6. Spring road trip….April/May/June.2019 

Day 24 5.15
Itstill raining.  So, I took my coffee making bag & my oats I soaked last night, & went to the big picnic area.  Linda stopped by before they left & we wished each other fun travels & friended each other on Facebook so we can keep in touch.  After my breakfast, I drove to Grants Pass, just a little south of where I was.

It was early, but the Glass Forge was open & I went in & looked around.  

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I love little shops like this.  But, the girl working there, invited me to go back into the shop, walk around & watch the 4 glass blowers working.  And, then she told me I could blow a piece if I wanted to.  I thought about it for a few minutes, because it would mean backtracking up here in a couple of day, but I’d never blown a piece of glass before & was super stoked at the thought of having that experience.  So, for $30, I chose what colors of glass I wanted (red & orange) & what I wanted to make (a Japanese float…it’s a round ball with a flat bottom but it also floats in water).  She offered to take some photos of my experience & the artist that worked with me was great.  He would be doing the “hot work” (fine by me) & I would do the rest.

I first started out by holding the container with the colored glass while the artist twirled around a hot solid ball of glass that grabs the color, he heated it some, then I blew into a rubber tube & he told me when to blow harder, hold it or blow softer.

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Easily Fascinated…I’ve heard this term to describe me before.  It’s true…definitely true.

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Then I did the blowing thing again after he took a trip to the oven.

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Then, with a concentration so hard my tongue is sticking out (just like Pete & Emma’s do), I flattened another piece of glass to the bottom of my ball to make it stand.

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The ball then gets placed into another oven, that’s not as hot & will fill up with other glass pieces throughout the day.  The temperature keeps dropping through the night.  Then I can pick it up.

Hello California! (wait, wasn’t I already here?)
I made the rest of the beautiful drive—part of it paralleling the Smith River-- toward Crescent City with no food being confiscated by the California Inspectors.  I’d checked out a couple of National Forest campgrounds on the way, but being that it’s still raining, & I thought Pete & Leia & I might be spending more time in town, I chose the closer & more beautiful Jedidiah Smith State Park to get a campsite. This park sits right in the middle of the Redwoods & I loved being so near them.  I love these trees!  They are just magical to me.  But the CA State Park reservation system, leaves a whole lot to be desired.  They changed to Reserve America a few years ago & it’s complicated & not user friendly.  And, they are expensive parks.  But they are also very full during peak season, & I’ve found businesses that are so busy, don’t have to be affordable or user friendly.  You take what you get & are happy about it!

Leia had tried reserving a couple of nights yesterday, but it’s too close to the arrival date to use the reservation system. So, I tried calling when the park opened & I was still in Grants Pass, to see if they had openings.  After listening to the automated message & pressing several buttons, I got a recorded message, saying the staff at the park couldn’t tell you if there were any open sites or not.  Then I called Reserve America & they told me they couldn’t really tell me that information either.  So, I got to the campground early in the day—at 11am, so I could score a site, but was told I’d have to come back at 2pm & if there was a site, I could only get it for one night at a time & I would have to come back in the morning at 9:30 to see if I could get a site for my second night.  GRRRRR….inefficiency at it’s best.

So, I drove into Crescent City & went to the Visitors Center.  The guy there suggested I go to Port of Pints for lunch & a beer.  It was dumpy on the outside, but nice on the inside.  They had about 12 or 16 taps of their own beer & the bartenders Dad was the brewmaster.  I had a side serving of Mac & Cheese…yummy!  Made with beer cheese & peppered bacon & an IPA.  

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I then stopped at the Rumiano cheese factory a few blocks away & got some cheese & crackers to share with Leia & Pete. 

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 Then before I paid up,  I spied with my little Hazel eyes in the freezer case…calories in/money out.

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Then it was time to go back to the park…oh joy!  I waited in a line of three, then sweetly asked for a site for two vehicles for the night (knowing better than to ask for 2 nights).  “Yes" was the answer, but I would have to pay an additional amount for the second vehicle.  This I totally don’t get…each campsite is allowed an RV even if that’s a tow vehicle & a trailer…it’s just the one overpriced fee.  But if you have no RV or no trailer, but just two cars, you have to pay more.  I just kept smiling & said, "add it on the card”…but  noooooo, it can’t be added on the card, they have to pay separately, in cash, when they come in late tonight & fill out an envelope & put it in the self pay post.  I just kept smiling….so happy to be in the Redwoods & so happy to be seeing Pete soon.  Nothing was going to make me crazy…not even the California State Park system.

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I drove to our site & looked around & put my card on the post.  Then I left to go to the Stout Grove…a magnificent scenic drive through some of the biggest trees on the planet. And, on your way, you go over the Smith Riverone of the cleanest & wildest in the lower 48 states.  Its so clear, you can stand on the bridge way high above it & see all the way to the bottom. It was still raining off & on & everything is muddy…but these trees are wonderful no matter what the weather…I smiled all the way through!

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Huge clover everywhere

Red on the burl

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Pete & Leia & I had decided to meet at their favorite Crescent City brewery (there are only two & they’d never been to Port o Pints) called SeaQuest.  I still had a little time to kill so I went & visited a local artists gallery, the Pier & a disgusting laundromat to use the dryer, having decided my clothes I washed two days ago & were still went, would never dry with this cold, rainy weather.

