Where are we?
May 2004

Subj:     147. Where are we?
Date:     Tuesday, May 18, 2004

We've started our trip north to Oregon. Actually we started last Thursday (May 13) but haven't had the opportunity to send an update. We are now near the California coast in northern California. Today we drove through several groves of Coastal Redwoods. These are supposed to be the largest trees in the world, not the most massive because they aren't the giant Sequoias which are found on the western slopes of the Sierra Mountains. We've been here before but it's been several years.

When we left Inyokern last Thursday, we changed our plans. Instead of heading north, we headed west to Bakersfield. We had a little shopping to do and Bakersfield was a convenient place to do it. Besides, it allowed us to get our Krispy Kreme fix.

After we left Bakersfield, we drove straight up Highway 99, past Sacramento, to a very small town called Dunnigan. We spent two nights in Dunnigan, primarily so we could play golf at the RV Park. Yes, we've stayed at that RV park before.

Today we left Dunnigan and headed up I-5 to a town called Williams, then we headed west, over the coastal range of mountains on CA Highway 20. That route had been recommended to us and it's a very nice drive. The drive took us around Clear Lake. The last time we were at Clear Lake was almost three years ago when we drove there from the Napa Valley (not recommended in a Motorhome). However, highway 20 was much better.

Then we headed north on Highway 101 which is a beautiful drive in northern California.

Now we are at Benbow Valley RV and Golf Resort in Benbow California. We hope to play golf tomorrow but it depends on the weather. We had a few sprinkles on the way here and right after we registered, we had a short downpour. We will see what happens.

In general our plans are to take a nice leisurely drive up the coast into Oregon. In about a week we should be in Eugene Oregon where we will probably spend about a week before we head to Crater Lake. Speaking of Crater Lake, last time we checked there was still 91 inches of snow at Park Headquarters. The good news is the snow level has gone down by about 40 inches in the past two weeks. The bad news it there is still about 7 1/2 feet of snow at Park Headquarters. Our first job may be shoveling snow just to be able to get the RV parked!

The Brauers
Havin' Fun
Travelin' north

Subj:     148. Where are we?
Date:     Sunday, May 23, 2004

Yesterday, May 19, we left Benbow and headed north again. We are on America's Wild Rivers Coast. This area is also know as Oregon's banana belt! No, they don't grow bananas here but the weather patterns give this area the warmest average temperatures on the coast. As a further hint of where we are, we are in a beautiful Oregon State Park where we can see the ocean out the front window of the RV.

We had to change our plans while we were in Benbow. Our plans were to play a round of golf at Benbow RV and Golf Resort. However, the weather was threatening (we are fair weather golfers) so we decided to forego the golf game and do some sightseeing.

We drove north on US 101 for a few miles and then took the very scenic Avenue of the Giants. The Avenue of the Giants is a 30 plus mile drive that parallels US 101. As the name implies, it wanders through the giant coastal redwoods, a really beautiful drive. Although we have driven the Avenue of the Giants several times before, this time was different. We had no place to be so we took some of the side trips to see specific groves of trees. We went into the Founder's Grove to take a short hike in the trees to see the Founder's Tree.

Further north we drove through the Roosevelt Grove to see the Giant Tree and the Flatiron Tree. It was a great way to spend a day.

Benbow had Internet access so besides checking our e-mail, we were also able to check on the current conditions at Crater Lake. The snow depth at Crater Lake as of this past Monday was 80 inches. Last week it was 90 inches and about a month ago it was 137 inches. So it sounds like the snow is melting fast. However, since we start work in two weeks, we expect there will still be plenty of snow on the ground when we get there.

Yesterday, we left Benbow and drove north on US 101 to our current location. Since we are on the coast, we stopped by a seafood market and last night we had fresh grilled oysters and scallops for dinner. They were great.

Where are we? We are camped at Harris Beach State Park just north of Brookings Oregon. We've said it before but we will say it again, Oregon has the greatest state parks that we have seen.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun
In Oregon

Subj:     149. Where are we?
Date:     Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Since we've had a hard time getting Internet access (We don't have Wi-Fi capability, yet), we didn't send a "Where are we?" when we were at Bandon, but more about Bandon later. Right now we are camped in another state park along the Oregon Coast. This area is known for the sand dunes rather than the typical rocky shore that represents the Oregon Coast.

