Summer Travel Map

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 22-28: A Week In Petaluma, California

The “Elks Crawl” continues with our next stop in Petaluma, following US-101 south. We had an extremely (for us) active week with Wayne & Eva, who are traveling south a couple of days behind us. Our stays overlapped for about 5 days this time, and there’s quite a bit to do in the area.

Before they arrived, though, I had to make some plumbing work as the sink drainpipe developed a leak. I was able to make a temporary repair and it no longer drips, but I’ll have to work out a permanent fix over the winter while we’re in Arizona.

As usual with Wayne & Eva, we ate well. Somewhere in their travels, they picked up a monster Porterhouse Steak that fed all four of us for dinner, with some of Geri’s Kicked Up Asparagus and some Smashed Potatoes.

On Thursday, we made the hour-long trip to San Francisco and had dinner at Flour + Water in the Mission. Although something seemed a little off and it wasn’t as exceptional as our last visit, we made up for it with a stop at Smitten for nitrogen-produced ice cream before heading back to Petaluma.

Friday found us making a short trip over to Napa Valley. Geri found the specialty Bloody Mary Mix she likes, we had oysters at Hog Island in the Oxbow, and we made a quick (albeit expensive) stop at Hall Winery for tasting (comped) and buying.

Saturday morning found us back in San Francisco, this time to the Ferry Building for the weekly Farmer’s Market. This was the largest market we’ve seen in a long time. We scored some zucchini blossoms, a truffle and some mushrooms, some artisan olive oil and a few other goodies. After lunch, Eva found a Dim Sum place in Chinatown for lunch, and we left so full we didn’t even need dinner.

By Sunday, we needed to relax. Wayne & Eva made us a nice breakfast outside; we took advantage of the patio furniture provided by the Lodge for visiting RVers. For dinner, I made Rack of Lamb (2 racks, actually) and Mushroom Risotto with Black Truffle. The pups got to gnaw on the bones. We certainly at well over the past month!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 18-21: Quick Stops in Eureka and Ukiah, California

I’ll combine these two stops into one post since they were just quick stays without much going on.

Continuing south on US-101, we crossed the border into California and were soon at the Elks Lodge in Eureka. You may recall that we stopped here on the way north in July. There was quite a difference this time, as the place was almost empty. We stopped in the lounge for a libation and ended up taking advantage of the cook-your-own steak night again.

t was cloudy and drizzling as we drove, but we were rewarded with a nice sunset. The weather has been marginal since we left Port Orford, but not awful.

On Saturday, we continued south to Ukiah, again staying at the Elks Lodge. The primary purpose for this stop was a Sunday day trip over into the Anderson Valley of Mendocino Country for wine tasting. Our destination was Goldeneye, one of Geri’s favorites, but we made an impulse stop at Foursight Vineyards in Booneville along the way. We ended up buying a six-pack, of course!

Goldeneye was just as we remembered it from our last visit with Pat & Al two years ago (time flies!). We took our time with the tasting flights and had a cheese plate. The pups joined us on the patio and it was a spectacular day.

On our way back to Ukiah, we spotted a cloud of smoke from a brush fire and got concerned. With the ongoing drought, fires are a real danger this summer. Fortunately, CalFire was all over this one, with planeloads of firefighters landing at the Ukiah airport by the time we crossed the mountains. They had it contained within hours and it was fully out the next morning.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 14-17: Gold Beach, Oregon

Continuing our low trip south along US-101, we made it another 20 miles to Gold Beach, stopping for a few days at the Four Seasons RV Resort. Wayne & Eva have been coming here for years and are good friends with the owner. The park is actually several miles up the Rogue River from the town of Gold Beach.

Our primary activity on this stop was eating! Eva made numerous excellent dishes, including her Chinese Chicken (pictured) and Fish Tacos with freshly-caught Ling Cod and Black Bass (Gold Beach is known more for its river and ocean fishing than its beach) I made a recreation of the pasta dish from Alloro in Bandon, with fresh Tagliatelle and Sausage.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 11-13: Humbug Mountain State Park, Port Orford, Oregon

Like Bullards Beach, we’ve passed Humbug Mountain State Park numerous times over the years. It’s tucked into a little glen in a pass through the steep terrain along the coast, right on US-101.

We also had another easy drive. We left Bandon at a leisurely time just after Noon, stopped in Port Orford for fuel, and were parked before 1:30. This time, I had done a better job of using Google Earth to select a site where we could get TV reception, but, horror of horrors, we had no cell service (therefore no Internet access). We have definitely proven that Internet access is more important than TV as we travel.

We did another major deployment, enjoying the outside while we could. This park had a lot of gnats flying around in the evenings, so we had to improvise protection for the wine glasses!