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I got to the brewery about 10 minutes before they did & sat by their wonderful fire place to warm up & dry out.

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Wow!  It so great seeing Pete & I enjoyed being enveloped in a great big hug when they arrived (or maybe I enveloped him!)  Leia is such a sweetheart & always wearing a nice big smile.  We ordered pizza & beer & began our visit.  Boy I miss my kids!  I was listening to the all the talk, but inside my heart was saying…so very grateful to be here with them!

It’s now pouring rain.

Day 25 5.16
I woke up around 7am & it had stopped raining.  The sun even looked like it might pop out.  I made coffee & took a walk down by the wonderful river.  It was quiet & peaceful & great!

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I see a Banana Slug…they love living around Redwood Trees!

Pete & Leia were soon up & we all took a walk around…and then…it started to rain again.  Actually, it was a down pour.  Luke was going to drive up from Blue Lake, where he was currently home babysitting all 4 dogs.  We drove back into town to a little bakery & Luke met us there.  We sat & ate & talked & both the food & the conversation was good.

There was a beach & an overlook I wanted to visit, & while we only had drippy skies currently, we took our chance & drove a few miles away to look at the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

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And then it started to rain again, so I suggested we all go back to the brewery & try to score all four cushy chairs by the fireplace & that’s what we did!

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We spent a couple of hours just eating & drinking & mostly warming up & chatting.  Although, we’d all have loved to have been hiking, we probably got more visiting in with the crappy weather.  I never get tired of hearing my kids talk about their lives, their friends & their jobs.  They are all so different & have taken unique paths in life…but I’m fascinated by each one & so proud of them all!

Pete & Leia led me on a scenic drive through town with views of the lighthouse & the ocean & Luke ran to check on a couple of local casinos.  Pete had found some late afternoon Pickle Ball happening, so we’d all meet up later for that.

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Pete loves to play Pickle Ball & has played in quite a few tournaments around the country & I’ve been told (not by Pete) he is one of the best players in Humboldt County.  Leia & Luke also like to play & Luke is working harder to get better to play in more tournaments with Pete, so he’s been playing whenever he’s in Sacramento too.

I love to watch the boys play together or as opponents & they did both today.  They worked up a sweat for over 2 hours hitting that ball back & forth.  I stood there with my camera, the only spectator in the whole place, clicking photos & taking videos to watch later, when I’m back in Kansas & missing watching their activities.

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Peter was called on to settle a dispute in the rules…love this photo.

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Luke was ready to make the drive back to Blue Lake, so we hugged good bye & he took off heading south.  The three of us headed back out to the campground, wondering if we could get a site for tonight…Pete wasn’t worried & said we could always drive up to one of the NF campgrounds, but he would really like to take a shower that the State Park campground offered (but to add "insult to injury”...it’s a coin operated one…not included in the camp fee).  The answer from the little man in the booth was “yes” & Leia even got to drive around & pick one out.  This one was close to yesterdays, but a better view of the river.  Pete & I drove back to the booth & took care of all the paperwork & fees.  Once back at camp, he took his quarters & headed off to shower.  Leia drank some of the lemonade declaring it good, so I had her pour some in canning jar to take with them.  Then we followed with the bottle of wine I’d brought & the cheese & crackers.  The skies were still pouring rain & the temps were pretty chilly.  Pete & Leia camp in an 80’s Volkswagen Westfalia Van & it fit three people perfect.   So we sat around, kept dry & visited for the rest of the evening.

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Day 26 5.17
I was determined to build a fire.  I’d bought firewood on our first night here & really didn’t want to carry it around with me any more. So I was extra happy when the skies were dry & somewhat blue this morning.  I made coffee & tried to build a fire.  I had home made fire starters with me, but no dry kindling.  Pete came to the rescue when he pulled a small ax out of the van & made some kindling from our firewood…wow…an ax.  I’d like to add one of those to my 4Runner….maybe.  So, we got a fire started & enjoyed no rain.  I’d also brought peanut butter cups…one of Pete’s favorites (or used to be anyway) to try a new version of a s’more.  I found out something new about Leia…she has so much patience when roasting a marshmallow or fire heating a pbutter cup..she can do it perfectly!

But not me….I’ve never been a patient person.

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Pete & Leia are on their way to a festival along the Rogue River & would be driving north & leaving this morning.  Since I had to drive all the way back to Grants Pass, they invited me to stop at a meat market called Taylors in Cave Junction that’s on the way & where they’d be getting lunch, jerky & other meaty-stuff to take with them.  I stayed in camp about 20 minutes after they left to make sure the fire was good & drenched since it hadn’t started raining again…yet.  I caught up with the little van & followed it up to Taylors where we enjoyed a nice lunch.  But, boy there was a lot of meat in this place…a lot of raw meat.  I was a vegetarian for 20 years & while I can eat a hamburger everyday it seems, I still don’t like looking at raw met.  

Then we all hugged good bye in the parking lot.  I can’t wait to see them in late June when they come home to Kansas!

