Lighthouse Road Trip – Final Days

I’m posting Days 12 to 14 from home because I was either out of cell-civilization or driving. And when I first got home and let Annie out in the backyard, we found a little squirrel trapped there. Something was wrong with his forelegs. He could run like mad, but not climb. After closing Annie in the house, I fetched a large cardboard box from the garage, somehow managed to get the squirrel to fall back into it, quickly closed the flaps, and placed a drawing board over the top of the box to make sure the frightened little guy couldn’t get out. WildCare is only a few blocks from my house. They told me I could call in 24 hours to see how he is. I think he must have fallen from the very high oak tree into my yard during the two weeks I wasn’t there and broken his right arm. He would have been in pain but had plenty to eat and no one to bother him until I arrived.

Anyway, by the time I got home again, unpacked Ramsey, emptied his tanks, and washed him down, I was too blasted to blog. However, I had been writing nightly in Notes on my iPhone, so now all I have to do is copy and paste.

Lighthouse Road Trip – Day 12 – May 14 – Brookings to the Redwood Forest

Closing in on the border of Oregon and California, one of our tasks this morning was to fill up with gas, which I did in Gold City at $3.25/gal for regular. I later passed a station offering $3.19/gal, but oh well. The first station in California would start at $3.79/gal. For the guy in the motorhome filling up next to me, whose credit card wouldn’t allow him to buy more than $100 worth of gas at a time, that was a much bigger deal. I’m going to miss having my gas pumped for me as they do in Oregon.

Some 20 miles later, I wove from 101 to the beach in Harbor, Oregon, just past Brookings, and found the privately owned Pelican Bay Lighthouse overlooking a parking lot, a boat yard, and an RV park that skirted the beach.

The RV Park might be fun to stay at there in the harbor.

According to Tim’s info sheet, this lighthouse was built by a Bill Cady in 1999. He simply wanted a lighthouse as part of his beach house. Oregon’s most southern beacon can be seen 11 miles out at sea. The US Coast Guard officially commissioned it to guard the mouth of the Chetco River.

Our next stop was Crescent City, California’s most northern port, guarded by the Battery Point Lighthouse. Crescent City is situated at the culmination of the mighty Smith River.

According to the only two of us (not including me) who arrived during the narrow window of 3:00 and 4:00 pm to view it, the volunteers give a terrific tour and explain how the lighthouse survived the tsunami back in the 1960s.

The working lighthouse sits on an isthmus that, except for an hour twice a day at the high tides, is cut off from the mainland. Most of us arrived at 10:30 am ish when the path was under water.

I discovered that back in California, my T-Mobile worked better, so I stayed in the parking lot after everyone left, posted Day 11 on my blog, ate lunch, and gave a tour of Ramsey to a couple of curious looky-loos who were also hopping from lighthouse to lighthouse, only in a sedan.

The most exciting part of the day for me was the drive through the Redwood National and State Parks. As mentioned on previous blogs, one of my goals when purchasing Ramsey last May 30, 2017, was to visit all the National Parks in the contiguous US before May 2027. I wanted to visit all the National Parks in California before May 30, 2017. When I got my passport stamped on this day, I achieved that second goal. Yeah! And like all the parks, Redwoods National Park is awesome.

Home tonight is under the majestic trees at the Emerald Forest RV Park.

Since some of us will start our trips home tomorrow after visiting the remaining lighthouses on our itinerary, we gathered in the aptly named Celebration House to honor Tim, who had organized this fantastic rolling rally.

We took a terrific group photo that I hope someone (Andy?) will share with me.

Lighthouse Road Trip – Day 13 – May 15 – to the Mendocino Coast

The last day of our PleasureWay Owners West Coast Group Rolling Rally started with coffee clusters and a few goodbyes.

Larry, Maureen, and their Fred were among the first to depart.

Some of us, including me, would continue south on our own after seeing the last three lighthouses. Some would only visit two of the lighthouses, return to Emerald Forest RV Park in Trinidad and have one last campfire together.

