John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

April 2013 Journal

April
30  
It is very windy today so we headed inland.  The South Slough Estuarine Reserve is only about 6 miles away.  We started at the visitor’s center to learn about the slough and the trails here.  We did a 3 mile hike that took us through the forest and then out to the boardwalk and the slough.  It’s low tide so we checked out the mud flats for birds.  We did see a couple banana slugs along the path.  After our hike, we continued south to the town of Bandon.  We stopped at Bandon Marsh because we heard there could be thousands of migrating waterfowl.  When we arrived, we saw no waterfowl at all.  There was a ranger there and we talked to her and she informed there were hundreds, but a peregrine falcon came and made a kill and spooked all the waterfowl.  So we left and headed to the Beach Overlook in Bandon.  It was beautiful but with the wind, it was really cold.  We stopped at Old Town Bandon, walked around, stopped at a bar for a couple beers and then headed back to Bandon Marsh.  Much better this time.  We saw a flock of Caspian Terns, some Pintale Ducks, a few Great Blue Herons and Sandpipers.    29   This morning was cold, windy and rainy, so we hung around and did some campground research for our future places.  It cleared up and the sun came out so we headed down the street to Shore Acres State Park.  We hiked down to the beach and then back up and along the cliffs to the overlook for Simpson Reef and Shell Island.  This area was loaded today with California Sea Lions, Stella Sea Lions, Harbor Seals and the little Harbor Seal babies.  We drove down to Cape Arago State Park and had a picnic lunch overlooking the shoreline.  We took a walk around to look for whales, but didn’t see any.  We got back and enjoyed some wine outside.
28   Today we took a drive 55 miles north to the town of Florence.  We walked around the city and marina.  We had some samples of clam chowder and got a brownie.  As we were sitting by the river eating our brownie we saw a river otter.  We stopped to talk to some people cleaning clams they had dug for.  We were done with the town, but decided to make a stop at the casino for a little while.
On the way home we took our time and made a few different stops.  Our first stop was at Siltcoos Lake and Beach.  We hiked the ½ mile Lagoon trail, and then headed to the beach to check out the sand dunes.  We continued on and made another stop at an Overlook of the Sand Dunes.  Now on to Winchester Bay.  We made the turnoff and drove past the marina and on to the Umpqua Light House and overlook.  We got home, had a nice dinner and a relaxing evening.

27   Around noon we headed to Charleston for the Oyster Feed.  They had a band that we listened to for a little while, but not much was going on.  So we headed home, relaxed outside and did some reading.
 26   John found a really nice inland park about 10 miles from our campground.  We headed to John Topits Park today.  When we arrived, there were a lot of people fishing.  They have trout, bass and catfish.  We hiked the red lake path together.  We saw 4 Ospreys circling and lots of other birds.  John needed more hiking so I found a nice bench, did some reading and watched people fishing.  I moved to the truck when the wind picked up and it was getting cooler.  John got back and the fish and game department had arrived.  They are stocking the lake with 5,000 rainbow trout.  Tomorrow is a kid’s day, so they are containing them in a small area so the kids can catch and release them.  At the end of the day, they will release them into the main lake.  As we were watching them stock the lake, we noticed the crows, seagulls and osprey watching them also.  The crow was the first to attach and snatch up a baby trout that was floating.  Next an Osprey dove to get his dinner.  They did stock it this time with larger fish to make it a little more difficult but that’s nature.  On the way home, we stopped in our town of Charleston at Sea Biscuit for happy hour.  We had one beer and moved on.  Next we stopped at Millers and had a couple drinks and some steamer clams.  Now on to Portside.  There was a guitarist playing and we had a couple drinks and some sushi appetizers.  Happy hours over, so we headed home and took a time-out.     25   Today we headed to the casino for the noon slot tournament.  We didn’t get good enough scores to qualify so we headed out.  We made a stop to look at truck campers.  It is a sunny and mild day around 60 degrees.  So we sat outside and did some reading.  We made bacon wrapped tuna on the grill for dinner.

24  
Today is a beautiful day.  It’s sunny and we are headed for 75 degrees.  We headed north up the coast to Horsfalls Beach along the Oregon Dunes area.  We took a couple short hikes and then headed to the park.  We stopped at Bluebill trail which is a 1 ½ mile loop around a small lake.  We couldn’t do the loop because some of it was washed out.  We headed to the beach, but there was a big temperature change and really windy.  So we headed home and enjoyed some wine.
23   We had a domestic day today.  We did some reading, I practiced harmonica and we hung out at the campground.

