Bend, Oregon

Bend Sucks, Tell Your Friends

When we first rolled into Bend through Sisters, the smoke was pretty thick. Our first week was spent doing more exploring-by-driving – the air quality was gross enough to want to avoid any extraneous huffing and puffing.

We were super excited to catch up with our pals Scott and Jaime of Away We Winnebago ⏤ we met them down in Baja at Victor’s RV Park and hoped our paths would cross again in Oregon. We got to see them up in Sisters, OR and ate a great meal and drank (too much) wine.

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San Felipe Kids 4-Eva

That headline is all misdirection. Bend is a great town. It’s a great size, the Deschutes River runs right through it (which you can float down, which we did), and there’s lots of great food and beer to be had. A few of our favorites were: The Ale Apothecary, Crux Fermentation Project, The Good Life, Bend Brewing Company, Chow, Spork….the list goes on. And on.

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What better way to spend a late summer afternoon?

I hit up the salt water soaking pool twice at McMenamin’s, a former Catholic school compound that’s been turned into a hotel, pub, and theater. The pool is $5 for non hotel guests and absolutely worth every single penny.

The turquoise tiled room has a Romanesque flavor – from the central fountain to the lion statues with water flowing out their mouths to the tiled images on each wall of who I had to assume was St. Francis of Assisi with all the animals (heathen here, I know next to nothing about Bible stuff…and probably I’m wrong about the Romanesque thing, too).

The ceiling around the center was entirely open. A light rain drizzled down on one of the days I was there…I bet being there while it’s snowing is nothing short of magical.

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There’s also a “secret” bar in a broom closet that was fun to hunt down.

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The “secret” broom closet bar!

I can see why the town is experiencing an influx of new residents…it’s pretty wonderful. But also pretty expensive. It’s not a buyer’s market at the mo.

But the endless outdoor activities, relatively small (read: bikeable) size, and easygoing culture were really appealing to us.

We also got see our friends Tim & Lauren who are traveling around the country for a few months for their honeymoon ⏤ we hiked Mount Bachelor and hit up Sunriver Brewing with them.

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The Gerber-Fleurys!

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

This stop is about 15 minutes out of Bend proper. This (still active) shield volcano is the site of a cinder cone and caldera you can walk around and/or drive up to.

Lava Butte is the cinder cone; the land all around it is strewn with all manner of volcanic rock – pumice, cinders, and the lone tree here and there. It looks like a barren wasteland of pain, but with the plants that have managed to survive in what little soil there is, it’s actually quite beautiful.

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Lava Butte at Newberry Volcanic Monument

We also hiked the mile-long lava tube cave. We’ve been in several caves at this point and each one is so different and amazing. All the caves we’ve been to thus far all contain some kind of man-made, artificial lighting, mainly for safety and because they run tours.

The lava tubes, though, you’re on your own and there’s NOTHING down there to light your way. You aren’t allowed in without some kind of flashlight (which they can rent to you if you don’t have your own).

We wore headlamps and while there’s not actually much to see in terms of variety, seeing the light reflecting off of thousands of tiny droplets of water across the ceilings and walls was mind bending.

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The entrance to the Lava Tube cave

We stopped a few times when we’d managed to break away from the steady flow of foot traffic to shut off our head lamps and experience the most intense blackness possible.

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Thanks to oncoming traffic, I was able to snap this photo of the interior

It’s amazing to pay attention to what your mind does when one or some of your senses are removed. I started to feel as though my headlamp view was a pair of glasses made of light…!

High Desert Museum

The High Desert Museum isn’t far from the Volcanic Monument so it made sense to stop and check it out.

It’s a great indoor/outdoor museum with most sections devoted to wildlife as well as the history of the area and the native populations. There’s a birds of prey section, too, where rescued birds that cannot be released into the wild are housed in outdoor shelters – a bald eagle, golden eagle, an owl, and more.

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Man will fly alright! Like a ROCK! A burrowing owl.

Tumalo Falls

We had originally planned to hike Tumalo Falls with Scott and Jaime but the air quality was too crappy so we came back the following weekend and it was worth the wait: the air was much, much better.

Funnily enough, we were re-routed on the (very simple) way there, and it took us an hour and 45 minutes to get to the trailhead instead of 40. Pro tip: don’t trust Google maps in the Oregon wilderness. Eventually some excessively good looking, outdoorsy Oregonian dude with perfect, straight teeth came by in a pickup asking if we were lost. We didn’t know that we were because In Google We Trust. He gave us proper directions, but not before tech shaming us and encouraging us to get a “paper” map and get to know the area.

