We’ve been on the road for only 3 weeks and I’m already behind in my posts, and to be honest, I’m not totally sure what day this was, nor am I ever quite sure what day it currently is… (I think that this was last Tuesday…LOL!)
We had spent Monday night in the Walmart parking lot in Crescent City. If we are thinking of Wallydocking, we always call the store ahead of time to OK our overnighting there; this store said that we could park there, but if the police came and asked us to leave that we would have to. When we pulled in that evening, there were signs all over saying that overnight parking was prohibited. It must be a city ordinance, but since Walmart didn’t care that we stayed, we decided to risk it – they had said that people aren’t usually asked to leave, so I think that it was just posted so that if someone decided to camp there long-term that it was easier to evict them…
Tuesday morning, we pulled out (not very early!) and drove south through the Redwoods National Park. After driving through Crescent City and seeing a visitor’s center for the park, I realized that if there was a v.c. in this town, maybe there wasn’t one in the park… so after calling the park service and finding out that it was indeed the only one for the northern part of the park, the kids and I backtracked and picked up Jr. Ranger books (and, among a few other things, our first bumper sticker of the trip! :). Vaughn and Jake had driven on ahead with the 5th wheel, and we followed. Well, we kind of followed, they took 101 while we took the scenic parkway and we met up at the south entrance, which has a large parking lot, and a nice visitor’s center (with rangers that were very kid friendly :).
We visited with the rangers and the kids worked on their booklets a bit (yep, even Eli does them (by choice) – he’s torn as to which he likes better – he likes it when they have a ‘senior’ program as they are more challenging, but he also likes it when they don’t and he can get it done quickly and easily…I like it that he doesn’t care what people think The southern entrance’s v.c. is located right on the ocean, so we walked out and checked out the shoreline here. Treasure of treasures the kids found a dead crab…
which we all had to check out (except baby Caleb who was sleeping!).
We made and ate lunch in the 5th wheel, and then hopped in the van to drive the park a bit more (and so Dad and Jake could see it – it’s hard to check out your surroundings when you are being pushed down a mountain pass by 10 tons and your brakes are smoking!!! – you can read about driving recommendations for the park on the blog I wrote for Woodalls on the Redwood N.P. ).
We drove through Elk Meadows, where there were 8 bull elk bedded down in the clearing – you could only see the tips of their antlers over the tall brush, which acted as great camouflage. A friend who grew up in this area was telling us about a place in the park where you can stand on a bridge under which the elk frequently pass – every year at least one person is gored from trying to ‘pet’ the elk as they pass under.
Because we had spent so much time on the beach, we had to make our driving tour a rather quick one and only stopped at The Big Tree, where we got out and went for the short walk to The Big Tree itself…
we spent some time just walking around checking out the fascinating scenery. We love all the green – it seems like someplace right out of a medieval fairy tale…
so, of course the boys got their swords out of the van (because everyone travels with multiple 4 foot swords, don’t they???) and went back in the trees for a mock battle.
They insisted on a photo shoot with their swords, and we all had a good laugh when a couple came down the path walking their dogs – they took one look at the boys brandishing their swords and didn’t waste any time heading back the way they had come. I’m not sure that it was the swords – it may have been ‘just us’ – we seem to have that effect on some people. LOL
! You can imagine how our tribe of 12 offends some of the ‘Z.P.Ger (zero population growth), tree hugging, super yuppie’ people just by our existence
(and I’m OK with that…like REALLY OK with that!
We found all sorts of interesting things, like mushrooms growing out of stumps, moss covered everything, and lots and lots of slugs. We don’t much care for the dampness tho – being from Montana, where it is very dry, we have a hard time getting used to the humidity and the way the dampness makes it feel so much colder than the same temperature would feel at home. We are in California – isn’t that supposed to equal warm???
After playing in the woods for awhile, we headed back to the visitor’s center so the kids could turn in their Jr. Ranger booklets, and earn their first badges of the year.
We had hoped to travel a few hours south yet that day, but of course we stayed at the park too long.
It gets dark so early, and since we hate pulling into a new place in the dark (even tho we end up doing it ALL THE TIME!), we found a little RV park just off the road that looked nice (from the road) – lots of grass, and easy to get to. That ended up being a little scary – we had to weigh driving in the dark without a determined destination (and no Walmarts in sight), or camping next to a bunch of pot-heads, in a park where they warned us the water might be turned off at any time. The water didn’t really matter to us since we carry over 100 gallons, and wouldn’t have hooked up to theirs not knowing how safe it was anyway. We mostly just wanted to plug in to recharge our batteries since we had boondocked
(camping without hookups) the night before and ran the furnace a lot; since it was cold out at night, we wanted to be sure we didn’t drain our batteries and then not be able to run the heater. We have an onboard generator, with an electric start from inside the coach, but we won’t run it when we are sleeping as a safety measure.
That was actually quite an interesting stop – when I pulled in, ahead of Vaughn who was backtracking, the young lady told me about the water and how it might be turned off and how they wouldn’t charge us if we wanted to stay… I told her that we didn’t need to use the water, that we mostly just wanted an electrical plug-in. She then said that if we wanted to plug in that she would have to charge us like an RV. Took me a minute to realize that she had thought that we (ALL!) were going to sleep in our van!!! I had a good laugh, but was glad when Vaughn pulled in with our rv! Our night was uneventful, and we stayed toasty warm in our trailer with the furnace running all night without worry since we were plugged into electricity.
The next morning we packed up and continued our trek south. The California coast is beautiful, and despite the fact that we are still in long sleeves and coats, we are enjoying our travels!