Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Best Chainsaw Sculpture Ever, So Far

Orick, CA, population 630 (??), is the gateway to the lower Redwood National Park and especially its Golden Bluffs Beach Campground. Historically dependent on the timber industry, I surmise, it is nowadays not all that prosperous-looking. It's a one-pump town--and since it's 60 or so miles on to Eureka, one is greatly relieved to see that one (cash only) pump. (NB: It's not at the defunct gas station; it's at the general (and chain-saw sculpture) store on the south-side outskirts.) But, as we have seen elsewhere, sometimes decline in one area leads to good things in another. In Orick's case, it is chain-saw sculpture. There are more chain-saw sculptures stores in Orick than any other town I have ever seen; and they are not part of a chain, either. (Nyuck, nyuck...). And, without a doubt, Orick has more chain-saw works of art per capita than any place I have ever seen. From all this, I conclude that Orick must have or have had more chain-saw sculptors, per capita, than any other town I have ever seen. Sort of like Amsterdam in the 17th century, when the painters out-numbered the bakers. Sort of. In any case, the piece de resistance, is a fairy-tale castle of gigantic proportions. As an art historian, I cannot decide whether its inspiration was Neuschwannstein or Hohenschwanngau; or possibly Disney. I only hope this artist is working now on his or her Apollo and Daphne.
After our day at Golden Bluffs, we drove on to
Eureka and thence, across the mountains on the
very lonely but beautiful CA 299, the Trinity
River appearing to us a very large Lochsa River,
and onto Redding and a visit at the Camping
World there

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Traveling the California Coast

We broke camp at Lat 42.3122460 Long 124.4144011 and continued our southerly course on US101, passing eventually out of Oregon and into California, heading for Redwood National Park and the remote seaside campground at Gold Bluffs Beach.
Maybe Oregon, maybe California...the coasts are equally


Now California

As soon as you cross the state line, the trees get much, much
larger--they haven't all been hacked down as in Oregon--and
other unmistakably Californian signs appear...the legendary
Trees of Mystery, which we did not visit (although we suspect
Rachel and Rebecca did on a road-trip some years ago)

At length, and passing our first off-pavement trial, 6 miles of
it, we arrived and set up camp at Gold Bluffs Beach
Campground, Redwood National Park

The Gold Bluffs, from which miners extracted gold from the
1850s to the 1920s, using largely the copper-plate method

And there we are, perhaps 100 yards from the roaring surf

The resident elk are not timid


And then, just before dinner, we were treated to a spectacular
Pacific sunset

Traveling the Oregon Coast, 2

Tillicom Beach was so nice and scenic and quiet we decided, despite the chill, to stay a second day, mostly for relaxation but also for administrative purposes. Among other things, we installed some LED lights, installed a few more household items, checked some of the owner-installed under-carriage and suspension, tested the various interior monitors, repaired a few things, and reorganized a few things. Also we kept close watch on the Trimetric, minding our amps and volts and what-have-you and state of charge. Yes, we are probably becoming solar-holics. It's fun watching the electricity fall out of the sky and into your rig. In small doses. Next day we broke camp and drove on further south on US101, stopping here and there for items of interest, scenic and otherwise.
I was walking along the cliff above the beach and saw a small
flock of porpoises porpoising...before I could locate them in
the camera, they were gone...except in the lower right-hand
corner, that might be one in the wave

Moving right along down the road, another beautiful expanse

Sea lion camp on the ledges below the cliff...arf! arf!

Typical Oregon coast scene

Beginning of dune country

On the river south of Florence

Most of the bridges in these parts apparently are Depression-
era and therefore Art Deco; here's the one south of Florence,
typical of half a dozen others


View from Battle Rock

We proceeded on, expecting to find a US Forest Service 
campground called Gold Beach or somesuch, but it never 
appeared, and so we finally settled for a large lay-by on the 
coast, thus, and spent the night...our first night genuinely 
boon-docking, as the Americans call it, or savage-camping
as the French call it; no wonder French is still the language
of taste, culture, etc. Lat 42.3122460, Long 124.4144011