But eventually we got there, we hiked, it was beautiful. As you can see:

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We also celebrated our first year of full time RV living on the 31st of August and our 2nd wedding anniversary on the 2nd. Huzzah!

Next stop: Boise, Idaho – land of my birth! 😛

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Silverton, Oregon

We spent 10 days at Silver Spur RV Park about 30 minutes outside of Salem in Silverton, Oregon. The WiFi works, there’s a pool and a hot tub, great facilities, but more cramped in than our last spot.

Silverton

Silverton is a cute, small town. The main downtown area consists of about five easily walkable blocks with restaurants, coffee shops, antique stores, a single-screen theater, wine bar, vintage store, an art gallery or two, and a couple of breweries. I hit up Seven Brides and enjoyed a delicious BLTA with their Summer Saison.

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If Monkey is happy, we are happy.

We also strolled through the annual Fine Arts Festival in Coolidge McClaine Park. It was fun to nose around all the handmade goodies. It made me miss my jewelry making! I can’t wait to dig into that again someday.

Portland

Travis went to Boise for a few days on vacation to visit his brother so we had to head to the city to get him to the airport. We made a day of it and hit the outdoor Saturday Market (more handmade goodies) and met up with my friend Jordan for lunch at Sushi Ichiban, a dope little spot with a bar/counter that features grab-as-you-desire sushi plates that go by on a little train. Amazing!

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Lerrnch with Jrrrdrrrrn.

After Jordan had to bounce to go to work, we took advantage of the Electric Scooter Wars and jumped on some Birds to scoot around the city, along the waterfront, and back around to downtown and the Alphabet District. What a great way to get around!

We e-scooted back in Venice, CA and loved it then; still loving it now. But it’s pretty easy to see why there’s some backlash.

For example, you’re “required” to wear a helmet. No one does this. You’re only supposed to have one rider per scooter. You definitely see people doubling up, probably looking around for another scooter for that second person (or not).

You’re supposed to leave them somewhere that’s not in the way. We saw one literally plopped on an intersection sidewalk corner where every single human would have to go around it.

The main thing, though, is that the “instructions” you get for where to ride are pretty vague. The Bird app tells you to use the bike lanes when you can; it also tells you not to mow down pedestrians on the sidewalks. This sort of implies you can ride wherever the hell you want on them, which seems irresponsible. We stuck to bike lanes and the road and basically took on the same rules as cycling. I went on the sidewalk once when the street narrowed in a way that felt dangerous, and there were no pedestrians there at the time.

The app’s built-in map tells you if certain areas are not meant to be e-scooted through, but if you’ve ever ridden one you know your hands are busy accelerating and braking and 100% NOT holding your phone to look at a map to determine if you can scoot through a small park or not.

Overall I hope the e-scooter thing is here to stay, but it probably requires more regulation or more responsible riders. Which do you think is more realistic?

On a different day, we also hit up 10 Barrel Brewing, Muu-Muu’s for delicious dinner (again, with Jordan!), followed by the Abbey Bar & Bottle Shop where we split a bottle of Ale Apothecary’s Sahalie. YAS Portland!

Silver Falls State Park

What a gem this place is! I went hiking here while Travis was away, then we went back after he returned. The park contains 10 waterfalls you can see and/or walk behind along a 7 mile loop that you can do in one fell swoop or break up into two shorter hikes. I did the North end on my own, then we started at South Falls and did the other loop the following weekend. Pro tip: get there early to avoid the crowds. We recommend starting no later than 10am.

Prepare for waterfall porn ahead!

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South Falls

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South Falls

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Upper North Falls.

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Middle North Falls

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This is one FINE ass tree.

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Salamander friend!

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I’ll never tire of seeing light through leaves.

After our South Falls loop, we stopped at the Silver Falls Country Store, home of the Sasquatch burger (aka 2 patties + fixins + egg + bacon + ham + avo) for lunch. I tried Bauman’s Blackberry Cider which was amaaaaazing. Travis had the ‘Squatch burger. A totally worthwhile, rewarding stop.

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The Oregon Garden

As one of Silverton’s noted attractions, I felt moved to mosey out to this 80-acre botanical garden while Travis was away; at $12 for an adult ticket some might consider it spendy for what you see.

