Monday, March 29, 2021

Bullards Beach State Park

Getting Oregonized

18 years ago, we snowshoed up Vail Pass and married ourselves. That was a perfect start to our unconventional life. It was a happy anniversary to us!
After agreeing to camp host on Oregon's coast for the month March, we were informed that we would need to arrive 10-14 days early to quarantine since we were coming from out of state. That had us arriving February 18th. What in the heck! Winter on the coast can be quite stormy and had been this year. But we got lucky and arrived in time for the mild weather to arrive. Other than a few days, the storms off the Pacific Ocean would split and go around Bandon. There is only a 15 degree difference 
between winter and summer on Oregon's coast. As long as the highs were in the low 50s and the sun was shining, it was pleasant for a bike ride.

We had a couple of bike riding options while camp hosting on Oregon's coast. The Beach Loop and return through the cranberry bogs or North Bank Lane along the Coquille River through
farm country.
The Beach Loop overlooks Coquille Lighthouse.
A stop for a light lunch at Bandon Brewery got chilly while sitting outside in the ocean breeze, making our teeth chatter on the last three miles home. We managed to have take away 
at several food trail restaurants along the coast.
In the winter, only 1 of the 3 loops are open for campers and usually pretty full. Part of our camp host jobs were to help clean up the other two loops. We would rake and blow a site or 
two clean each day. With 54 sites in the B loop, we would be done in time for it to open in May. 

One early morning, we heard raking and blowers in the "B" loop. The rangers at Bullards had gotten a call saying that Sunset Beach Campground would be closing due to sewer problems and it was the first Friday of spring break weeks. The rangers were out in full force, rakes in hand and equipment in tow for the challenge of opening by the end of the day to take in Sunset's refugees. We can't  have disappointed campers. Everyone pitched in.


Most days we walk the 1.25 miles to the beach and pick up any trash we see along the way, before starting our daily duties.

These very small pieces of plastic can be seen along the entire beach.

Pearls Trail
Another path for a morning walk runs from the middle loop of the campground for a walk on the boardwalk. 
We rarely saw a car while riding along the Coquille River.

At low tide we visit the tide pools and high tide watch for migrating whales in the distance.

We are finishing up our final day of hosting but will stay a few more days to get our second vaccine before heading to warmer pastures.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Driving through California


Spending the summer on Vancouver Island wasn't looking promising for us. We canceled our reservations and looked for a new plan.
California "closed down" and we couldn't extend our stay in Hurricane, UT because the Inn was full. Bullards Beach's host coordinator had contacted us to see if we were interested in hosting. We threw caution to the wind and signed up for March on the coast. It has been a brutal winter on Oregon's Coast. It felt like it was time to leave Arizona when people were cursing at wait staff in fast food restaurants, political flags were replaced with pullet proof vests for sale on street corners and a man lifting his fist at me for watching the inauguration in the laundry room. We will see if there is a little less crazy on the coast.
Who doesn't love these fruit stands throughout the farm belt near Gilroy California. This one even has a restaurant and a small train for the kids and of course, the pie stand. Even though California said they were closed due to the virus, we didn't see much evidence and could have easily spent a few weeks instead of pushing through.

While visiting the Farm market, I grabbed a blood orange and a few rolled off the stack. As I was replacing those rolling on the floor, the pile shifted and things went downhill from there. I backed away from the runaway blood oranges and casually but briskly walked away. It is sometimes better to leave it to the pros.

Of course, there is garlic in Gilroy

Lots of blossoms promising spring.
Driving through San Francisco wasn't too bad since we previously had lived there for 3 months and knew the flow of the narrow streets. I kept my backseat driving and recommendation to myself as Mike navigated the way to the Golden  Gate Bridge and breezed through on a Sunday morning without a problem.

Trinidad, California is a seaside city, located on the Pacific Ocean 8 miles north of Arcata. Situated above its own North Coast harbor, Trinidad is one of California's smallest cities by population. Fishing operations in Trinidad Harbor are vital to both local tourism and commercial fishing in the region. What a treat!

The Seascape Restaurant had only outdoor dining with heaters strategically placed to keep us cozy while we watched the fishermen empty their boats and shared fish and chips with our chowder.

Trinidad Head Lighthouse Trail was a perfect way to work off some of those fish and chips with great views.

Our campsite overlooking a pond.

We knew there had been rock slides along Highway 101 in several places blocking the highway. We continued towards the Crescent City as the rock slide had been cleared to a single lane of traffic. Our lane of traffic started moving as we arrived. Halfway through the zone, the flagman stopped the semi behind us and a worker above us jumped off his equipment yelling "GO! GO! GO!" Mike hit the gas, kicking up mud and rocks and moving us out of the area. It still makes the hair on my arms stand up.

Driving straight through California was tiring for us even though we kept the daily mileage down. We settled into the beautiful Harris Beach State Park for a couple of days. Oregon provides a free night in a state park in transit to a hosting position, before landing in Bullards Beach State Park for a while. We will see how the weather treats us on the coast.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Valley of Fire State Park

Happy Campers

I am catching up on the blog since the past couple of months have been a happy whirlwind. Getting back out and exploring has been breath of fresh air. Traveling is a little different than in the past but still good.

Heading west from St George, Utah, we would be passing the 40,000 acres of Valley of Fire State Park. The bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops contain petrified trees 
and petroglyphs from the Basket makers era about 2,500 years ago, followed later by the early Puebloans and then Paiutes living in this area in 1865 when Mormons settled. 

As we descended into the valley, it was 10 degrees warmer than when we left St George.

There are two campgrounds with a combined total of 72 units, a handful with water and electric. Both are first come first serve and very popular. We arrived by 8:30 am and snagged a great spot and were fine using our solar. Then headed out for some hiking. 

Another interesting campsite.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area was our back up plan for boondocking if we weren't able to get a campsite. We preferred the east entrance but there is plenty of room on the west and not far from Las Vegas. There is a lot to explore in the recreation area to keep us happy for quite a few days.

Rainbow Vista Trail to the Fire Canyon Overlook leads through a narrow canyon, over sand and rock, to a drop-off that looks out over the red, bowl-shaped Fire Canyon. Jagged red rocks rise above and fall off below from the viewpoint. Along the way are a number of small arches.


The petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock are worth seeing. A long set of metal stairs has been installed along the rock face to allow visitors to reach the petroglyphs. Not many people were out and about when we stopped.  Everyone gave each other plenty of space to be on the rock.

Cell coverage is non-existent in most of the park.

Our stop in Valley of Fire was far too brief with so many interesting trails to explore. But I am glad we made the stop.

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