It was a rainy beginning, but this was the timeframe I had allotted to go, so I headed out anyway. I stopped at Sims Flat off Highway 5 between Redding And Dunsmuir, near Castle Crags State park. $15 a night at the USFS site is better than $35 a night at the state park. I was the only one there on a Saturday might. My, the benefits of off-season travel. But it was supposed to be a wild and wooly storm. So I picked the site least under the trees, and prayed a lot. The thunder was loud, but only lasted 20 minutes or so. The train horn was actually much more of a nuisance. The Sacramento River was flowing mightily, a reassurance that the drought just may be over. One can only hope.
I knew it was supposed to rain all day, so I was hoping that by heading to the desert side I could at least lessen the impact. The next morning I crossed over 89 at McCloud towards Lava Beds NM. This was Lower Falls on the McCloud River.
I pulled off the road and followed a FS road towards Medicine Lake, passing Jot Dean Cave. No way I was going to go in alone, but it sure looked interesting.
When I got to Lava Beds, it was still raining a bit, and the only really interesting thing to do there is go into the lava tubes. Again, I wasn’t going to do that alone. Also, since I had recently been in a cave in Arkansas, they would have had to decontaminate me for white nosed syndrome (http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/white-nose_syndrome/) which is prevalent in the eastern half of the country and they are hoping to avoid its spread into the western bats. So I just drove right through.
I hit Klamath Falls for a late lunch and did some shopping. By the time I headed out it was getting time to find a campsite. I headed up highway 66 towards Ashland, but the campgrounds I passed were closed for the season. I went down a dirt road to Topsy Lake BLM camp, but it was closed. One the way back out I noticed several fishermen’s access points off the road. I decided to do my first official “boon docking” experience. That was a huge step forward for me. But it was getting late, I had driven quite a bit and there wasn’t anything else to head towards. I was well off a seldom used road that I hoped was still on BLM land. It was actually a beautiful site, level with a wonderful view out the doorway.
The next day was a slow wander through lower Oregon. I didn’t make great time because I did quite a bit of shopping. I ended up at Valley of the Rogue again. I guess I needed the tried and true old faithful after my adventurous night before. Plus it was time for a guaranteed shower opportunity.
Down the 199 through Jedediah Smith Redwoods Park. The sun came out the minute I crossed the California border. I decided to try for Gold Bluffs Beach in Prairie Creek Redwoods. It is 6 miles down a 15 mph dirt road, through glorious old growth forest, dripping in ferns and mosses. Then you break out into the beach and go another 2 miles to the campground. Wow, just beautiful. There are 20 sites, but only about 5 were filled that night.
I saw an older FWC that had an interesting bike rack and way of turning the jacks sideways for travel. Very clever. I can’t carry the extra weight on my Tacoma, but for others it might be a good compromise between driving with them on, and down, or left behind.
Roosevelt Elk were everywhere. And some arty-fartsy shots I took with my cell phone.
I stopped at the Fort Bragg marina and had shrimp and chips at the SeaPal dockside. They were plump, juicy and delicious.
Then I headed up Navarro River towards Boonville and home.
Somehow I picked up a little decoration. And stayed at Hendy Woods State park. They wanted $40 a night, and I told them it was only $35 anywhere else. But not too many options there either.
Then I went to the Charles M. Schultz “Peanuts” museum in Santa Rosa. It was very well done, but my favorite was the cartoon strips even in the bathroom.
So a nice, simple get away. I didn’t come up with any new storage techniques for the camper, so that must mean I am finally settled in.