So I’m back inland, at the quarry between Medford and Klamath Falls. Then I’ll travel northeast through Oregon to Idaho, follow the Salmon River north to the panhandle, then east into Montana again. Or something like that.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
For a lot of people (including me), Trees of Mystery is nothing more than a quick stop to take a photo with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. But after years of passing by, I was there this morning waiting for the doors to open so I could hike their trails—particularly the Redwood Canopy “trail” suspended up in the trees.
Even Paul and Babe wear masks at Trees of Mystery, Klamath CA. Paul’s does no good, though, since he doesn’t cover his nose. But Babe has a special mask. It’s cow-moo-flage.
Monday, August 10, 2020
It’s Monday and the automotive folks are back at work. So I was off bright and early to get some minor stuff done.
First up, tire rotation
Then down the street for a change of automatic transmission fluid
I could’ve had these things done while the power steering was being repaired, but I was suffering too much from sticker shock and had them do just the immediate and essential things.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
I spent the night and most of the day in the parking lot of the closed-for-pandemic community center in Arcata, California. There are a handful of other vehicle dwellers here, too. Some, like me, are passing through, but most are making it their home. It must be cool, because the police stopped by to calmly chat with a few of them and left without rousting anyone.
Then, a little while ago, a charitable young woman carrying a large box asked if I needed any food.
“I’m fine, thank you. In fact, I’m in the middle of making clarified butter.”
“Oh, wow, that sounds good. Well, have a nice night.”
“That depends on how this butter turns out."
Saturday, August 8, 2020
I was up and on the road before the sun cleared the eastern horizon. Two reasons: I wanted the morning light, and I wanted to beat the Saturday crowds.
An online recommendation sent me to the Stout Grove trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, at the north end of a cluster of redwood forest parks between Crescent City and Klamath (not to be confused with the village of False Klamath, or Klamath Falls OR). There was only one other vehicle there. Yes!
Stout Grove is a short loop, with a bunch of small unofficial trails wandering among the trees, but it takes a while to walk. Proper gawking and photography requires time, man.
Friday, August 7, 2020
I’ve been using iOverlander lately as my main boondocking reference. It had a listing for a small parking lot right by the ocean. It’s the type of place I suspect was intended for folks exploring the tide pools. Day use, not overnighting. But there are no signs either prohibiting or allowing camping. And several people have reported staying there. Okay.
But still… The status of the place might have changed. Or the other campers might have lucked out.
I arrived a little after lunch and there was a steady flow of of visitors. Then it was just me. Ordinarily that would be great. It just made me doubtful. And nervous.
Some camping types started arriving by late afternoon—one with a small travel trailer. I have relaxed. If there’s going to be trouble with law enforcement, it won’t all fall on me. We’ll be guilty together.
The business in Grants Pass has been wrapped up and I’m back on the road. It’s so nice after a week of being trapped. So, to the coast! It has been too long. Since March?
Yes, I passed through some of the redwood forests on the way to Crescent City, but I really needed to get to the sea. I can backtrack inland once I’ve inhaled enough salt air.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
It was still warm, so I left the back door open. “Just until I start to doze off,” I told myself. But I fell asleep without closing it. I woke a few hours later. Doh. I closed the door. Fortunately, it hadn’t rained. And it didn’t rain the rest of the night. So I returned to the lake bed in the morning.
It clouded up again by early afternoon, and I could see rain falling in the distance. About three seconds after I decided it was time to go, a dust storm blew through. Not haboob proportions, but enough to solidify my decision to leave.
I knew of a free campground with a hot spring and showers, to the west, just inside Nevada. No mud problem there, and I could de-dust-ify myself.
I found a good site off to the side and set up camp. Then I went to avail myself of the vault toilet.
Vault toilets have a vent stack designed to draw away the, um, aromas. But if the wind is strong enough, it blows into the stack, down into the vault and up your butt. I was surprised when that happened, but it was curiously refreshing.
Just as I was being air dried by nature, there was the splat-a-pat of fat raindrops on the window. Then it was like the assault of a firehose. Uh-oh! I had left the side door open on the Rolling Steel Tent! I pulled myself together and ran.
Luckily, the rain was nearly horizontal and the side door was leeward. The van interior remained dry, but I was soaked. I wouldn’t be needing that shower.
Monday, July 27, 2020
Sunday, July 26, 2020
I had made a commitment to meet up with a friend in western Oregon. I was in Idaho Falls. After considering my options, I decided to just blast across southern Idaho on the Interstate instead of taking a slower, longer, more scenic route.
COMING UP SHORT
I would be passing Twin Falls. Hmmm, besides once having been the hometown of a college friend, it’s where Evel Knievel attempted and failed to jump Snake River Canyon. I looked it up. There’s not much left except a small monument and the deteriorating remains of the dirt ramp. Why not go? It would make a fun blog entry.
What I hadn’t learned was access to the site is through Shoshone Falls Park. It was Saturday and traffic to the park was backed up. And there was a five dollar entry fee. Screw that. It didn’t want to see the jump site that much.
NOT IN A STATE OF BLISS
I had been in this part of Idaho my first month as a nomad. Back then I had stopped to photograph myself next to the sign for the town of Bliss. I was very happy to be starting my new life. It would be appropriate to recreate that picture—especially since I can’t find it now. Lost bliss. I exited the Interstate and… the sign was gone. Well damn.
YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE
I had read a blog about boondocking at the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. It would be an interesting place to spend the afternoon and night.
In Bliss I punched the MNSRBoPNCA into Google Maps and headed off through farm and grazing land. A somewhat boring drive suddenly got my attention when Maps told me to turn onto a road that wasn’t there. And since I didn’t/couldn’t turn, it told me to take the next road, which also wasn’t there. And then it wanted to send me down a “road” that was only someone’s driveway. The Maps voice seemed a bit disgusted with my inability to follow simple instructions, then plotted a new route, which took me almost to Nevada and then nearly to Oregon. I saw much more of southwestern Idaho than I had ever planned. Or desired.
So there I am, cruising through more farm and grazing land, when I crest a hill and see… What the… Is that? It was.
It impresses me when someone has a fun idea and goes to the time and trouble of turning it into reality. And I love it when stuff like this is in unexpected places. A roadside shrine on a highway used only by a couple hundred locals and those unfortunate souls misdirected by Google? Sure, why not?
I TOOK IT AS A SIGN
About the time I figured I must be in Nevada, there was an Idaho historic marker. All I could read as I passed was the title: An Utter Disaster. Was that a warning? Or had I driven into the future and the marker was actually about my day’s wanderings?
I finally made it to Swan Dam, in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (hell of an unwieldy name), and despite it being Saturday, I was able to snag a campsite.