Where are we?
July 2004

Subj:     152. Where are we?
Date:     Friday, July 9, 2004

Well, we left Crater Lake early. We resigned our jobs because of Professional Differences. After five weeks we decided that we just needed to be somewhere else. So, we are now headed to somewhere else where we have jobs waiting.

When we arrived at Crater Lake the campground was covered in snow. Yes, covered with about 5 or more feet of snow. Frankly, we were wondering if the snow in the campground would ever melt. It was amazing, within a week after the loop roads in the campground were plowed, much of the snow was gone. The campground opened on June 18 and was full over the July 4 weekend. There was still patches of snow in the campground but they were melting fast.

Today, after leaving Crater Lake National Park we first headed West into Medford where we bought groceries at Costco. Then we continued west to the coast. Then we started heading south on US 101 to where we are spending the night.

We are in the coastal mountains of California in Elk Country. There are even Elk in this campground. We are also near the ocean. In fact we had beautiful views of the ocean on the way here. We also had beautiful views of the Redwood Forest.

It's kind of hard to describe where we are. But, along the Northern Coast of California is a little town called Trinidad. It's between Cresent City and Eureka and that's where we are spending the night.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun Again

Subj:     153. Where are we?
Date:     Friday, July 9, 2004

We have arrived in the place where we will be spending a few months working. We are in an area of wave-swept beaches, rugged cliffs, rolling sand dunes, sleeping sea lions, soaring pelicans, towering redwoods, glowing sunsets, and vast expanses of ocean. In the time we've been here (not much more than 12 hours) we have seen most of these things plus we've also seen many vineyards. We'll also add that this is not the easiest place to drive to, especially when you are driving a 35 foot long vehicle and pulling a small pickup truck.

We've already agreed to be here until the end of Ocober, except for a week in August when we will visit Eugene Oregon to see our new grandson. He hasn't arrived yet but he's due any time now.

The drive from Trinidad, California to our current location was beautiful. But driving US 101 in norhern California is always beautiful. We stayed on 101 until we came to Cloverdale, then we headed west to California Highway 1. That was an interesting drive, lots of hills, curves, narrow roads, vineyards, redwood forests, and other wonderful sights, fortunately there wasn't too much traffic. Once we reached the coastal highway (CA 1) we headed south for a few miles to our current locations. We've driven parts of CA 1 before, just not in a motorhome. It was certainly a thrilling drive.

The campground is very nice and so are the people. We think we will really enjoy working here for the next few months.

Now, where are we? We are at the Manchester Beach KOA on the Mendocino Coast. The campground is very pretty. We haven't been able to explore much of the area yet, but we certainly will in the future. If you want to see where we are, check out www.manchesterbeachkoa.com.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun
Working for a KOA

Subj:     154. Where are we?
Date:     Tuesday, July 20, 2004   

We are still workamping at the Manchester Beach KOA. But there is some great news that we wanted to pass on to everyone. But first, we'll tell you about our activites since we last sent an email.

Adrienne is working at the desk taking reservations, registering campers, renting bicycles, selling fire wood, providing information about the area to our guests, and many other things.

Larry is working in the campground doing all the normal things like cleaning up campsites, making sure the fire wood bin is stocked, hauling trash, answering questions, and the like. Larry also drives a Massey Ferguson tractor. The tractor pulls a hay wagon for hay rides. At least once a day, and sometimes as many as three times a day there is a hayride which starts at the campground, goes down to the beach (just under a mile away) and returns to the campground. Larry really enjoys doing the hayrides.

On Sunday mornings, the KOA puts on a Pancake and Sausage Breakfast. Guess which two people have been doing the pancake breakfast? Yes, we do. Actually they are a lot of fun. This past Sunday we served 94 breakfasts in about 90 minutes. Larry does the cooking while Adrienne serves and makes sure everything is available for the guests. We have about 90 minutes to get everything set up and cook a supply a sausage and pancakes. Then we serve pancakes and sausage for 90 minutes. Finally, after all the guests who participate have eaten their fill, we invite the staff for breakfast. It's a lot of work, it gets very hectic, but it's a lot of fun.

Before you think that all we do is work, we should mention what we've done on our days off. So far we have driven the coast as far north as Fort Bragg, visiting several towns along the way including Mendocino, a very quaint art community. Mendocino is a small town but is very big on tourism. All summer they have art shows, music festivals, and lots of other activities to attract tourists.

Fort Bragg isn't nearly as quaint as Mendocino but, compared to the other towns on the coast, it's a thriving metropolis with a population of about 6,000 people. It even has a major supermarket, and is the only town on the coast where we've seen fast food restaurants. Fort Bragg is only 42 miles north of Manchester but it's about an hour's drive along the twisty Highway 1. That's without making any stops to view the coast.

Heading south you pass through Point Arena. Point Arena has an interesting lighthouse and is one of the tallest on the West Coast. Although there has been a lighthouse on the point since 1870, the original lighthouse was destroyed in 1906 by the famous San Francisco earthquake. The lighthouse was redesigned and rebuilt to withstand earthquakes. The designers, an engineering firm who specialized in designing and building large smoke stacks, used the same technology that they used for smoke stacks. The result is a rather unique lighthouse that looks like it could have been a smoke stack. If you're into movies and want to see the lighthouse, watch the movie "Forever Young." Much of the movie was filmed at the Point Arena Lighthouse.

A few miles south of the lighthouse is the town of Point Arena. We haven't explored much of the town but it appears to be interesting and could easily be a place to wander around for an afternoon.

South of Point Arena is another small town call Gualala (pronounced Wa-La-La). This is another place that we want to explore.

Continuing south on Highway 1, you come to a place called Fort Ross. Fort Ross was actually a Russian outpost built to support the Russian trade with Alaska. The state of California is in the process of restoring the original fort. It's an interesting place to visit.

Inland, there are the towns of Willits, Ukiah, and Cloverdale. Ukiah is the major town with all the amenities needed for grocery shopping, going to Wal-Mart, and other necessities. We were even able to pick up a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts at the Albertson's in Ukiah.

What's the great news that we mentioned in the beginning. Michelle Nicolson (Larry's older daughter) gave birth to an 8 pound 7 ounce baby boy on July 18. Both mother (Michelle) and baby (Tristan) are doing fine. Daddy (Keith) is also doing fine. In mid August, we will be taking a week off from the KOA to visit our new Grandson. Of course we will also be visiting Michelle and Keith.

The Brauers
(Grandpa and Grandma)
Havin' Fun
being the proud Grandparents of Tristan Nicolson