HOME Again

Hi again!

We are back from our NorCal / Oregon camping trip! What an amazing time! We did get back a few days early but only because we were ready to sleep in our own bed.  The weather was great up and down the coast. We really enjoyed the BEERS, sights and family time.

When we woke up Tuesday morning in Klamath FAlls, OR we packed up the truck and headed into town where we stopped at Lee’s Camera Shop.  Lots of cool stuff in the 40 year old store. We drooled on a few fisheye lenses and donald bought a camera strap. We got bagels and coffee at a local store and then walked through a baby store down the street before getting on the road.

On our way home we drove past Mt Shasta. What an amazing mountain! Standing at 14,179 feet tall, you could see it for miles! At the base of the mountain was the little town of Weed, CA… (lol).  Very small and tired looking, we only stopped for gas and continued on our way.

We drove through a campsite off of HWY 5 near Castle Crags State Park The ranger informed up that the campground had only been open a week due to budgeting and cut through out all California State Parks and she didn’t know how much longer it would stay open. A great campsite right off HWY 5 yet still quiet and quaint.

We decided to push on home instead of staying at Lake Shasta. We were tired plus Lake Shasta is only 2.5 hours from home so we pushed on. We stopped in Chico for lunch then drove the rest of the way in.

When we got home a bear had found our trash and had been using it as his personal buffet for the past 10 days. Fun mess to pick up in 90 degree weather.

We decided the blog will continue with day to day activities and baby milestones that Abigail is achieving. I’ve been trying some new recipes, DIYs and Cleaning Tips from Pinterest and will share what I am finding. We will also be posting photos on here as we are always behind a camera either for work or fun!

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Day 9 – Crater Lake

The night was cold at 6700 ft elevation. Abigail and I woke up around 4 for food and changing. I re-wrapped her in her cocoon and we went back to sleep. Around 6 when the sun was coming up I put her in my sleeping bag with me and we cuddled for an hour until Donald got up.

We took a walk to an overlook of the lake and the rim. We hauled all our camera gear with us just to get a cool family photo but the camera wouldnt do a “self-timer” photo….

We walked back to camp and decided to go the other way around the lake for some photos. These ae what Donald got:

After we took tons of photos around the lake we headed back to camp to finish packing. By this time the morning wind  had stopped and we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes.  
We were on the road by 1130 and HUNGRY! So in the town of Sister, we stopped at a Mexican joint for Margaritas and chips! Great food and excellent service!  Sister Bakery was next for coffee and a Red Velvet cupcake. While I was fixing my coffee I banged my head on the bookshelf above the creamer/sugar station…I am 5’2″… I wonder how many taller people hit their head on that exact shelf? 
We left Sister, OR and headed to Bend. Bend was a large town with a mall and chain restaurants like Olive Garden and Apple Bees.
Abigail was not wanting to travel today. So we stopped frequently to appease her. Our original destination for the night was Crater Lake. But as we got closer we noticed it was going to rain. We drove into Crater Lake around 3 and had no idea what we were in for. The lake sites at 6500 feet in elevation but the vista points are in the 8,000s…and it was cold! At only 55 degrees we knew it was going to only get colder and with the rain coming in we decided to push on…but not before we got some awesome photos. 

After leaving Crater Lake State Park, we drove to Fort Klamath and stopped at an interesting little motel to check on room rates.  For $125 a night plus a $10 Cody fee they were happy to give us a room. Needless to say we passed and headed the 35 miles to Klamath Falls. 
Once in Klamath Falls we found an excellent room  at the EconoLodge for $47 a night and Cody stayed for FREE! 
We for beers from the Klamath Brew Company and Thai form the Thai Orchid Cafe.

Day 8 – Mt Hood

On Sunday we woke relatively early to rain. The first real rainy day we had had since starting the trip. After 4 loads to the truck we were all packed! Our destination, Mt Hood only an hour down the road.

One little town that we drove thru was Sandy, OR just outside of Portland about 45 minutes. Reminded us of Nevada City but a ski town!

We hit Government Camp at 1130 and stopped at the Mt Hood Brewery Company for lunch and beer. We got killer food and beers and each got long sleeve t-shirts.

Mt Hood Brewing Co beer list
Daddy & Abigail time

After lunch we drove to the campsite but it was still raining and only 57 degrees so we decided to drive on to the next stop JUST outside of Bend, OR. Or that’s what we thought…

The weather went from 57 in Mt Hood to 89 in Medras, OR. Medras is also an Indian Reservation which consisted of a nice casino and high priced gas stations.

