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Old 11-10-2012, 01:38 AM   #309
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Such a beautiful area to be driving this time of year.

Watch for the sea lions along the shore.


Maggie
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:35 AM   #310
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Bob, long ago I left a sewer elbow somewhere, but had 2, so I've survived. I've noticed that most RV parks sell sewer elbows so it must be pretty common to leave them. I guess they just go around and remove them, rinse them off and sell them to us. We've seen all sorts of weather except for snow and a big coastal storm. As soon as we got to Cal., there were electronic highway signs warning of "winter road conditions" ahead, but it was in the mid 40's all day. We did see a few snow patches alongside the road when we crossed the Coast Range. This reminded me that we have to go home someday and the forecast for home has been snow.

Dan, 1. Cal. 1 starts at Leggett and 101 continues south inland on the eastern side of the mountains. Towing along the Cal. coast is tiring because it is more narrow and curving than in Oregon or Washington. This is the first time we've taken this drive south instead of north. That means we are on the outside—we can see the ocean better and the drop offs are more likely to make me anxious. But on the inside, the embankment above the edge of the road can be daunting, especially when going around tight curves with a road banked downward toward the embankment. Sometimes the trailer tilts so much and the vegetation and rocks are so close, that I have to choose between risking damaging the side of the trailer and going over the double yellow center line. The worst section of 1 for that was south of Olema. The coast road here is a tiring drive and stopping at the many "viewpoints" is a good idea, though we usually keep driving. But we are driving short distances and staying in places longer times.

Friends who have studied at Esalen tell me it is not welcoming to visitors. They have work to do there and privacy concerns. There's only a small sign, easy to miss, by the road and no easy way in. We won't be going anywhere near there this year. We will turn inland at Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco. Glad to hear you have settled into your new digs.

Maggie, it is beautiful. The much-complained-about rain makes it strange and beautiful. There's a distinct difference between the different states. In Washington you are mostly inland and driving though an unpopulated land of trees more often than not. I don't think the Indians have much land and there are beach communities to the south end of the state's coastline. The tribe at La Push until recently only had one square mile; they have gotten a little more land from the feds, but not much. I think the development push in Washington is to Puget Sound and they haven't focused on the coast. Oregon celebrates its coast. There is much more development. Some of it has declined into strip development. California is quirky and some of the towns embrace that. It has the most challenging highways. It is warmer and flowers are still blooming in Mendocino (though it is close to freezing tonight). We had our first $4 gas today. People make fun of California (they asked for it—any state that elects a muscle bound movie star with a giant ego as governor certainly asked for it). It is a very big and overpopulated place with lots of influence. It is hard to characterize the state, but the ocean drive is more undeveloped than in Oregon; it feels like these small towns are refuges from the big cities. The 3 northern counties produce a lot of marijuana, much on public land, and such activity should be pumping a lot of money into the area. Prohibition of anything always creates a thriving black market and the availability of land and good growing conditions make this a fertile place for production.

We haven't seen any sea lions, but then we haven't looked for them either. We saw what we thought were sea lions a couple years ago in southern Cal., and they weren't appealing, cuddly creatures. They were big flabby-looking animals and I can imagine what their breath smells like. My knowledge of sea lions being sparse, I may have been looking at some other animal I know even less about. They are herd animals it appears and they were lying all over each other. But they are interesting and we watched them for quite a while.

Bubbleworld: I am not sure whether we are really here or we are imagining it (sounds schizo, doesn't it?). In our self-contained tube and our big truck were are apart from the world. We connect briefly with supermarket checkers, gas pumpers in Oregon, a few waitresses, say hello to some fellow campers (the rain doesn't encourage camaraderie), and meet someone at a campground desk most days. We are in our own bubble with a bubble trailer. It is kinda nice here in Bubbleworld since we both love traveling and it is even better with your best friend. Maybe it is just a movie set outside the windows. We still are on Mountain Time and not adjusted to the end of daylight time—that means we are 2 hours off. I feel like going to bed at 7 or 8 pm and wake up much earlier than I would at home, but in Bubbleworld it doesn't matter.

