It is always so nice to find campgrounds that surprise us, and I mean in a good way. The Lighthouse Cove RV Park in Crescent City, CA did just that! This park has only recently been bought by Crescent City and they are really working to improve the facilities and the overall look of the park. It is situated on Crescent Beach which is right on the Pacific Ocean, and the beach and harbor are protected by a long jetty.
They have several premium sites right along the beach which have your rig facing the water, so you have a never-ending view of the waves, birds, and sea life that call the harbor home. We spent our two weeks here taking long walks along the beach, visiting the Lighthouse, and just relaxing watching the waves roll in.
One morning we took a cold, windy walk around the harbor to the marina. We faced 33 mph gusts, but we were able to see the colony of sea lions and seals that have made the harbor their home. The only downside to this park is that you can hear the sea lions barking ALL day and night! Even though they are over a ½ a mile away! Oh, that and the constant foghorn that blew every 6 ½ seconds! At least if the winds were just right it pushes the racket out to sea and was not quite so intrusive. But other than the noise (which really did fade into the background) this park is perfectly located, in a walkable town, and it gave us easy access to all the Northern California Coast had to offer. Plus, there was a great Thai place right across the street, Kin Koa Thai.
We had to wait for a morning when the tide was out so that we could cross over the beach to get to the Battery Point Lighthouse. We took a tour and learned about the shipwrecks and history of the light.
Our main reason for stopping in this area was to see more of the California Coastal Redwoods. Crescent City is at the northern edge of the Redwoods National Park with easy access to numerous trails. We took a day to drive south on Hwy 101 looking for the best trails. Since the infection rates of the pandemic were on the decline and we are fully vaccinated, we decided it was time to once again stop at more of the attractions along our route. And to be honest, when I first looked at the info for the Trees of Mystery, I really thought it was gonna be a real tourist trap. Turns out it is really nice! They have a canopy walk through the treetops, a really nice trail through the old growth redwoods, a gondola ride, and really cool wood carvings of the story of Paul Bunyan and other tall tales! Plus, there is a great restaurant, The Forest Café, right across the road for lunch! After lunch we continued down 101 to the Big Tree Trail and hiked another couple of miles through the forest looking at these amazing trees.
We spent one whole day just walking the shore, climbing over the rocks, watching the waves crashing on the shore and investigating the tide pools where we found a starfish, a crab & an anemone. Then it was a nice long walk back through town just enjoying the spring weather (thankfully it had warmed up a bit from that first walk).
We always try to visit a local Visitors Center to learn what we should see in the area, and it was suggested that we drive out Howland Hill Road to the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and hike the Grove of Titans Trail (this link is a great video about the work they have done on the trail) and the Stout Grove trail. This is a must do when you are in this area!! Howland Hill was an AMAZING dirt road skirting between towering trees!! We stopped frequently to gaze up to the mammoth trees and to hike the various trails. Then we took Hwy 199 back west down to Hwy 101 and drove the coast road up to Brookings, OR. We needed a larger grocery where we could find my gluten free stuff so headed over to the Fred Meyer grocery store. We stopped for lunch at the Khun Thai (I am always sure of finding things I can eat at a Thai Restaurant!) and it turns out the owner is the brother of owner of Kin Koa Thai where we ate in Crescent City, and they were both delicious!
After putting together our route for this spring I looked in each location where we would be staying more
than a couple of nights to see if there were pickleball courts where we could play. Yep, I have REALLY fallen down that rabbit hole! Anyway, there are several great websites that help you locate courts near you. I have been using USA Pickleball’s Places to Play and Playtime Scheduler to find courts as well as others to play with as this game is much better if played as doubles.
Using Places to Play I found courts at Peterson Park just a few blocks from the campground in Crescent City. We took a foggy morning and went and dinked the ball around, worked on some drills, and then played several games of skinny singles. We were hoping others might show up, but we were the only ones out on that cool, misty, morning. Since we were unable to find people to play pickleball with at Peterson Park on another day we took a chance and drove up to Brookings, OR to find a different court. We still did not find people to play with but at least we are practicing!
Another tourist attraction in the area was almost right outside the entrance to the campground. We spent a morning at Ocean World where I petted a shark and we saw a sea lion show. For those of you who know the Florida Panhandle, this place is a very small version of the Gulfarium that is down in Ft Walton Beach. We then walked over to the Apple Peddler for lunch and then another walk along the beach.
Our two weeks in Crescent City seemed to go by very quickly! This was a nice relaxing stop with lots to do if we wanted to get out and explore. But the time came to hit the road again and we had a fairly easy drive straight up Hwy 101 to Heceta Beach RV Park in Florence, OR. This park is only a half mile from the beach and again perfectly located to investigate the area.
