Life at the Running Y

Life at the Running Y
Life at the Running Y

Monday, February 7, 2011

Travel decisions and Grizzly Creek State Park

CG near Juneau As we were driving over the winding mountain roads on Saturday, there was plenty of time to talk about all sorts of things.  Among the conversations was the one often repeated, “So, we have at least ten good years of travel, right? When are we going to do the AlCan?”.  When Mo bought the first MoHo back in 2005 she was already urging me to think about retiring so that we could take that famous road.  Mo has some great photos of her first trip north in 1974 in a little Scout with some built in boxes on top to carry supplies.  She scanned all the faded, slightly scratchy slides a few years ago, and we look at them and laugh at the stories about mosquitoes while thinking about that future trip someday in the MoHo.

The result of these conversations was a decision.  We are embarking north around June 15th.  Tunnel Mtn CG_BanffOne of the quandaries of this time of year for traveling is how much we love where we live in the summer.  Not many places in the world prettier than Crater Lake and Recreation Creek in July, but Alaska is waiting and we aren’t getting any younger.  I certainly don’t want to go there in the spring or fall, although I have heard some folks say that the road is actually better when it is frozen.  Nah, I’ll take the mosquitoes and the cloudy skies over dealing with serious cold weather in the MoHo.  I have read enough horror stories over the last few weeks of folks dealing with all the cold in the southern part of this country this year to know better. I am excited, to say the least.  It is an epic trip, one for the bucket list, and I don’t want to miss it.

In the mean time, we will enjoy this week in what turned out to be foggy California and prepare for a hopefully warmer foray down to sunny Arizona in March for three weeks of desert time. 

morning in Grizzly Creek SP California On our way here, we stopped overnight at a sweet little state park along Highway 36.  In the gloomy evening, with fog dripping from the redwoods and no one around, it didn’t seem like much.  With morning, however, in spite of the gloomy skies, the park revealed some of it’s delights. 

Grizzly Creek State Park is located along the Van Duzen River on a place that has been used for rest for more than 150 years.  Before that it was a lodging spot for the local tribes, rich with salmon, berries, and shelter. And yes, lots of poison oak, my particular bane of traveling in California.  In 1946 it was established as a state park, and the amenities reflect this heritage.  I didn’t see evidence of the CCC, but the visitor center is an old shingle building with a lot of character and the fire pits are old stone structures that speak of a long history of happy families and the days of car camping.

morning fishin on the foggy Van Duzen River We had the entire park to ourselves on this Sunday morning, except for one lone fisherman who walked in from the highway to catch some of the salmon that still run on this river.  Encouraging. There was one lone employee in the park office, and he said this park isn’t likely on the list of California park closures because it stands alone in the area.  We discussed the ridiculously high California State Park camping rates and laughed about how silly it was.  They keep trying to increase revenue and instead, most RV’rs avoid them like the plague because of the high cost.  He then told us about the Van Duzen County Park just 4 miles down the road that looked very much the same, with river frontage and nice sites for $25.00 a night.  No wonder the state park was empty. When we left, we passed the park, but missed the turn, so didn’t try to turn around on the narrow winding road to check it out.  I guess that is why we have internet.  I’ll go research it for the next time we come this way.

these old campfire ovens are in the picnic day area I was still glad we stayed there, just to contribute our fair share to the economy of California and the state park system.  I wish California would recognize that these state parks are the true legacy of the state and assign lottery funds to support them the way Oregon has done.  I don’t know of any state that has better state parks than Oregon.

The hushed forest was lovely, and I even found a vanilla leaf in bloom at the base of a huge redwood. 

Vanilla leaf in bloom on February 6thThis morning we are in the Humboldt County Fairgrounds, at Fernwood.  As Laurie said, it’s flat, especially where we are parked on the pavement at the edge of the park, just outside the fence, with our water and electric pedestal in easy reach.  The camp host suggested this spot and it is perfect.  There is a dump on the fair property and we are getting a few more channels on the TV this morning.  Fox comes in the best, so we watched the game yesterday and enjoyed a quiet day in the MoHo since the fog never lifted the entire day.

Another amazing little perk is free, fast WiFi.  I’m not sure how it happened, but I plugged in my booster that I bought in Desert Hot Springs, and up came a connection to Frontier with no password requirement.  The guy who sold me this little gadget told me that I could pick up connections up to two miles away in some areas. I know its unsecured, so am careful, but it’s great to be connected.  I am trying to complete my stories of my cruise and get them posted, ( by the actual date so they only show up in the January archives), uploading photos, and cruising the internet with abandon.  Gotta love it.

Today we planned to kayak the Eel River Estuary, but looking out at the drippy, cold fog, we have decided to go exploring instead.  The Co-Op in Eureka has some great goodies, and we haven’t yet seen Fortuna.  Of course, the organic white cheddar cheese and home made roasted pineapple salsa awaits at the Loleta Cheese Factory.  I guess sometimes it’s a good thing to return to places we have enjoyed previously.

The rest of the photos of the park are here.