Redwood Highway to Medford

Creepies, crawlies, and other delights

Yep, all that happened and an amazing tour of the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum as well. We pulled in and thought it might be closed. We stretched our legs looking at the planes in the field. As we walked toward the buildings a man came out. So friendly, so knowlegeable.

Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum

He had been a jumper from this base for over ten years (transferring to Alaska when it closed down). I wish I remembered his name. I’ve never had such an interesting and thorough tour anywhere.

The museum itself has an unique history. When the base was decommissioned, smokejumpers began lobbying congress so it wouldn’t be destroyed. Ten years of constant lobbying later, they got the right to make a museum. So their families and friends joined them at the site to refurbish buildings. They brought their equipment and photos. Cool.

We saw the very sturdy sewing machines in both rooms–the beginner’s room where young men learned to sew and made stuff that lives did not depend on and the advanced room where you sewed jumpsuits and other life-dependent gear–and only after many years in the first room.

A couple chutes where stretched out on tables and more hung in the drying shed. There were amazing photos.

This museum is free–we left a large donation. So worth it. We’ll stop there again and bring others.

Taylor’s Meat, Cave Junction

Whenever we’re by this way we stop at Taylor’s. We try to time it for lunch.

We bought great big beautiful milkshakes and the usual assortment of jerky and sausage. Mark and Jess enjoyed it too.

Schmidt Family Winery, Applegate Valley

We met Jo and Bruce at the Schmidt Family Winery for an ad hoc dinner. Schmidt wine, Schmidt cheese and olive plates, a Schmidt pizza, some Taylor meat, and camping apples.

As often happens, there was live music. Nice!

Schmidt Family Vineyards is a marvelous place to spend a lazy music filled evening

Lighthouse

Success! The Shropshire rock is in the car. I earned my granola and coffee this morning.

We checked the tidetable and headed into Crescent City and Battery Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse is on a tiny island, but as long as you visit when the tide is low you can just walk across a little beach.

It’s an oddity on the Pacific Coast, a Cape Code style lighthouse where the keeper’s house is built around the light. Most of our lights stand beside their houses.

We timed it right and didn’t even get wet crossing the sand (not even me with my typical nonlinear movement. Rock! Seaweed! Thing!).

When the Battery Point Light was decommissioned, the property was transferred to the historical society. Volunteers live there now, a couple weeks at a time. I think the house has never been vacant. Kind of neat.

It’s a sweet little house with interior walls that curve around the light. Cozy. Some of the volunteers were more eager than accurate and some dwelt on odd details like the framed hair weavings. The upstairs living quarters was an odd mix of period furnishings, two barcaloungers and a TV.

We went up the light and looked out. It still functions as an auxillary light, so volunteers work to clean all the glass and keep things running.

I bought a copy of The Extraordinary Voyage of the Kamome: A Tsunami Boat Comes Home, written by Lori Dengler and Amya Miller and illustrated by Amy Uyeki. This sweet picture book tells the true story of a Japanese high school’s boat that ended up in Crescent City a few years after a tsunami. School kids from both countries got to know each other as the California kids restored the boat and eventually returned it to Japan. My copy is going to Kiyoko and Anthony.

We seem to have left the cameras, and even phones at home, though I clearly remember taking pictures. hmmmm.

We met neighboring campers at lunch. They’re attracted to pubs too.

Rocks, snakes, and trees

Rambled to the river with Bill. He patiently waited for shots with his long lens while I walked the rocks and made cairns.  The  sun was shining and it was so peaceful and lovely.

I was startled by a snake. A long snake. Bill took its portrait.

Head left, tail right

We packed sandwiches and drove the length of Howland Hill Road stopping for short walks along the way. Zipped through Crescent City back to a nap in Brave Horatio.

Redwoods have beautiful bark

Bill on a happy photo walk

…and make their own sculptures

A game of cribbage and goat stew rounded out our day.

Our across the road neighbors are on a six-week camping trip—LA to Canada. Nice ladies with two big dogs (Pearl was the one with the pink sweater.)

Solo endeavors and communal songs

Moved the rock to the top of the rocky scramble. Feeling good about my strategy. Picked up some smaller rocks for Kari. I think they might reappear as necklaces.

Ran into Crescent City for gas. Happy to be back in the woods full of bacon and eggs and polenta.

We walked the Simpson Reed Grove, drove the little road until it ended in a boat launch sand bar, and hiked the Myrtle Creek Trail into the botanical area.

Simpson Reed Grove

Myrtle Creek Botanical Trail

I really liked this trail. It follows the course of a mining ditch up the hill. There are interpretive signs about the vegetation and mining. We tossed pebbles into a mine shaft filled with water. It took a satisfyingly long moment for them to plop. The maintained trail stops at a little myrtle creek beach and the looser trail continues onward.

Singing and bed preceded by tuna poke!

Equisetum makes a fine whistle

Smith River has more than redwoods

Yesterday, I found a rock down by the river. Well, I found lots of rocks and, as always some rock hearts and other small lovelies came home in my pocket. But–this was a rock, not a pebble. I could lift it and even carry it, but it was heavy. Looked a bit like a piece of Shropshire blue cheese all golden with veins of bluey-green, white, and gray. That rock wanted to come home with me. I lugged it to the next clump of bushes and put it to bed.