22  
This morning is warm and sunny.  We headed down the beach to Simpson Reef to see the harbor seals and sea lions.  Shell Island was loaded with them.  We headed to Cape Arago State Park and did a few hikes and enjoyed the beautiful views.  John needed a hike, so he hiked to Shore Acres Garden State Park and I met him there.  We walked through the gardens and enjoyed all the blooming plants.  Now we headed to Charleston for happy hour.  We ended up at Millers for taco night.
 21   The days are getting nicer.  Still cool but sunny.  John was ready for a hike and he headed next door to Yoakam State Park.  I hung around the cow and updated my journal, photos and website.  When he got back, we headed to North Bend boardwalk.  It was just a block long so we weren’t there long.  Now we headed to Coos Bay boardwalk.  This is larger and there are some plaques about the history of Coos Bay.  We walked around the downtown area and then headed back to our little town of Charleston.  We stopped at the High Tide Restaurant for appetizers and cocktails, looking out over the bay with the tide out and people clamming.  There was a guitarist playing.  We headed home and relaxed.
  20   This morning is bright and sunny with low winds and the temperature will get to around 58 today.  We headed down the road to Sunset Bay State Park.  We did the viewpoint hike and it was beautiful.  We did the loop and then headed back to the bay for some tide pooling.  John still needed a hike, so he hiked from the Sunset Bay campground back to Oceanside RV Park (our campground) about 1 ½ miles.  We set up our chairs outside, did some reading and enjoyed the sun.  It started getting cool, so we headed in and played some cribbage.  We had a nice dinner and a relaxing evening..
 19   This morning is rainy and cool.  That’s ok, after this front moves by, it’s supposed to be getting dryer and warmer with temps in the low 60’s!!!  We headed out early afternoon to check out the state parks and golf course down the street.  At Cape Argos State Park we did stop and checked out Shell Island.  It was loaded with California and Elephant sea lions.  Now we headed into town to check out the mud flats.  People were out clam digging in the mud and the rain.  We stopped at Orcoast Music to get the info on the open jam tonight.  I am in need of socks, so we stopped at Walmart then on to the RV store for some parts.  The casino was on the way home, so we stopped and made a small contribution.  At home we regrouped, had dinner and headed out to the open jam around 5pm.  We got to Orcoast Music Annex and met John and Jenn the hosts.  John sings, plays guitar and bass.  We also Marty on drums, Paul on lead guitar and Colin on vocals, guitar and bass.  I was the only harp player and a few more people showed up for guitar and vocals.  It’s a laid back jam.  We bought some cookies and coffee.  At 9pm when it ended we headed home.
 18   YES!!  This morning we had sun and low winds.  The temp is around 50 degrees.  This is bad that we are getting used to 50 degrees temperatures.  We sat outside and had coffee, then strolled down to the beach to check it out.  We can hear the surf from our campsite.  It’s sheltered from the wind by trees.
The yurt had a coffee and donuts sign on it, so we went in to check it out.  There were a few people so we grabbed a donut and some coffee and took a seat.  Come to find out we crashed an Elk’s group event but they welcomed us in.  Now we regrouped, made a crockpot meatloaf for later and John cut up his vegetables.
We decided to take a walk on our beach to tide pool, check for sand shrimp and clams and see where that takes us.  Our beach is very close, about 75 yards.  We are sheltered by a small dune and a tree line which is really nice for keeping the wind at bay.  The tide was low which is good for tide pooling.  I found a bunch of colorful starfish and John found some mussels.  He collected them and took them home for a later snack.
We continued on our beach looking for sand holes where either sand shrimp for bait or clams call home.  We had our sand sucker we got in South Padre Island.  We didn’t find any shrimp or clams, but that’s ok.  We made it to the jetty and then into the county park next door.  We hiked a little over 2 miles.  John offered to hike back and get the truck and I accepted.  I relaxed, listened to the surf and practiced my harmonica.  I talked to a few local people and got some info.
When he got back, we headed to our little fishing town of Charleston.  We stopped at the Pacific Waves Tuna and Seafood Company to check out there fresh fish.  We met Ken the owner.  He told us they wouldn’t be open for the season for another week, but gave us info on the different fish he caught and sold.  He did have some tuna he had just got and they were huge fillets.  He gave us a great price of 5.99/lb.  How could we pass it up?  We were talking about the Dungeness crabs and how to cook and eat them.  He had some of those too.  He gave us one, already cooked and told us how to clean and eat it.  He packaged our fish in ice so we could investigate the town some more.
We stopped to see some fisherman cleaning their catch, got some cookies at a local bakery, stopped to watch people clamming on the mud flats and then headed home.  We got home and John made his mussels, I prepared the Dungeness crab and we sat at the picnic table for our snack.  Now we got our visitor info and some wine, sat outside in the sun and we were fine.

