Monday, April 29, 2013

Klamath, California

Klamath is a very small town tucked into a valley leading straight to the ocean through one big river mouth. When I say small I mean one gas station, one bar, one cafe... but a number of RV parks.

On all four corners of the State Highway 101 bridge that spans the Klamath River are graced with these beautiful golden bears. This bridge replace the one that went down in the flood of 1964. I have never seen, in all my travels, a bridge with statues dedicated on each corner.

The Yurok Indian tribe here on the Klamath had a casino and RV park nearly a half mile from coast 101. It has since closed.

The large tent is pretty much standard for early Indian casinos that I have seen in So.Cal but apparently this one was too far from highway 101 to be successful. While we were there, a new group broke ground on a casino and hotel right along side the highway.

Here was the Gold Bear Casino’s 50 site RV park that was a great idea in the wrong place. As they say in the real estate's location, location, location!

The Klamath River mouth is ever changing. Some years the mouth could be open to the ocean on the far side or as in last year, it was right next to the hill below me. This year, for photographic excellence, it was nearly dead center. After the Columbia and the Sacramento Rivers, the Klamath River was the third largest salmon producer until the dams were built.

There are two rather large rocks on either side of the Klamath River mouth that protect the entrance from the ocean and have deep meaning in Yurok folklore. 

I believe it is this big rock on the south side that is described in the plaque as an indian woman with her legs underneath...the other side is a wild guess for me.

Read the legend of the two sisters of the Klamath River mouth.

Natives and non natives are fishing for eels...I did not ask what food they made with the eels as I could not stomach whatever it was.

Only the natives are allowed to use nets on the river.

On the south side of the Klamath river there is a coast road and near it are these “sweat lodges” that are still being used by the Yurok tribe.

This hotel with a lot of history is on the road up the hill to where Donna and I watch whales and get internet service.

I went into the the B&B to look around and it is very reminiscent of the lodges built in the early part of the century.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

South Spit of the Humboldt Bay

We left the dogs in the motorhome so that gives us 4 hours to burn. I thought we'd head to the South Spit of Humboldt Bay and South Jetty.

The South Spit runs you right through the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area and the western snowy plover habitat.

From the hills above the spit, it is a little hard to see the end. The spit does a very good job of protecting the Humboldt Bay from the ravages of the north coast ocean.

We found some western snowy plover's running about in the mud. They have been decimated all along the western coast but find some sanctuary here in Eureka.

 The South Spit is a 4 1/2 mile paved road out to the end of the South Jetty. When I say paved, I may be generalizing that term "paved" a bit because they had so many axle busting potholes it was scary!

The South Jetty of Humboldt Bay is over 5000 feet long, about the longest jetty Donna and I have ever been on. We thought the 8x8 wood laying across in cement was strange until we learned at one time a train went to the end of the jetty.

At first we weren't going to walk out to the end of the jetty but then saw, what we thought, was a freighter waiting to enter the bay, so we decided to walk out 
to the end.

Turns out that the freighter that we to saw was a Corp of Engineers ship called Essayons. The Essayons (French for "let us try") is  the largest "hopper dredge" in the Corp of Engineers arsenal that travels to all the west coast harbors in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii clearing sandbars from river estuaries and bays.

The Essayon dredges the channel up to 90 feet deep, sucking up the sand/water sluice and when full at 7000 tons takes it out to sea and dumps the sludge, then comes back into the channel and does it again.

This is the first time I have seen "dolosse", a South African invention of interlocking 20 to 40 ton blocks. There are over 5000 of them on both the south and north jetties of Humboldt Bay to protect the jetty from winter storms.

A couple of happy campers that just walked out almost a mile in the ocean on the jetty. Some folks we talked to that were fishing here mentioned that yesterday they saw nearly 20 whales in and out of the jetty....damn we only saw seals!

Although this is a "black oystercatcher" bird on the rock...there were a couple of them picking in the mussels so I guess they eat more than oysters.

Can you just imaging how big the wave must of been to throw this multi-ton tree root onto the jetty?

Some of the scenes returning from the South Spit.

Humboldt Bay from Humboldt Hill.

I thought these trees were cool.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Lost Coast Road of Northern California.

California's Lost Coast road in Humboldt and Mendocino counties was named after it lost most it's population in the 1930's. Besides the loss of population, the state and federal government decided it was too costly for too few people, to justify any road construction. What is left is a very old, not quite 2 lane potholed 65 mile road. But first, to get to this starting point we must drive through the Avenue of the Giants, Rockefeller Grove of the Redwoods. 

 Rockefeller Grove is so named because John D Rockefeller saw and financed the purchase of the largest grove of "old growth" redwoods in the world.

This tree trunk fell in 2006 and the rings put it as a seedling in 916 AD.

The grove of redwoods are so tall and thick that light seems to be an option.

South Fork of the Eel River named because the early settlers though the indigenous Indians were fishing for eels but in fact were fishing for lamprey.

Single lane bridge crossing the Mattole River.

The Mattole River is typical for California in that it's struggling to maintain a native salmon population. Unfortunately the Mattole River has gone from a yearly population of 19,000 to 22,000 fish to just 4 in the year sad!

With only about eight buildings in the area, I commend the valley on its upkeep for such a beautiful meeting hall.

We were very surprised to see this zebra in a field of horses.

Wow...then we see the mate trot up next to the first one. These are some beautiful animals to view outside a zoo.

Here the Mattole River finally reached the ocean.

Although it was an unusual 82 degrees as the crow flies inland 5 miles, when we got to the ocean it dropped quickly to around 54 degrees.

Now it's time to start uphill away from the ocean.

Hard to beat a lunch a thousand feet above the ocean...because it was cold at sea level!

 Nearly at the end of the 65 mile drive sits the victorian town of Ferndale, California.

While we like walking through the history in old cemeteries but this one was special in that it flows uphill.

This was a very unusual cemetery in that so much of it was above ground.

The town is rightfully called a Victorian Village because of the many beautiful architectural examples.

Both sides of the main street show building after building of this great restored victorian edifices. 

When was the last time you saw a Rexall sign?

The Golden Gait Mercantile store has products on its shelf that are older than me.

Donna found some great bean soup packages.

I was expecting to see some "Dapper Dan Pomade" hair gel...ha ha

Hard to beat an RV park that is this close to my favorite motorcycle at Redwood Harley-Davidson in Eureka, California.