Monday, September 5, 2016

The Lost Coast

Tuesday - August 23

We left this in Oregon

For this in California

Warning rant coming up: Feel free to skip along to a safe place

California is, by far, the most varied and scenic of the states. Huge fortunes were made here, first the fur trade, then lumber, mining, banking, transportation, etc. That was then, now it shows severe signs of wear. The infra-structure is in a serious state of decay. In one block you see expensive well kept homes. Two blocks away are abandoned homes and the streets are pot-holed. The homeless are everywhere. There is just not enough money to maintain the infrastructure in what has becoming a failed state. I would contend this is the result of decades of the state and local governments providing pensions that can not be had anywhere else and welfare to anyone that does not care to work. LA school teachers have a life time job after 18 months on the job and they can not be fired. They are well paid while the students have some of the lowest math and English scores in the country. Drive through the San Joaquin Valley and you may think you are in Mexico. It’s poor poor poor. Right along side the vast grape estates. Want to know how the US will look after another decade of Democratic control? That future is in California right now. 

What teed me off on this was having to make reservations in an attempt to view part of the coast line. Guess it does not take much to get me going.

We paid for three days and we have not seen squat. OK, OK there was sun when we arrived. I wanted to check out a few of the viewpoints. Dorothy said she could not hold her eyes open and needed to nap. 45 minutes later the sun was gone, replaced by the marine layer. Dorothy will be getting a CPAP when we get home. 

Our first camp site was in the forest. No sun. The fog condenses on the tree leaves into drops and falls on the vehicles. Through some process the drops have dirt mixed in them.  

The sites have not been maintained for decades. There are very un-level with tree roots above ground.

Like Alabama, California parks are a revenue source. Meaning fees collected go for pensions and such, not basic park maintenance. We have stayed at several CA state parks and they are all crappy and overpriced. For $10 more, you can have the amenities of a private park. Of course you would also have to pay the Day Use fee to see and photograph a place like Patrick’s Point. But, the majority of the CA parks have nothing to see in them. Some are just asphalt parking lots along the 101.

Rant concluded

Wednesday - August 24 
I could not take sitting in the fog any longer. We drove to Eureka and spent a few hours exploring there. We stopped by the Ingomar Club. We had seen it 10 years back, but this time we got out of the Jeep and walked around.

The building is interesting to us. Built with lumber money. Here are two links if you would like to learn more.

Thursday - August 25
We moved to another site that had sun for the solar array. The sky cleared at times in the afternoon and we were able to see one section of Patrick’s Point. It was OK, but the Oregon coastline beats the northern California coast hands down.

What I went to see, again, but could not due to fog

Friday - August 26
We are in a private RV park in Redcrest along the 101. Several groves of redwoods here. They always make me feel small. Factoid, Redwoods have three times more DNA than most other trees enabling them to survive where trees with less DNA just can not cut it. Their Achilles Heel are shallow roots, they blow over rather easily. I am not sure I believe this, but the woman in the park store said a big one fell when she was a kid and they felt it four miles away.

I can only wish this were my shot

An image from a recent yesteryear

Saturday - August 27
We punched off an item on my bucket list today. We drove the Lost Coast route from Ferndale to Shelter Cove. Six hours. Mostly rough and narrow roads. It was not worth the time or gasoline. But, you pays your money and you ride the train. We did have partial sun on the coast so we could see well enough to know that it would not be much better under clear skies.

A little town along the Mattole road, Petrolia, had the first oil well in CA. The cape is next to nowhere and must have been more remote then. I just find it odd, that someone was looking for oil in such a remote area while it was bubbling up in the LA area.

Petrolia on a clear day

From Wikipedia:
Petrolia has an estimated population of 300-500 people within a 15-mile radius. It is located in the Mattole Valley, part of the Lost Coast region, one of the largest wilderness areas and the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the continental United States. Petrolia's isolation is due to its position on the rocky, treacherous coastline adjacent to the King Range mountains that isolate this area from mainland California and continue to leave the area almost completely undeveloped.

A travel magazine has called this area "too lovely to be believed, perhaps too beautiful to last." It has been recognized as the top "still wild" place in California. The area is the only significant stretch of California without a shoreline highway, and so far has "thus escaped tourism's aggressive paws."

