Friday, May 31, 2013

2013 May 30 Avenue of the Giants, Old Dyersville Road, Ferndale

Once again we struck out in the truck (only going to be about 60 – a bit chilly for the Beemer.)  South on 101, detouring on Humboldt Hill – a farming loop which provided wonderful view of the Humboldt Bay, the 2nd largest Bay in CA (2nd to San Fran.) 

Stopped in Scotia, California’s only remaining “company town.”   The Pacific Lumber Company employs about 1600 people.  At the town museum a plaque tells the story, and a great train and equipment is parked there—a relic of the “good ole days”.


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The Pacific Lumber Company – this picture only shows a very small portion of the lumberyard with piles and stacks over several acres.  The mill itself was probably a half-mile long.  Huge! 



Then onto Avenue of the Giants,  33 stretch of road which parallels and crosses Rt 101 through one of the state’s largest redwood forests.  Reaching heights of 300’ and more, some have been growing since the days of ancient Rome!

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Avenue of the Giants winds in and out of private property.  Ran across one man’s dream.   Guess he was a UPS Driver before retiring?IMG_1285 IMG_1286 IMG_1287 IMG_1290

About a third of the way through Avenue of the Giants, Jerry decided to take off on one of his famous “scenic routes,” which are notorious and always interesting.  Well this one turned out to be about 50 miles and 3-1/2 hours long – Old Dyersville Road.  Making a huge loop east from Rte 101, it traverses mostly mountains…from 140’ up to 3357’.  Much of the time the road was one-lane gravel, but a few stretches of a mile or two were asphalt two lane.  Much of it was through redwood and hardwood forests but miles were up on the ridgeline of a mountain.  Picture below.  Cattle were grazing up here and once in a while we would see a home, but for the most part, it was just us.  Saw one or two others on the road…luckily not on the one-lane part!  LOL



Beautiful country, but we were glad to finally land in Garberville where we had yummy ice cream cones to hold us over.  Back north to Avenue of the Giants to finish the 20 miles or so that we missed by taking the scenic route.  Two different places, where the Avenue follows the a meandering Eel River, there were “flood of ‘68” poles with the marking probably 30’ above our heads…and we were already probably 50’ above the current river level with was very low with just a small stream and lots of gravel bed showing.  Egads!  Reading in a brochure, it said two small towns were totally wiped out with the flood!  I’m surprised with that high of water, that more wasn’t wiped out! 

About 6 pm we arrived at the historic bridge, Fernbridge 1910, which leads from Rte 101 to Ferndale, a small historic town near the ocean.


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And then 6 miles to Ferndale.  Found the Ivanhoe Hotel which has survived 3 or 4 fires.  They had live entertainment (an older folk’s band and a couple of singers).  We had a beer at the small bar and listened to the music.  Then shared a delicious salad with fresh-caught bay shrimp.  A delicious repast!



This is another Victorian building housing the most westerly bar.  Certainly a very interesting day.



2013 – May 29 – Eureka, CA

After lunch, we took off to find the UPS warehouse to mail the fuel pump back.  Couldn’t use a UPS Store since we were using Simonsen’s account # to return it.  After accomplishing that task, we drove around Eureka.  Near the UPS warehouse was this huge redwood lumberyard.  Watched a huge forklift rearrange four logs so he could pick them up in one swell foop…I mean fell swoop.  He sure knew how to manage it!


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The busy harbor area of Eureka (named for the expression meaning, “Ive found it, recalling CA gold rush days.)  had hundreds of boats, many of them commercial fishing boats.


Around the corner is the Pacific Seafood Company.  We parked the truck on the curb and saw this operation.  A kind man who worked there came over to the truck and explained that these are shrimp shells and whatever else is left after the shrimp are prepared for consumption.  The huge tube was rolling around, taking out the moisture and spitting out the residue which is scarfed up by local farmers, as the calcium in the shells makes wonderful fertilizer.   The shells fall into a huge tub on a forklift which when full is moved to another area.


Crab pots waiting for crabbing season.


Eureka has more than 10,000 Victorian homes lining the picturesque streets.  Also the once rough-and-tumble Old Town section is steeped in the flavor of frontier life.  Once full of bordellos and saloons, it is now a commercial district of shops, museums and eateries all in vintage buildings.

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Eureka’s most famous and most elaborate building, Ingomar a private club.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 28, 2013 Petaluma to Eureka

Returned antenna booster to Staples as it really didn’t help us pull in signals from Elks Lodges when we are parked too far away to get free signal.  Tried to ship back the fuel pump to Simonsen’s in Tucson, but the UPS desk in Staples couldn’t do it because we were using Simonsen’s account to pay for the return.  Will have to find a UPS in Eureka.  Dumped tanks at the Elks and finally on our way at 12:15 pm. 

As you can see below, they put vineyards anywhere and everywhere.  Don’t know how they all survive as there are so many wineries here in CA.  Today we have sun and white fluffy clouds as we wind our way north on 101.



