Saturday, September 03, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016


I keep working at it, trying to figure out how to make a decent video.  A summary of our last trip is the latest attempt.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Our choice of Lake of the Woods, just east of Medford for our next stop was a good one.  We arrived on Memorial Day just as everyone was heading home.  With just a few other campers, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  Close enough to the lake that I could carry my new kayak down to the water.  We had intended on camping at Crater Lake, but the campground had yet to open for the season.  We did manage to take a drive there for a look, but not much else.  All the hiking trails were still under several feet of snow.


Just south of the Oregon/California State line is the small town of Tulelake, home to the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge and The Tule Lake Unit, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the latter contains both the Tule Lake Segregation Center and Camp Tulelake.  The segregation center was the largest camp were Japanese citizens were incarcerated during WW II and Camp Tulelake was a Civilian Conservation Camp.  Although we didn't go to the actual site, there is a great little museum in town about the area's history and both camps.  The town's Web Site has a wealth of information.

Just south of Tulelake is Lava Beds National Monument, where of course there is lots of lava.  There are numerous (22) caves or lava tubes one can explore on their own without the assistance of guides or rangers.  The caves range from short, less than 200 feet to the Catacombs Cave at just under 7,000 feet.  Here is the description of the Catacombs Cave in the parks brochure.

"This very long cave is easily entered, but gradually increases in difficulty.  It is possible to walk upright for approximately 800 feet to the stairway, after which the ceiling rarely exceeds 3 feet.  A few places exist where the ceiling height is less that 12 inches."

Yeah, let's go do that one.  Actually we were not prepared to explore caves, but I did manage to take a peek in the Hercules Leg Cave, one where I could remain upright.

While in the area, we attempted to go to Stukel Mountain, but we took the wrong road.

As we continue south our next stop was Eagle Lake, just north of Susanville.  Another place we had never been to, so it was time to check it out.  I did manage to get in a bike ride as the forest service has built a nice trail along the lake shore.  Also I got the kayak wet one morning and did a little exploring and watching the birds.


We took a drive to the top of Antelope Mountain to pay a visit to the fire lookout.  Upon our arrival we were met by swarms of bumble bees, which had taken over the outhouse. No one was on duty, but we were able to take a look inside.


After a brief stop in Reno, we continue our journey to our last camp at Robinson Creek, just outside of Bridgeport.  This being one of our favorite camping spots, it was a good place to finish up this trip. We managed to snag a prime spot right on the creek, which due to the heavy winter snowfall, was roaring.  Both Cathie and I have been coming to this spot since we were children and now our children are following our lead.  Son, Eric called and said he was heading our way and since we had the best spot in the campground, he replaced our rig with his when we pulled out to head home.








Well, that about does it for this adventure, but stay tuned as there are many more to come.

Monday, May 30, 2016



We spent 6 wonderful days in Brookings at Harris Beach State Park.  We managed to get a couple of hikes in along with walks on various beaches.  After laundry and a resupply, we headed inland toward Grants Pass.  We settled in at a Indian Mary County Park which is right on the Rogue River.  We are very familiar with this campground having stayed there many times going back over 30 years.  It was the Memorial Day weekend, so it was best to stay in one place.  We have two sets of friends in the area and we had great visits with both of them.  We only managed to get in one hike while there, along the cliffs above the river to Rainie Falls.  These falls have three routes one in a kayak or raft can take.  A class 3 a 4 and a 5.  We watched as rafters and kayakers took the class 3 and 4 rapids.  No one opted for the class 5 rapid.



Speaking of Kayaks, we have an inflatable two person kayak of sorts that is very stable.  We had in some class 2 Rapids and it performs well.  The issue I have with it is that due to it's design you are constantly sitting in the water. It's doesn't get used much.  I wanted a hard shell stable Kayak that would keep me dry, unless of course I turned it over.  Cathie didn't.  So by saving my allowance I managed to buy my own kayak.  Turns out REI (outdoor store) was having a sale so I checked their kayaks out.  I settled on a Elie 10 footer that was advertised as stable.  I figured that if I couldn't mount it on the RV"s ladder to the roof, it would fit inside.  There was the added bonus of buying it in Oregon as there is no sales tax.  I liked the idea of cheating the State of California out of the sales tax.  Lo and behold, it mounts on the RV ladder for easy transport.


For my first tryout in it, I opted to avoid the rapids of the Rogue River and waited till we arrived at our next stop with calmer waters, Lake of the Woods. So for my maiden voyage I took a slow paddle around one end of the lake and everything we just fine until coming back to the boat launch.  As I came ashore, the local sheriff was docking his boat at the ramp.  I mentioned to him that it must be fun to have such a great assignment.  This of course drew his attention to me and my kayak.  Turns out I needed an "Invasive Species Permit" to operate my "boat" in Oregon waters.  I was also lacking the required whistle.  So, being a nice guy, and I wasn't about to be an ass, he inspected my "boat", gave me a nice red inspection sticker to paste on it and the required whistle.  Then suggested that within the next 15 minutes I run over to the marina a purchase the Invasive Species Permit for $7 and he would let me off with a warning.  Not being stupid, I did just that.


Monday, May 23, 2016


I seem to remember learning that during WW II the Japanese shelled the west coast, but did you know that they also bombed us, twice?  Yes it's true and I'm here to tell you the story.

After Jimmy Doolittle raid on Tokyo in April on 1942, the Japanese wanted to demonstrate that they also had the ability to bomb the United States.  So, on September 9th, 1942 they did just that.  Early on that morning the Japanese Submarine I-25 surfaced off Cape Blanco on the southern Oregon coast.  On board was a small seaplane which the crew assembled on the deck of the sub. The plane, piloted by Warrant Officer Nobuo Fujita and along with his navigator Shoji Okuda, was catapulted off the submarine with compressed air.