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Perhaps that is because 1) it was quite hot and smoky out so the strolling was less pleasant than it might otherwise normally be, 2) I’ve been spoiled by all the non-landscaped natural beauty that one can see for free in Oregon.

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In any case, there was some cool artworks sprinkled throughout the park which was lovely, and the ponds were quite full of frogs and tadpoles.

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IMG_5683Overall Silverton was a great spot to hang for a few days; the pool on those hot afternoons was definitely a bonus.

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Sweet, sweet poolside office!

Next stop: Bend, OR!

 

Lincoln City, OR

I’ve been so eager to get to the Oregon coast!

When I was a kid, my dad used to take my older brother and I to Cannon Beach. We would rent banana bikes and muppet about in the tide pools, sticking our fingers into all the anemones. I would collect all the shells until the smell became apparent and I’d throw them back. I remember sun, fog, and Haystack rock. I remember when I realized the Goonies was filmed on this very same beach years later. I remember a hot pink tie dye t shirt and a pink shell bangle. Funny the things we remember.

The Digs

We posted up at Wapiti RV Park, which is inland a couple of miles. Knowing that the Oregon coast can be foggy, windy, and chilly even in the height of summer meant we weren’t trying to lock down any beachfront RV sites; plus, most of the parks are right off the 101, which, much like coastal New England, is a two-lane thoroughfare through all the coastal towns that can get relatively congested.

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It was a good choice, too – the sun comes out here while the coast two miles away is almost always socked in with mist and clouds. Pros? It’s tucked away and very quiet and peaceful. They have horseshoes set up in one of the many green grass yards. Trees abound. Cons? Facilities aren’t exactly rave-worthy (bathrooms are functional, there’s one shower per gender…we don’t have a sewer hookup so we’re using their shower), no laundry, and WiFi has been pretty spotty. Which, as we’ve mentioned before, only matters because we rely on the internet to do our jobs. 🙂

Depoe Bay

I hit up Depoe Bay one afternoon while Travis had to work. It’s a tiny blip of a town with a short strip of tchotchke shops, seafood restaurants, and a whale watching station. A long sea wall that runs the length of the ocean is perfect for watching grey whales breach. If there are tour boats out, you can just watch them…they are usually honing in on a whale they’ve spotted.

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Not actually Depoe Bay.

The shoreline is made up of lava beds that have been carved out underneath by water, creating what are called “spouting horns.” When the tide and waves roll in, the water spouts up from below, creating big spouts of gushing water.

Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint

We went here around low tide specifically for tide pool exploration (see first paragraph). I found the Giant Green Anemones of my childhood, and definitely stuck my fingers in there.

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Gooseneck barnacles. They look like armadillo feet.

We also saw seals and I spotted a GIANT orange starfish of some kind clinging to a rock through my binoculars. We sat on the beach, sifting through rock piles to find those magic Oregon agates. The skies were grey, the clouds were low, it smelled of sand and seaweed. It was lovely.

Newport

We went to Rogue Brewery for burgers and beer (this burgers and beer thing is becoming a pattern). Of everything we tried, Combat Wombat was the most interesting. It’s a sour/IPA blend that I thought had to be awful, but wasn’t. I’m still befuddled by it. Try it if you get a chance!

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Afterward we stopped at Fogarty Creek to putz around on the beach for a couple hours and collect agates. No one will believe me when I say this, but Travis was the one who was dying to collect rocks this time, NOT ME!

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Agate haul! 

The RV Wash

On our way out of town we hit the RV wash in Lincoln City! Washing an RV is a motherf***ing task and a half. We hadn’t washed ours since we were back in North Carolina at The Backyard Fig Bush Campground in November 😬.

Most RV parks we’ve been to have specific restrictions against washing your RV on site, which makes sense given the amount space between sites in some places, how much water it uses, and the mess you’d make doing it. Not to mention the gear you’d need to do it: brushes, things with telescoping handles, etc.

But it begs the question: how the heck DO you wash your RV? Car washes big enough for RVs aren’t exactly on every street corner. Plus, when already faced with a day drive of 4 to 5 hours, does adding even more time for a wash make sense? For us, it never has. We just wanna GET THERE since we spend so much time driving as it is, and we’ve got the cat in the truck, and I’m generally working while Travis drives.

Travis spotted this place earlier in the week so we just decided to pull the trigger and do it since our day drive was much shorter this time. Armed with $20 in quarters, we game planned the best way to git ‘er done. The machine only allowed a max of $5 at a time, which meant someone would have to be ready to shove more money into it once the beeping started, but we also realized that shifting the hose from side to side meant someone needed to be on the roof to ensure it didn’t get caught on any of the vents or the cable TV antennae.

