Friday, July 17, 2015

Oregon/California Coast: Brookings to Klamath, CA

We were slow to get moving this morning. Mom went into Brookings to run a few errands and Dad and I tried to map out a route and potential campgrounds for the next phase of the trip...National Parks in Northern CA!

It was only a few miles to the California state line! The scenery didn't change much in California! We did have a few stretches where we're driving right next to the ocean, just like in Oregon!

It was after 10 before we started driving. The plan was to stop at a Redwoods National Park visitor center, only I never saw one. There was one in Crescent City, but I missed the turn because I was paying so much attention to navigating and not breaking any laws since there were several cops looking to pull someone over! Soon I came to a pullout that had a great map on a big board but no paper copies of the map!

Redwoods is a confusing park because it's several state parks combined with a National park. Each state park has its own facilities - campgrounds and visitor centers, and then there are national park areas too. It's a little like North Cascades which is jointly run by the National Park Service and the National Forest Service.

Since there was no visitor center near us to get more information, we headed to the next stop, Trees of Mystery. This was most definitely a tourist trap and we knew that going in, but they featured a gondala trip to the top of the mountain and we figured we'd get to see the tops of the redwood trees. We paid our $15 each admission and went to check it out. You didn't get right on the "Sky Trail" - you had to walk about a half mile, uphill, to get to the the gondalas! It was a very pretty walk through the giant redwood trees. Many of the trees had names and labels, it was a bit "Disney-World", but the trees were still nice! The gondala ride wasn't as exciting as I'd expected, I'm not sure there were any redwoods where the gondala went up! It was basically a nice ride up the mountain to a view, and it wasn't even that impressive of a view! The best part I thought was the giant Paul Bunyan statue! It talked! There was a guy inside, who could see the parking lot and area around Paul and he was Paul's voice! It was funny the things the "statue" said and how he tried to engage the tourists! It reminded me a lot of the Wally World Moose in Vacation!

After Trees of Mystery we drove down the "scenic alternative" parkway (it's named after some famous person, I don't remember who!) that ran parallel to US101. A lady at the fist scenic turnout had told us that was the way to go to actually see the redwood trees. It was a good thing we heard about it! That was most definitely the way to go! The road wound around through the giant redwoods with lots of trailheads! Trailheads that dad could even park his RV at! I've really enjoyed the ocean and driving down the coast, however, I did enjoy the change of scenery! Looking out at the ocean is a bit like looking at corn, nothing really there. This is why I've enjoyed the Oregon coast more than other coastal areas, there are rocks and trees and other stuff on the shore line to break it up at bit!

Near the end of the parkway I saw this sign:

There are big trees everywhere, but that sign makes you think it just one, over there! HA! Turns out there's a parking area called "big tree".

At the end of the parkway was a visitor center. I was hoping to finally get my hands on a paper copy of the map! I pulled in and parked, and then realized Dad had no place to park, and probably wouldn't be able to turn around, so I went back out to the road and parked alongside the road and waited so I could flag him down and make sure he didn't pull in! We got into the visitor center just under the wire, it was 4:30 and they closed at 5! We talked to a nice kid who gave us some great campground recommendations!

We headed out from the visitor center back toward Klamath to one of two campgrounds our friend from the visitor cente recommended. Dad and I both remember him saying to get off 101, go back under the highway and the campground was there. We arrived separately but we both got to the same place, and it turns out we didn't think we are at the campground the kid suggested! Oh well!

We are the Klamath River RV Campground, it's a nice place, right on the river, lots of high end RVs, but we are crammed in - butt to butt! I can hear the person in the RV next to me playing what I think is Yhatzee, or maybe bunco! Spending the evening doing laundry! Nice to be able to do it right in the campground and not have to go somewhere!



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