Big Lagoon

When we woke up this morning, we decided to head north up the coast to check out Clam Beach and Big Lagoon at the suggestion of our friend, Fred.

When we managed to drive back over the pot hole filled road to Highway 101 and the Avenue of the Giants, we were dismayed to discover all the damage that was done to the RV by taking it over the horrible road to Albee Creek. Our windshield has separated in the far right corner, the cabinets have come loose from their anchor in the kitchen and the drawers are opening up whenever we turn a corner. We are beginning to think we made a mistake by taking the RV over such a rough road. The hubcap was never found and now we have a few more problems to contend with. It was beautiful in Albee Creek, but putting so much stress on the RV was not worth it. Carrying your house around is a whole different story than driving an off road vehicle across crappy roads.

Clam Beach was an absolute dive and it didn't take long for us to decide to head further north up the coast. We took a chance with Big Lagoon and got the last site available and it is a beautiful location. We walked along the spit in the afternoon and have a private spot #15 in the interior side. The beach front camp sites are more for tent camping.

Callie had another fine walk with birds chasing us down as we went along our merry way. 2 ravens cawed and watched our every move and some kind of tiny wren clicked and chirped and announced to all within hearing distance that their was a cat below walking among the trees.

We may try and stay through the weekend because it gets more stressful trying to find a campground over the weekend, and then again we may not.

An Evening at Albee Creek Campground

After a lovely day of exploring the redwood forest, we settled down for a dinner of leftovers and a walk over to the apple orchard. Callie and I watched a young black tailed doe with her adorable, playful fawn and a buck showing off his antlers. He was rubbing them on the branches of the apple tree and wasn't at all shy about it. As he grazed, he would swing his magnificent head back and forth in a large graceful arch and the doe would stop to let the fawn nurse. It was an idyllic setting with the sun setting slowly in the west and the pale blond grasses catching the last of the golden light before darkness descended. Callie and I sat on a picnic table and listening to the sounds of jays squawking and people preparing their dinner over campfires. She has become very good at walking on the leash and usually can last about 20 minutes before wanting to head back to the safety of the RV. Once she is in the RV, she can watch all the activities unfurl through the front window while safely sitting on the dash. Real time big screen TV in action. Not a bad place for a cat to be!

Albee Creek Campground

Albee Creek Campground
(Or loosing hubcaps right and left)

After I had finished writing this morning, we got the brainy idea of checking in at the visitor's center to see if there might be a slim chance of staying at Albee Campground. It is the smallest of the three redwood campgrounds and everyone says it is the most beautiful with bears that scale the apple trees in broad daylight. Helen, whom we had met yesterday when we checked in at Burlington did us a big favor and called Regina, who worked at Albee, and she said that there might be a chance at noon. We decided to go for it and packed up quickly and headed over.

The signs posted on the narrow road to Albee Creek suggest that you not attempt to drive a motorhome or trailer, but we of course ignored the sign and instead paid close attention to all the pot holes in the road. They were everywhere, and they were deep and they were big. We went slow enough and Michael did a good job of avoiding the worst of them and we were able to get to Albee Creek Campground at 11:10, and in one piece. Regina said that it appeared that the guests in #29 had left, but she couldn't sell us the site until noon time. She asked us to park over in a meadow across the way and at noon to come back and she would let us know for certain.

While hanging out in the meadow, I decided to take Callie for a walk to hunt grasshoppers and when I looked back at the RV, what should I see but that another wheel liner ( or hub cap to me) was missing on the front left tire this time. Now we are missing the one on the back right and on the front left. I suppose it is proof that we are driving over treacherous terrain, but it does make the RV look less classy and more dirty. The beautiful chrome hub caps are gone and what is left is a blackened , filthy wheel.

We were able to check in, so after we parked the RV, we decided to get on our bikes and we biked the entire 5 miles one way all the way back to the 101 in hopes of finding it. We biked past a correctional crew working roadside and they thought they had seen a hub cap and 7 men that were hauling a log with chains along the roadside said they saw one too! They thought they had seen a hub cap on the left side of the road, and so we were heartened to continue the search. The hub cap the log hauling men had seen was for a car, and the correctional crew when we biked past them again on the return trip, said they had placed the hub cap all the back at the bridge along the 101. Maybe when we leave tomorrow we can check to see if it is our hub cap. We were too tired to turn around and go back the other way, so we continued biking back to Albee Campground.

