Life at the Running Y

Life at the Running Y
Life at the Running Y

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Off to the coast

Jeremy loves a road trip in the MoHo and settles in immediately to his spot on the dash

heading for the coast over 299.  Jeremy loves being back in the MoHo

I barely had time to get my land legs back before Mo looked at me and said, “How about a trip to the coast?”  Of course, Mo has been home patiently feeding the fire while I was off gallivanting around the Caribbean and she was ready to get out of the house and do something different.  A trip to the California coast actually sounded wonderful, with warm temperatures and plenty of water for kayaking.  We decided to go to the area we visited last fall, a bit unusual for us to return to a previously visited site when so many await, but it’s actually the closest place to Redding that looked good to us.

The Shasta Trinity Mountains in northern California are wild and rugged.

Shasta-Trinity mountainsWhile I finished out my work week, Mo researched our route and checked out the available campgrounds.  This trip we hoped to be a bit more thrifty and make use of some of the great local county campgrounds. The Humboldt County Fairgrounds at Ferndale looked like a great choice so that is our major destination.  Our planned route this time takes us across the Shasta Trinity mountains via Highway 299, turning south at Highway 3 near Hayfork, and connecting up to Highway 36 heading west toward Grizzly Creek State Park along the way to Ferndale. It’s about 160 miles from home to Redding where we pick up the MoHo, and then another 180 miles or so to the coast.

The view from the summit of looking south toward the Mad River drainageSouth Mountain along Highway 36 is gorgeous.

This morning we woke up at 5:30 with great plans to be on the road by 7.  We already loaded up the kayaks and the baby car with MoHo supplies and were ready to go right on time.  With the MoHo in storage in Redding, we have to bring everything home with us, wash and repack it all up, and then tuck everything into the baby car for the 3 hour trip back.  It’s a bit of a squeeze, with clothes, bedding, all the throw rugs that I brought home to wash, the comforter cover, the kayak paddles, walking sticks, the kayak bag of life vests and equipment, extra water for the MoHo till we get to a campground, the charger just in case she doesn’t start, the dog and the cat and the cat cage, and oh yes, me and Mo.  We don’t even bother with a cat box, since Jeremy usually settles down pretty well when he knows we are heading for a big trip and waits until we get to the MoHo where his box is waiting.  Good kitty.

Out of Redding RV storage and ready to go It’s really funny to watch the animals the night before a big trip when we are packing up.  Abby sticks to Mo’s leg like glue, no matter where she is going.  Jeremy walks around and meows loudly, and keeps looking expectantly at all the stacks of stuff.  I actually think he knows where we are going.  I can only surmise that Jeremy loves going on these trips so much because his humans and his dog are going to be 100 percent completely accessible and no farther than 12 feet away at any given time.  In his dotage, he has become a very needy cat and hates to be alone. So, proudly, right at 7 am we jumped into the car, cat and dog and humans, and traveled east toward the rising sun.  About 25 minutes into the trip, almost to Klamath Falls, I turned to Mo and said, “You have the MoHo keys, right?”.  She looked at me and with a gasp, pulled the car over and whipped it around to head back west to get the forgotten keys.  You have to know Mo to know just how rarely this kind of thing happens.  I have no idea what made me think  of it at that moment, but we were both really glad it wasn’t three hours later in Redding when it came to mind.

enough already!! Sue has had it with the curves, the 10 percent grades, and the narrow roads!With an extra hour behind us, the rest of the trip to Redding was uneventful, with open roads and good weather all the way.  The mountains are especially open and bare for this time of year, and the lack of snow pack is surprising considering the huge snowfall we had in December.  Once in Redding, the sun was warm and the thermometer read a balmy 71 degrees.  We slid the MoHo out of her berth as she rumbled to life without a whimper and in a short time we were loaded, hooked up, and on the road west.

I drove from Klamath and Mo drew driving duty this time over the mountains.  Mo is a great driver, but after many miles of narrow roads with long steep canyons dropping off on the passenger side, and 10 percent grades, I was getting a bit testy.  I am a great companion most of the time, but not so much after several hours of being tossed about by rough, winding, bumpy, nasty roads.  The scenery was gorgeous, but the road, not so much!  Every time we end up on a road like this we are grateful for our short 26 feet. 

Jeremy isn't too happy with the curvesThe original plan included a stop at Hayfork in the County Fairgrounds Campground for the night, but we arrived at Hayfork at 2:30 and our next stop was only 80 miles away, so on we rambled.  It was a bit of a rough 80 miles, however, and Highway 36 might not really deserve the handle of highway at all.  The day had been sunny and gorgeous, but as we dropped down toward the river, the coastal fog enveloped us.  We reached Grizzly Creek State Park around 5 pm, and the deep forest of redwoods was fairly dark and gloomy.  The entire campground was empty except for a single tent camper, with no one around.  Instead, there were instructions to self register and pay in cash or check.  California State Parks are an endangered species, with the budget of the state threatening to shut them down at any moment. The rate is $35 a night with a $2 discount for seniors.  For that price you get no hookups, one lone working bathroom, and no camp hosts around.  We wouldn’t spend any real time here, although it looks like it might be a pretty park with the river flowing past and the lovely forest.  Since we thought we were going to spend two nights on the road, we figured we could mentally divide it by two and figure it wasn’t too bad.

uhoh.  Now we are dropping down into fog.It’s incredibly dark out there, but not terribly cold in spite of the overcast skies.  The highway is fairly close, but not terribly busy.  It will be a very early night snugged in to read a bit and then get a good nights sleep before our arrival in Ferndale tomorrow.