17   “On the Road Again”.  We are heading about 90 miles from Four Seasons RV Resort in Gold Beach Oregon to Oceanside RV Resort in Charleston Oregon.  We were going to stay 6 nights, but decided on a month.  We got setup on site 25.  Really nice back in site with lots of room.  We had lunch and then hurried to make it to the visitor’s center before it closed to get area information.  Next we stopped at Walmart.  We needed lots of supplies and groceries so we took care of that, got home, had a couple glasses of wine and a relaxing evening.

16  
Today we had another time out day.  Even though it’s our day before departure, we really don’t have much to do and tomorrow is a really easy travel day.  We spent the day, reading, doing future travel and campground research, played some cribbage, practiced harmonica and just relaxed.

15  
Another rainy, cold morning.  We are just hanging around for now.  We headed into Gold Beach and did some treasure hunting on the beach.  We didn’t find anything and I was freezing and didn’t have a hat.  So I made one with the stuff I had in the car.  I took a t-shirt and wrapped it around my head, and then I took my geico backpack and put it over the t-shirt.  Worked perfect.  We stopped at the store and headed home to sit outside and have wine and cheese.  It was raining so John cut up onions, the rain stopped and we did sit outside and had wine and cheese.  The rain started so we moved inside and played some cribbage, and had some wine and cheese before dinner.
 14   We are taking a time out day today.

13  
This morning is still rainy and cool.  The sun tried to pop its head out, so we headed out.  Today we are going north.  We stopped at the golf course to check it out, then along the coast toward Port Orford.  Humbug State Park was on the way, so we stopped and did a little hike.  Then to Battle Rock City Park where we took a nice walk along the beach and enjoyed the sun. We headed up to Port Orford Head State Park and started at the coast guard museum.  Then we did a ½ mile hike out to the point.  We started our journey back to Gold Beach and made a couple photo stops along the way.
We went to the Nor’wester for a cocktail, then to the Hunter bar and grill next to the brewery.  The brewery was closed for the day, but Hunter served some of their brews.  We had some drinks and dinner.  They had a question of the day.  What aptly named village has the highest post office in the US?  We called our postman friend Jeff, but he didn’t know the answer.  Look at the picture to find out.  We found out they operated a blackjack table in the side room.  It was 2.00 minimum so we decided to play.  We had a good time and ended up braking even.

12   This morning is cold, 41 degrees but it’s sunny.  We headed into Gold Beach to get our idler arm for Big Red.  John replaced it and hopefully Red will be good for a while.
We stopped at the North Jetty of the Rogue River to check out the temperature and the winds.  We wanted to go up the coast, but the temps and wind still make it too cold.  So we decided on heading inland for some hiking today.  While we were on the jetty, we saw a school of sea lions.  They are on a mission.  They are searching for the spring salmon coming up the river.  The salmon have to enter at the mouth of the river so that’s where they fish.  They like to eat the bellies and then leave the rest of the fish.
Now we headed back across the bridge and down Jerry Flat’s South River road.  We got a guide book from the visitor’s bureau on things to see with mile markers.  We did spot the Osprey nests with the parents.  We stopped at various places along the river and talked to some fisherman.  No one was catching, but they said the time is right and they are waiting for that one big one.  We walked around the old Mill and then stopped at the Shrader Old Growth Trail.  John did the 1 ½ mile hike and I relaxed, practiced harmonica and read my book.  Now we headed to the Myrtle Tree Hike.  This is a 1 mile hike to one of the largest know Myrtle Trees in the world.  Its 88 feet high and 42 feet in diameter at the base.  We met a couple that has a truck camper and talked to them for a while.
Now we headed back home.  It’s nice enough to sit outside, so we had some beer and wine and everything was fine.    

11   This morning is cold, but sunny.  We are doing a few small projects around the cow, and then heading out to explore.  We stopped at the harbor and found a seafood store.  John picked up some fresh salmon for lunch later.  We continued on down the coast a few miles to Cape Sebastian.  From up on this lookout we had a beautiful view of the North and South Shore.  Today is a windy day about 20 mph so we did enjoy the view, but we stayed in the truck.  Then we headed down to the shore to explore the beach and look for razor clams.  We got to Myers Beach and it was beautiful, but only one crazy guy was out windsurfing.  The wind was worse here.  But we parked the truck so we could relax and read the info we got from the visitors center.  We watched the wind surfer and he was doing great.
We continued on to Pistol Creek St. Park where the dunes are.  John went to check it out, but I stayed in the truck.  He wasn’t gone long.  We decided to get some groceries and head home.  Maybe inland where our RV park is will be warmer and not so much wind.  We made a good choice.  We sat outside, did some reading and enjoyed the sunshine.  

