Monday, March 30, 2009

Déjà Vu

As I typed this we were winding our way down the road past Florence, Oregon, along the scenic coastal highway (Hwy. 101). The weather is cooler and very unsettled – periods of heavy rain broken up by brief spells of sunshine, followed by overcast skies. Strikingly similar to what we experienced on our way down. This area is definitely not great for ‘shoulder season’ touring, unless you appreciate an inclement climate! Weather aside, the scenery is still breathtaking.

To bring you up to speed on our travels over the past few days, we left Lake Havasu on Tuesday, March 24th. We have been travelling with Norm and Jan, buddies from Vernon, who are also making their way north to home. We had initially thought of driving only as far as Needles that day, and fitting in a golf game. However, the wind was just roaring, so we decided to hear further north and see if we could drive out of it.
We ended up staying in the free camping area at the Avi Casino, located outside of Laughlin, Nevada. No services, but perfectly adequate for a stop-over. The wind was still blowing, but we decided to golf anyway. Norm and Jan knew of a nice little course in nearby Fort Mojave – Los Lagos. Good course, with flowers spread throughout, making for a colourful game (coloured balls are a bad choice on this course). It was twilight golf, so we played until we couldn't see anymore.
Later, Terry and I gave in to the siren song of the casino, and tried our hand at the slots. I was actually a little up, but Terry quickly depleted my hard-won earnings. Casino – 1 – Terry & Sandy – 0.

Up and gone the next day by 9 bells. We headed north into the high desert. Talk about your ‘wide open spaces’. Pardon the joke, but this is an area where, should your dog run away, you could literally watch his progress for days; open, flat plains running into the far-away hills surrounding them. It was interesting, however, to see areas where the desert was beginning to bloom.

Then, literally by rounding a corner, the scenery and climate changed dramatically. We went from the high desert and drove into the Tehachapi pass, where the temperature dropped from 79 degrees to 59 degrees. From desert landscape, we drove through an area of green, treed and rocky hillsides that were reminiscent of the Okanagan Valley, Cariboo Country, and even the Scottish Highlands! Quite a changing vista, but very beautiful. Unfortunately, we also noticed patches of SNOW on a few of those hills …. Dear God!!
We spent the night at a nice little RV Park just before Bakersfield, CA. The next day, we headed towards Napa. The drive itself was fairly uneventful and actually quite nondescript. We arrived in Napa in the early evening, and found ourselves spots at the Skyline Wilderness Park.

The park is very rugged, and home to a great variety of wildlife. I awoke at 3:00 a.m. to the mournful howls of the coyotes, and then again at 6:00 a.m. to the ‘gobbles’ of the many, many wild turkeys in the park.

We decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner in Napa, and of course imbibed in some of their local ‘fruit of the vine’. Lovely. The next morning, we began our travels through the Napa Valley.

What a beautiful area; one world-class winery (and many, many ‘micro’ wineries) after another, but no time for wine tasting – sigh. The fields and hillsides are extremely picturesque - very pastoral - however, the road was incredibly narrow and winding. Shades of Mexican travel all over again.

From there, we made our way to the Benbow RV Park, located in Garberville, CA. This is a nice little RV Park with a challenging golf course. We managed to fit in a twilight round, but with no stellar performances from anyone.

This also marked the end of our ‘shorts and sandals’ attire. We are admitting defeat to the weather, and recognize that henceforth we will be donning long pants, sweatshirts and real shoes. Back to reality.

The next morning, we crossed into Oregon, and starting winding our way through the scenic Redwood Forest.

We were greeted by cooler, rainy, overcast weather. It was also our first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean since Mexico. Unfortunately, the weather was so overcast we missed much of the panoramic views around us. Our destination for the evening was an RV Park in Coos Bay, Oregon.
This brings us to today (actually yesterday), where we have enjoyed the amazing scenery of the Pacific Northwest. The ocean is very violent today, with the waves being considerably higher than on our trip down. We are travelling to Portland, Oregon, and staying a couple of nights. We’re a little road-weary right now and would appreciate a break. We might sleep in, go for a run, check out some of the shopping in Portland, and ready ourselves for the border. Time to start gathering up those receipts and tallying the damage from our stay down south.

1 comment:

Joe Yosemite said...

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