The scenery was good, I mean, bonne

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Traveling The Oregon Coast

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights found us at the Nesrokin Creek campground/resort, weathering the easterly effects of Astro...very high wind, rain, cold, generally ugly and unpleasant. At least it was free, due to our willingness to endure an hour's "presentation" on a campground time-share or somesuch scheme we had been led to by a young man posing as a Camping World employee, in Portland. We have infinite patience with these things, as long as the swag is good, and often find them amusing. The outcome this time was three nights at the aforementioned campground, power and other amenities included, plus a $25 gift card at Camping World, which is apparently part of the scheme. No, we didn't buy anything. We never do. Thursday, as the weather began to improve, we moved on to Lincoln City and the aforementioned Chinook Winds casino, where we "camped," again, free. Friday, the winds and rain subsided, the sun shown, and we endeavored to get back into traveling mode, driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, US101, stopping at a variety of turn-outs, scenic views, state parks, and, finally, the Tillicum Beach Campground, a beautiful US Forest Service campground, right on the ocean, practically deserted, about midway between Waldport and Yashica.
Looking back toward Lincoln City

One among many pretty coastal scenes

Lunch stop

Another pretty scene and a short hike

Cove with cliffs, sea caves, waterfall

And a rocky point

Interesting sea grasses on a ledge ; this is what a volcanic
tropical coast  would look like just before the tsunami hit...


Paddlers (click to enlarge)

Yaquina lighthouse...or possibly a cathedral in

Vast, broad, cold beach south of Yaquina 

We landed at the Tillicum Beach NFS campground about 3:30
and decided to go no farther...another broad, hard beach, along
a coastal woods, little cliffs, and other features

Looking out to sea

Southward, toward Yashica

Big waves beyond the beach

Campsite at Tillicum Beach, just up from the cliffs, practically
alone, and, apart from the surf, very quiet

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Refitting, Outfitting, Upfitting, etc...Accounting for the Past Month

We are at a campground near Neskowin, on the Oregon coast, enduring the gale brought here by winter storm Astro. We got here from Roundup, MT, driving all day Saturday and Sunday and then some Monday, past Portland, hoping to escape the worst parts of the storm. At least it's dry and above freezing here on the coast. We amused ourselves today by downing a mediocre but cheap repast at the nearby Chinook Winds (!) casino and then winning $70 on the slots. Life is good here in America.

How to account for the past month? Well, our time in Missoula was busy, busy, busy. We got to see a few friends, but missed many others. (We'll be back in January). Mostly, we worked on the new truck and camper, adding steps, tie-downs, suspension up-grades, tire-upgrades, many little additions and alterations on the camper interior; and then a complete solar electrical system. All this took much research, trial, and some error, too. And when we weren't doing that, we were out at our storage unit in East Missoula, going through stuff, selling stuff on Craigslist, taking stuff to Goodwill, etc. When we departed Missoula in 2008, our intent was to be on the road maybe two years, then buy a condo and live a more settled life. Consequently, we put way more in storage than suits us now. The condo is nowhere in our foreseeable future. And there is still plenty more stuff to go through and deal with.... Anyhow, our autumn visit to Missoula is now done, and we are onto our later autumn travels in the western US, familiar country that we have always loved.

More than a month has passed--and 5,000 miles--and I have very, very few photos to show for our recent "travels." We'll be back on all these roads soon enough, however, and I'll do a better job.
Dear Missoula, weird as we are in
Bob Ward's, looking at a "concealment suit";
huntin' season is just about to begin; the best
news, apart from getting our work done, was
that friend Willis Curdy got elected to the
Montana legislature...after knocking on 4,500
doors this fall; the bad news was that the
Montana Festival of the Book passed on, after
a fifteen year run; sic transit, Gloria...

The owners at Hellgate Canyon Storage very kindly let us
use #47 as an annex/overflow unit, mostly from which to make
our Craigslist sales

On Amnesia I am modeling the
smoker's jacket Vicki made for me some time in
the 60s; she couldn't bear to give it to Goodwill
(!), though I am unlikely to take up smoking

Lest anyone think I've always been strictly  a
Two Buck Chuck devotee

We probably have a hundred (two hundred?) T-shirts between
us, and we were unable to part with many of them--most were
travel or other mementos; here, a professional memento, the
sentiment expressed never more true nor a more distant hope...

We left our main storage unit in better shape than ever...and
ready for our snowmobiling adventures in January

Camping at the Walmart in Helena, en route to Roundup; we
had dinner with the Sehestedts later that evening...they had to
be impressed with their new in-laws...

At HandyBob's near Roundup...the guru of RV solar power

Mise en controller, shunt, circuit breakers, fuse,
inverter, etc., for our new electrical set-up; not pictured: the solar
panels, cables, the all-important Tri-metric monitor, and

Probably the last good fall day on the Mussellshell...

And now, via Missoula, Lookout Pass, Smelterville, Spokane,
eastern Washington, the Columbia Gorge, and Portland, we 
are on the Oregon coast, watching Astro's easterly gales blow 
the Pacific waves back out to sea...