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So fresh and so clean clean.

So with me on the roof, Travis on the ground, and both of us with pockets full of quarters we proceeded to wash the RV as best we could. It’s not quite as sparkling as it was the first time given our time and quarter constraints but in about an hour and $13 the rig was washed and mostly dried. 😀

Next stop: Silverton, Oregon!

Westfir / Eugene, OR

A quick week went by in Westfir, about 45 minutes from Eugene!

The Digs

We posted up at Casey’s Riverside RV Park right next to the middle fork of the Willamette River and were pretty happy to be out of the smoke-filled valley of Ashland. Major bonus: Casey’s RV Park has a soft serve machine in a covered pavilion that is accessible 24/7. Cones are $1, paid on the honor system via a cash box next to it.

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The very best kind of backyard.

The biggest downside of this park is that it’s pretty close to the Pacific Union railroad and several trains ran by day and night. Fortunately, though, with the fan running at night and the river itself we had enough white noise to keep us from waking up. Oh, and the wi-fi was pretty terrible, not going to lie.

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BUT ICE CREAM AT ALL HOURS!

It was hot here; not as hot as Ashland, with a nice breeze that kicked up every afternoon. The river itself was a bit too swift (and cold, to be honest) for swimming but it sure made for a beautiful backdrop.

Friday afternoon we rode our bikes into nearby Oakridge for dinner at Mazatlan so we could carbo-load for our big Saturday adventure…

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Full of burritos and enchiladas.

Saturday

Saturday morning we started the day with a quick, short hike up the start of the North Fork trail along the river. A 100/50/25 mile mountain bike race was going on at the same time; the hundred milers had already bounced, we basically squeezed our hike as the 50-milers started. On our way back we had to hop off the trail while they whizzed past us, which was pretty fun to watch.

North Fork Trail

North Fork Trail – watch out for racing mountain bikers!

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The site of a former water mill on the North Fork trail.

After our serene morning walk, we went into Eugene for the day. We explored the big Saturday Market, a farmer’s- and craft-market combo with artisan goods, fresh produce, food stalls, and live music. From there we walked to Voodoo Doughnuts, because duh.

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Nomming on the Old Dirty Bastard Donut, topped with Oreos and peanut butter.

Then we made our way toward the Whiteaker Block Party, a free, annual event with live bands, craft stalls, beer, and that distinct Eugene spirit  (think: glassblowers, bubble blowers, tricked out buses, and high concentrations of white people, tattoos, and piercings).

Spacebuds

Spacebuds: The Dispensary 🤣

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Pirate bus, Whiteaker Block Party

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Awesome wall mural, Whiteaker Block Party

After noodling around in the heat we stopped at Oakshire Brewing Public House for a rest and refresh with Gose and Berlinerweisse and IPA.

We walked back toward downtown along the river, which runs through the city. We saw tons of tubers (toobers?!)…not potatoes, people in inner tubes. Cities where you can inner tube on a river are A+ in my book.

We ate dinner at a place called Oregon Electric Station which was also A+. It’s inside a former train station from 1912.

Sunday

Sunday Funday was spent renting a couple of kayaks and heading up to Waldo Lake to paddle around for a few hours.

On the way up we stopped at the second tallest waterfall in the state, Salt Creek Falls.

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Salt Creek Falls

Waldo is another stunning alpine lake, and like Crater, it’s not stream fed in any way, resulting in bright blue, clear water. Without more nutrients flowing into the water there wasn’t as much wildlife, but we did see some Mergansers and some tiny frogs.

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Waldo Lake

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Paddling in the tulies

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This is the color of the water!

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It’s like the Caribbean Sea…just colder.

Post paddle, we stopped at McCredie Hot Springs on the way back; a natural hot springs right next to the river. Bliss.

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McCredie Hot Springs

Followed by burgers and beer at Brewers Union Local 180, an all-cask brewery with their own brews and a handful of guest taps.

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Lunch/dinner: cask ale and burgers.

Overall, we loved Eugene and the surrounding area.

Next up: Lincoln City, OR!

Crescent City, CA > Las Vega$ > Crescent City, CA

We stayed near Crescent City in Hiouchi at Redwood Meadows RV Resort in the middle of Jedediah Smith State Park. This is old growth Redwood Forest territory.