Gene
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:49 AM   #311
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene

We haven't seen any sea lions, but then we haven't looked for them either. We saw what we thought were sea lions a couple years ago in southern Cal., and they weren't appealing, cuddly creatures. They were big flabby-looking animals and I can imagine what their breath smells like. My knowledge of sea lions being sparse, I may have been looking at some other animal I know even less about. They are herd animals it appears and they were lying all over each other. But they are interesting and we watched them for quite a while.

Gene
Those big, flabby-looking animals, with whiskers and laying all over each other, would be sea lions. We saw them in San Francisco, also up along the coast somewhere.

Anything we don't have in Illinois is especially interesting to us.

Travel safe,


Maggie
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:10 AM   #312
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Susan and I drove Hwy 1 sometime in the last century. I think is was probably about 1996. We were towing a small 16 foot Casita TT. It was manageable, but the driving part was not fun. However the drive and feeling of being away from it all were great. My only disappointment was discovering that the school house in Bodega and the harbor at Bodega Bay were a few miles apart. It seemed unlikely that a bunch of schools kids being harassed by hoards of mean birds could have run that distance in a few minutes. That was the original "Angry Birds." The only other times I have driven Hwy were in a small sports car. Those times were a totally different experience. I am convinced that was the purpose for which the road was built.

Ken
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:22 AM   #313
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Ken,

When on a road like this, I often think of the pleasures of driving it in a sports car. Once I got in one, however, I'd probably never be able to get myself out of it.

We are in the Anchor Bay campground and parked about 20' from the beach. From here I can hear (and feel) the surf pounding the land.

The entrance to this park is right on a sharp curve. Turning in is tight. Getting out with poor visibility will be an experience. Make that "no visibility". This place is crammed between the walls of a canyon down to the beach. It looks bad in the upper reaches. A lot of permanent residents (or they store their RV here) and no matter how hard they try to keep the place looking good, it doesn't. The access road is narrow, but you eventually get to the office. The lower spaces are for short term campers and fortunately the canyon widens a bit, closer to the ocean. The road is too narrow for RV's to pass easily.

If they didn't have a space for you, you would have to turn around in a very small area. You'll have to turn part way around anyway to back in the spaces closest to the ocean. There may be cars parked in the way and you may have to find the owners. They charge $10 to make a reservation, but I can see why people would make one because not many are so close to the ocean; we lucked out. You don't want to drive in here and have to turn around. We didn't, but they weren't full. During high season, they do get full.

The spaces are narrow and once your trailer is parked, there's not a lot of room for your tow vehicle. They are working on a bunch of pads and it is noisy during the day. Our side has water and electric, but no sewer. The dump station is hard to get close to. If there's a tsunami of any size, we are in bad trouble.

Why would anyone stop here? It's on the beach.

Our space seems bigger because no one is on either side. The wifi works pretty well. We have one of the best spaces and can see the beach and ocean from our door—and hear the pounding thrum of the waves on the sand.

Even in La Push, we weren't this close. Because we are on the last space but one, I did have to turn around to back in. A car and a truck were in the way. I got the trailer into the space, but crooked. This took about 15-20 minutes. The guy who owned the car showed up and offered to move it. I could get around the truck. Once he moved the car (it took 5 minutes for him to find his keys), I got the trailer in straight with barely enough room to park our truck next to it. The whole process may have taken half an hour. I wouldn't want to do it in the dark.

If you don't harbor delusions of invincibility, this might not be the campground for you. Otherwise, why would anyone put themselves through this? There's a county campground 5 miles south—not on the ocean, but on a river. Delusions sometimes are a good thing—we are 20' from the beach. I wish I could leave a window open to hear it better (I as much feel it as hear it), but it is too cold 41˚at 3 am.

The canyon wall is a few feet behind us and on top is a house, maybe 40' or 50' up. Last night two guys were drinking on the Patio and talking about "John". I could quite hear enough to understand why, but they were that close and in another world. They could have spilled their drinks on my head.