Medras, OR
Landcruiser
Old House near Madras, OR

Bend OR was only 2 hours from Government Camp but our campground was really out side of Sister, OR which was 45 minutes to the East and the campgrounds were another 30 minutes up the mountain.

Camp guide
Mommy and Abigail

We arrived at Three Creek Lake around 4pm and it was beautiful! Very secluded and with minimal people camping. We set up camp and Donald went for a run while Abigail and I relaxed in the hammock. The wind had picked up and we were getting chilled so I put some more layers on and when Donald got back form his run we all went for a walk. We walked to the other side of the lake where there was another campsite. Very nice area and we thought it would be less windy than our current place. We chose not to pack up and move the 500 yards down the street since there was still snow on the ground on that side of the lake. We got back to camp and started camp cake in the Dutch Oven. The wind had picked up so bad that I took Abigail to the tent while Donald finished dinner; sausage and pasta. After dinner I went back into the tent to tend to Abigail while Donald cleaned up for us.

By this time it was pretty cold and VERY windy. We staged all the camping gear in case we needed to pack up and head for warmer ground. The wind howled until about 10pm and then stopped. No breeze or anything, just a eerie silence.

Day 7 – Mississippi Street Fair

I woke up at 630 with Abigail to feed and change her then I put her back down. It was early but we had chores to finish form the night before. I started two loads of laundry, took Cody out on the bike path outside the hotel, and made some awesome coffee while I updated the blog.

When everyone else woke up, we researched the days events. We found a local event called the Mississippi Street Fair. It consisted of blocks and blocks of vendors, food and bands.

We hurried around the hotel room and got ready for the day. We had decided to take the mass transit into town since we had so much luck the day before with hwy 5. So we hopped on the blue line to the yellow and arrived at Overlook Park.

The day started out nice in the low 70s but by the time we were at Overlook Park is was HOT! So on went the sunscreen!

SUNSCREEN!

The festival was packed with families and babies and vendors. First thing was first…food. We got a BBQ chicken skewer and a salad spring roll wrap. We walked and talked with people, we got a sticker from ‘I love Oregon beer’ and a vintage belt buckle with New Zealand butterfly stamps on it!

Mississippi Street Fair

We stopped at a place called Muddy’s for a beer and bloody Mary and some unique grilled cheese sandwiches.

Bloody Marys and Beer!

After the street fair we walked back to the subway. Abigail fell asleep in the sling and we took a video of her legs flopping around with each step I took!

We took the yellow line to downtown Portland in search Powell’s, a book store that is a whole city block with an app you can download that gives you the map of the store!

We got coffees and started exploring. We all got a book or two, a few postcards and as sticker that said ‘I explored all of Powell’s’

Powell’s

By the time we were finished exploring Powell’s it was time to go back to the hotel and relax. After a packed subway ride we got to the truck and found a sushi joint called Meeka on the way back to the hotel. Three rolls and a 6 pack of beer later we were folding clothes and watching MMA on showtime. Funny….the fight was live in Portland, at the Rose Center.

Day 6 – PORTLAND!

We woke up to a misty ocean view. Donald made coffee and pancakes while I wrangled Abigail for the days trip into Portland.

We headed north on hwy 101 around 9am. We went through Waldport and took hwy 34 east. A beautiful whimsy road that snaked along a river all the way to Corvallis, OR home of OSU the Beavers.

After a lengthy diaper change and feeding session we headed north on 28. This is considered the ‘valley’ of Oregon and also home of a billion vineyards! Of course we had to stop! And Left Coast Vineyard it was!

We did a wine tasting of 6 wines, 2 whites, 1 rose and 3 reds. We each got a glass, Donald got the latitude 45 Pinot Noir and I got a chardonnay. We proceeded to the Bistro for lunch and ordered roasted tomato mac and cheese and a turkey panini. We took turns hanging out with Abigail and eating lunch.

After we left the vineyard we headed north towards hwy 5 to Portland. We were less then 3 miles to Portland at 4pm on the 5 when we hit stand still traffic. We decided that since neither of us had been to Portland we could drive the area and choose a location to stay. Bad call on our part. I found a dog friendly hotel very close to downtown only to find that it was $250 a night plus a Cody fee….no good. So we pulled over and started calling …. And calling. At this point we were headed back south on the 5 (passing the bumper to bumper traffic we were just stuck in), I found a hotel, in the other direction. So we pulled off and got some coffees from Starbucks. When we jumped back on 5 north we were once again stuck. After 20 minutes just to get over the river we were set exit 1, 33rd street…we needed 181st street. After a few miles we jumped off the hwy and onto Halsey which took us right to our hotel.

