The end of the California run!

8 Apr


We left Anchor Bay on Saturday morning, saying goodbye to our friends and promising to meet again, which at some point I am sure we will. The highway took us to Point Arena Lighthouse where we wanted to stop partially to see the lighthouse itself and also as it is supposedly a good whale spotting point. We parked on the grassy edge just before the lighthouse, walked over to the museum, payed our fee to walk to the top and as the next tour was a few minutes away we began to have a look around the exhibition but were interrupted by one of the staff who was outside calling she had spotted whales. Without exception everyone rushed out the door and began looking in the direction she indicated. After several minutes and no observations I think she felt much abashed, however assured us she really had seen whales!

We took the four flights of 28 steps plus 14 and a ladder (well you have to count don’t you) to the top where we were very well informed of the natural history and geology by the young man on duty there. One of the things he pointed out was the point, just a mile or so away, where the San Andreas fault runs out into the Pacific Ocean. With so much recent quake activity, and given we have been driving along the fault a lot of the time, it seemed quite pertinent, and somewhat reassuring that we were leaving it behind!

Descending the lighthouse we returned to complete our museum tour and again we were impressed by the young lady on duty and her wealth of information on the artifacts within the museum. The young people here have to complete a set number of hours community service to be able to graduate from high school, these two obviously did not find their task too much of a chore, and the young man had completed his official time and been given a permanent job by his employer, and well deserved from our observations.

We returned to our parking place and thought we would have lunch and look for those pesky whales at the same time, so sitting in our front seats facing the Ocean the observation began. At first I was not sure if what I spotted was what I thought it was, a whale spout, but as we tracked the progress from South to North across the horizon in front of us we became more and more sure (and excited) that we were actually seeing grey whales! What did we actually see? Well, in a calm sea something which looked like prolonged white horses and the ‘spouts’ which, as the lady from the museum had told us were just like the cartoon image but fainter. Maybe doesn’t seem much, a tail fluke or breach would have been spectacular but after all our efforts we were happy that there were still whales in the Ocean and we had not frightened them all away!

We stayed the night on Saturday at MacKerricher State Park, being housed in the ‘overflow’ area. The start of Abalone season coupled with Easter vacations and good weather meant the main Campground was full before 4pm. We took a walk on the beach before dark, the tide was beginning to come in and from the lookout over the rocks we watched the huge waves breaking and wondered at the sea lions snoozing who seemed completely oblivious to the fact they may get washed off any time soon.


Still following Highway One but now in a northerly direction we had some great coastal views before the road turned inland. It was with a small sense of disappointment I took a picture of the sign which read California Highway 1 End…. we still had a few miles of California to travel but this unexpected part of our trip has been so enjoyable I was sad for it to end, from here for a while we travel the 101.

Before we left California altogether we were detouring to the ‘Avenue of the Giants’ the Redwood Forest, we had half expected a particular area with giant trees, however what we found was 32 miles of road with the hugest of trunks either side the road, many with reflective warning posts in front of them and quite a few with battle scars.

We had lunch beside the River Eel, one of our great joys, to just pull up on the roadside with a great view and make the most of it. Later we stopped off at the Visitor Centre and as usual there was so much information, and so well presented, about the area and its history. We are continually finding that the Americans seem to be extremely good at providing information for visitors in this way and all for free!

We arrived in Eureka (yes really!) by 4.30 and were not impressed with the area, we were ready to carry on further to find a campground for the night when we spotted the KOA. They can usually be relied upon to give a decent level of service so we pulled in, we were greeted by a very pleasant young lady and sorted out a site in time for us to enjoy the last of the days sunshine and tea.


Today’s milestone was 5000 on the clock, however that is for haRVey and not ourselves, haRVey had about 1300 miles under his fan belt (navigator to driver -DOES HE HAVE ONE?) when he came to us last October, lucky for us he was more experienced than we were!

Highway 101 is a good road on this stretch and we were able to enjoy being back in the mountains again, we were the other side of the Scott range which we had seen in February covered in snow. Today, again we were blessed with blue sky and sunshine, I really hope this tow rope holds out and we can keep pulling that sun behind us. We arrived in Crescent City just after noon and pulled in at Safeway to top up provisions, for the first time we had heard the low fuel warning so also needed gas. All topped up we headed for Harris Beach State Park at Brooking and our first stop in Oregon.


Oh no! At some point during the night the tow rope finally wore thin and the sun floated away ( OK yes, I have had a glass of wine!) We awoke to cloud and it has been cool (54degrees F 15 degrees C) all day. Robert spent a while this morning trying to get haRVey a 5000 mile oil change sorted, (looks like a 60+mile detour to achieve this in a week or so) and we looked at and booked a couple of campgrounds for the next few days, with Easter coming we want to be sure we have a site arranged in case it is busy, not a plan you understand, just arrangements!

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