took a wrong turning  so passed right through it) we eventually found our destination a trail head that led to the park and the dunes, this was at the mouth of the SMITH RIVER, yippee, we are at last famous and they have named a river after us.
It was a good hike through the woods, scrub and dunes, but well worth the walk (about 3 miles round trip). We at last came to the ocean and started to walk along the beach it was empty with the exemption of a couple walking towards us. As is normal Linda stopped to have a chat, they turned out to be called Jim and Jane, they were both ex-Marines, having served both in Iraq and Afghanistan. I then started to walk to the mouth of the Smith River, while Linda decided that rather than put her trust in the 1st Shiremoor (St. Marks) Scout troop, to chance her arm with the USA Marine Corps, I gave her the car keys (I am a trusting soul) and she returned to the car park with them as I walked into the wind towards the mouth of the river named after Jedediah Smith (I never knew that one of my predecessors was called after a Star Wars character.

A Sea-lion keeping an eye on proceedings

A pointer back to the car

The trek ahead, through the dunes

I walked into a stiff wind, the sand getting everywhere, I decided after about 15 minutes that it was time to turn around and unlike Great-great uncle Jedediah not actually reaching the river mouth but did take a shot with my telephoto lens, I headed back to the car.
I found Linda sitting safe and well reading her book, so that had been an eventful morning, I had taken a load of bird photographs and Linda hadn’t been eaten by a bear. Please note there are more people killed by Elks than bears and we had not seen either today.

We headed back to the HW 101 and crossing the Smith River (I do get a kick out of saying that). Crossed the State line, latitude 42 and into Oregon.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you found the Point Reyes Station House, one of my favorite places to eat in West Marin. I wish I could have recommended it, but I didn't know your route.