8th Aug 2012 - 13th Aug 2012
Grants Pass, Oregon
On Wednesday we left South Beach State Park and headed out early, making our way south down the coast. We stopped off for breakfast on an overlook and enjoyed our bagel whilst looking out to sea. Here we saw another new bird – the American Scoter. There was a flock of them and one minute they were there and the next minute they had all dived and there was not one to be seen. From there we continued along the coast for a few hours and decided that we would luncheon in Bullards Beach State Park. We parked up and took our lunch to a bench by the side of an estuary. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we thoroughly enjoyed it, watching Cormorants diving for their fish whilst ever hopeful gulls hung close by for titbits – no such luck! Then it was time to leave the coast and head in land about 60 miles or so to pick up the interstate which took us to our overnight stop at Walmart. We pulled into the car park at about 6.30pm only to be met with the “No RV overnight parking” and so plan B was immediately put into action. We asked the customer services and they had no problem with us parking there but there was a city ordinance which prohibited it. Oh well, we had to adopt plan C – we would take our chances.
Thankfully, we had no disturbances in the night and so all was well. We only had about 4 miles to travel until we reached our next stop – Rogue Valley Overnighters – where we would stay for four nights. Most of the day was spent talking to family and friends as it was Linda’s birthday and then we went out for a very pleasant Mexican meal in the evening. During the morning we had put some ice packs in the freezer in readiness for going in our cool bag for our day out the following day but in the evening we noticed that they had not frozen. We had thought that the freezer was not keeping stuff as frozen as it should be and so we turned the freezer up to almost maximum. Alas in the morning one of the packs was still not frozen – clearly it was not working properly. We telephoned an RV place and they asked us to bring Harvey in. We also had a rental car booked and no sooner had we arranged a time for our visit than the car rental company called and said that they would not have a car for us for at least another hour or so – aaagh! So, we took Harvey and got the bad news – basically the fridge/freezer was suffering from old age and it was gradually grinding to a halt. We were fed up on two accounts, firstly because it is always hassle when something goes wrong and you are on a time schedule and secondly because we had planned our three days with the rental car and we thought that now it was not going to be possible to fit it all in. Plan B was put into operation – we decided to miss out one of our overnight stops, tell Enterprise that we did not want the car on Friday at all and that we wanted it Saturday, Sunday and Monday for the same price and we would stay on an extra night at Rogue Valley. We walked to Enterprise all ready to do battle and it was no problem at all – phew! We chilled for the rest of the day doing bits and pieces and of course we had to break the bad news to our co-owners, Ron and Julie.
On Saturday we walked to Enterprise to collect our car and we set off to explore Crater Lake. It was a lovely drive although it appeared to be a little hazy thus making the views in the distance a little blurred. We stopped off to view some lava tubes and enjoyed a short interpretative walk along the canyon. Sadly there was a notice regarding the nephew of the person that posted it – apparently he had been taking a photo in May and had fallen in the water, never to be recovered – we have seen people taking chances so often and felt that they put themselves in unnecessary danger and have not heeded the warnings! We took our first view of the lake and it was lovely but again this haze was on the far side of the lake and the colours were only as Seamus remembered them from his first visit around the edges. It was gorgeous and the colour blue was amazing – we could just imagine what it would have looked like with no haze and snow down to the water’s edge – we must visit again. The lake is over 1900ft deep and is North America’s deepest lake, fed only by snow and rain 83 per cent of which falls on the surface and the rest being run-off (it is even more pure than tap water), hence its colour. We drove the entire rim stopping off for lunch and viewings along the way. The further we went, the more hazy it became, so much so that we did not go to some of the viewpoints which looked out over the forest. We called into the visitor’s centre and discovered that the haze was the result of three raging forest fires in the area that formed a triangle and the park was right in the middle of the triangle. We took another beautiful scenic route back and were delighted to get a new spot – the White-faced Ibis.
It was time to head to the coast on Sunday to complete our US101 drive through Oregon. We chose a scenic route that could not have been undertaken in Harvey and Linda enjoyed the rally along gravel and occasional roads. We stopped off for a comfort break and Seamus came back with a few wild raspberries for a mid-morning snack. We carried on up and down and round the bends and saw hardly a soul. Linda remarked that this was just the sort of road you might see a bear wandering across the road and yes, you have guessed, we spotted our 28th bear, a black adolescent, on the hillside about 10 feet to the right of us – he was eating raspberries!!! The brakes were sharply applied and Seamus attempted to photograph him – funnily enough despite the angle he was at, he did not get out of the car – Linda could not understand why as we might have got a better photo!! It took us over three hours to do the 80 miles and so you can appreciate the quality and difficulty of the roads – we later discovered that the tourist boards do not recommend that tourists drive it despite its beauty. We had lunch at an overlook by the sea and in the afternoon drove down the 101 to just before Crescent City, California, stopping off along the way to take in the views and walk short trails – it was a wonderful coastal drive. We headed back along another scenic route but this one was a proper highway and although it twisted and turned, it took just 2 hours to get back to Grants Pass.
Our trip on Monday was to the Redwoods in California. We set out at 8am and our first stop was at the USDA inspection station at the Californian border where we were asked whether we had any fruit or vegetables etc – oops we had bought some tomatoes, grapes and potatoes in town and they were in the back of the car. Linda swiftly replied that we did not have anything because after all we would be back in Oregon before they came out of the car!! We were given the green light – phew! We called into Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Visitor’s Centre for advice on what to visit. The information officer recommended that we back-tracked a couple of miles and then took a side road for another two miles to Stout Grove where we could hike a mile and a half around the grove and see some of the oldest redwoods in the area. Whilst we were there we discovered that Lassen Volcanic National Park had been evacuated due to fires and we were so thankful that we had decided to change our minds a couple of weeks ago and not visit the park. We found the “road” which was actually a gravel/dirt road which was full of potholes and made our way to the grove. It was a pleasant walk amongst the redwoods but it was very heavily populated and so there was little chance of spotting anything new other than a tiny little squirrel that could not have been more than four to five inches – it was so cute. We went further into the Redwoods on the scenic dirt road to Crescent City and again stopped for lunch at another beach overlook. We watched the fog come in and disperse whilst we were there – it was only about 70F. We drove along the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway which is an 8 mile drive through the Redwoods and then we wanted to view Fern Grove which was accessed via another dirt/gravel road. After 2.5miles of the heavily pot-holed filthy dusty road we arrived at a fee station and discovered that we had to pay $8 to do another 6 miles along the same road – we also discovered that there was a campsite there and it cost $35 per night with absolutely no facilities. Neither of us could face the drive as we were both feeling queasy and so we turned around and headed off to the Ladybird Johnson Grove. Here we walked about a mile through the Redwoods – the trees were enormous – well over 200 feet tall. Seamus, however, was very disappointed that there was no wonderful smell to the spruces, something he had never forgotten from his previous visit. We were led to believe that it was because there was a lack of moisture in the area – who knows? By the time we arrived home that evening it was 7.30pm and still over 100F but there was good news waiting for us – our fridge/freezer had been put up to maximum in readiness for our departure the following day and it had started to work again…..