Trinidad Head Lighthouse, only 2.7 miles away, should have been easy to find, but it was the most difficult of the entire trip. It didn’t help that our GPSes were not connecting to the satellites there in the rocky coastal village surrounded by redwood forests. (BTW Trinidad, founded in 1850, is the oldest town on the Northern California coast.)

We were misled by the “replica” we found near the wharf once we negotiated the hairpin turns to reach it. All of us thought, “that’s it?” with a great deal of dismay. Some shrugged and departed for the next lighthouse. Andy and I investigated further and were told the real lighthouse, built in 1871, was just around the bend of the path we could see leading up the hill.

Making our way along the path we had some gorgeous views of Trinidad harbor.

45 minutes later, after hoping at every turn to view the lighthouse and following every “spur” along the path, we came to a locked chain link gate with a sign informing us that the lighthouse was open to visitors only the first Saturday of each month.

Returning to the wharf, we ignored the placard that said the lighthouse “is not visible from this point” and walked to the end of it. After our last fruitless attempt to see the real beacon, we submitted to being content with the replica.

Moving on, we drove 24.3 miles to Eureka, where the Table Bluff Lighthouse that once stood at the end of a sand spit guarding the entrance to Humbolt Bay, now decorates the parking lot of the restaurant on the harbor’s wharf.

Andy, Peggy, Cindy, Don, June, and I ate lunch at the restaurant, most of us choosing their clam chowder, which was yummy, and all of us enjoying getting to know each other a bit better. By nature, Class B RV owners are traveling adventurers with interesting stories to tell.

Andy wanted to seek out the ruins of the foundation where the lighthouse used to be. So I followed his rig to the end of the sand spit, where we got out and traced a sandy path between the flowering ice plant to a clearing identified by broken bricks scattered around. Further inspection under the brambles uncovered the old granite steps and the remains of the foundation. I’d mistakenly left my iPhone and camera in Ramsey, so no pics, sorry.

Andy turned north from there and Annie and I headed south to the final lighthouse on our itinerary, the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse. It too was moved from its original location farther north after its duties were taken over by an automated light buoy. Including my stop near a farm for a half hour nap, it took me three hours to get to the lighthouse in Shelter Cove. This jewel and it’s gorgeous location did not disappoint.

First I drove down HWY 101 parallel to the Avenue of the Giants (redwoods), which I have cherished several times in the past. At Redway, I turned coastward along the Briceland Thorn Road, wiggling and wiggling and wiggling through more rocky mountains covered in forests.

Turning on Shelter Cove Road, I climbed over a very steep grade over which you virtually drop straight down to sea level and the tiny town with the lighthouse sparkling in the center.

I asked the man who checked me in at the RV Park across the road from the lighthouse if everyone arrived with their brakes smelling of burning rubber. He answered, “Pretty much.”

He also encouraged me to take the walk starting with the steps that descended the bluff below the lighthouse,

past the rocks covered with cormorants and sleeping seals (“baby ones, too”),

along the pebbly beach around the cliff, and ascend again by the road leading from the bluff to the boat ramp.

From the boat ramp, I watched a hang glider take off. After about 20 minutes gliding around, he (or she) landed on the airstrip between the RV Park and the edge of the bluff.

I watched the sunset from my rig and slept to the sound of crashing waves. The lighthouse was right outside my window. I never would have come here if I weren’t looking for the lighthouse. I’m so glad I did. This camping experience tops on my favorites list.

9 thoughts on “Lighthouse Road Trip – Final Days

  1. Thanks,Mary, for sharing your wonderful blog. We enjoyed every morsel of dialogue, photos, and videos offered for our enjoyment. We hope to meet again! It was a joy to travel with you, Annie, and Ramsey.
    Happy Trails! Rita and Bill Overman

  2. Finally able to slow down and respond to this blogging. My late wife, Marilyn would be proud! She loved photo-journaling. I hope you continue in future rally’s.
    Our adventure looking for the “parking lot lighthouse” and the “ruins lighthouse” brought some fun and laughter to this sometimes sad ole man, and I thank you for that.
    Looking forward to the next adventure. Andy. ‘O5 Ford Excel RD

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