Once more we took the recommendations from the locals of things to see and do and first up was a hike on the Sweet Creek Trail in the Siuslaw National Forest just down Hwy 126 in Mapleton, OR. This was a very nice 3 miles of trail that ran along the Sweet Creek with 11 cascading waterfalls.
Another day we drove up Hwy 101 along the north shore of Oregon with its spectacular views of the rugged coastline and the Pacific Ocean. We stopped at the Sea Lion Caves, expecting another tourist trap but found a fascinating cave system with hundreds of sea lions!!
We continued up 101 stopping at the many overlooks to watch the pounding waves and to look for more sea lions. We also stopped at the Heceta Head Lighthouse. We hiked the ½ mile trail out to the head, then walked up a fairly steep trail up behind the building to look out over the top of the light. It was definitely not a view you normally get of a lighthouse.
After our hike we drove on to Yachats, OR where we walked the cute downtown area, shopped in the store then had and early dinner at the Luna Sea Fish House. This was another recommendation, and they really did have the best fish and chips!
As we had weather moving in, we headed out to the beach early one morning. This section of the coastline had a long sandy beach which you do not find very often along the Oregon coast. We took a three & 1/2 mile walk on Heceta Beach down to the North jetty at the Siuslaw River and got back to the coach just as the rains moved in for the afternoon.
As the next day was rainy as well, we took the afternoon and drove to Eugene, OR which was straight east of Florence. A lot of these smaller towns along the coast have very limited grocery shopping so we occasionally must make an hour or more longer drive to find stores that carry more specialized items. This also gave us a chance to checked out the route we would be taking away from the coast. Fortunately, Hwy 126 follows the river through the mountain pass, so it was a very easy drive.
Florence has a quaint downtown area call Old Town Florence. We took a morning and walked through the shops, all of which had unique merchandise and then stopped for an excellent brunch at The Little Brown Hen Café.
I had checked out Places to Play Pickleball and found that the Rolling Dunes Park actually had a club that played there on Mondays, Wednesday, & Fridays. So, on Wednesday we headed over to the courts and low and behold!! There were people playing pickleball!! Yeah!! Finally, people to play against! They were a very friendly group and we played for 3 hours! We were having so much fun I forgot to take pictures! And of course, we would be leaving the next day, so it taught me to be more prepared and contact groups I find BEFORE we get to the area to see when to play. (I have already contacted the club in Washington and have set up a time to meet them.)
Next up was Castle Rock, WA. We stayed at Toutle River RV Resort for a week as we rested up for our
upcoming busy 6 weeks in Washington. Toutle River is a big campground though it is right between I5 and a railroad track. Both are quite busy and though the road noise was minimal the train traffic was constant. There were a dozen or more trains that rumbled by shaking our coach day and night!
This campground has very nice amenities with a pool, saunas, large sites, and disc golf. They also advertised that they had pickleball. Wellllllll, what they had was a covered pavilion (nice since it rained) with a rough concrete floor and a net. No court lines. We took our chalk and measured out a court and played for a while but even though it was nice to be out of the rain, it was definitely not ideal. But hey, we were able to get some exercise and that is what it is all about, right?
Castle Rock is just north of Vancouver and Longview. Though we didn’t get out much due to the rainy weather while we were there, we did have dinner one night at Stuffys II which is a really nice old-fashioned diner with good food plus we drove down to Vancouver to get our 2nd Covid booster shots.
The rest of our activities were pretty much curtailed (we were going to go to Mt St. Helens) as instead of chasing spring we ran smack into winter, again!! It SNOWED!! We woke to 4 to 5″ of snow that fell overnight plus no power! They had over 400 trees come down all around the county and we were lucky we had generator power to keep us cozy and warm as the power was out for over 24 hours and the temperature dropped back into the low 30’s overnight. The rest of the week we were in Castle Rock it rained, snowed, sleeted, and was pretty much a wash out. It did give us time to recover from the after affects of the 2nd Covid boosters and to rest up as the next month as it is going to be a bit crazy.
Our daughter, Rebecca, and her husband Jason just purchased their first home in Edmonds, WA. As they were moving the 3rd weekend in April, we decided to change our schedule a bit and arrive in Washington in time to help with the move and the unpacking. We will be spending 6 weeks at the Burlington/Anacortes KOA north of Seattle while we get ready for the caravan to Alaska that leaves June 6th.
The other reason we decided to change our itinerary is that we have gotten a large crack in the windshield and are working to get it replaced while we are in WA. I will take care of all my annual doctor visits and we have lots of little projects we want to complete before we head north again but more on that in our next post!