|Sunday May 14 thru Friday May 19|
We had originally planned a liesurely morning, breakfasting at the hotel restaurant, saying goodbye to friends, packing up for the trip home... but we were warned that the hotel was hosting a mammoth Mother's Day event and he who lingered too long, was likely to find himself unable to get his motorhome out of the parkinglot. So it was up early, pack fast, fill with fresh water and rinse off the yucky dogyard mats as best we could, and get on the road by 9 AM. Just as well we did, because there were a number of delays along the route (long wait to dump, trip to the supermarket, some traffic problems) and we reached our stopping point on the coast just about the right time to stop. If we had left at noon, we might have gotten to our campground very late. The trip home has been an experience with delightful RV camping places. Our first night we stayed at Beachfront State Recreation Area near Waldport and we had a spot right on the edge of the sand, where I could hear the waves breaking as I lay in bed at night. I had also hoped for a gorgeous ocean view, but alas while several of the spots had exactly what I wanted, ours was separated from the beach by a line of shrubs. I had a small corner of a view of the waves from my bedroom window. I envied Space 64, which had nothing at all between it and the beach. Jeannine and the DeWald furdogs enjoyed long walks on the beach and for the less prissy of the pack, plunges into the surf. I don't do walking on sand these days so I just enjoyed the sound of the surf.We had perfect sparkling sunny weather on the Oregon coast, although once we reached California, we ran into fog. The central Oregon coast is extremely beautiful, but it is also slow driving in a motorhome. Think Big Sur. I think our average speed was no more than 35 or 40 mph. There were also numerous road repairs under way all the way down the coast, fixing the damages from the wet winter, and lots of stops while flagmen controlled traffic. It's nice sitting high in a motorhome at such a stop though where you can see out over the other cars and enjoy the view.
Driving through one little town, I forget which, Highway 1 made a curve and the straight-ahead road wanted to make quite sure you knew how good it was for them. This made us laugh!.
We stopped along one beach that was all soft sand except for one tall needle of rock. We thought it was worth remembering. Here's a closeup of the rock.
Our second night's stop was at the State Campground at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. An eden! The sites were sheltered amongst woods and scrub, of course emerald green since this is Oregon, and both very private and very large. We got there around 4 PM, so we put out our ex-pens and let the dogs enjoy some outside time.
If you look close, you'll see the dogs in their ex-pens and Jeannine coming around the back of the motorhome with the poop-scooper.
One thing about the wonderful camping spots was that we were in no hurry to leave them come morning. It was a rare day we got on the road before 11 AM. With the windy curvy roads and the flagman stops, we only made 150 to 200 miles per day... a slow way to get back home to California... but sooo much more pleasant than blasting down Interstate 5. As we approached the California border we could see a solid fog bank ahead. "There's California!" we said. We were right. Once we crossed the border, we drove into fog and stayed in fog, overcast, and drizzle most of the way home.
Here we were stopped for a flag man, south of the road through the redwoods. Taken through the windshield, so there is a little glare obscuring the picture. That's the upper reaches of the Eel River down below.
Along the Mendocino coast, we saw a rock that had been worn into lacework by the surf.
Here's a closeup of this rock.
At Mendocino, we stopped at Van Damme State Park. The California campgrounds do not have electric hookups the way the Oregon ones do, but this place was equally as gorgeous and private. Once again we put the ex-pens out but the dogs didn't choose to stay outside very long, they made it LOUD and clear that they wanted to lie about inside instead. Our space was along the banks of a little stream, so I could lie in bed and listen to it gurgle at night. I am a sucker for lying warm in bed listening to water sounds. (This is the stream.)
After packing up at Van Damme, we went into Mendocino for exploration and lunch. On the road again in the early afternoon, with some beautiful coast views ahead and then the hellacious headland just north of Jenner. The road goes up and up, skating along precipices overlooking the ocean far below, with no shoulders and nary a guardrail in sight. I was not looking forward to taking the motorhome over it, but actually it was scarier in a regular car. In the motorhome, I just went very slow. Fortunately most of the way there was no one behind me and I did manage to find turnouts where I could let those few cars sharing the road go by. It was very tiring driving though because I could NEVER let the motorhome wobble even a little, I had to keep it precisely in its lane, which was just barely wide enough for it to fit. One wheel over the edge of the pavement, and you'd have lots of time to think about it on the way down. This was NOT a road where you could sit back and sip your soda as you drove.
The previous night at Van Damme we had suffered a generator problem -- the circuit breaker went, and I couldn't seem to get it to provide power after that. Generator ran fine, but did not send any power to the coach. Must have been another breaker I needed to reset, but we chose to stop at a campground with electricity for our last night out instead of hassling with it. So we drove past Salt Point State Park where we had planned to stop, and took pot luck on a private campground. We came up a winner! We stopped at the Casini Campground on the Russian River just after turning inland at Jenner. This is the view out the windshield from our camping spot. Again, we were in a little dell surrounded by trees and brush and looking out over the river. Most of the RV park however is the usual side-by-side arrangements, so if you stay at Casini Campground, be sure to request Space 65. It's the good one!
Here's the very last dog potty stop -- at a scenic outlook near Stanford. The dogs' next chance to potty will be in their own back yard.
|So, we’re back. My pictures of the National itself are all videotape, so I can’t share them until I have the time to isolate some stills from it. It was an excellent National — Mount Hood did themselves proud. I loved the site, at a hotel right on the banks of the Columbia River. The hotel food was excellent — always an important point when you are captive at a hotel. 😉 Mount Hood’s hospitality did not just run to the usual snacks and drinks, but included full lunches, free to participants. Since grabbing something for lunch is always a problem at a National their sandwiches and chips buffet was immensely appreciated. The final day, Mt Hood Hospitality put on a spectacular finale with fried chicken for lunch followed by strawberry shortcake in the afternoon! Their Hospitality committee deserves an ovation.
Another thing that was truly excellent at this National were the educational offerings. I personally think education is an important part of a National, and good seminars are a big part of its success. All the seminars were excellent, but the Puppy Puzzle presentation and Kathy Stewart’s judges education (assisted by Hal Brizee) were exceptional. I came away from them with exciting new ideas to play with. Got to go feel dogs now!