Monthly Archives: July 2013

Hoh Rain Forest

The Hoh Rain Forest is not too far from our campground in Forks so we drove there the other day. It was a narrow and winding road through mostly dense trees, a few meadows and along what I presume is the Hoh River. We passed a couple souvenir shops and shops catering to campers and hikers along the way but this is because most of the road is private or state land and it is only the last 5 or 6 miles that is within the boundaries of Olympic National Park.

Along the way we stopped at the tallest Sitka Spruce in the world which was supposed to be 230 feet tall. Looking up it was hard to tell if it was or it wasn’t but it was certainly wide enough at the base.

Susan with the world's tallest Sitka Spruce
Susan with the world’s tallest Sitka Spruce

There was moss on all the trees, large amounts of it. It is a rain forest after all and gets between 140 and 170 inches of rain a year. It was sunny and on the dry side the day we were there though.

Mossy Hoh Rain Forest
Mossy Hoh Rain Forest
Moss in trees
More Mossy Hoh Rain Forest trees

We were a bit disappointed with the Visitors Center. Despite being the middle of the week there were a lot of visitors and not a lot of parking places left. There was a small nature museum there and a very short hard-packed gravel nature trail. There were a number of other trails but none that were even close to being handicap accessible. This would be a great place to visit if you were a hiker, but not so much for us.

 We’re not sorry we went. It was a scenic drive and we saw some types of forest we hadn’t seen before. We’re constantly surprised at the subtle and not-so subtle variations in the landscape we travel through. Although we were in an evergreen forest and we’ve been in a lot of evergreen forests one glance out the window and we could tell we were not in Maine or California.

Golden and Silver Falls

While we were staying at an RV Park in Coos Bay, one of the local attractions that had been listed by the campground was Golden and Silver Falls.  They said it was a half hour drive, so we decided to visit them.  Well, it was more like an hour drive and a good part of it was on gravel roads, but the scenery was very pretty so we didn’t mind.  The signage to the park was very poor however, so even though we didn’t get lost, for long periods of time we weren’t sure we were heading the right way or not.

The park is for picnics and day use so there were picnic tables and a couple of concrete outhouses.  The path to Golden Falls (named for a person, not their color) was reasonably level so we were able to get Susan and her wheelchair almost to the base of the falls.  

Golden Falls
Golden Falls

The path to Silver Falls was uphill and rocky so we didn’t try it.  The forest must get a lot of rain because all the trees were covered in moss.  

Mossy trees
Mossy trees

It was a fun trip and we are glad we made it.  We’d have to give it a C- for handicap accessibility and the reality is that any accessibility was by chance, not by design.

In the Redwoods

It took longer for us to drive from Bodega Bay to the redwoods than I expected. We’re staying at a campground in Redcrest which is within the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Route 101 is a lot curvier and hillier than I remember but it’s been fifteen years since Susan and I have been up this way and then we were driving a rental car, not a 40 foot motor home.

It is cool and pleasant here under the redwoods. We took a drive down the Avenue of the Giants and stopped at several groves along the way. There was a handicap accessible path across the road from the Humboldt Park Visitor’s center, and Susan and I took a walk there.

Susan under the redwoods
Susan under the redwoods

In the 1950’s and early 1960’s my family camped frequently at Portola State Park which is in the coastal range near our home. It was filled with redwoods and we camped among them. Seeing the redwoods brought a lot of these memories back.

Looking up at the redwoods
Looking up at the redwoods

 

 

Heather visits!

Heather has been Susan’s friend before I knew Susan, which has been forty years, so the friendship goes back a long way.  Heather used to live in the Boston area but has lived in San Francisco for over thirty years.  Almost every time we go to California or Heather comes to New England, we get together.  While we were at a RV campground in Bodega Bay Heather came up and stayed the day.  It was great to see her.

Heather and Susan
Heather and Susan

Mister Meowto was enchanted with Heather’s hat and immediately settled into it.

Mister Meowto in Heather's hat
Mister Meowto in Heather’s hat

Johnston Family picnic

On Sunday we went to a local park in San Ramon and had a picnic with Dan’s family.  Brad, Cierra, Deegan and Weston drove down from Antelope and Lindsay, Dusty, Devin and Mikayla drove over from Fremont.  The park had a kiddy playground and a lot of picnic tables.  We had seen Devin shortly for the first time shortly after he had been born, but this is the first time we’ve met Mikayla, Deegan and Weston.  The kids had a great time in the playground while the adults watched.  A good time was had by all.

Devin, Mikayla, Deegan and Weston
Devin, Mikayla, Deegan and Weston

Dan and Weston

Dan and Weston

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Susanville

We were staying near Reno, Nevada when we found this sign.  Susanville is a town in California on US395 about 70 miles north of where we were.  We were thinking of going there and asserting Susan’s property rights to the entire town but decided to settle for this photo instead.

Susanville

Our New Air Conditioner

Our front roof-top air conditioner died somewhere on the trip from Arizona to California. When I stopped to fill up with diesel about 50 miles west of Phoenix the temperature was 118 degrees.  The dash air conditioning wasn’t enough to keep us comfortable so in order to help us keep cool I started the generator so we could run the rooftop air conditioners. Somewhere after we crossed the California border the front air rooftop air conditioner stopped working.  When we got to Lone Pine, the temperature was 112 degrees so after we checked into a campground there, we retreated to the bedroom and closed the door.  The rear rooftop air conditioner was able to get the temperature in the bedroom down to 85 degrees which was a lot more tolerable than it was outside.  We were on US395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and there wasn’t anybody able to repair or replace the air conditioner until the Lake Tahoe area.  I called ahead to a RV repair shop in Carson City and they said the could get a new air conditioner and replace ours within the time we needed it done.  We pulled up to their repair bay and they were able to remove and replace our air conditioner in only about two hours.  We were glad to get it working again because the temperature was back up over 100 degrees.  Two thumbs up to Pro-Tech RV Services of Carson City, Nevada, for going out of their way to make sure we got our air conditioner when we needed it. 

New air conditioner being installed
New air conditioner being installed

Lone Pine Film History Museum and Oakland Hills

We left Arizona last Friday on one of the hottest days of the year.  Trying to get out of the heat we drove more or less directly to Lone Pine, California which is on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  It turned out it really wasn’t any cooler there and in fact Benson, Arizona was having temperatures in the 90’s while Lone Pine was over 110.  What we didn’t know before we came was that Lone Pine was the epicenter of cowboy B-Movies from the 1920’s up until the 1950’s when the genre started to die out.  As hot as Lone Pine was, it had a real cool Film History Museum.

The Film History Museum is almost worth a trip to Lone Pine all by itself.  Both Susan and I were raised on B-Movies made in the Lone Pine Area.  For Susan it was the Saturday Matinee at the local movie theater and for me it was Saturday morning in front of the TV.  I have a very fond place in my heart for B-movies and this museum is devoted largely to B-movies.  The Film History Museum was a lot of fun. They had movies posters and memorabilia from many of the films made in the area.  Cowboy movies dominated, of course.  Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Tom Mix, Tim Holt, Tex Ritter, William Boyd and many, many other cowboy stars made dozens and dozens of movies here.

Susan at the Movie History Museum
Susan at the Lone Pine Film History Museum
Early cowboy movie posters
Early cowboy movie posters
Lone Ranger movie posters and memorabilia
Lone Ranger movie posters and memorabilia

Singing cowboy movie posters
Singing cowboy movie posters and memorabilia

Continue reading Lone Pine Film History Museum and Oakland Hills