On the bike ride back to Albee Creek, we visited the Rockefeller Forest which holds one of the largest concentrations of mature redwoods that are over 350 ft tall. It has more than 7 times the biomass- ( living or dead organic material) of any forest of similar size including a rainforest, in the world. They were incredibly majestic and one particular tree that had fallen over, was so long, it stretched out over the river bed and on up into the forest on the other side! It is pretty difficult to capture the grandeur in a photograph, but I did try to do a short video of one vertical tree and panned bottom to top to show how tall it was.

Tonight we have leftovers and all three of us are tired and happy. The stellar jays are numerous and noisy and the shadow and light that patterns the forest floor is beautiful. Callie is snuggled up on the top loft sleeping, and Michael is taking a nap on the sofa. Who could ask for anything more- other than 2 new hub caps!

The Burlington Grove

On Wednesday morning, we headed out from the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds to the Avenue of the Giants Highway. It is a magnificent drive that leads you straight to some of the oldest redwood groves left in California. Over 98% of these majestic trees were cut down in the 30's before humans came to their senses and established a sanctuary for the few remaining trees that were left standing.

We were able to get a campsite in the Burlington Grove and have #38 which is at the very end of the 57 site Campground. Albee Creek Campground was all filled up with only 40 sites and Hidden Springs has 154. We can only stay one night at a time and so if we can't stay at Burlington tonight, we may run over to Hidden Springs. The problem with Hidden Springs is that you are in a mixed forest with few of the old trees still standing within the campground.

Callie loved walking around as soon as we set up camp, and was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the tree trunks. She would look around in wonder and try to figure out which tree was best for scratching. Stellar Jays mobbed us and screeched overhead as they flew by in outrage at the sight of a cat. I do not see them harassing the dogs, so it is very personal…. It took Callie quite awhile to figure out which tree would suit her needs best, and I had to laugh at the expression on her face. She was wide eyed and her tail twitched spasmodically as she looked all around the forest. There was just too much to take in all at once and it left her feeling just a little disoriented. She is use to her beloved olive trees but these trees were just too massive and could not be climbed.

Michael and I biked over to the Founders Grove in the afternoon and walked among some of the largest trees left standing. The Dyerville Giant, a monster of a tree, fell during a particularly wild storm in 1991 and the gap it left is breathtaking. The million pound tree sounded like a train wreak when it fell and the impact when it hit the ground could be registered seismically for 10 miles away.

We had a fabulous dinner last night of BBQ steaks, baked potato, corn on the cob, Caesar salad and a lovely glass of Chardonnay wine. I lit candles that were given to me by my dear friend, Dolly and Callie is starting to improve already. What a relief it is to not hear her coughing all the time.

I got up early this morning to the banging sound of seed pods and cones dropping from a high distance smack onto the roof of our RV. There is a breeze up in the canopy of the tree tops and it looks like a storm is starting to develop. Yesterday was T-shirt weather, but today feels much cooler. When I took Callie for her morning walk, I marveled at the height of the trees and how beautiful the forest is in the early morning hours. No one was up yet except for the jays and the cute little gray, short eared squirrels that were dashing about in search of treasure. I did not see any large RV's and wonder if their is a size restriction at Burlington?* Our 24' Icon is so mobile yet comfortable for traveling and camping in. We are thrilled that we flew all the way to Huntsville, Alabama to purchase this used 2009 Fleetwood from Bankston RV. It is a family owned business and they represented the RV accurately.

We are loading up the bikes and will try once more to get into Albee this morning. If not, we have other suggestions from our good friend Fred and may try to go to Big Lagoon or Clam Beach. It is so dark and shadowy today, that we are going to try and seek a little more light.

*24ft is as long an RV as is allowed in the park. We are exactly 24ft!

A Stop First at Medicine Shoppe

Nothing but the best for Callie… we had the antibiotic compounded with a chicken flavored suspension so that she would be able to handle taking her medicine with a little less trauma. The steroid is applied as a cream to the inside of the ear and the antibiotic is flavored with a chicken broth. It isn't perfect, but she managed to swallow it without gagging too much. 14 days of being on an antibiotic and 30 days with the steroid. I sure hope that this does the trick. We at least know what we are up against…. chronic bronchitis is exactly what Michael has to deal with, so it is familiar and it should be able to be controlled at this point.