The park is great; though the initial site we were assigned was not. It was in a section that felt crammed; not to mention the concrete barriers would have made for a super tight fit with our slides. And, for some reason, all the concrete pads are in the middle of the sites instead of the side. Antonia at the desk was super patient and nice about letting us scope the park for a different, available site. We opted for one with a bit of shade cover with a bit more breathing room.

We were only a 10-minute drive from Crescent City, but if I’m being honest we didn’t get a big buzz from the town itself. SeaQuake Brewery is definitely worth a visit, and clearly the hip and happening place to eat and drink. The waterfront was tossed up by a Tsunami in 2011 which was hard on the economy; the downtown area isn’t one that lends itself to strolls or something that feels like a central area for hanging out. We just weren’t sure what to do with ourselves there.

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The coastal views from Crescent City are amazing!

But no matter, because thanks to acres and acres of ancient, old-growth Redwood trees and the stunning Smith River, we spent our time doing what we do best: hiking, skipping rocks, playing in water, repeat. Pro tip: an annual National Parks Pass gets you into any Redwood state park fo FREE.

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Auburn, CA > Oroville, CA > Garberville, CA

Auburn, CA

Last we left Tahoe en route to Auburn to get more RV repairs done. It’s always something.

This time we booked a pet-friendly AirBnB ahead of time for two nights. We had some little interior things that needed fixing (shower door, leaky toilet pieces, a siphon vent under the bathroom sink that we couldn’t replace due to the geometry of said sink) as well as the rear back corner on the outside, which just straight up separated. Sigh.

That turned out to be a bigger job that would take 40 hours and at least $4,000 (and a month to wait around for them to schedule it in; it’s high season for RV repair), so we told them to just tape it up and send us on our way.

Auburn is a funky little place that feels like a small town but still manages to be fully populated, like much of California. Those Cali-style bungalows are here and there; but overall we weren’t there long enough to get a good sense of the place. We caught a showing of Oceans 8 and enjoyed the short but visceral experience of living in a real house for 2 days.

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Monkey enjoyed herself, too.

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Look at this REAL porch!

Berry’s Rancheria, Oroville, CA

Our next stop was Oroville, CA at the Berry Creek Rancheria RV Park at the Gold Country Casino. As we’re headed to Crescent City, we decided to break the drive up into a couple smaller chunks.

While I still have little to no understanding about what exactly is appealing about casinos themselves, the RV parks so far are always clean, orderly, and easy to get around.

This park is newer; all the trees are saplings (so, no shade for you in that 90-degree summer heat!) and the facilities were in great shape — especially the swimming pool! As noobs to the site, we were given 2 free $10 cards with which to hit the slot machines and gamble.

Grateful for the A/C more than anything, we took our $10 cards and stumbled around the casino floor, also happy that there was more division between smoking and non-smoking areas than the last one we stayed at.

I had more fun looking at all the different slot machine names and themes than actually playing them; I decided to gamble my free money on the machines with the best names, so I obviously started with this one:

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Long story short, we walked away with $5.74 in cash outs from our free $20. We took it straight to the all you can eat buffet and each housed all the brown fried foods and sweet desserts we could handle for $8.50 per person. Cha-chinggggg!

We took an afternoon excursion up to Paradise, too, which was the place that inspired our desire to explore the west a bit more. Travis started randomly looking for houses for sale in Paradise, CA while we were living in Brooklyn, mainly because of the name.

Turns out you can buy some pretty lovely mountain homes with porches and wood burning fireplaces there; the flip side is there’s not a lot going on there. We enjoyed our afternoon, including a stop at the Gold Nugget Museum, but probably won’t be continuing our Craigslist property searches.

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For dinner we drove to nearby Chico and ate ate the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company — what a bitchin’ facility. It’s a massive compound; we stuck to the brew pub and sat on the patio with the misters, eating Vampire Fries (read: fries with a f**kload of garlic) and drinking IPA. Shibby!

Richardson’s Grove, Garberville, CA

And with that, we left Oroville for Humboldt County. At Richardson’s Grove RV Park — directly across from Grandfather Tree and the One Log House, we got a massive swath of lawn under a tree to park our rig. Yes, we could see the gas station and traffic passing by but we’re in a damn Redwood Grove, who cares? PS apparently this entire RV park and lot is for sale on Zillow for a cool 3 mil, in case anyone was thinking about nabbing it.

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This section of the 101 follows the south fork of the Eel River for a while. Water levels aren’t that high at the moment, so all the stretches of river are blue, clear, shallow, and look perfect for sitting next to or fishing on.

