One thing to note about Sunset Bay SP campground is that they do not have a dump site. Although they do have some full hookup sites (not ours). They are apparently very used to directing people either north or south to the next nearest campground, and they directed us back to Bullard’s Beach, which was on our way anyway. Richard rode from the campground along a road called “Seven Devils”, which he had also taken when he went to Honeyman. I took that way too, but made straight for the campground and dump station rather than sag him. It’s a nice road with views of wooded mountains and not too much traffic. I waited at the campground for him and had enough service to check in and get caught up on the blog.
Following that, we had a fairly easy drive back the way we came, along the coast, though the redwoods, and past the turnoff for Highway 199 and Jedediah Smith. The Mill Creek campground is quite a descent from 101 and I would not advise it at all for bikers. Flying down 3 steep miles from the highway is no problem, but climbing back up on the way out might come as an unwelcome way to start the day. Once on the valley floor, you are treated to a magnificent setting of old growth trees and large, private sites. The bathrooms are ok, but we happened to be there at the same time as a large group of giggling teenagers. We put up a “full blue” campsite, mostly just to air and dry things out after a drizzly departure from the rally. We took everything down the next day because these are views you do not want to obscure with an awning.
Wednesday, Richard woke up feeling not so great. Just a head cold, but we decided to take it easy. He did want to do a ride along Newton P. Drury Scenic Highway, so we put his bike in the car and I drove him to the start and met him at the end. I may be getting jaded with all the huge tree drives. It was spectacular and all, but my favorite moment was taking a picture of a sign that pointed out “Big Tree”. I understand it stood for some specific viewing area, but I was amused nonetheless.
We had to go all the way to Orick to find a place for lunch and happily, I got to see some Elk along the way. There are so many signs alerting you to be careful of Elk, there’s even a radio station you can tune to that will tell you interesting facts about Elk. Yes, of course we did that. On the way back, I insisted we stop at a place called “The Trees of Mystery”. This was by far the most touristy thing we did this whole trip, but come on. They’re mystery trees. How can you resist? Plus, there is a ginormous talking statue of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox right in front AND there is a SKY RIDE! Our take: totally worth $16. It’s essentially designed like one of those long lines to get onto a popular Disneyland ride, set in the forest, with a sky ride at the end. You end up walking about a half a mile along a gravel pathway while looking at carved wooden signs saying interesting “facts” about trees, or pointing out specifically named trees. The sky ride itself was fun, and I guess it’s just like a fancy ski lift, but we don’t ski, so it was very exciting. Last, we drove down a road called “Endert’s Beach Road” to a viewpoint where you could see all of Crescent Bay. That is amazing and I would recommend it. For dinner, we boiled water and had cup o’noodle soup. That seriously hits the spot when you’re not feeling well. Also, we’ve been carrying around peppermint tea for many months and we finally felt like having that.
Overall, Mill Creek is one of our top sites because of its beauty. I knock a point or two off for having no cell service whatsoever. Sites numbered above 45 will fit a trailer and even a pretty big rig. Do be aware that it’s a good climb out though. And, there is little to no solar. We made it two nights but would not last another night without a generator or backup battery. We got there with a full battery, fridge set to “2”, fan running at 10% overnight. Woke up to 84%. It was down to 74% by 5:30, and 56% in the morning. Our six hour drive to MacKerricher the next day brought us back up to 79% and we don’t have hookups there. We’ll be ok, but cutting it close.
Total miles: 143.0, 16.2 mpg, 4 hours, 5 minutes. Site 45. No cell service.