Hello Oregon! (yes, 2nd time)
I made the long way back up to Grants Pass & picked up my float…I do really like it, but not really sure what I’m going to do with it. I sort of quite collecting stuff a long time ago, but I can’t wait to watch it float!  Then I took a couple of hours to tour around Grants Pass.  The little downtown had three quirky shops I stopped in & a bakery that sold hot beignets.  There were these bear statues all over & a juggler at one of the intersections…interesting place!

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I left town as the rain was starting again.  Once again, I passed from Oregon into California
Hello California! (no food confiscated this time)
 & back into Oregon
Hello Oregon! (good thing I’m traveling solo, this would drive other people nuts!)
The rest areas on the coast are practically non-existent & not near as friendly as the one along I-5.  They all have 4 hour limit signs & while my map shows there are 10 along the 101, I would never find more than two.  

So, for tonight, I’m paying for camping once again, but this time in an Oregon State Park in Brookings.  $20 a tent site, which is separated from the RV sites (so love it when it’s that way) & nice hot showers included.  It was still early evening when I backed into my site, so I opened a beer & started reading.

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Day 27 5.18
I woke early & took a shower right away.  You’d think I’d look so forward to showers…but I don’t.  But, since this was included, & who knows when I’d take my next one, I got it over as soon & as fast as I could.  Then I made coffee & had a long morning talk with Danny.  It’s our 45th anniversary of our first date today.

I drove to the beach, where there was a pretty cool hike.  These beach hikes arent long in miles, but theyre usually straight down & straight up.  It was dripping from the sky, so I put on my raincoat, which has become my top layer, over my puffy hooded jacket & my fleece hooded pullover Im wearing as a bottom layer.thats rightthree hoods!

The trail

Ive done this part of Oregon before & I knew there would be places I’’d want to revisit & some new things to see.  There’s a 12 mile section of the highway called the Samuel Boardman scenic highway that has many cool view points to pull over & see & beaches you can walk to…so that’s how I spent part of the day.

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This was one of my favorite places called Natural Bridges.  I loved it the first time I was here & just as much today.

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Oregon has some spectacular bridges!  But it’s really hard to photograph them.  Earlier today I drove over the highest one in the state at 345’, but couldn’t get a photo of it.  (That’s make two highest bridges on this trip… I also drove over California’s highest bridge when I was with Luke).

I was hungry so I started researching places to eat.  Lonely Planet talked about a little place in Port Orford called “The Crazy Norwegian” that had great fish & chips & home made pie.  That’s what I ordered a little while later, scoring the last piece of Marion berry pie.  This black berry was ‘bred’ by Oregon University when two berries—the Chehalem & the Ollie blackberries had wild passionate berry sex & now is used all over the state in pies, shakes, ice cream, syrup, etc.  A yummy berry even if it feels like you’re eating a marketing project.

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All thru the day, if I passed a campground, all paid, I’d stop & check it out.  I can’t remember where I stayed most nights I was here a few years ago & I was on the Oregon coast for 10 days.  But none of the campgrounds were that nice, & I’ve spent more on camping already that I have total in my last three or four trips combined.  So, I just kept doing stuff.  I was in the Dunes part of the state.  The campgrounds around here are filled with ATVers ready to play on the Dunes.  They really are quite beautifulthe Dunes not the ATVers.  

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In the town of Bandon, theres a non profit called Washed Ashore.  They take trash from the ocean & create sculptures which have been displayed all over the world.  There was a Puffin sculpture at one of the beaches I visitedthese are pretty neat works of art; its just a shame theres so much trash in the ocean to create them.

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in detail...

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I just kept stopping at beaches & at viewpoints enjoying the day as there would be times when the rain go away, only to return later.

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Kind of a weird Pano pic

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So many lighthouses here

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More trash sculptures in downtown Bandon.

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I still couldn’t find a place to camp for the night, so I went to the 7 Devils Brewery & had a wonderful Barrel Aged Coalbank Stout on Nitro & listened to some live music.  I would have like to stay longer, but I need to go. 

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And, there was another trash sculpture inside the brewery!

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Once in awhile, boondocking & camping like I do, doesn’t work so well.  I had directions for a place in the forest up the highway & also directions to a rest area.  I stopped at a couple of campgrounds along the way, but I’m too cheap for an RV filled state park.  I found the road straight up into the forest, which after a mile became unpaved & very narrow & steep.  I decided not to go too much further in the dark & with a possibility of a lot more rain & try to find the rest area.  It was non existent & I ended driving a fair amount of miles up the highway then back down in an effort to find the rest area.  Finally, at midnight, no cell service & really tired,  I pulled off the road into a great big pullout that was an unmarked viewpoint.  No threatening signs & I was safely off the road, but still wondered if I’d be hassled by the cops.  So, I tried, not successfully to sleep in my front seat.  It was not comfortable, fairly chilly & I only ended up sleeping for about an hour.  That all sucked.  

But look what was out my windows…so fabulously beautiful!  The skies cleared & I finally got to see the moon & it was lighting up the ocean.  What a gift tonight!

And the lighthouse out the back of the 4Runner.

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