Pacific Northwest

Published: July 5th 2012
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George: On 27th June we drive out of the Stockton KOA and we go back to Sacramento Fire Station to give back the money they gave us and to see if the police report is ready and it's not. We stop off at Clearlake for lunch and I walk down the pontoon. We arrive at Fort Bragg at about 6 or 7, we have burgers and toast marshmallows. The next day in the morning we go down to the beach, there are lots of pretty houses on the walk down.

NEWS REPORT....... Family of Four Find Squeaky Sand.
By G. S. Pilsworth.The same family of four that had their RV burnt down (see 15th June) have gone to the beach. At the beach they found sand that seemed to make a squeaky noise. Carla Holden thought that someone had farted but she was proved wrong. Alex Pilsworth said “It was really quite strange, I thought that Ruby or George had farted”. When George discovered it was the sand, everyone was shocked.

Then we drive to the next place. On the way we stop at a tree that is wide enough to drive a car through. Then we drive through a place called the Avenue of the Giants! It is full of enormous redwood trees. In the evening we go to Burger King. Earlier in the day Mum bought me and Ruby two rubber sticks to whack each other with.

Ruby: On 28th June we visited Babcock Beach at Fort Bragg, we were walking on the sand and the sand started squeaking. After that we saw a Drive-Thru Tree and we drove past the Legend of Bigfoot. On 4th July we went to the KOA campsite in Washington State. There were lots and lots of American flags and we had a kids' party with prizes.