We've walked up and down the beach and relaxed. Watching the waves and the water curl around the rocks is mesmerizing. The sky was almost all blue—a few clouds out to sea. The tide was out so we had a lot of beach to explore. People were trying to fly a kite, but the winds were too strange. Some guys were down the beach and had been in the water in wetsuits, probably looking for abalone. There are strict limits on taking abalone as it has been overfished. We went to town and stopped at Upper Crust pizza. It is small, basic and very busy, but we just got there before the worst of the rush and only had to wait about 30 minutes for our pizza. It was wonderful. If every pizzeria made such good pizza, all of America would be morbidly obese. We'll be back tomorrow for another one.

This campground is not for everyone, but if you get close to the beach and are very, very patient and careful, you can park it, and you like pizza, this is heaven.

The waves never stop pounding the beach. It is a pleasure to wake up at 2 and feel it.

Gene
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:12 AM   #314
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Except for the part about parking, it sounds idyllic, Gene. Any photos?
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:39 AM   #315
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We saw what we thought were sea lions a couple years ago in southern Cal., and they weren't appealing, cuddly creatures. They were big flabby-looking animals and I can imagine what their breath smells like.
I can tell you. Ten years ago I went kayaking in Monterey Bay. There were tons of warnings from the kayak rental outfit to Stay Away From the Marine Mammals!!! or else get some sort of obscene fine. Problem is, they didn't tell the sea otters and sea lions, who saw me and the kayak as some sort of curious toy, and decided to swim closer to get a closer look.

Sea lion breath smells like rotting fish. Very yucky rotting fish.

I've also driven those roads in a rented Miata (borrowed from a specialty rental place that actually rented manual transmission cars.) Fabulous. It's been too long since we've been on that coast.

Sounds like a pretty nice trip. I'm jealous - by contrast, we just "interviewed" a storage location/former factory for the Safari for the next four months.

Tom
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:40 AM   #316
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Except for the part about parking, it sounds idyllic, Gene. Any photos?
The generators and barking dogs do reduce the idyllic part during the day. Best to sleep all day and play all night. Photos coming.

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Old 11-11-2012, 08:31 PM   #317
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Photo time:

1. Cal. 1 has many 25 mph turns. One person looks at the scenery and the driver looks at the road. I hear the scenery was beautiful. Barb could drive, but my screaming when there's a 500' drop and no guardrail with the trailer tires on the edge of the pavement would distract her.

2. What I liked about this photo is I could see right through the house. As we get closer to the major cities, there is more development along the coast and no more ranches. Houses in cliffs above the Pacific are probably the most desirable except when a storm rages and your windows shake all night.

3. Old guy at viewpoint. He seems to have bought that jacket at the Pendleton bargain store. He is either contemplative, can't figure out where the ocean is or is whacked out on paint thinner.

4. Finally, a real lighthouse photo. This is Pt. Arena where you can spend $7.50 each to get close and go inside, or use the turn around before the entrance to save money. The road—2 miles long—is quite narrow, though opposing vehicles fit pretty easily. But drivers coming my way usually had a look of great fear as they pulled their cars into the brush at the side of the road. Thanks to all of them for yielding the right of way.

Gene
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:41 PM   #318
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Photo time:

.................................................. ..........

4. Finally, a real lighthouse photo. This is Pt. Arena where you can spend $7.50 each to get close and go inside, or use the turn around before the entrance to save money. The road—2 miles long—is quite narrow, though opposing vehicles fit pretty easily. But drivers coming my way usually had a look of great fear as they pulled their cars into the brush at the side of the road. Thanks to all of them for yielding the right of way.

Gene
My uncle was a Keeper at that lighthouse. One of my cousins volunteers as a docent there at times.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:42 PM   #319
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More:

1. Our trailer parked close to the beach at Anchor Bay RV Park. There are several Bobcats and workers fixing up the sites near the ocean. Kinda noisy on Sat.

2. View south along beach.

3. Closer view of rocks and waves to the south.

4. View from beach. There's a tired looking trailer between us and the beach; we ignore it and there's no one there.

Gene
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:05 PM   #320
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And more:

1. This didn't survive high tide despite the various attempts with a seawall and moat.

2. The Upper Crust Pizza in Gualala, the reason we always stop here when we're on the coast. Ms. Pizza 2012 is posing at the top of the steps.