All in all it was supposed to take us 2 hours to get from the coast to Portland. In the end it took over 6 hours.

When we collapsed in the hotel we split up to get errands done. I went to target while Donald ordered pizzas. We spent the night with crime tv, blog updates and editing photos.

Day 5

At 915am we started our journey in a very overcast town of Port Orford.  The next town down the road was Bandon where we stopped for breakfast at the Minute Cafe.  For $15 we got a killer breakfast! We chatted with the locals and Abigail caught everyone’s attention.

Across the street from the Minute Cafe in Bandon, OR

Coos Bay was the next town down the street where we stopped for gas. In Oregon all gas stations are full service. Which is nice and inconvenient at the same time. If I am in a hurry its annoying to have to wait for the one service attendant to run around to all the cars. The lady who was helping us was ON THE PHONE and distracted with the multiple cars that pulled in.

Coos Bay is a logging town. The town has bookend logging companies. Its a nice size town with a cute main street, a boardwalk and 13,000+ people. North Bend is the next town and unless you live there and realized there is a boarder between the two towns you wouldn’t know there are separate cities there.

Throughout the trip Cody has made is way to to ALMOST sitting in the front seat.

iPhone (Instagream username SDBPhoto)

Florance, OR is best known for their sand dunes. Everywhere you look the sand dunes are the being advertised….Sand Dunes Motel, Sand Dunes Beach, Sand Dues Diner….

Hwy 101 is a VERY well known cycling route. Many people travel up and down Hwy 1 (also Hwy 101). Oregon itself is very well known for being cyclist friendly. The Oregon Coast Bike Route is a very popular route in the west. Last summer we had planned a 2 week bicycle trip from San Francisco to LA on Hwy 1. Unfortunately the trip did not happen due to circumstances beyond our control…(the bike mechanic took 3 weeks to get simple tune-ups done on our bikes which prevented us from leaving on time….sad).

Oregon Coast Bike Route

We past the Worlds Largest Sea Lion Caves just past Florence. A HUGE tourist site that caused mass congestion on Hwy 101. Just past the caves is a beautiful light house but you have to know its there or you will miss the turn off. Just past the caves is a tunnel through the mountain. Just past the tunnel is a turn to the right which loops around to the light house….DO NOT MISS IT there is NO turnaround to go back…. We missed it.

Tunnel just past Sea Lion Caves

We arrived in Yachats, OR around 2pm. We really only stopped to change a diaper and feed the baby but soon realized our campground was only 4 more miles down the road! We pulled into Tillicum Campground and got a KILLER spot! We were FEET from the ocean. After we had the trailer unpacked and the tent set up the camp host came up and told us that our awesome spot was reserved…but the girl who worked the night before didnt change the sign. So we moved across the oneway street…still awesome and still feet form the ocean!

Once we were unpacked we headed back to Yachats to sample some local wines at a small wine store called The Wine Place.  We sampled wine from a vineyard in Eureka, OR called J. Scott Cellars We bought 3 locals beers and 2 local ciders, a chip dip mix and a fresh loaf of bread the owner had just pulled out of the oven!

We trolled to the local market to get chips and sour cream for an early snack and stopped in a used book store called Mari’s Books.

After downtown Yachats, we settled into camp. The family (Cody included) went to the beach for a nice walk and a CrossFit workout. The weather was amazing and there were lots of people on the beach. Lots of dogs as well which was OK until a lady decided to throw the tennis ball to her full size poodle in the direction of Cody. It wold have been fine but she would literally throw it AT Cody… Now anyone who knows Cody knows he can not resist a tennis ball, so we had to pick up everything and head down the beach some to avoid her and her dog.

After the beach a nap was in order! We opened all the windows in the tent and all three of us fell asleep to the cool ocean breeze.

Chicken cordon blue from the dutch oven with roasted corn on the cob was for dinner! The Dutch Oven is definitely the MVP of the trip! AMAZING food as usual!

Drinking beer while watching the sunset….you can see the sun thru the bottle!
Dutch Oven with CORN on the top!
Chicken Cordon Blue and Chicken!

We took photos of the sunset after dinner. The clouds were low so we took advantage of what we could see. While we waited for the sunset, we finished our book 20 Miles per Cookie – 9,000 Miles of Kid Powered Adventures. We have been reading this together since Abigail was born. It took longer then most of our books, but we have been a little preoccupied with her.

Day 4 – Welcome to OREGON!!

