2014-04 WA/OR/NV/CA 2/6
Day 4/Thursday/April 10:
Another sunny day awaited us. We drove back the short distance to Long Beach for another beach run for Toller. The sand is fine and the wind shifted to cause it to glitter.
We drove back on 101 southbound to cross the Astoria Megler Bridge into Astoria. Ah, Oregon, where there the gas stations have attendants to pump fuel and no sales tax so we stocked up on dog food and treats. Fuel was cheaper, also. The Warrenton Fred Meyer furnished both fuel and groceries.
Our destination was Devils Lake State Park campground in the Lincoln City limits. We drove mostly along the ocean but the highway did wander inland occasionally. Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, Tillamook. We decided to take a break from 101 by driving up a rough 1 lane road to check out Munson Creek Falls that has a sheer drop of 321′. The hike was about ¼ mile on a wooded trail that featured some ancient Sitka Spruce and a few cedar. The trail was closed by a few large fallen trees about 4 feet high and just as wide. The falls we’re still visible but you couldn’t see the base. Still impressive.
We took a side road called the Three Capes Scenic Loop which passes through some farms and is much closer to the ocean. It includes the small town of Pacific City. Back to 101 passing through Neskowin and a winding ascent and descent or was it the other way around. It heads inland a ways before returning to the ocean and Lincoln City. Lincoln City has a casino so is popular with tourists.
We had never stayed at Devils Lake and we were pleasantly surprised. Free showers, nice campsites, an abundance of skunk cabbage and well maintained facilities. There was a sink to wash dishes with hot water (they must have been tired of people washing them in the bathroom sinks). And, they recycle just about everything including glass, tin cans, plastic yogurt containers and, of course, pop cans. $17 in C Loop, site C6 right near the restrooms. The campground was about ⅓ full which made for a quiet night. It is on the lake of the same name tucked in between housing. Across the lake was a HUGE “summer” home. Despite being in town wedged between lake cottages and condos, it was quiet.
After a long hot shower, dinner and updating this blog, it is time for bed. More tomorrow.
Day 5/Friday/April 11:
Agates. I have never been skunked ever looking for agates at Fogerty Creek State Park. Today, I came close. One dinky agate. Tony: 7, me: 1. Fogerty lies north of Depoe Bay and south of Lincoln City. It is day use only but offers two beaches to explore divided by the creek and a jumble of rocks where the creek meets the ocean. We usually go for the northern beach after we almost got attacked and eaten by a “sneaker” wave on the smaller southern bowl-shaped one.
The low tide was at around 4:45AM which isn’t a prime time to look as it is dark. It wasn’t a very low tide, either. The winter storms had left mostly a granular sand where smaller rocks had been. And, our 3 hours after low tide arrival was too late to explore in a formerly fertile area (site of the big carnelian agate I found last fall). If we ventured past a rocky outcrop from the bluff, we would have been stuck for hours until after high tide at around 10:30AM.
So, we left for Beverly Beach State Park to dump our tanks then headed south to Otter Rock State Wayside. We ate some lunch and looked out at the rocks, a rookery then drove south through Newport and Waldport to Yachats (pronounced “Yuh hots”) to check out agates at Yachats State Park there. We found very small ones about the size of my pinky fingernail. Discouraged, we tried a few waysides further south (too windy causing a mini sandstorm) then ended our day at the USFS Alder Lake campground just a few miles north of Florence.
Alder Lake is a small campground in the Suislaw National Forest. The Oregon Coast depends on tourism and logging for its economy. Since we have Senior Pass card, we paid half fee for our campsite. $11 bought us #12, a very nice site by one of the lakes. There was a very clean vault toilet a short walk away and there was water and garbage nearby. In our loop of 24 sites, there were 2 campsites occupied. Very quiet except for a frog chorus and some traffic on 101.
I made some tomato soup with some frozen cherry tomatoes from home. Adding some mango salsa, mushrooms, and canned black beans made it a hardy meal. Tony finished his Safeway sub.
Tomorrow, we check out the flesh-eating plants at the Darlingtonia State Natural Site. I am unsure if the darlingtonias are herbaceous or evergreen. A stop for fuel at the Fred Meyer in Florence then we head for Coos Bay and highway 138 heading to Interstate 5 and points further south.