For almost a week now, we have been camping in Oregon State Parks on the coast of Oregon. What's been really nice is that we've been staying two nights in one State Park, then drive about 80 miles, and spend two more nights in another State Park. That's been giving us a little time to explore the coast and see things that we've missed on other trips.

While we were in Brookings, at Harris Beach State Park, we hiked down to the small beach. It was a short but fairly steep hike down. The beach wasn't like what people normally think about when we talk about a beach. This beach, like many in Oregon, was more like a small cove, probably a couple of hundred yards wide with rocks on both sides. It's really pretty. We also visited Brookings Azalea Park a beautiful city park with lots of flower gardens.

On Friday, May 21, we drove to Bandon and Bullard's Beach State Park. We've stayed at Bullard's Beach several times and it is a very nice, quiet place. While we were in Bandon, besides visiting the Bandon Cheese Factory (now owned by Tillimook Cheese), we took several driving tours. We didn't know that there was a Beach Loop Drive that takes you out to Coquille Point, a Marine Wildlife Sanctuary. A really beautiful drive where you see the "Oregon Coast Islands" really rocks just off the shore. Some of those rocks are big and really look like islands just off the shore. Some of those rocks have sea lions, harbor seals, elephant seals, and lots of sea birds on them. According to one of the signs, if you hear the animals "barking" it's the California Sea Lions you actually hear. So we know there were a lot of California Sea Lions on the rocks. If your ever in Bandon Oregon, take the short drive west of highway 101 and take the Beach Loop Drive. It doesn't take long but it's very worthwhile.

We also drove north of Bandon to go to a small little fishing village west of Coos Bay. Charleston is a very quaint little fishing village. In Charleston we stopped by a sea food market and bought a dozen oysers and a pound of scallops. The oysters were even better than those from Brookings. The scallops were good but the Brookings scallops were better. Near Charleston, perched on a scenic bluff high above the Pacific Ocean is another state park that began as a private estate. Shore Acres State Park has five acres of formal gardens including an All America Rose Selection Display Garden. Although the weather was cloudy and we were rained on, it was still beautiful. We also stopped by Simpson Beach and Cape Arago. Cape Arago has one of the 9 lighthouses that still remain along the Oregon Coast. The current Cape Arago lighthouse is the newest one on the Oregon coast. It was first used in 1934. However, there were other lighthouses built on the site, one in 1866 and the other one in 1908. Both of the earlier lighthouses succumbed to weather and erosion.

It has really been lots of fun to spend a couple of days at various state parks on Oregon's Coast. It has given us some time to sightsee and visit areas that we have always passed by before.

Where are we now? We are at Honeyman State Park just outside of Florence Oregon and like all the Oregon State Parks we've visited it is very nice.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun in Oregon

Subj:     150. Where are we?
Date:     Thursday, May 27, 2004

Today, Tuesday May 25, we left the Oregon coast and headed east. We are now in a well know fertile valley between the coastal mountains and the Cascade Mountains. It is also an area where there are several motorhome manufacturers.

Florence was lots of fun. Again we have to say that staying in one spot along the coast for a few days and driving the little truck to sightsee is great. Yesterday we drove south from Florence to Winchester Bay where we were able to see the Umpqua River Lighthouse. We took a short tour of the lighthouse and were able to stick our heads behind the lens. This was quite interesting. We also stopped by a local oyster market. They actually farm the oysters here. We bought two dozen oysters and grilled half of them for dinner. They were probably the best oysters we've had so far. We cook up the other dozen within a day or two. We learned about the local oysters from the people who were running the lighthouse tours, a full-time RVing couple who were volunteering. We had a long conversation with them.

After Winchester Bay, we drove north, past Florence to Cape Perpetua where the Heceta Head Lighthouse is located. We took lots of pictures of the shore and the lighthouse. Again, the Oregon Coast is just marvelous.

Now, Where are We? We are actually in Colberg Oregon, a few miles north of Eugene. Eugene is where Larry's older daughter lives.

The Brauers
Havin' fun
In Oregon