Alex: After leaving Lodi, we headed towards the Pacific coast, via Sacramento to thank all the Fire and Police Officers who had helped us after our RV catastrophe. Sticking a pin in a map, we headed for Fort Bragg. The first camp site at which we arrived was Wild Wood, and it was a bit odd. We were the only tourist RV in the site, and some of the folk looked as if they had lived in the woods for too long. We moved on to the 'Hidden Pines' camp site in the town – a much nicer site altogether. We spent the next morning on Babcock Beach in Fort Bragg, a beautiful secluded cove. We were the only people there, and the coastline was very rugged. There were some fantastic houses on the cliffs overlooking the beach, although many of them looked uninhabited – probably holiday homes. We then drove up the north Californian coast towards Eureka. Along the way, in Leggett, we saw a sign that said 'Drive Thru Tree' – who could resist that? So we drove in, paid 5 dollars but sadly drove around the tree, as an RV wouldn't fit through. We watched the smaller vehicles drive through and admired the enterprising nature of the tree's owner. $5 well spent! Further up Route 101 we came to the 'Avenue of the Giants', another slight detour that took us along a dark and windy road of the biggest trees ever (probably). The redwoods here were so big, and so tall that it was breathtaking. Some of them here were large enough to an RV through – if you bothered to make the hole big enough. There were so many of them; mile after mile. The next day we headed inland towards Crater Lake National Park. The drive went through the Redwoods National Park (more massive trees), and some of the most tortuous, windy roads along which you could hope to drive a 25 ft RV. We passed into Oregon at a town called O'Brien. We stopped to fill up with petrol, and the attendant filled up the tank for me, then gave me a receipt and told me to take it into the store to pay. He then ran ahead of me into the store and got behind the counter, and took the receipt off me and then took my money. Odd. They also had a 1930s' police car parked in the petrol station – an old Plymouth – and a railway engine from the early 20th century. We arrived in Fort Klamath and found our pre-booked camp site. The owners had kindly let us transfer our night's booking from 15th June (when we'd had the accident) to 29th June. It was here that we picked up our bank cards that Isobel had Fedexed to us. (Thanks Iz). The next morning, after a quick canoe down the river (Not quite as impressive as it sounds there, Ed!), we drove to Crater Lake. Crater Lake was formed 7,700 years ago after a massive eruption left the magma chamber under a volcano empty causing the mountain to collapse in on itself. The mountain top was1 mile higher than the surface of the lake is now, the crater is 6 miles wide and the lake is nearly 2000 feet deep. It is also high above sea level; so high in fact that there is still plenty of snow on the ground even in June. George and Ruby loved playing in the snow, and made a makeshift sled out of the cardboard box from Ruby's scooter. We drove up to the rim of the lake, through the snow piled high at the side of the road (the roads are cleared every spring from April to early June by a huge team of workers with snow ploughs and spades). On our second day in Crater Lake we drove around the rim to the head of a trail down to the water's edge, then made our way down. When we reached the edge, a man was jumping in to the water off the rocks, and I was tempted, but there was still snow on the ground up above, and we had tested the water temperature and it was cold, so I deliberated too long and then wimped out. The campsite at Fort Klamath was great with a river at the back of the RV sites, a large lawn and play area for the kids and free kids' bikes for them to borrow. Each evening we lit our camp fire, as although the days are warm, the nights were quite chilly as we are getting quite far north and quite high altitude. It felt very remote. The local wines are good, we didn't know Oregon did wine, but they do and it's very good. There are also lots of cherries, strawberries, etc. for sale at farm stalls at the side of the road. It's all very tasty. Carla: We left Fort Klamath early on Monday morning as we needed to get a phone connection to call our RV rental company about some minor issues with the van. They had said that 8am Monday morning was the best time to phone for service. We drove through the National Park and then turned westwards on Highway 138 through the Umqua National Forest towards the coast. We drove and drove and drove, stopping only to wait to be 'piloted' through some roadworks (you have to wait for the pilot car to come and collect you to take you through the chicaine – the road was so empty that despite waiting for 10 minutes for the pilot car, no other vehicle turned up behind us.... quite astonishing) but still it took us 3 hours until we reached somewhere with a mobile phone signal! How remote can you get. We also stopped halfway to the 'mobile signal' town (which turned out to be Roseburg, Oregon) to get petrol at a place called Dry Creek only to be told that their petrol delivery hadn't arrived yet and so they could only sell us 10 gallons. Again an amazingly different place to live from any urban area. Beyond Roseburg we joined Highway 42 to the coast and it was all a lot different – there were many more towns, farms and people in general. We stopped at a brilliant place for lunch in a town called Winston. It was a classic safari park with bears, hippos, rhinos etc. but it cost $60 to get in. So we decided just to eat lunch in their car-park and carry on. Whilst we were preparing lunch we noticed a 'petting zoo' advertised near the park entrance and it turned out to be completely free-of-charge. There was a baby cheetah, an American eagle, flamingoes, wallaroos, snakes, budgerigars, a hairy armadillo and more. It was fantastic value. What skinflints we are. We headed on and reached the quaint town of Bandon on the coast of southern Oregon. It has a pretty old town with crab-shacks, fish-and-chip shops and a brilliant book store in which we replenished George and Rubys' supply of reading books. The town is built in the old tribal lands of the Coquille Indians but the story of the arrival of white settlers here is not a happy one. The Coquille only won back the right to be a tribe in 1989 after being disallowed in 1955 and forcibly removed from their lands before that. Now they run lots of productive industries like the town's cranberry farms and are the largest employer in the town. The coast near Bandon was stunning and we visited a beach with a rock that the Coquille called Face Rock as it looks like a female face gazing up into the sky. The day was overcast during our visit there but the scenery was Cornish and we enjoyed ourselves and felt rather at home. After one night in a quiet RV park in Bandon we continued north to Waldport for the night before the Fourth of July. We were heading for a Siuslaw National Forest campground right on the beach 3 miles south of the town. We had a lovely day tootling up there and stopping at the pretty town of Florence and the Oregon Dunes National Park where people use ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) to zoom up and down the high hills of sand; luckily they're not allowed to do it on the beach itself so we had a great time on the wild, driftwood-strewn shoreline. Alex (madly) took a dip in the chilly Pacific Ocean and was pleased he'd done it despite the strong currents. Our campsite at Tillicum near Waldport was perfect – no electricity or water for us, but a wooded area to have our camp fire and a short walk to another glorious beach. We heard the fireworks celebrating the start of the Independence Day holiday coming from the nearby towns. On the fourth of July itself we zoomed up through the rest of Oregon towards Astoria the border town which sits on the Colombia River and looks toward Washington State. We crossed the very long and very spectacular bridge across the river and entered Washington (the Evergreen State). We had a warm welcome at our campground at Center Bay where they were having a Fourth of July BBQ and a sports day for the kids. Very lovely people; it appears to us that people have become progressively friendlier and more welcoming as we have moved further north (Los Altos aside of course!). Some people claim that the UK is the same so perhaps its not that surprising. So tomorrow we are hoping to get our RV bits-and-bobs fixed at a depot just south of Seattle and then all the tinkering and admin should be over with. (Famous last words!!).

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5th July 2012

sun, sea, sand and sausages
Hi you folks Looky likey you are still having a fun time. We like the drive thru tree. A pity it wouldn't take you vehicle. Did anyone go through on a pogo stick? Could've bumped their head though. Ummm. That coast is very Cornishy and when we drove up Highway 1 thought that too. Did you finally get your police reports? We hope so. Its nice that the people are so friendly. Love to you all, Nanny and Grand Canyon
9th July 2012

Looks amazing...
Loving George's newspaper reports - budding journalist in the making?! My friend Kath has just moved to Washington State from San Diego because she said it is so beautiful and looking at your photos I can see why... you all okay?
11th July 2012

Squeaky sand and sticks for kids to bash each other with - sounds like every child's dream! I hope you have all recovered from your inferno-RV "adventure" and that you are not delayed much longer. Lovely photos.

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