3. Two birds we first saw when they were investigating something dead on the beach. It was not in good shape and may have been a seal or a sea otter. It has a perfectly round 4" or 5" hole in its side, so I think a small propeller got it. I think it is too far south for otters. The birds look something like turkey buzzards, but I think they are smaller and don't have as much orange on their heads, but, obviously I am not expert on this. They have a 5' or 6' wingspan and are cool to watch circling overhead looking for carrion.

4. Main St. in Gualala looking north across from the pizza joint.

Gene
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:45 PM   #321
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Sunday, a day of late sleeping, an early afternoon nap, more pizza and being lazy on the beach. The guy that bought Upper Crust Pizza this year has done some improvements, kept the same recipes and has a better attitude than the previous owner—Al had done this too long and it was time for a change. I hope Al is enjoying himself and give him credit for making this place so good.

Gualala looks bigger with more new buildings. This is probably the effect of Sea Ranch, a big upscale subdivision along the ocean south of town. This was controversial when it was planned, partly because of limiting beach access for miles. Some of that was solved and things may have settled down. Gas went down since yesterday by 10¢ to a cheap $4.15 for regular. Distilled water was $1.29 in the Surf Market and other prices were just as bad. I try to buy as little as possible in resort towns, but sometimes you need something.

I didn't take a photo of the upper reaches of this campground. It is not a pretty sight. It gets better by the ocean, but when they're not working on the sites, it must look just about as crowded. But it isn't the campground, but the ease of getting to the beach, the sound of the waves and the fairly fast wifi. I do worry about getting out of here and onto a busy road with poor visibility, but a slug of paint thinner will ease the anxiety (see the movie, The Master, for more on paint thinner as a liquid refreshment).

We got some pretty good fruit at the Surf Market. They must send the tasteless, rock hard stuff to Colorado and keep the best for themselves.

Tomorrow we start home with an addition of 7.27 gal. of special $4.15 gas—we'll fill the tank later when it gets "cheaper". First to Bodega Bay where we will be careful of any birds, then inland on Cal. 12. This will take us through the Napa Valley and lots of traffic, but I don't know a better way to get to central Cal. and around Sacramento. We hope to get to Fresno so we are 2/3 of the way to Kernville where an old friend lives. After 2 nights in Kernville, we really go home and the forecast for Utah looks ok for clear roads next Friday.

Treatise on street names: To pass the time I read street names and have come up with 3 classes of them:

1. Rural roads are usually descriptive of something such as Green Valley, Bruce's Bones Creek (not a road, but a real creek in Oregon), Hexenkopf Road (real also, in Pa., meaning Witch's Head Rd.) or Hangman's Knob Rd.

2. City and town roads are orderly, often numbered or alphabetical. They can be letters or names in alphabetical order. They like grids and number houses according to a system of north/south or east/west. Central Ave and Main St. may be at the middle of town and one side is north or south or east and west. Presidents, states and tree names are common in some order. Elm St. is the most popular name in the US.

3. Suburban roads are pretty names or the name of the developer, his wife and children. Thus Seaview Lane, Lois Lane, Happy Trail. Note than "roads" and "streets" are replaced by avenues, boulevards, lanes, circles, and trails. A sort of sublime happiness reins. Maybe that's a good thing as I have never been the same after living on Hexenkopf Road.

I cannot classify Soldotna, Alaska's Funny River Road. It seems there are still people with a sense of humor.

Gene
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:07 AM   #322
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You're in rare form today, Gene, laughed so hard I cried.

Doug drove Cal. 1, I did most of the looking, some shrieking. It is a spectacular drive.

We spent a couple of nights in two of the larger pull outs, which was amazing. Coffee in the morning, looking out over the ocean-----mmmmmmm.

There is a beautiful, expensive campground in Malibu, on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Can't remember the name, but we stayed there a couple of nights and partook of the delicious seafood from the restaurant at the base of the hill.

Travel safe,

Maggie
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