On day 4 Abigail woke up at 4 and wanted to play. I love when she wants to play just not in the middle of the night. LOL I was up and down with her until 9am when we all finally decided it was time to start the day! We were up, packed and on the road by 10. 
Donald had found a coffee joint for us in Crescent City that was highly recommended on Urban Spoon (an app we have on our phone that we use daily for unique and very recommended places to eat! It was come in very hand on our trip!) It was called Seaside Espresso. Well….the Seaside Espresso is also a beauty shop connected to it. When you walk through the front door you can choose to get coffee or a haircut. Interesting enough the images on the walls for the men’s ‘in style’ haircuts were titled The JFK, The High and Tight, and Ivy League. After two LARGE coffees to go we were on the road again!
We saw the sign for WELCOME to OREGON at 11am! The first town we saw was Brookings. A nice size town with few amenities but not too big.
iPhone – NOT US (lol) Just took the photo as we passed the sign.

Right over the state boarder were ocean vistas and beach pull offs every 1/4 mile. So we stopped in at Whaleshead beach for lunch and some photography. AMAZING view of the ocean. We spent 45+ minutes just taking photos. Thick fog surrounded the washed up driftwood and the unique way the ocean meets the shore left tide pools all around us! We discovered lots of Cairns and a lonely Croc laying on a piece of driftwood.

Rocks
Drift Wood
Cairn
Washed up Crock
Drift wood

After our photo session on the beach we had lunch on the back of the cruiser. Roast beef sandwiches with an Old Stock Ale beer from North Coast   ! 

Land Cruiser getting ready for lunch

We headed up the 101 again with our sights on Port Orford, OR. We had decided early on in the day we were staying in a hotel that night. And a hotel it was… It was a very small eclectic town with Art museums and little hole in the wall restaurants. The website made the town out to be this quaint little cute fishing town with Art galleries and coffee shops….not so much. No coffee shops, and the Art gallery (one) stood out like a soar thumb. It was WAY out of its league.

The motel we stayed at The Shoreline Inn was across the street from Battle Rock a cute little park with a lot of history. The motel itself was a room with a tv, two beds and hot water. All we really needed but nothing to write home about.

We ate dinner at the Crazy Norwegian! An AMAZING seafood place. We spent $25 on huge plates of seafood! I felt completely at home with the definition on “Uff Da” on the back of the menu!!

Uff Da!!

After dinner we relaxed in the room and played with Abigail until late in the night.

Day 3 – Ave of the Giants, Arcata and Crescent City

The morning started with a family walk around the campground. The weather was wonderful except for the occasional mosquito. Before breakfast we each took turns watching Abigail while the other was able to get a great trail run in! A very cool mountain bike trail was close for our short run. The morning breakfast was charizo and eggs with some great instant hazelnut coffee with amaretto creamer! We each got hot showers (utilizing the tankless hot water heater on the trailer) after breakfast then packed camp. We refilled our 10 gal water jugs and headed out around noon.

We headed out on pavement due east for hwy 101. Fifteen miles into the drive we turned a corner and ran right into some huge redwood trees! When we hit hwy 101 at 1245 we saw signs for the Avenue of the Giants. We spent only 10 miles on the old hwy 101 that parallels the new 4 lane hwy 101. The Avenue of the Giants is a 31 mile scenic drive through giant redwoods which sits on over 51,000 acres of redwood groves.

Once we hit Humbolt county we called a friend of ours, who grew up in the area, for some suggested lunch spots. We drove through Eureka, CA around lunch time. Eureka offers a mall, an old  downtown area and big box stores such as Target, Wal-Mart & Home Depot.

We ended up stopping at Arcata, CA for lunch at Humbolt Brews.  Not a brewery but a billiards and bar. I had chicken strips and AMAZING french fries and Donald had fish tacos. The town had a nice town square with lots of local shops. A very eclectic town with a huge marijuana influence. Also a college town with lots of ‘free spirits’.

We headed out on the road about 2pm for Del Norte State Park, Mills Creek Campground outside of Crescent City, CA. We decided to camp one more night before we got a hotel. The hotels in crescent city were expensive and we found a great campsite at the state park! The camping/RV book we were using gave the wrong name for the campground. It actually didn’t say Mills Creek, so we passed it the first time. This caused us to drive into Crescent City where we passed a 2 door Honda Civic pulling an RV! Unfortunately we didn’t get a photo (sad I know!) but after we turned around and pulled into the campground, guess who was in front of us!! SO CLASSIC!!

Our camp spot was $35 site 116, on the corner with the water and bear trash close to the truck as well as the bathrooms across the street! After our 10 minute campsite set-up we went for a hike on the Alder Trail and took some great photos with the RedWoods.

