Saturday, May 20, 2017, a backtrack to Oroville, California

We’re aiming for Sacramento, but it’s about 8 hours from Salem, Oregon, so we’ll see how close we get.

We see some giant, snow-covered mountains — Mt. McLoughlin in Oregon and Mount Shasta in California. We found a Trader Joe’s for lunch.

Interestingly, California still has agricultural checkpoints. As we entered, we  had to stop and tell an agent whether we were bringing any fresh fruits or vegetables with us. Fortunately, we weren’t.

Mount Shasta was truly impressive, even from the distance.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta

We got to Williams, California, only to find that several colleges and universities in the area were holding graduations. The receptionist at the Ramada Inn was exceptionally unfriendly and unhelpful. Jacqueline checked Trip Advisor while I looked at Booking.com and called a few hotels from Sacramento north. Everything was full.

By chance I ended up with IHG, the parent of Holiday Inns. The Holiday Inn Express in Oroville had two rooms. They saved one for us, and we set off. Between Jacqueline with the map and the phone, we arrived at Oroville an hour later, back where we’d come from. The receptionist there was quite nice — the exact opposite of the one in Williams.

The hotel was the most expensive we had on the trip, but at least we didn’t have to sleep in the car. When we got to Oroville — through farmland and with not a lot of gas — we found lots of little motels with “Vacancy” signs…. It was a l-o-n-g day.

Sunday, May 14, 2017, Racing through Oregon

It was not warm this morning. The motel, which has a great view of the ocean, has a coffee machine in the room and that’s it. We made coffee, took a few more photos and then took off, still going north along the coast on Highway 101.

Looking out at the ocean from the Sea Crest Motel, Port Orford, OR

Looking out at the ocean from the Sea Crest Motel, Port Orford, OR

We found rain off and on. We would have liked to look around Bandon, but it was pouring when we got there, so we went on to Coos Bay, a lumber town. We made a quick circuit of the downtown, but it was 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and not much was open. We found the Safeway, where we got breakfast and lunch and just looked around, then set off again.

We stopped along the way at one of the Dunes National Recreation Areas that seemed scenic and had a picnic table. It had stopped raining, so we took some photos and had our salads.

Pacific Ocean and beach from part of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Pacific Ocean and beach from part of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Sand Dune in Dunes National Recreation Area, Oregon

Sand Dune in Dunes National Recreation Area, Oregon

Some rhododendrons were growing near the restroom facilities. I mention this only because the flowers were the largest I’ve ever seen — not the leaves, just the flowers.

Rhododendron near restroom at part of the Dunes National Recreation Area

Rhododendron near restroom at part of the Dunes National Recreation Area

We eventually stopped driving along the coast (Highway 101) and went inland, to take a quick look at Salem, the capital of Oregon.

Rhododendron near restroom at part of the Dunes National Recreation Area

State Capitol, Salem, Oregon

It took some effort to find the capitol. I’m not sure we ever did find the center of town, since signs were few to none. Google and my iPhone got us here.

Then it was on to Route 5 and the fast highway — except for the giant backup plus road closure around Portland. We landed in Vancouver, Washington, for the night. We’re at another Best Western — and were excited to find a Trader Joe’s across the street.

Tomorrow:  Seattle

 

Excitement on the way to Oregon, May 13, 2017

The Best Western at Fort Bragg, California, (not to be confused –as I did, for no good reason– with Fort Bragg, North Carolina) overlooks the ocean. This morning I took this photo of a boardwalk across the street from the window of our room (upstairs, on the end):

View from our room at the Best Western in Ft. Bragg, CA

View from our room at the Best Western in Ft. Bragg, CA

Then we were off, headed towards Redwood National & State Parks and then Oregon. As we were whipping along the narrow, winding road, we whipped by these two good-sized fellows, still with velvet on their antlers. Needless to say, we stopped and walked back to get a better look. The elk checked us out, too, but continued to munch away. Several other cars after us stopped to look and photograph, too.

Elk through the trees by the road

Elk through the trees by the road

A second elk by the side of the road

A second elk by the side of the road

And this is why you need a viewfinder on your digital camera. I missed both large elk…

Why you need a viewfinder (no elk)

Why you need a viewfinder (no elk)

We stopped eventually for lunch and a brief visit to a thrift shop (thanks to the wonder of Google and the iPhone) in McKinleyville, then went on to the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center for the Redwood National & State Parks.

From the beach at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center, Redwood National & State Parks

From the beach at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center, Redwood National & State Parks

A Park ranger explained where the tree you could drive through was, and we picked up a map of the park. We set off to see if we could find more elk, since my photos this morning weren’t too good.

We found the tree, though I drove by it first, because the sign to turn wasn’t too clear.

A redwood that you can drive through, but we didn't (it looked awfully narrow)

A redwood that you can drive through, but we didn’t (it looked awfully narrow)

We found lots of elk at Elk Meadow. Here are a few:

Young-looking elk, shedding it winter coat, in Elk Meadow

Young-looking elk, shedding it winter coat, in Elk Meadow

Elk in Elk Meadow

Female elk in Elk Meadow

Elk digesting dinner in Elk Meadow

Elk digesting dinner in Elk Meadow

They were really savage-looking beasts, you notice:

Sign at Elk Meadow, Redwood National & State Parks

Sign at Elk Meadow, Redwood National & State Parks

It was getting late, and the sky was spitting at us off and on, and I wanted to get into Oregon before we stopped for the evening. A stop at a Starbucks gave us new energy, and Google and my iPhone (I’ve had it now about a week) helped us find a motel in Port Orford, Oregon.

It was after 7 p.m. when we arrived. We checked in, then took off to find food. Jacqueline wanted fish by the ocean. This was the best we could do:

Griff's on the Docks, Coast Gifts & Seafood Market -- and Restaurant. Port Orford, OR

Griff’s on the Docks, Coast Gifts & Seafood Market — and Restaurant. Port Orford, OR

The man was just putting the CLOSED sign in the window, but after some discussion, he let us eat. The food was quite good, the atmosphere what you’d expect of a little, informal place by the ocean. Since this blog focusses on glass, I took photos of the two really nice stained glass pieces in the windows:

Stained glass dolphins, in the window of Griff's Restaurant

Stained glass dolphins, in the window of Griff’s Restaurant

Stained glass turtle and fish in the window at Griff's Restaurant, Port Orford, OR

Stained glass turtle and fish in the window at Griff’s Restaurant, Port Orford, OR

The background is actually:

View of the Pacific Ocean from Griff's gifts and restaurant, Port Orford, OR

View of the Pacific Ocean from Griff’s gifts and restaurant, Port Orford, OR

Next to the restaurant were several boats:

Boats out of the water and on the dock at Port Orford, Oregon

Boats out of the water and on the dock at Port Orford, Oregon

Tomorrow we head north, aiming for Washington, as close to Seattle as possible.