We pulled out of Los Osos and The Medicine Shoppe at 12:30 and arrived at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds at 7…. we made a quick dinner of leftover fish from the fish market in Morro Bay, rice and a salad and I am ready for bed. Callie got her own serving of fresh, raw salmon and she loved it. She is tucked into bed already and I will be joining her shortly. Michael did all of the driving, but I was the navigator and for some reason, I am really tired. Tomorrow we are going to try and get to the redwoods. It will be about a 5.5 hour drive.

Morro Bay Memories

I was right when I suspected that the benches overlooking Morro Strand State Beach were dedicated to loved ones passed. The bench that we always sit on when we reach the beach is dedicated to Jack and Darla Williams. I tried doing a little research to find out what had happened to them because they both had been born and died in the same year. I wasn't able to come up with anything. The view from the bench is a beautiful one and the bench is set a little off to the side. Thank you Darla and Jack, we appreciated a place to sit and contemplate life's journey while looking out over the water… I biked with Michael and my brother in law Eric two days ago and we had a fabulous time. We are heading north today to the redwoods if all works out as planned. Good bye beautiful Morro Bay.

And the Diagnosis is in….

For those of you who have not been reading my blog posts for the past 4 months, my cat Callie has been going through a health crisis with a chronic cough she couldn’t shake! She has been on antibiotics on and off since the start of the cough and always relapses after she finishes a series. 

Today we took her back to the Coast Vet Clinic in Morro Bay and she spent the whole day there going through different tests and X-rays and the final diagnosis is chronic bronchitis. Antibiotics are only half of the solution. She needs to go on steroids too. 

She was discharged and tomorrow we pick up a steroid that has been modified to be rubbed in the ear and an antibiotic that will be pulverized into a tasty chicken broth. It is about time! Poor Callie has really suffered having disgusting medications shoved down her throat and then having them only work for a week at a time. I am really holding out a positive attitude that she is finally going to get well. When I picked her up at the end of the day, she sure was happy to see me and walked out of the office with a spring in her step and joy in her heart! 

We are going to try and go as far as Canada and I now have all of her paperwork in order! Canada, here we come…. but first, Oregon and Washington!

Heading to the vet….

The Raven and the Mockingbird

When Michael and I were staying here at Cypress RV Park in April, I watched a man across the street feeding a raven and a seagull. The raven would land on the telephone wire and the seagull chose the post. They would compete for the bread scraps that the man would either throw up in the air or place on top of the fence. They would patiently wait for the man to show up and then would spring into action when he came out of his front door.

We are in a slightly different spot this time, but I looked out and watched the raven being harassed by a pair of mockingbirds. They swooped up and down on the raven’s head, barely missing him as they hissed and screeched loudly. While I was taking photographs of the scene unfolding, the man came out and we talked about the raven. He no longer fed the pair because neighbors complained about all the bird shit piling up on the street and on the cars below. The seagull had given up weeks ago, but the raven held out hope. As I watched, the mockingbirds made the wait a miserable one for him, so he eventually had to fly away in despair. 

The latest scientific study, only recently published, confirms that ravens are very intelligent and can think and plan ahead for the future. This raven still believes there is a possibility that in the future, the man will change his mind and offer up a slice of bread. He hadn’t foreseen that the mockingbirds would complicate his plans though….

Paradise Found

Today started out with a heavy drizzle and dense marine layer. Later in the afternoon, the sun peaked out and dazzled the waves with dapppled light that sparkled and glittered when the waves made contact with the shoreline. Michael and I did a 3 hour bike ride and once again we sat at our spot north of Morro Strand Beach. There are a series of benches dedicated to loved ones that have passed on, where you can sit and watch the pelicans go by~ 24 at a time. It was also warm enough for people to sun bathe on the sandy shore. Yesterday it was too cold!

Callie spent a quiet day in the RV but asked to go on a short walk so that she could find a place to sharpen her claws. She seems tired and weak but delighted to be out in the sunshine, so I let her hang out on our personal picnic table to  soak in the heat!

Biking in Morro Bay is a blast. It is a little difficult navigating the cars when you are biking in town, but once you get to the rock and head north, there is a lovely off road trail that meanders through and around Morro Bay High School. After the high school, you pass neighborhoods that border the protected sand dunes. It is really quite extraordinary and because of the mild climate, so much fun!