Tag Archives: beach

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.

Advertisements

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.

Pelicans, and such, on Yaquina Bay Jetty

Watching the ocean is one of our favorite things.  So we grabbed some fast food and took it down to the south jetty at Newport.  Quite a few other people have the same idea.  Flocks of seagulls hang out to see who’ll throw the first french fry.  I kept telling him that I don’t do that.  He wouldn’t say anything; just waited patiently.  But I think I heard him humming “doot doo-doo” as he casually looked around pretending not to be doing anything in particular.
Seagull Begging
Seagull Begging

There was a big flock of pelicans taking their noon siesta and preening in the wind.  These are brown pelicans; although they look more gray to me.  If you look closely you can see that one of them has a blue band on his left leg.  Anyone know how to look up info on those?

Pelican Flock
Pelican Flock

 Here’s a younger one in front.  I’m not sure how old they are when their head and neck start to turn from brown to white.

Young Brown Pelican
Young Brown Pelican

There seems to be a grey and white theme here on the coast.  These little killdeer are well camouflaged against the rock.  We also saw a small hawk fly over so there is good reason to want to blend in.  The hawk was also grey and white.   There are 4 killdeer on this rock.  Can you find them all?  It’s like those hidden picture puzzles. 🙂

Killdeer on Rock
Killdeer on RockThe cormorants had their own rock. But at one point one of them decided he liked this other neighborhood. As soon as he landed one of the pelicans got out of the way but the others didn't move. Then he started spreading his wings to see if he could get the others to move. Nobody else was buying his threats. He finally got bored and went back to cormorant rock.Cormorant Movin' In

Goose Island State Park, Texas

We drove south-west from Brazos Bend State Park, near Needville, TX, along Hwy 35.  Goose Island State Park is near Lamar, TX, on the other side of St Charles Bay from Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  It is a busy park, especially during Whooping Crane (and snowbird) season.  We were able to get a campsite (in the woods) for one night but they were reserved after that.  Fortunately, there were a couple sites available on the beach after the first night.  That’s where we wanted to be anyway.

Beach Campsite
Goose Island, beach campsite

The campsites are right on the bay!  We were in Trout Loop which is walking distance from the fishing pier.  They were catching sheepshead, which look like a flounder but the eyes are on either side of the head instead of one side.  They said you have to use live shrimp to catch them so Don asked if I’d resuscitate his dead shrimp for him.  Although the fishing wasn’t that great, the birding was!

This is the closest we’ve been to a Great Blue Heron.  They are big birds!  We watched one picking out sticks for his nest.  He’d pick up a stick and throw it in the air a couple times to test it’s strength (according to one of the campground “Bird Hosts”).

There were lots of Brown Pelicans around.  They live here year-round.

I had no idea that, other than a flamingo, another  pink bird existed until I saw a picture of the Roseate Spoonbill in the State Park office.  They are a beautiful, bright pink.  They are very camera shy and we need a better camera to capture the color!

Okay, so rumor had it that some whooping cranes had been seen over by the “big tree”.  This is a huge oak tree that is recorded being over 1,000 years old!  Pretty impressive!  We saw some deer wandering around here but no whooping cranes.  However, a private property owner nearby, has a feeder in his yard, which is where the whooping cranes were actually seen.  So we went exploring a little further.

It was about 4pm when we saw 2 whooping cranes by the feeder.  We couldn’t get close enough to get a good pic of them.  But we went back, about the same time the next day, and saw 4 in the shallows of the bay.  Whooping cranes are also huge birds!  It was very fun watching them.

Don was trying to get a picture of that round, white bird when the ibis decided to fly.  We’re always trying to get an action shot!  He did great!

Mississippi, Alabama

We were impressed by the plantation-style Rest Areas in Mississippi. This was actually a visitor’s center but still very impressive. We stopped to get some info on campgrounds near the beach. The good one, Buccaneer, is still closed from hurricane Katrina damage. The one we found was not on the beach and not too spectacular but it was after dark and we were ready to stop.
We saw lots of cotton fields. Marian took me to a field for some closeup shots. Starting with the left pic: before the pod opens; next: pod is just opening; next: fully opened cotton pod; last: cotton ‘modules’. They are not called cotton ‘bales’ anymore. Modules are larger than the old bales. They spray a defoliant on the plant before the can harvest the cotton. That is so the cotton is not colored green by a live plant; which decreases the value of the cotton. Marian remembers, as a child, having to get into the cotton containers and stomping it down to compact it. These modules are compacted by large equipment similar to the garbage trucks that compact the contents using hydraulics. I just think it is amazing that you can make clothing out of a plant!

This is our friend’s, Gil and Marian’s, ‘nut farm’. We learned all about pecan farming…well, not ‘all’. They made it look simple but they have been working at it for years and Gil is a natural when it comes to farming anything. They were very gracious hosts and we loved spending time with them, as usual! Their farm is a beautiful and peaceful place.
They treated us to all the sites in the area too. We saw Pensacola Beach. I guess this water tower is a ‘must have’ for the spring break picture-taking crowd. They took us to the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The lighthouse was closed but we toured the great museum. Don was interested in how those Navy guys adapt airplanes for use on the water.
They also took us on a boat tour to see dolphins! That was great fun. I couldn’t believe how white the sand is on the east side of the Mississippi River! I grew up closer to Galveston and that beach sand is the color of mud (it’s down-current of the Mississippi). The beach pic is at Gulf Shores, Alabama.
They fattened me up for days for the next outing; threatened to feed me to the alligators. We went to Alligator Alley. I held a 4-foot gator (after he taped his mouth shut)! One amazing fact we learned is that gators only eat about 10% of their body weight per year! This gator, on the right, is eating a chicken and that’s probably the last thing he’ll eat this year. How could you grow on that kind of a diet?

Gil and Marian drove us everywhere! But before we headed back west, we noticed our odometer rolled over 100,000 miles on the ole’ Dodge.