Humbolt County has long been renowned? for marijuana production. Now that it’s legal to grow, you see 10 foot chain link fences with privacy screens along the road we drove, The Mattole. We also noted three rural farm supply places with large inventories of water storage tanks. Installed tanks can be seen on the high ground above the growing areas. We also noted several places with large signs advertising organic dirt. I think you can see how that goes. I read the Mexican cartels have taken over growing the un-licensed and un-taxed product in the same remote areas once used by the locals.

Sunday - August 28
We turned south a month back. Today, we turned east. We are homeward bound. Of course, it will be two months until we get there. The next few weeks we will be passing through warm areas. Our first stop inland is near Ruth Lake on the Mad River. The afternoon high was in the high 80’s. We are grateful for the intermittent breeze. I have one of our 12volt fans outside.

Dorothy was famished, so we stopped at the first Forest Service CG we came to. 40 sites and we are the only ones here. No cell signal, so I can catch up on this diary.

I felt an extremely small tremor this afternoon.

The Mad River is our idea of the perfect river to paddle. Like all rivers in this area, the width of the river at flood is four or more times as wide as the usual channel.

Loves Me Some Manzanita Trees

Now it can be told; Dorothy has trouble operating anything electronic. TV, radio’s, computers, etc. The power button on the dash radio has been in the same place for nine years, but it always takes her a bit of time to locate it. She explained it to me today so I could understand it. She has had problems since they quit putting knobs on TV’s. 

Monday - August 29
We are trying hard to never be what the NPS rangers call a "Code W" tourist—a wimpy hiker who requests emergency help when they don't really need it.

Long Day for us. 3:15 driving time. Five hours all total. About 2 hours longer than we like to be on the road. We did it on CA36, which beats Arkansas for twisty-turny. It goes up four times, from around 2,500 to 4,300 through the coastal mountains. Caltrans does not recommend the road for towing. We saw one other RV, A Class, not towing. Very little traffic. They say US50 in Nevada is the loneliest road, but CA36 makes US50 look like a turnpike. There are not many east-west roads in Northern CA and this was the direct route from where we were to where we are going. Nothing much to see on the road. There is a labyrinth of dirt roads off it, former logging roads. Half of it is in Humbolt country so I can guess what you might find on them now.  We towed and did not have any problems.

We ended the day dead tired at a Sno-park on 36 where CA89 into Lassen starts.

We first encountered Sugar Pines [Pinus lambertiana] our first time at Tahoe. They are huge and heavily resinated. One match will get one started. And one cone will start a fire. I took a picture of one that was larger than my foot, but can not locate it. So here is one from the web.

Tuesday - August 30
We went 30 minutes into Chester and chatted with the folks at the ranger station about places to park. Turns out just about anywhere is fine. There are numerous FS campgrounds and even more dispersed areas. We settled on one that has a great data connection, but no voice. Go figure. It has a babbling river. We are the only ones here. The scenery in these parts is not much, but after being in busy places so much this year, this is most welcome.

Wednesday - August 31
Moved just south of Chester on the lake where there is a dump. Met Dan and Theresa who told us about three places in NE California that they liked to fish and where we could paddle the yaks. Too bad we are already well south of all of them. Another year.

Thursday - September 1
Stopped at the PO in Graeagle to pick some parts for the water heater that were scheduled to be there yesterday. At least that was what Amazon said yesterday. Today, Amazon tracking said they were delayed until Monday. Pissed? You bet.

Parked at a Forest Service campground at Lake Davis, north of Graeagle. Pricey at $23 a day, plus a $7 dump fee. Fat chance I will pay that. No sites with open sun, so we will not get fully charged. Oh well, we will have electricity over the long weekend in Carson City. Then more open skies in Nevada and Utah.

The heat wave is on vacation for awhile. Pleasant days and cool evenings for a change. Will continue this in Nevada.


  1. I felt like I was on the trip with yall!!! I miss yall!!! Hope to see you before Christmas!!

  2. The Lost Coast was on our list, as well. Guess it will stay lost to us.
    CA is, without doubt, the most expensive state we have traveled in. Oregon and Washington get our vote.
    Enjoy your travels.