We rolled in on a Friday afternoon and after setting up immediately walked across the street to Grandfather Tree and the One Log House and the newly opened dispensary. Apparently legalization of marijuana in the state has not been great for a lot of people in Humboldt County. Doesn’t surprise me that the black market for pot was a better deal for growers in this area.

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Grandfather Tree!

Afterward, we drove to Confusion Hill. Like the Winchester Mystery House and the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, it features a house built with the steep slope of a hill so that you experience seemingly wacky things with gravity — water running uphill, walking on walls, hanging sideways from a metal bar, optical illusions with height. But add in a bunch of Sasquatch memorabilia and some insanely tall Redwood trees.

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Confusion Hill…and Doug’s Dog House!

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Confused?

After Confusion Hill we continued to the “World’s Famous Tree House.” It’s a small room inside the base of a Redwood tree right off the side of the road, with, of course, an attached gift shop.

The tree was hit by lightning, which burned out the interior of the base of the tree while the tree has kept growing (most Redwoods and Sequoias have lived through fires of some kind — oftentimes this is why they have no branches on the bottom half).

From there we motored over to the swimming hole at Standish Hickey State Park. We hadn’t planned on going but decided to check it out but hunger pangs hadn’t quite set in yet. The walk down to the river was steep but worthwhile.

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The swimming hole at Standish Hickey State Park.

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A view of the glorious Eel River.

Dinner was at the Peg House, a lovely open air patio (covered with an old parachute to block the sun) with amazing cheeseburgers. PS the Humboldt County Dry Cider is outstanding, too.

Saturday we hiked half of the Bull Creek trail in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Once again, we were slack jawed the entire time by the trees. These are some of the oldest growing trees in the world and we loved feeling tiny and insignificant in their presence.

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A fallen tree base.

The trail follows a stream the entire way but, I have to say, this is the first time we had a really poor experience with signage.

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This Redwood branch isn’t a branch, it’s a FREAKIN TREE

We started from the Rockefeller Loop trail; a short, easy circle (though not marked from the road. At all. We got specific directions from the visitor’s center.). The first sign we saw shows an arrow for Bull Creek trailhead .5 miles. After that, you see a fork — the sign says Burlington and has an arrow to the right. Well, we weren’t going to Burlington but never saw another labeled trail that made sense. So we looped around again, turned right to go to Burlington and saw, two signs later, a sign for the Bull Creek trail. :/

According to the State Park’s website, there’s a trailhead for Bull Creek South at the Blue Slide Day Use area, and a seasonal footbridge that takes you across the river and back down south on the same trail.

We couldn’t find the trailhead or footbridge to save our lives — the day use main sign mentions the trailhead but it’s not labeled anywhere by signage. You’d think a foot bridge would be easy to spot but guess again. We spent enough time missing our mark due to poorly or non-existent trail markings that we ended up hitching a ride back (with a couple who also was lost because of the lack of signage) to where we started so as not to waste any more of our day; walking back the same way would have been fine but we still had Eureka to see!

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And so, on to Eureka we went to walk about the historic side of town and piddle around the shops and waterfront. We snagged a bite to eat at the Cafe Waterfront before heading back to camp.

Sunday we drove to Shelter Cove, a somewhat harrowing, steep drive up and down the mountain to the coast. There’s only one way in and out if you’re driving and it’s no joke. We were engine braking in 1st gear most the way down. We stopped at the General Store on the way in and met a fellow with a twin engine Cessna and vacation home there; dude just flies in and out with his wife when he comes to visit. NBD.

We hit up Black Sands Beach first, which was mostly made up of black pebbles with white striations of all sizes. There’s plenty of signage about NOT getting near the water. The impression that is given is that if you get near the water you’ll probably die.

There’s extremely strong rip tides and intermittent wave patterns here; we were told every year people get swept out to sea. Fortunately the tide was well out when we got there; we had plenty of space to safely boob around, collect rocks and driftwood, and watch the surf from a distance.

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Black Sands Beach

Then, we drove to the Cape Mendocino lighthouse and putzed around the tide pools – one of my all time favorite activities. Thanks to the awesome new binoculars my lovely husband got for me I could also easily see all the harbor seals and sea lions basking in the sun like the whiskered, floppy, blubbery bags of muscle fiber that they are.

We spent our afternoon derping around the river skipping rocks and basking in the sun.

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An afternoon on the Eel River

Next up: Crescent City!