Early this morning I took my coffee and went back to the river. I was surprised by the vast multitude of bushes. I found and old metal plate, an empty crawdad shell, more neat rocks, a cool bit of bark, a tiny patch of iris growing in the rocks and sand…and…at last…my rock. Brought it two bush clumps closer and triangulated better. I have a strategy.

Still life with tin plate and last months carapace

Bill and I explored the riverbank. He took pictures and I made discoveries.

We walked to and through Stout Memorial Grove. Such huge and peaceful trees. Truly a cathedral of a forest. It’s interesting to see how fire appears to melt their bark. I guess fire makes the trees produce that bulbous, curvy, melted looking bark. We saw mergansers up close and Mark learned about equisetum whistles. Equisetum makes a fine whistle!

…and it has beautiful Redwoods

Went back in the evening and moved the rock all the way to the base of the short rocky hill. Tomorrow we move upward. There was that moment when I looked from the last brush clump across the sand to the base of the trail. It looked a lot longer from that perspective. I walked to the edge of the river. Tossed in some pebbles, breathed, and walked back. I crouched, hugged shropshire to my chest and stepped out and out and out each step longer than the last.

On reaching the base of the rock jumble that lead to the trail, I swung the rock out and up a bit, overbalanced and landed on my butt. Luckily the rock didn’t land on me, I steered it a bit to the side. Whump! Naturally nestled next to the little pool.

I looked hastily around. Couldn’t see anyone obviously laughing at my grace. Back to camp.

Brave Horatio in the Redwoods

Hot dogs and baked beans and music around  the campfire…this time at Jess and Mark’s …one space farther away from the camp host.

Perfect!

Oh, and I took a picture of a log that looks like a slug.

Southbound down the Oregon Coast

Coffee morning on the beach

Sunset Bay, one of my favorite beaches

Bill and I brought our coffee down to the beach to enjoy the low tide. Sunset Bay is a nearly perfect semicircle cupped in sandstone bluffs and fronted by a sandy sloping beach. Seagulls were feasting on a quadrapus, a couple of Canada Geese were wading, and we found a fossil fall, Katy chiton, giant chiton (gum boot), and a dead mossy chiton. I’m excited by the mossy—their inner shells are lavender-turquoise-green. Lovely little kite shapes that I’m going to incorporate in the Cormorant Woman mask I’m carving.

Bill headed back to camp and I went rock hopping toward the ocean. I saw a group of folks way out. They had five-gallon buckets and were intent on gathering something.

Turns out they were a group of first grade teachers out on the low tide rocks early on a Sunday morning collecting critters for the first grade salt-water tank. A mom with her little-littles was finding treasures nearby. The smallest gifted me with a tiny purple snail shell. We looked at it together, noticed that it was alive in there and put it back on a rock. I went back to camp happy.

Dedicated first grade teachers
Sunset Bay — textures and shapes

Mid-day gardens and pinnipeds

We left the trailers and drove to Shore Acres and Simpson Reef.

The gardens are always lovely and it was fun to introduce Mark and Jess to them.

There were several elephant seals and the usual assortment of Stellar’s and California sea lions and harbor seals hauled out on Simpson Reef. Not a very big group and there weren’t any surfers. Can’t have everything.

When we got back to camp, the folks across the street were cleaning off their campspace with a yard blower. Cleaning the forest. Well huh.

Hooking up and heading south

Yes, they were blowing the forest clean

We hooked up and headed for Bandon via Seven Devils (which I’m pretty sure some precogs named after me and my six siblings. Hi mom and dad!) and Beaver Hill.

We took the low road into town to view the twig art and found easy parking in the dirt lot across from the boat basin.

Brave Horatio and Daydream Believer found a friend. We had our own teardrop row.

Fish tacos at Tony’s for lunch of course. Then a stroll around old town. I’ve never seen anyone eat so much sugar—I thought Jess and Mark were so healthy. Ice cream and fudge and cookies. They explained that they are on vacation.

We dipped into Washed Ashore. I love introducing new people to my favorite places.

Off to look at the lighthouse and Coquille bar. Not very rough today.

We took Beach Loop out of town. You can’t just pop into Face Rock Wayside when you’re towing a trailer, even tiny teardrops. There just wasn’t room to park.

We had pretty weather all the way down the coast. We braved the wind out to Cape Blanco. Crazy strong as it is most of the time. The lighthouse was closed. Around Humbug Mountain, past Prehistoric Gardens, and on down the coast. All our fruits and veg were grocery store purchased so we breezed through the bug station and into All Star Liquors. 

Raising the tone of All Star Liquors parking lot

I still couldn’t convince Bill that we should pay $600 for the brandy in the Lalique bottle or $300 for the (much cheaper) pear brandy with the blown-glass pear inside. Sad. I expect they’ll still be there next time I visit.

On to Jedediah Smith campsite 8. Mark and Jess were next door in number 6, complete with an amazing Redwood that we could all stand inside. 

Jedediah Smith State Park — Redwoods!

We made a campfire at our site and dined on fish, zukes and onion (Jess does em with bay leaf and basil oil—delicious), and an avocado, mango and onion salad. We drank a gorgeous bottle of Cadence Red Blend gifted to me as a graduation present—thank you Barbara B—that was mighty fine wine!

Guitars and whistles came out. We sang, washed dishes, enjoyed the fire, and got scolded by the camp host for our “noise” though it wasn’t yet 10 and people often pay us to sing. We continued quietly, quietly talking and giggling around the fire before tucking in.

We heard owls—so lovely!