Monday, November 30, 2009

Today's Pictures: Richardson Grove State Park, Highway 1, the Beach just north of Fort Bragg


I refuse to be vilified in such a manner!

1. Brushing teeth is not as important as your dentist would recommend. Apples are nature's toothbrush. I'm not saying I ate an apple, just stating a fun fact. Besides, I got around to it eventually...or rather will get around to it.
2. The underwear incident is still under review. I maintain my position of innocent-until-proven-guilty. Right now the only witness (Emma) is refusing to cooperate.
3. Just like the burnt cheese crisps on Thanksgiving, there is more than enough responsibility to go around. I am not my ice chests keeper.
4. Taxidermied animals? Really. I think this should be moved into the column of "reasons I do appreciate Zach today." If the FBI had any idea that Paige was as obsessed with taxidermied animals to the degree in which she is, she'd be tops on their watch list. I'm doing her a favor by keeping her sicko fascinations under the radar.

Alright, but seriously folks, you're probably not here to watch me score points on Paige. You're here to find out what we've been up to lately. Either that or because its commercial time on the TV and you haven't ponied up for a TiVO yet.

Here's the play-by-play since you last joined us:

After leaving the coffee shop in Arcata (where the open mic night made our ears a bad way) we went on the never-ending hunt for a camp site. For those of you traveling through northern California hoping to camp most of the way, you should note that there is a scarcity of non-RV-infested campsites from the southern edge of Redwoods National and State Parks to about two or three hours south of there. We had decided to forgo camping in the national park because they ask that you keep your pets leashed while you are there. Dogs are predators, lots of wildlife, we understand. We also didn't want to stay in a huge RV park where Emma could get hit by an ATV, four wheeler, Humvee, or anything else you can drag behind a bus, so after a back and forth search for an amenable site in Trinidad, Arcata and Eureka, we opted to push on to the next state park with camping, Richardson Grove State Park (for those of you following us on your state parks maps). There, we bunked down just after midnight in a very nice, isolated campsite.

In the morning we discovered we had chosen a wonderful campsite. We lounged around and read near camp all morning while Emma chased that wildlife she's not supposed to chase [On the way out of the campsite we noticed the posted sign that said that we should keep our dogs leashed at all times in all state parks also. I guess the national parks aren't that crazy. Maybe it would make sense to keep Emma on her leash while camping in a state who has bears emblazoned across everything from its flags to its coins. We're going to set up a dog run with some rope and test her out tonight. Hopefully she won't scream bloody murder while we're setting up camp]. Around noon we packed up and headed south towards the famously rugged highway 1.

With regards to highway 1: lets just say that if you ever get the chance to drive this highway, jump on it like Emma on a cat. It has arguably more turns in the first twenty miles than Hawaii's famed road to Hana. And if you are able to resist the urge to pull of the highway at the end of the twenty miles when you hit the ocean and marvel at the vista you're faced with, you must be inhuman or in desperate need of a bathroom (which is another 10 miles down the road). We stopped and took many a picture which someday you might be able to see if we can ever find somewhere that will let me upload my pictures or download an image resizer. Imagine a rocky cliff of a coast that meanders in and out of an angry, pounding ocean, lit by sun and shaded by layers of mist. Now take what you are imagining and make it 10 times as nice. I just looked back at the pictures I took. This description and the pictures are grossly inadequate to the actual scenery and experience.

From the lookout point we cruised down the coast, stopping at a lowpoint to wander around the beach and throw the ball with Emma. From there we stopped and tasted some delicious wine, hit the North Coast Brewery for a pitcher of beer and checked out the Triangle Tattoo parlor in Fort Bragg. We'll be setting up camp tonight at Van Damme State Park just south of Mendocino.

Tomorrow we are going to have a lazy morning on the beach and explore Mendocino. From there we're going to book it down to San Francisco and stay with Ashley, a friend of JJ's. *Note: we have never met Ashley before and are incredibly grateful she is opening her house up to two strangers and a dog. **Second note: if you know of anyone willing to be as friendly/crazy as Ashley that lives in pretty much any other city across the country, please give them our phone number.

And here we are, back up to speed, sitting in a coffee shop with another open mic; life has a way of repeating itself.