Since we had a late lunch at the Humbolt Brews we snacked on cheese and crackers while we enjoyed a great bottle of wine and read our book. By 9pm we were passed out in our rooftop tent!

Day 2 Usal Rd and the Lost Coast

Today we spent Abigail’s 3 month birthday on Usal Rd!!

We started our day off in downtown Fort Bragg. Our first stop was at Roundman’s Smokehouse. What an amazing old school butcher shop! We picked up 2 sausages, chorizo and a treat for Cody.

Breakfast was spent at Laurels Diner. A local joint complete with a trail car in the middle of the restaurant!! We shared a great sticky cinnamon roll.

After a traditional breakfast we headed out for Usal Rd. The drive down the coast was epic. Beautiful views on Hwy 1. Lots of fog and rolling hills along the coast.

At 1215 we found Usal Rd! Usal Rd is a renowned 27 mile dirt road that follows the coast to California’s Lost Coast. Originally a logging road, Usal Rd curves up and down the mountain. The first 6 miles are the most traveled. Although accessible by a 2wd with high clearance, we only saw a few other cars within miles 5-6. Mile 6 is a campsite with approximately 20 sites. No water but nearly right on the beach!

After we passed mile 6 we only encountered 1 vehicle until we hit pavement. The views for the last 21 miles were a canopy of trees.

We hit pavement at 27 miles then had an additional 12 miles to Shelter Cove, CA. Shelter Cove was a very minimal town with an air strip right on the water. We found an RV site that did not suit our style of camping. Although right on the ocean, it was a flat open field at the end of the runway with HUGE pelicans roaming the area looking for fish guts.

We got a little turned around in town and found Black Sands beach. This is the start of the Lost Coast hiking trail.

With no other camping available in Shelter Cove we headed back up the hill to Kings Peak 4 miles down Kings Peak dirt road, we found Tolkan campground. Nine camping spots total are available and it was EMPTY! We had the whole campsite to ourselves! With vaulted toilets and running water we were set!

Donald started dinner while I got the baby ready for bed. He made us baby back ribs in the Dutch Oven!! As the food was cooking I read excerpts from What To Expect The First Year.

We had AMAZING FOOD as usual! Everything we have made in the Dutch Oven has been awesome! We paired the ribs with couscous and red wine.

After dinner Donald drug out the shower equipment and took a hot shower off the back of the trailer. The wind on the ridge was serious and kept us up most of the night. It didn’t blow us away although we thought we would wake up 5 miles away.

On the road…day 1

Our adventure began this morning at 10am! After a quick stop for Bubba’s Bagels & gas we headed West on hwy 20. First stop Fort Bragg, CA!!

Abigail passed out in her seat with brother bear breathing down her neck! It was 85 degrees in Colusa, CA at 1115. Everyone decided on a ‘Sunday Drive’ today….Go ahead and drive slow and look at the flowers, BUT move over for people wanting to get somewhere today!

We traveled through Clearwater Oaks,CA on the north side of Clear Lake. At 93 degrees outside and no shade we drove through observing the rundown town with highlights of the Red & White grocery store & the Mattress Outlet leaving the gas station as the highlight of the town! Clear Lake was pretty, very commercialized filled with sport boats, jet skis and paddle boats. Not really our type of vacationing.

We pulled into Fort Bragg around 2pm after a few crying baby stops. We pulled into the first place we could find to eat and sat down to enjoy a full chinese buffet! Keep in mind we were the ONLY people in the facility for the first 30 minutes.

After lunch we rolled down the road to Mackerricher State Park. A 1500+ acre state park that boarders the ocean. For $35/night we had out little piece of campground heaven for the evening.

Once our spot had been secured we continued into town for groceries and some exploring. We had heard so many people talk about the area we couldn’t wait to see what the hype was about. We stopped at a North Coast Brewing Company right on the edge of town where we mix and matched a 6 pack of local beers and drooled on the merchandise.

After 2 hours of walking, driving & dealing with an upset baby we drove back to camp. Fort Bragg seems like an OK joint…..maybe if stores were open or if it wasn’t misting on us, we would have enjoyed the town a little better. But we couldn’t wrap our heads around WHY the hype for Fort Bragg….

Before dinner we loaded the crying baby up in the Chariot stroller and took her for a walk to the Whale Watching pier. No whales, only fog but we enjoyed the walk and took tons of pictures.

Dinner consisted of two wonderful gourmet burgers we picked up from Safeway….bacon cheddar burgers!! With dinner completed, we opted to stay dry and jumped in the rooftop tent and played a family card game of Nickel Nickel!