Page 2 of Wondering Naturalists Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » New York » Ithaca May 8th 2008

Well, we are back home in Newfield, New York, after 10,250 miles logged in 79 days of traveling. Thanks to our wonderful friend and neighbor Gundy, who stopped by weekly to look after our house and water the plants, our home seems as we left it and the plants have never looked better. The final leg of our journey saw us leaving Portland, OR and Rob, Leila, and Leo early on the 21st of April. We travelled up the awe-inspiring Columbia Gorge on Interstate 84, then headed to Spokane, WA. Since we were to visit some friends in northern Wisconsin, the plan was to head east on Interstates 90 and 94 through Idaho, Montana, North Dekota, Minnesota, and on to the tiny town of Minong, Wisconsin. This north-most route across the US allowed us to avoid ... read more
Upriver from the Gorge
Spokane, Washington
Entering Idaho

North America » United States » Oregon » Portland April 27th 2008

Though Newport and Charleston (previous blog) are two nearby ports on Oregon's central coast, they are quite different. Charleston is an earthy fishing town, but there was great fear that the salmon fishery was to be closed this year. We got the impression that quite a few people were unemployed. One of our neighbors was a veteran of the Kuwait and the Iraq wars and was living full time in his trailer (an older Airstream). He sounded like it wasn’t the post-service experience that he had planned for. In both towns, we were camping at RV facilities adjacent to the town marinas. Newport was very upscale in comparison to Charleston. But Newport's fishing fleet was large, and we were aware of quite a few worried fishermen there as well. In Newport Bay there is a large ... read more
Newport Harbor Mouth
Hatfield Marine Science Center
Research Vessels in the Bay

North America » United States » Oregon » Coos Bay April 15th 2008

This entry covers our trip from Fort Bidwell, CA to Valley of the Rogue, OR, where we spent three days, and the five days we stayed in Coos Bay, on the south Oregon coast. Our last night in Fort Bidwell saw snow and wind. We had planned to take a shortcut over Fandango Pass, but decided given the snow, that we had better take a longer, but less elevated route to our next stop at Valley of the Rogue (named for the wild and scenic Rogue River), in southwest Oregon. Although it snowed on the higher passes, the road remained dry and safe and we arrived mid-afternoon at the Valley of the Rogue State Park and settled in for a three day stay. On 9 April, we left Valley of the Rogue and traveled north on ... read more
Highway 66 to Valley of the Rogue
Valley of the Rogue (River)
The Rogue River--a  Wild and Scenic River

North America » United States » Nevada » Reno April 14th 2008

The colors of Nevada are a complete reversal of expectations created by six weeks in California. We crossed into Nevada east of Donner Pass and the miles of evergreen trees and snow gave way to chaparral and the subtle colors of sage and tumbleweed. Much to our surprise, we learned that tumbleweed is a foreign invasive species! It’s a part of our western legends…”_See them tumbling down…_..” However, always there have been snowcapped mountains in the background. We stayed at a campground in Reno that was near the casinos and convenient shopping. It was also convenient to the Truckee River which delivers melt waters from the Sierras to that part of Nevada. Except for visiting our friends Peter and Trudy, we did not indulge in Reno-type activities. There was, however, some amazing terrain within an easy ... read more
The Pyramid and Tufas
Large Tufa Balls
Crown of Tufa Balls

Here we are in Oregon, playing catchup on blogs we have neglected due to too much "living in the present." We knew this would eventually happen! This missive covers the time we spent in the Bay area both before and after our Yosemite trip. Since we had done most of the city stuff on two previous visits to San Francisco, we devoted this period to spending time with friends, our son Nick, and several scenic/birding locations in the Bay area. Our home-base during this period was the Anthony Chabot (prounced "sha-bow") Regional Park to the east of Oakland. From here we visited the city of Berkeley and the UC Berkeley campus, Marin County, and the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Center. The photos we include here summarize these experiences. We left San Francisco for the high deserts ... read more
Beach Below Pacifica RV Park
Entrance to Anthony Chabot Regional Park
View of the San Francisco Bay from Chabot Park.

One of the major reasons that we chose to drive to the west coast was to visit our two sons who live in Berkeley, CA and Portland, Oregon. We spent several weeks in the San Francisco-Berkeley area at a regional park between Oakland and Castro Valley. This park and some of our adventures in the area will be the subject of another blog. Instead of doing a lot of “city” stuff in the area, we and Nick spent five wonderful days in Yosemite National Park. March is a wonderful time to go to Yosemite. There are not huge crowds. In the valley, flowers are blooming; at higher elevations, there was plenty of snow for skiing. Downhill and cross country skiing were both in full swing at Badger Pass while cross country skiing was available elsewhere also. ... read more
Merced River

North America » United States » California March 21st 2008

For three days we stayed at Sunset State Beach near Watsonville in the Monterey Bay area about 90 miles south of San Francisco. California has many state beaches, some with camping, some without. Some allow dogs on the beach; some do not. No services were provided at Sunset Beach, so we were "dry camping" here. We could not help comparing coastal development in Florida where we spent three months RVing several winters ago with coastal development in California. Florida is dominated by housing developments, golf courses, and high-rise condominiums blocking view of the ocean and access to it. This section of California’s coast is dominated by artichoke and strawberry farming. Although agribusiness has co-opted most of the land right up to the sand dunes and cliffs overlooking the ocean, there is an abundance of state beaches ... read more
Sunset State Beach
Dogs Allowed on Beach
Watsonville Agribusiness

North America » United States » California » Big Sur March 14th 2008

In this blog entry we are using a different approach that we hope will integrate the written comments and the pictures better by putting most of the text in the captions for the pictures. We hope you like it. ... read more
The Coastal Road (Highway 1)
More Big Sur Scenery
More Big Sur Scenery

We are coming to the end of a 5-day stay at a state park in Morro Bay, a part of the Central Coast of California that seems to have everything a reasonable person could want. First, the scenery is drop-dead beautiful. The entrance to the bay is marked by Morro Rock, a 23 million-year-old volcanic plug, the first of some nine that are arranged in a line between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. Morro estuary is considered to be the least disturbed and most important saltwater marsh in the state and provides critical habitat for thousands of ducks, geese, and shorebirds. So, the birding is great. We have been kayaking every day in the bay and estuary, accompanied closely by several species of loons and grebes, all kinds of sea ducks, and sea otter and ... read more
Morro Bay State Park
Morro Bay Estuary
Morro Estuary from Black Rock

We left San Diego for El Capitan State Beach, just north of Santa Barbara, on Friday (29 Feb - Leap Year). Jon was apprehensive about dragging our home on Interstate 5 through the tangle of freeways that is Los Angeles. Actually, it went smoothly, except at the point when the storage compartment holding our sewer dump hose opened and resulted in dragging 25 feet of hose down the freeway. Fortunately, we were able to pull over onto a shoulder and retrieve our equipment, Within a minute of that, a CA highway patrol cruiser was there to help us and be sure we were not “trying to dump” on the freeway. He explained that people in this part of the country did strange things. We proceeded north to El Capitan State Beach. El Capitan State Beach is ... read more
Looking North From El Capitan State Beach
Campsites Overlooking the Santa Barbara Bay
Family Reunion

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