Day 6/Saturday/April 12:
After a few circles around Alder Dune campground, we left for Florence to first visit the Darlingtonia site. Unfortunately, they were still shabby looking from winter. A helpful sign indicated that they bloom later in May and June. The skunk cabbage and trilliums were blooming, though. After fueling up and buying a few supplies at the local Fred Meyer, we again turned south passing through Dunes a City, Reedsport, Lakeside, North Bend, and Coos Bay before turning east and inland on highway 42 toward Coquille and Myrtle Point and eventually I 5 via the Winston cutoff.
On the way, we stopped at Hoffman Memorial Wayside to view a myrtle grove that was donated by a local pioneer family. You almost miss it as a small gravel parking lot comes up quickly.
As it was nearing noon, we swung up into the hills for the Ben Irving County Park for lunch. It was warm and all we had for company were some geese and a couple fishing from the shore. An older gentleman approached us to greet us. He is the caretaker who lives on an adjoining property. I asked about rattlers and he said that for the first time ever he encountered two a week or so ago by the bathrooms. Usually they hang out at the other end of the reservoir.
After driving through a large lumber mill complex, we headed south on the interstate. We stopped in Canyonville at a very nice rest stop. At that point we decided to travel via highway 227 that we traveled from Eagle Point last fall. It is a pleasant drive with little traffic.
It passes through a few very small towns like Milo and Tiller. At Tiller, we drove north on the South Umpqua River Road to check out some rock hounding opportunities. The Dumont Creek campground was closed and we couldn’t find the gravel bar that the author of the Oregon rock hound book referred to. On the way up we passed the3 C Rock campground which was only referred to as a picnic area in my Oregon Benchmark Atlas. For $5 we chose site # 5 which was furthest away from a rowdy group in #1. They shot off a few rounds then quieted down.
We left the next morning to finish 227 then head down 62 to Eagle Point to visit their wonderful visitor center. Lots of free advice, clean restrooms and a dog walk area with scooper bags.
Refreshed, we drove east toward Klamath Falls on 140. Little traffic made for an enjoyable drive. We decided to take an alternate route at Lake Of The Woods where we encountered patches of crusty snow along the road. We ate our lunch among the pines down a dirt road. 603 to 66 then into Klamath Falls to fuel up and buy some paper towels at the Fred Meyer.
Back onto 140 to head east to The USFS campground at Drews Creek. Free and private with vault latrines. No water or garbage but free is still good. The campsite is surrounded by nice pine trees and is reached by crossing a bridge over Drews Creek. We wandered around and allowed Toller a good run around the woods before dinner and bed..
Day 7/Sunday/April 13:
It frosted last night so we were glad our propane heater keeps us so toasty. Toller and I played with a stick in the woods then we headed toward Lakeview where we leave 140 to go south on 395. The prairie dogs that we saw running in the fields (this is farm/ranch country), were scurrying from the road where they were sunning themselves ran toward the fields. They were everywhere but few had been hit. They seemed to know to run away from the road.
California: Turning up Fandango Canyon Road in search of obsidian, we entered open range country. We drove around on some well-graded gravel roads (only a few ruts and washboards). We stopped for lunch where we saw black obsidian shining all around us but no colored ones. There is a nice unimproved campground called Lassen Creek where the creek of the same name meanders. In 1984-1987 some extensive habitat restoration is bring back the fish. They placed logs in the water and planted willow to prevent erosion.
Disappointed, we headed back to 395 and Alturas. I sorely misjudged the distance from Alturas to McArthur-Burney State Park. I also had the wrong camping fee info so I flunked today. $28 for no power and pay showers. The sites had a lot of room between each other and the bathrooms were clean. Oh, and the falls were beautiful. It is also very warm here so no heat tonight. On the way, we actually used the AC.
Tomorrow morning, I will see if I can get some decent photos of the falls from the viewpoint and head down a short but steep trail to the base of the falls. Noodles for supper. And, I am again reminded why I do not enjoy camping at recognized campgrounds. For instance, there is a loud drunk at the site across from us who enjoys hearing himself talk. Incessantly. Loudly. Or the kids who think it is okay to ride through your campsite. Or, the people who think their dog doesn’t need to be on a leash. You get it. Rules are for others. Oh, and the loud generators and people who have to circle the loop 6 times???? I am tired.