Category Archives: west coast

Westport to Santa Rosa, CA, via Hwy 1

Look at the perfect dome shape the flowers make on this little sand flower growing in the dunes.
Sand Flower
Sand Flower

 We continued south on Hwy 1.  Miles and miles of gorgeous shoreline in northern California!

Hwy 1 - roller coaster
Hwy 1 - roller coaster

We had a little change of scenery today.  There were some forested areas; even some redwoods.  These aren’t redwoods but it made a pretty arbor over the road.  The drive to Santa Rosa took a couple hours longer than we expected.  Lots of small towns with 25 mph limits; in addition to all the twists and turns with 10 – 20 mph limits.  The trees were a nice change and were, actually, kind of a relief from the sheer cliffs.

Forested Areas
Forested Areas

Something else that was a little odd, was the open range land way up on the cliffs.  There were cows right next to the road!  Just a little something to add to the stress.  We both said we would NOT take this route with our 5th wheel.  We only saw 1 other RV on the whole highway and it was a Class C.

Hwy 1 - southbound
Hwy 1 - southbound

 We were getting a little weary of the steep shoreline roller coaster so we turned inland on Hwy 116 at Jenner.

Jenner, CA
Jenner, CA

The drive up the river was nice.  Monte Rio is a cute little town.  We saw lots of vineyards, in their fall colors, as we came into Santa Rosa.

SantaRosa-FallVineyard
SantaRosa-FallVineyard

We had a wonderful visit, although too short, with family and spent the night outside their doorstep.

Brookings, OR thru Humboldt Redwoods State Park to Westport, CA

From Brookings, OR, we continued south on Hwy 101.  I thought Trinidad, CA, was a good goal for one day’s drive.  I found a couple of county parks in the area; Moonstone and Clam Beach.  I wasn’t impressed with what I read about Clam Beach so I zeroed in on Moonstone.  But when we got there we found that it wasn’t a campground, just a Day Use area.  We stopped at Clam Beach and it was just as unimpressive as the pix on the website.  So we kept going south.
Avenue of the Giants
Avenue of the Giants - Humboldt Redwoods
We drove through the Avenue of the Giants in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  These redwoods are just as impressive as the ones up north.  We pulled into Burlington Campground for the night.  Holy California-Happy-Cow!  $35/night and not even electric hookups?  Sure can tell we’re in CA!  Oh well, it’s unique!
Humboldt Redwood State Park
Humboldt Redwood State Park

 It looks like the huge redwoods were logged out of here and now the 2nd growth is pretty, dang tall!  New trees grow up from the roots of others.

Big Burly Redwood
Big Burly Redwood

I’m surrounded by burly, red, giants!

Since we were without cell signal or TV, we played several games of Rummikub.  I was behind for the first few games but then I went out with Don holding a wildcard!

We continued south this morning; planning on taking off on Hwy 1 so we’d get to drive down the coast.  Legget, CA, is where we took Hwy 1 from Hwy 101.

Hwy 1 from Legget to California coast
Hwy 1 from Legget to California coast

This is a beautiful drive!  Although it would probably be best in a sportscar.  For those of you familiar with the Alsea Hwy, think of the twistiest part and extend that for 30 miles!  Watch for cyclists and log trucks!

South on Hwy 1
South on Hwy 1

If you were headed north on Hwy 1, this is where you leave the coast and turn inland.  It might be called the ‘Kiss-the-ocean-goodbye Vista’.  But since we are headed south, and just travelled 30 miles on a roller-coaster-road of twists and turns up to 1500′ elevation and back down to 150′, Don calls it the ‘Dang-it-you’ve-earned-it Vista’.  Whew!  We made it!  We thought we’d make it to Fort Bragg tonight, but started seeing campgrounds before Westport.

Westport KOA, CA
Westport KOA, CA

We starting seeing campgrounds, overlooking the ocean, before Westport.  This one has hookups and showers.  Since we want to see our new grand-niece tomorrow, we’d better stay where we can get a shower or her parents might not let us near her 🙂   $45/night at this one.  $5 more and we could be closer to the beach.  I don’t know why I got cheap all of a sudden?  I guess because I had a choice.

Westport Beach
Westport Beach

We walked down on the beach and watched 4 surfers catch a couple waves.  No shells on this beach, a few rocks, lots of seagulls.  Is this all starting to look the same?  I don’t care – I love the coast!

After our visit with family, our next challenge will be how to not get trapped in California by the cold storms coming in.

Coos Bay to Brookings, Oregon

We decided to stay a the Coos County campground called ‘Bastendorf’.  It’s overlooking the ocean (which we can’t see due to the FOG).  But the fog lifted, this morning, just long enough to find these unusual mushrooms.
Mushrooms at Bastendorf
Mushrooms at Bastendorf
About an hour and a half down the road (well, longer because we took the scenic route), the clouds were starting to break up.  We stopped to make sandwiches at a view point in Port Orford.  It’s such a relief to see the sky (and the ground for that matter)!
Port Orford
Port Orford

We’ve had a debate about why we’ve been so grouchy the last few days.  Don thinks it’s the winter blues.  I think I’m claustrophobic.  Couple the dense forest with low, dark, clouds and I feel like I’m in a little box.  Oh, wait, I AM in a little box cuz we’re travelling in the truck camper. 🙂

Bleeding Hearts?
Bleeding Hearts?

We got into Brookings, Oregon, by 2pm.  So we had a few hours to enjoy the sunshine!

Harris Beach State Park Overlook
Harris Beach State Park Overlook

I thought about walking down to the beach but then I thought about the CLIMB to return.  We don’t have this view from our campsite but we DO have a view.  The beach view sites, in Harris Beach State Park, filled up by 3pm.  I think the whole campground is close to full.

Harris Beach
Harris Beach - another view

 Don suggested we take a picture of the view from our site and set it as our desktop wallpaper.  Then we’ll have a great view even when it’s foggy…or when we’re in an unscenic place…like…well, I don’t know where…if we’ve seen one of those, I’ve blocked it out.

Sunset on Harris Beach
Sunset on Harris Beach

And the sun sinks slowly behind the fog bank.  How’s my timing on getting that seagull flying in front of the sun!

There’s only one drawback to Harris Beach State Park.  The sawmill is noisy.  I’m sure it’s good for employment in the Brookings area but it’s annoying for campers.  Maybe that’s why they offer cable in the campsites…so you drown it out with the TV.  I bet tenters don’t stay longer than one night.  Oh well, we enjoyed the sunshine.  Now it’s dark and we’re hooked up to cable.

Canal Creek Campground

Canal Creek Campground is a beautiful, out-of-the-way, little campground. Great for tent camping. It also has a big group area that can be reserved through www.recreation.gov .  It is just 4 miles off the Alsea Hwy, not far from Waldport, Oregon.

In 2010, Canal Creek became a Reservation-Only group campground.  The side with the individual campsites now has a common area with picnic table and a group fire ring.  It can accommodate up to 50 people.  The other side has a pavilion and group fire ring and can accommodate up to 100 people.

It is no longer a year-round campground.  The reservation season is from mid-May through Labor Day.