The plane carried two incendiary bombs and the intent was to start a massive forest fire.  Fujita flew to Mt. Emily, east of Brookings, Oregon where Howard Gardner, a civilian plane spotter, saw the plane as it circled the mountain top lookout station.  He reported to the forest service in Gold Beach that he had spotted the plane.  The plane dropped it's bombs and Gardner spotted smoke from the fire about six hours later.  He, along with another spotter and two other men, hiked to the fire and extinguished it.  At the site they found 40 pounds of bomb fragments with Japanese markings.  They knew that for the first time in history, America had been bombed.  The fire caused little damage as it had rained the night before and the forest was damp.


Fujita returned to the I-25 and landed safely.  Shortly after the bombing, planes from the USAAF spotted the submarine and attacked.  They caused minor damage and the sub was able to submerge and hide on the bottom off Port Orford.  Three weeks later on September 29, Fujita flew once again over the US mainland and dropped two more bombs.  They apparently caused little or no damage as the attack was never discovered.  The I-25 returned safely to Japan where news of the attack spread quickly throughout the country.  Fujita remained in Japan for the rest of the war and became a flight instructor.  After the war he owned and operated a hardware store..

Fast forward 20 years to 1962 and Nobuo Fujita, at the invitation for the Brookings Jaycees, attended the Brookings Azalea Festival.  The highlight of the visit was when Fujita made a presentation of his 400 year old Samuri sword to the people of Brookings as an apology for his wartime bombing.  The sword was the same one that Fujita carried with him on his bombing raids.

Today you can go to the site of the bombing where there are storyboards telling of the attack.  So that's what we did. The sword is on display in the library in Brookings.



Sunday, May 22, 2016


So far this trip has been pretty uneventful and I suppose that is a good thing.  We've been spending our time on long scenic walks and a few scenic drives thrown in.  While staying at Bodega Bay we drove down the Point Reyes National Seashore for a hike along the coast.  I had an Aunt who lived in a small town next to the park so we've been there many times before.  


We took a second coastal hike just north of Bodega Bay along the Sonoma Coast State Park.  The park extends for 17 miles from Bodega Head to just north of Jenner, all of it easily accessible from Hwy 1.  A hiking trail follows the coast for much of the way allowing one to control the length of a hike by choosing one or more sections.  The section we chose was along the top of the bluff overlooking the beaches below.  A beautiful hike with superb views.


The next stop on our trip was to be at Jedediah Smith Redwood State/National park.  When checking on-line for a reservation there was only one site left open and it was a handicap site.  In Federal parks if the only site left is a handicap site, you can stay in it even if you aren't handicapped.  So I made the reservation.  Now all the redwood parks in California are joint state and national parks.  When making the reservation I was able to use my National Parks Pass and receive the appropriate discount.  Upon arrival at the park the state park ranger in charge didn't see it that way and refused to allow us to occupy the site.  Needless to say, after driving over 300 miles, I was pissed but opted not to get into a gun battle with the ranger.

This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  We had planned to go to Brookings, Oregon after the Redwoods so we continued north another 20 miles and managed to snag a primo ocean view campsite at Harris Beach "Oregon" State Park.  Much better than Jedediah Smith as camping in the Redwoods is gloomy because the sun never reaches the ground and I don't like the ranger.  Also this site at Harris Beach has hookups with cable tv and sunshine.  (Except it's raining today.)

We did return to the Redwoods for a nice hike through the tall trees.  We hiked the Boy Scout Trail to check out the Boy Scout Tree, the largest tree at Jedediah Smith Park.  On the hike out, I heard Cathie fall, a sound I have heard before.  When I turned back she was just getting up  and on the tip of her nose was stuck a four leaf clover.  It looked so funny, I just couldn't stop laughing.  Luckily, other than her pride, she wasn't hurt and laughed right along with me.  No photo though.


Sunday, May 15, 2016


As I write this, we have just arrived in Bodega Bay. We are in a county campground on the bay with the ocean just across the road. Nothing exciting has been happening and much of our time is spent on country drives, relaxing and reading. We spent the first four days at Pismo Beach and did a lot of walking on the beach. For $5 you can take your car and drive on the beach, which at low tide is a broad flat expanse of sand. We opted to walk and keep the salt off of the truck. South of town the beach and dunes are open to ATC's and for a princely sum you can rent one. Being midweek it appears that business is slow.

We managed to hookup with Howard and Joy in Morro Bay for lunch. I met them in Spain on the Camino and they are part of my Camino Family. We enjoyed catching up on the latest news and reminiscing about our time on the Camino.

We next continued our journey north, stopping for three days in Pinnacles National Park. We've never been here so it was time to check it out. My sister Kathy lives nearby so she joined us for a couple of days.

Lots of hiking opportunities in the park and it was time for us to get out of the recliners and get some exercise in. After being sick for a month it was slow going, but we managed to get the heart rate up and enjoy the outdoors. One of the two hikes we took involved traveling through a cave. Not really a cave, but a tunnel of sorts formed when rocks and boulders fell into place forming an opening through the rocks. How did the rocks fall in the first place? You ask. Well, Pinnacles Park happens to be within sight of the San Andreas Fault. And now the park service routes it's hiking trails through this jumble of boulders, keeping their fingers crossed that no new ones fall into place.

With no earthquakes occurring while we were there, at least none was could feel, we pulled up stakes, moved north and settled at a county campground on the beach in Bodega Bay. The wind is howling here, but that is the norm for this time of year. From our campsite we can see the ocean from one side of the trailer and the bay from the other. Doesn't get much better than this.