One of the interesting features of Humbug Mountain State Park is its namesake. While we were parked at sea level, just a few hundred yards from the beach, Humbug Mountain rises 1,756 feet above sea level right next door. Since there was information about the hiking trail available when we checked in, I decided to do the hike.

I learned a few things. First, a 3-mile hike isn’t 3 miles if you forget that you have to get back, and if you don’t account for the half-mile walk to get to the trailhead. Second, 1,756 feet of elevation change in 3 miles is an 11% grade. That’s 7 miles of hiking with 3,512 feet of elevation change. Third, while I may be proud of my ability to do sub-17-minute walks on the flat, I’m not really in good shape for hills.

But, I’m not a quitter. I started, so I made sure I finished. It took me 3½ hours, I thought my pulse was out of control on the way up, and I thought my knees were ruined on the way down, but I made it. The trail wasn’t very scenic, just a narrow path of switchbacks through the woods. I stopped to rest at the one place that offered a glimpse of a view. My reward for reaching the top: a nice picture of the 1937 Survey Marker. I’m glad I did it, even if it reminded me to increase my exercise regimen.

3 miles of 11% grade with no let up makes for a challenging hike.

Halfway up Humbug Mountain, looking north toward Port Orford on US-101.

The reward at the top...

We also spent an afternoon in Port Orford, a nice little seaside town. Our Friends Wayne & Eva were on a drive along the coast from where they were staying in Gold Beach (more on that in a future post), and we met up with them for a pretty good lunch at a place called “Redfish”, overlooking the natural harbor.

After lunch, we headed down hill to the municipal marina and were treated to an hour watching a rather large whale play (well, probably feed) right in the lagoon. Whale pictures are best made by shooting video and then capturing stills, but we managed to get a few shots with phones and cameras. There were some locals fishing off the rocks, so they got the best show even though they didn’t seem to care.

No trip along the Pacific Coast would be complete without some sunset pictures, so we drove back out toward town in the evening. The added bonus was that we quickly picked up a 4G Verizon signal! So, while we were waiting for the sun to set, we had a chance to hack away at our iPads catching up on Facebook and email. Geeks!

We did get a few nice shots of the sunset, although there wasn’t enough cloud action to make things dramatic. We moved around a bit to get some rock formations in the foreground, and were able to get pictures with both iPhones and my Nikon gear. I’m still not sure I need both…

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 7-10: Bullards Beach State Park, Bandon, Oregon

A State Park? Isn’t your RV too large to fit in a State Park? Well, generally, the answer is “yes”, but if you do some research it’s sometimes possible.

For a change of pace and scenery, I decided to book us into a couple of the Oregon State Parks along the coast this year. We’ve passed Bullards Beach State Park before and I always though it might be an interesting place to stop. We weren’t disappointed, even though we were so deep in the woods that we couldn’t get a satellite signal for TV. It being summer rerun season, there wasn’t much to be missed.

It was an easy drive, since Bandon is only a short distance from Florence. Pull out onto US-101, drive south 66 miles, and pull in to Bullards Beach. Pretty simple...

In spite of our short, 4-night stay, we did a “full deployment” of our outdoor gear: grill, oven, EZ-Up, dog pens, lights, etc. We didn’t have very many bugs, and were able to enjoy the “great outdoors” most days into the evening. Of course, as we’re getting into fall, the days are getting shorter and the evenings cooler! A campfire helped, but we also found ourselves retiring early.

I-10 in Phoenix during Monsoon
All things are relative, of course, and we used our Internet access to monitor the effects of this year’s Monsoon Season back in the Phoenix area. Another round of “Glad we’re not there” comments were exchanged!

We did get out some, exploring the little town of Bandon and doing a little bit of hiking along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific on the south end of town. We made a note to return for sunset pictures, but that will have to wait for our next visit.

We made the obligatory stop at the Cranberry Sweets shop in the “touristy” section of town, picking up several items to stash away for future enjoyment (we like sweets but in small doses). It happened to be late afternoon, so I suggested that we grab an early dinner at the Italian place next door, but they were informing people that their credit card machine was out of order. “It should be fixed next week some time” didn’t seem to bode well for their approach to their business, so we decided to pass.

We were glad we did, because right around the corner was Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant, which our friends Wayne and Eva had recommended. Since they are experts in all things on the Oregon Coast, we decided to give it a try. We ended up having a great dinner of Deep-Fried Zucchini Blossoms, Orecchiette with Sausage, Pistachio-Crusted Halibut, and Braised Rabbit. I don’t know when we’ll be back, but we’ll definitely be trying to recreate some of these dishes at home!

We’ll likely stop here again if we are in the area, as long as I remember to plan more in advance and select a site with fewer trees!