Distance: 10,415 miles
After posting yesterday's blog, I trucked on out of Raymond. I'm running really late again since it's already after 4 and I haven't done the bulk of my driving. My plan originally was to end the day at around the Oregon/California border. So much for plans. You do know, it's all you gentle readers' fault. If I wasn't doing this blog I would have all the time in the world. So please, feel the appropriate amount of guilt and then read on. OK, it's not only your fault. I have a terrible habit of pulling over for every cool scene or the largest ball of yarn in world attractions. I keep trying to harden myself to just drive on, but sadly, I can't. MUST GET PICTURE. I think by now I have thousands of pictures. Back in the old days of film, you had to conserve your shots. Now? Not so much. I've got 2 cameras and 64GB memory cards. I literally can take 10s of thousands of photos along with hours and hours of video. I am my own worst nightmare. Of course I need to get home and go through the photos
and endure the ridicule of my family when I show them the 200 shots of the world's largest hamster wheel. the joy.
OK, since it's late afternoon, I decided to make it a late driving day to make up for some of the distance I need to get done. So I take off on the PCH. I try to resist the urge to stop pulling over for ever "ohhhh, must get picture". I am not too successful until the rain starts falling and the fog rolls in from the mountains (not the sea). Even then I stop occasionally for an especially good night shot. I play a small round of DODGE THE WILDLIFE (did you know that deer can bound across the road in one leap and you can't do anything about it or avoid the hit if the deer is especially stupid? I came within a foot from nailing one. That get's the ole heart pumping.)
Around 10PM I am getting punch drunk so I start looking for a cheap inn (yes I feel a little guilty). I'm going back and forth on inn or campsite when I spotted a state park called The Devil's Punchbowl right
before Newport. It looks good, so I head on in and it is a large campsite. But it is filled with wall-to-wall campers with the occasional tent. I'm thinking about heading back on the road when I spied a sign saying "Tents Only". I creep down the road and it opens up to a ton of campsites which are mostly empty. Awesome! So, being the anti-social person that I am, I head towards the back of the area and setup my tent with no one in sight. Sweet. Plus, wouldn't you think it was a little creepy if someone pulled up to a site right next to yours in a huge empty campground? After 10PM? Uh, slasher anyone?
This overnight was going to be a quick one and that as soon as it's morning, I'll be leaving. I did look for where I am supposed to register on the way in, but I don't see anything so I figured I'll just take care of it in the morning (despite signs with large admonitions to register within 30 minutes of selecting a camp.)
I only going to set up the tent and leave everything else in the car. And
no bugs. Yes!
Within 5 minutes of starting the setup I am being swarmed by gigantic vampire mosquitos. I put on 100% DEET. I swear I can hear them laughing as the suck away (maybe getting drunk?). I pull out the ThermoCell and light it off. I swear I can hear them laughing as they orbit getting stoned on the vapors. So now my tent setup becomes a race to finish before I pass out from blood loss. I'm feeling faint by the time I get everything stood up and I am inside the tent. I then I have a few minutes of hand-to-hand combat with the more intrepid mosquitoes that snuck into my tent. A few minutes later I am victorious and I can relax in well-earned comfort.
There is something completely awesome lying in a tent listening to the waves with no other sounds in the world. No distractions from a TV. Just you, the solitude, waves and a book. Even though it was in the low 50s outside, inside, my tent is pleasant. I slept most of the night without the sleeping bag. I think I actually prefer the tent to the inn. Kim's nightmare.
Who's that handsome fellow?
Kim is going to love the beard.
I wake up to rain. Nuts. It's 6 AM and I am wide awake so instead of procrastinating, I get dressed, leave the tent, endure round 2 of The Assault of the Blood Suckers and throw everything soaken wet into old Blue. On the way out I still can't find the place to register a campsite. I believe Oregon now has an All-Points-Bulletin for me. I do manage to make it to the California border without arrest.
After leaving camp, I drive down the 101. The day is breaking clear and beautiful. There are still clouds and fog in the mountains but the shoreline is crystal clear. Unfortunately, my travel time is severely hampered by my inability to resist "ohhhh, MUST GET PICTURE". The family will love me for it.
As I mentioned, I do manage to cross the California border a fugitive of the law but without incarceration. I'll keep you posted.
The redwoods start almost immediately after the border but they are thin and spread out. Crescent City is literally right before Redwood National Park so that should be fun when I enter the park.
The plan for the rest of the day is to continue south on the 101 and then head east on SR 299 @ McKinleyville. We'll see how close I get to the Nevada border today.
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