   10   “On the road again”.  We are traveling 125 miles from Azalea Glen RV Park just north of Trinidad Ca, to Four Seasons RV Park in Gold Beach Or.  When we arrived it had started a light rain.  We got what we needed set up then had some hot soup for lunch.  Now we headed out and to the visitors center.  There is a treasure hunt going on along the shore from December through April.  The visitor’s center puts out over 300 glass buoy balls and if you find one you can keep it and get entered into a drawing.  We went down by airport road and took a walk to look but didn’t find any.  We did see a bunch of sea lions in the water near the shore.  I tried to get their picture but they didn’t pose for me.  We stopped to pick up a few groceries and headed back.  There is this little tavern about a mile from our place so we stopped for one.  We met a bunch of nice people and had a couple drinks.  Now we headed back, had dinner and relaxed.  
9   Today is our day before departure day.  So we have to get some domestic stuff like laundry and cleaning done.  John’s computer ended up with a virus so I also worked on getting that removed.  We headed into Trinidad to the casino for our free play.  They called John’s name and he popped a balloon for 50.00.  Now we headed to dinner at the Seascape for their fish and chips.  It was a sunny, low wind and warm (58 degrees) late afternoon.  John recommended we get home, regroup and hike over to Palmers Point in Patrick’s Point St. Park across the street.  So that’s what we did.  It’s about a 1 mile hike round trip.  The road is washed out so you can only hike in.  I’m glad we went.  The scenery is beautiful and we saw the grey whales spouting.  Then I saw a harbor seal and we realized there were dozens down on the rocks.  We heard the sea lions but didn’t see them.  We were treated to a beautiful sunset and started hiking back so it would still be light.  We had a nice time during our stay in Trinidad.  
  8   This morning is sunny but cold.  Around 39 degrees.  We are headed up to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park area today.  We saw a herd of elk on the way.  First we stopped at the visitor’s center and then hiked 2 miles round trip on the Prairie Creek Trail.  This was a really nice trail.  Through old grow huge redwoods and along the Prairie Creek.  John was ready for a big hike, so I dropped him off at the Foothills Trail and he did a 5-6 mile hike on the Foothills, Brown Creek and Rhododendron Trails.  While he was hiking, I practiced my harmonica and did some reading.
We headed home and saw another huge herd of elk by the schoolhouse.  We had a quick dinner, and then headed to Big Lagoons State Park for agate rock hunting on the beach.  We wanted to go to Palmers Point at Patrick Point State Park for sunset, but the road was washed out.  So we went back to Big Lagoons and had a beautiful sunset.  We did watch it from Big Red because it was windy and cold.  We got home and there was no electricity in park.  So we went to bed early.

7   This morning is damp, overcast and cool.  We hung around the cow for a while then decided to head to Trinidad for pancakes at the Seascape Restaurant.  We did a little shopping and then headed back.  We were going to go hiking, but the rain started and didn’t stop.  So we hung out at the cow and I finally got all caught up on our journal and pictures.

6  
This morning it’s raining and cold.  We had an easy morning.  Then the rain stopped and the sun tried to peek out a little.
So we decided to hike across the street to Patrick’s Point State Park.  Right away we saw a couple of Banana Slugs.  We’ve been looking for these.  These two were right in front of us on the trail.  Today we kept seeing more banana slugs.  We hiked through the park and stopped at Abalone point.  Then we stopped at Rocky Point.  Even though the tide was going out, some of the waves were huge.  John hiked down to the tide pools, but had to be careful of the waves.  We were looking for whales, but did see a Sea Lion.  After a nice break and some snacks, we continued on.  At Patrick’s Point, we enjoyed the overlook and a couple Stellar Jays wanted a handout, so we gave them some granola.
We headed back and did some reading and cooked on the grill until the rain sent us inside.  We had a relaxing evening.