Paige posted our projected itinerary for the next few weeks. Note the weekend in Vegas. Contact your travel agent, internet site of choice, or the host at your favorite casino and book your travel now. For all you climbing bums out there, note the time in Bishop, Vegas (red rocks) and possibly Hueco Tanks. We would love to see some familiar faces.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 3 - Northern California

So as it turns out pictures take a long time to load when you're sharing Internet with 30 other people. Hopefully we'll be able to find some bandwidth soon so we can share some of the great photos that Zach is taking with you (none of my photos are great or worth sharing).

In English class when I learned how to write the perfect paragraph, the first sentence was supposed to sum up everything else to come -- so here it goes:

Today we left our beloved Oregon and traveled down into California where we saw lots of big trees and the Pacific Ocean, ate the rest of our Thanksgiving leftovers, and opened the bag of Baked Cheetos [Thanks, Leola].

We drove south on the 101 through Brookings, OR and into California. We made many stops to ogle the beauty of the coast. As it turns out, it's pretty freaking gorgeous (again, you'll see pictures soon).

Continuing on the 101 we arrived in Crescent City to pick up maps and info on the California Redwoods National and State Park. Turns out people are right -- those trees, they're big, and pretty, but mostly big. We took Howland Hill Road through the Jebediah Smith Redwoods State Park, stopping to eat lunch. Then we went in search of the illusive (is that the right "illusive?" Or is it "elusive?") Boy Scout Tree. The hike was roughly 6 miles out and back -- about halfway in we came across a man who tipped us off that the trail would split into right and left forks -- we should take the right one to stay on trail, otherwise we'd wind up in a ravine. We thought he was a fuddy duddy.

We then came across a beautiful ravine. Oops. Seeing as we'd been hiking for a little over and hour (with stops for pictures), we decided to head back out -- we never did find the 22-ft diameter Boy Scout Tree (this is it), but we saw a lot of other big trees.

After our hike, we continued on through Klamath, whose entrance is guarded by these guys.

We checked out a climbing venue which we may come back to tomorrow (we're taking a layover day) and continues down Coastal Drive to meet back up with the 101. We now find ourselves in Arcata, pretty pooped, hungry, and missing a lot of you.

What's next? Here's a quick breakdown of our the next few weeks -- any of you are welcome to join for all parts -- we're flexible. You commit to dates, we commit to dates.

11/30 Layover in Arcata
12/1 - 12/2 Arcata to Fort Bragg
12/2 (Happy Birthday Courtney) - 12/4 San Francisco
12/4 - 12/8 Sacramento
12/8 - 12/9 Lake Tahoe
12/9 - 12/11 Bishop
12/11 - 12/13 Las Vegas
12/14 Somewhere in between Vegas and Phoenix
12/15 - 12/17 Phoenix
12/17 - 12/18 El Paso
12/18 - 12/20 Getting to Houston (maybe a stop in San Antonio??)

Lastly -- more than a handful of you wondered how spending 6-9 months in a car with the same person would play out. Well, I can't really tell you. BUT, I can tell you about how spending 3 days in a car with same person, namely Zach, played out. A few insights for those of you who care about the less scenic going-ons of our trip:

Reasons I appreciated Zach today -
  1. He managed to re-pack the car (Again) and fit our entire bedroll and blanket up top, freeing up valuable space in the cab for more important things like the 3 jackets I apparently need since my body cannot regulate its own heat.
  2. He praised me for my brilliant my camping suggestions, though right now as I am thinking of them, I cannot think of one that I would not be embarrassed to share with you because they really aren't that brilliant.
  3. He had dance party with me this morning while we broke down camp (Sharon will appreciate this).
  4. He apparently just found us a place to camp tonight, which is good, because otherwise we were going to have to sleep in the car in Arcata.
  5. He agreed to go on the Boy Scout Tree hike with me instead of skipping it to go climbing and put up with me asking if every large tree was "The Boy Scout Tree."
Reasons I did not appreciate Zach today -
  1. As of this moment, he has not brushed his teeth today (gross).
  2. He put a pair of dirty underwear in my bath bag (gross).
  3. He tried to serve me pie (which I would have TOTALLY appreciated) that he had let soak in ice chest water (gross).
  4. He would not let me stop outside of Brookings at this farm to take pictures of the multiple taxidermied (I don't know the right word) horses out front (he hates me).
So -- so far I appreciate Zach more than I do not appreciate him.