We see higher mountains.  Travel through Windsor, Ukiah, and then climb from 600’ to 1945’.  Truck did awesome.  Yea!  Mendocino Nat. Forest is on our right and the Pacific Ocean equal distance to our left…about 12’ away.  Goats, blooming plants, hot pink wild lupins brings us into Willits – gateway to the Redwoods.  Terrible traffic through this town slows us down.  See a sign for a teen dance @ the grange.  (We never hear of granges any more – at least in the midwest.)  A sign for a business named “A Bar and No Grill.”  LOL  101 highway again through here designated the Redwood Highway.  We see a Rexall Drug store (brings back Davenport memories.)  So many different trees and shades of green – beautiful.  And then there is a small meadow near the side of the road with a white toilet sitting in the middle.  This is the 2nd of this kind of “folk art?”  Also pass a hippie station wagon painted pink and purple with white daisies with yellow centers.  Now there are no vineyards but cows grazing in fields of tan grass.  Two trucks hauling redwood trunks go by heading south probably towards the lumber mill we saw.  We start climbing again and get to 1796’ at Rattlesnake Summit.


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We pass Leggett, home of the “Drive Through Tree” which we have to pass up due to our large RV.  Redwoods are growing by the road now and we can appreciate some of the smaller giants.




We get another peek at the Eel River which we are following.  At Piercy, we pass the One Log House, which we saw previously somewhere in our travels.  This is a hollowed out redwood with a home inside.  Kind of interesting. 


We travel through the middle of Richardson Grove State Park – more redwoods to admire.  We pass Avenue of the Giants, a scenic alternate to 101 for a few miles.  Darn…there are some disadvantages of our large rig.  Then the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  Hope to come back to this area on our bike.



More wildflowers, cattle grazing, cozy-looking farms in this large valley.  We are now down to 87’ elevation.


And as we approach Eureka, we see the huge Humboldt Bay protected from the Pacific by a barrier island.  Jerry was very happy to be landed – 5 hrs, 235 miles – grueling twisty-turny roads for most of the afternoon!



We easily find the Elks Club south of town, and get set up.  We are parked perpendicular to two sites as we are wayyyy to long to fit into their very short spots.  OK, though as there are only 3 other RVs here and there are probably 14 others available.  Registered at the bar and got a recommendation for pizza in town as Jerry has been hankering for one.  Angelo’s turned out to be really weird…with “interesting” people already there.  Pizza was ok, Sierra Nevada beer (becoming a favorite of ours) was great.  Price was great as we bought one large pizza and got one free and they gave us a Sr. Discount, so our whole bill was $26 including two draft beer.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Petaluma,CA – 2013 May 22-26

Settled in at the Petaluma Elks.

On Friday, we did a day trip to Bodega Bay, on the coast.  Through the city of Petaluma, pop around 51,000, we see lots of craftsman-style homes, beautiful architectural city buildings including an old bank remade into a Seed Bank for heirloom seeds.

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Passed rolling hills, cattle, sheep, through Valley Ford, pop 126, selling freshly picked cherries.  To highway 1 and it’s green cliffs.

Found Fisherman’s Cove restaurant, highly recommended on Yelp.  And rightly so.  Right on Bodega Bay across from a huge marina.  I tried their Red Tail Ale and fresh-caught cod in Portuguese Fish Stew (broth with tons of veggies, fish, sausage and shrimp), and two fish tacos with spicy cream sauce, pico de gallo and, again, the fresh-caught cod.  Jerry had Dog Head Ale and a fresh-caught salmon sandwich.  All was very tasty.  The breeze was really cool even though the sun was bright so we chose to eat inside in the fresh-white walled area surrounded by fishing supplies to purchase. 

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Drove around the bay as far as we could.  Several RV parks available.  Probably cool in the summer with the brisk breeze, but really chilly today.



Certainly can see the wind-swept beach and ocean in this photo.

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We come upon the Russian River.

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Salmon Creek Dunes, one of 14 Sonoma County Parks along the coast.  All have no camping signs.

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We poked among the rocks but couldn’t stay long because the tide was coming in.  Found a few oyster shells.  Was hoping to find something interesting in the tide pools, but the timing was off about 12 hrs…lol.


Beautiful plants helping to hold the dunes in place.


Ocean on one side of Hwy 1 and peaceful farm scenes on the other.

The  scene of Arched Rock from the beach of the same name.


Goat Rock.  Wind around the green bluffs 286’ down to the ocean and park in the parking area.  Chilly, very strong wind. 


The strong winds sure stirred up the ocean with huge waves.


After leaving Hwy 1 after traveling up as far a the Russian River entrance into the ocean,  we take designated Scenic Route 116 Southeast.  Duncans Mills, wild flowers galore, huge pines.  Forestville, “where the redwoods meet the river.”  Wineries, grapevines.  Sebastopol – stopped so Jerry could take a power nap while I did a bit of grocery shopping at Safeway.  A beautiful day.

Saturday, we took the BMW downtown (probably 4-5 miles away) to the Farmer’s Market…surprisingly small for such an agricultural area and cosmopolitan town.  Probably 10 veg and fruit vendors and 8 jewelry and other craftsmen.  Bought strawberries and spring salad mix.  So fresh!  Then went to the Premium Outlet Mall and found another pair of tennies shoes and a pair of sandals for me…Love the prices!

Sunday, Jerry did some repair work around the rig and changed the fuel pump in the generator.  Yippee – the sweet sound of it running!  Need to box up the one we had and send it back to Simonson Gen. Rep. in Tucson.  They were sure nice to send us a replacement free with free return of the one we bought in April and used only 1 hr. 

This is a nice, quiet area of town and our little RV park has beautiful green grass, trees, birds and their songs to sit out and enjoy.  Reading a couple of books while here.  Very peaceful, cool and sunny.