  5   When I got up this morning the coffee was ready and John was missing.  When he got back, he told me he headed to Patrick Point State Park across the street for a morning hike.  He hiked down to Palmers Point and saw deer’s and rabbits along the way.  When he got to the point, the tide was in so he couldn’t get to the beach, but he did see California Sea Lions feeding and swimming around.
He was lucky he got back before the rain came in.  We used the rain to do some campground research for our next couple of stops.  It did clear up early afternoon, so we headed North.  We stopped at the Kuchel Visitors Center.  There was a film starting about the history of the Redwoods and this area.  Then we talked to the rangers and went through the museum.  Now we headed into Redwoods National Park and to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove hiking trail.  This is a 1 ½ mile loop trail through old growth Redwoods.  Some are up to 330 feet high and up to 2000 years old.  During our hike the rain started again.  That’s ok, the Redwoods shelter a lot of the rain, and we had our rain ponchos, so no problem.
After our hike, we decided to head to Trinidad and stop at the casino.  We sat at the bar for happy hour and met a couple, Matt and Sahara.  They were out for their 2 year anniversary.  Tomorrows a big fight here, so the boxers were doing their weigh-in’s.  They also did short video for Facebook of the bartender making a long island iced tea.  When he was done, I asked what he was going to do with it.  He said “Give it to you”.  So I ended up with a really good Long Island.  We played a little video poker and some blackjack. 

 4   This morning is rainy and cold.  We are hanging around the cow and I am trying to get a little more caught up on our journal and pictures.  I know I am so far behind, but we have been going so much and experiencing new things.  There just hasn’t been time for the journal.  The rain finally started to slow down around 2pm.  We headed out and stopped at the Big Lagoon Park. We walked to see the lagoon then out to the beach.  There were some huge pieces of driftwood.  It was really windy.
Next we stopped at Humboldt Lagoons State Park.  On the way in we saw a heard of Elk just off the road.  We took a walk along the marsh area, went up to the beach, but came back out of the wind and back along the marsh.  We headed to Trinidad and made a quick stop at the casino to check it out.  The sun was out, so we played a couple bucks on video poker and headed home.  We enjoyed a couple cocktails, I practiced harmonica and we enjoyed the sunshine.  Soon the clouds came in and it got much colder, so we headed in for dinner.  Just in time too, it started raining again. 

  3   “On the road again”, we were up early and on the road.  We are in a fog belt here, so we waited until 730am to leave.  We have about 260 miles from Cotati to Trinidad Ca.  We are on Hwy 101 which is a good road, but only 55mph max and some places elevation and curves which makes it much slower.
We checked in at Azalea Glen RV Park which is across the street from Patrick’s Point State Park. We are in site 37 which is a pull through.  This is a small park, only 38 sites, but exactly what we want, location.  After setting up and regrouping, we headed out to explore the area.
We stopped at the State Park for info then headed to the town of Trinidad and walked along the Trinidad State beach.  The rock formations are just beautiful.  Then headed to the Trinidad pier and talked to the fisherman and the group waiting for the crab boats to come in.  On the way home we stopped at a pull-off near Scotty’s Point and heard the harbor seals or sea lions.  We couldn’t locate them, but we sure heard them.  We relaxed outside with a glass of wine and then headed in.

2   We are exploring the Russian River Valley today.  We headed up Hwy 101 to Healdsburg then on Westside road through the vineyards and wineries to River road along the Russian River.  The vineyards just go on, and on, and on, and on.  From a recommendation we stopped at the Korbel winery for champagne and wine tasting.  John was our wine tasting organizer.  We tasted 4 different champagnes and 4 different wines.  We ended up purchasing the Blanc de Noir and Sec Anniversary Cuvee champagnes.  These are limited production and not sold in stores.
Then on to Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in Guerneville for a hike through the redwoods.  We saw the Colonel Armstrong tree which is over 1400 years old and 308 feet tall with a 14.6 foot diameter.  We also saw the Parsons Jones Tree which is over 1300 years old and 310 feet tall.
Now to the coast between Jenner and Bodega Bay.  It’s overcast now but still beautiful.  It’s a rocky shoreline with small to expansive beaches mixed in.  Now it’s time to head back and regroup for our travel day tomorrow.
1   “On the Road Again” we were on the road by 7am and driving from Midpines near Yosemite to Cotati Ca. in the Russian River Valley wine country area of California.  We are staying at Wine Country RV Park which is a very small and mostly permanent residents RV Park.  The spaces are very tight but we got in and set up.
We went to explore the area and do some wine tasting.  I had checked out a couple wineries that have free tastings with a coupon or purchase.  You have to be careful, some wineries charge up to 20.00 per person for a tasting.  So we headed to the Occidental area and stopped at the Balletto Vineyards.  We had 8 different wines to taste.  Jayne was our wine tasting organizer.  We met another couple there and we had a really fun time.  We did end up getting a bottle of wine.
Now we headed to our little town square in Cotati to walk around.  We found a local bar to check it our.  We get a lot of good ideas on things to do and about the area from the bartenders and local people.  We met Kelly the bartender.  He was originally from Chicago, but moved out here in 1973 to our park which at the time was a hippie community.  He told us lots of stories and gave us some good places to visit.