Lessons for the day -
  • We need more than 1 gallon of water a day for two people and a dog.
  • We should know where we're staying (or at least have a good plan) by 10 am on the current day.
  • We should stop to take pictures of any farm with taxidermied horses out front.
Love all of you.

P & Z

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I swear, we really are going to blog eventually

So, here goes- my first foray into the blogosphere. Paige and I will be posting a "his" and "hers" play-by-play of what happens on our roadtrip here on the blog so everyone can find out what happens (from me) and how it could be overly dramatized (from Paige).

I'll start out with a quick recap of our time right before our departure for our faithful followers outside the state of Oregon. For the last few months while I've been fun-employed everyone asked me what I've been doing to stay busy. For the life of me, I can't really remember. I have fuzzy recollections of some climbing, some running, a decent amount of rain, and getting mixed up in a lot of fights. The final two weeks before our trip we mostly packed and said goodbye to friends. Highlights from this period include a failed attempt to climb the Monkey Face Rock at Smith Rock, Pre-Thanksgiving dinner at a swanky downtown high-rise, a going away party at East Burn, snow camping (built an igloo and played poker), and the all day gorge-fest that was Thanksgiving (pictures coming soon).

We finally hit the road Friday shortly after noon. I spent the morning at Kenny and Leola's playing Tetris with all of our camping gear in an effort to squeeze everything in, while a certain someone stood on their porch, in their robe, heckling me and questioning each placement, piece of equipment, and generally my entire packing philosophy. Thanks to my genetically inherited packing skills, we hit the road with all of our junk and a completely unobstructed view out my rearview mirror (thanks Dad). Paige shot a few pictures as we headed south on I-5. Needless to say, our final drive over the Willamette River was more than a tad bittersweet.

We made a stop in Eugene to let Emma run around, get the oil changed on the car, and swap out Paige's broken phone for a new one. From there we made a beeline for Florence, crossing the coast range mountains around sunset. In Florence, OR, we had dinner at the finest taqueria in town. We finally pulled into the RV paradise that is Umpqua Lighthouse State Park around 7:30, where we found a nice spot in the deserted car camping section and set up the tent.

I'm not going to lie, the first night was a little rough. Paige started to come down with a light fever Wednesday night that has made the evenings rough for her. Emma and I are still trying to figure out how to get comfortable with one another in the tent. And despite the unobstructed view I bragged about earlier, I still think the packing needs refinement....I mean how many t-shirts do I really need? Surely seven is too many. Oh well, I'm sure we'll figure it all out pretty quickly.

Breakfast this morning was eggs on tortillas. We went for a peaceful walk around a lake where emma found countless small animals to chase through the brush. Fortunately for the wildlife, she's a rather unskilled hunter. After the walk, we checked out the light house, saw the dunes and kept an eye out for Humpback whales which are making their annual migration down to California for the winter.

After a rather enjoyable morning and 20 more miles down the road, we decided it was time for a rest stop. We decided to take all the cash we had on us and test our luck at the Mill Casino in Coos Bay. We took our two dollars in and made out like bandits!! Paige, being a highly unskilled gambler lost her share of our cash ($1) within five minutes on the penny slots. I on the other hand was able to turn my dollar into well over six dollars and ninety-nine cents at the penny machine right next to her. Some people got it, some people don't.

Back on the road, we drove another 25 "grueling" miles along the Pacific down highway 101 to Bandon where we stopped for a lunch of leftover Thanksgiving food. We ate in the car overlooking the rocky coast. Delicious AND beautiful! The only thing that would have made it better is if we'd managed to save a few of the homemade cheese crisps from Thanksgiving. Damn Leola for not share any of them with me. I even had a special tin set aside for them and everything!

And that pretty much brings us right up to now. We are hanging out at the two loons cafe in scenic downtown Bandon. We're headed down to Humbug State Park tonight (thanks for this and all of the other recommendations Sam and Jackson). Tomorrow we will probably go see the Redwoods and maybe try to do a little bouldering on the beach at the Lost Rocks.

Thanks again to everyone in Portland, Texas, and the rest of the country for all of your kind words, support, and encouragement as we set off. It means more to us than you know.