Portola Redwoods

IMG_9741It’s a good thing we have a very small trailer. We’d never been to Portola Redwoods before, but I was somewhat familiar with some of the roads, having grown up around there. For example, I remember La Honda being rather windy and hilly. That turned out to be a gross understatement, but then, it’s not like I ever towed trailers around those roads when I was a kid.

IMG_9763I was in a major brain fog by Friday afternoon, as teachers are now back in full swing. Kids come Monday. I hadn’t really looked at the route or anything, so I was just following the Acura navigation. Richard, despite previous vows, was still looking at Google Maps. At one point, when I was about to make the turn off up into the hills, he sort of strongly suggested we take “a more direct way.” Not his fault really, I should know better by now. But I listened and turned up Old La Honda Road and immediately regretted it. This road is so narrow, it barely counts as a single lane. And it has nonstop blind corners, and drop-offs, and no guard rails of any kind. No chance of either turning around or backing up once committed. Thankfully, we did not have to go too far before we came to a residential loop that provided a turn around. Sort of. Well, we made it anyway. You can bet we got some looks from cars and bikers alike wondering what the hell we were thinking trying to take a trailer up that.

IMG_9764We backtracked, slowly, and returned to the also narrow and windy road that took us to (not Old) La Honda and from there it was maybe ten miles before we got to Skyline, and then Alpine Road. Alpine down to the campground was mostly single lane, blind corners, and drop-offs. BUT, at least it was nicely paved, and it was an honest single lane, sometimes even sort of two lanes.

We got down to the park around 7 and we were both tired and hungry. Richard offered to make dinner since I had done a pretty good job not killing us. I put up the new and improved screen room awning while he cooked. Glass of white, and all was right with the world.

IMG_9751I’m going to go all fan girl about the awning now. Ever since before we even got Dory, I have envisioned a screened in area attached to the trailer, but no one made exactly what I wanted. I have spent hours pondering separate screen rooms, only to convince myself I’d never put one up. I’ve come back to this idea repeatedly and Pahaque delivered. I’m super happy. What they did was hard sew a front screen wall across the front opening. They already sell a screen wall, but it’s elastic toggle attached and there are openings along the top for bugs to get in. The sewn in seam works perfectly. Then they added screen mesh panels to the sides. I think, with a couple of strategically placed suction cup hooks, I can seal up that sucker pretty good. Even so, with the side flaps hanging loosely, there were maybe two flies that got in all weekend. And there were definitely mosquitos there. I thoroughly enjoyed napping in my zero gravity chair, feeling protected and mosquito free. I also got to do my evening yoga stretches outside while Richard was taking a shower, thus improving nighttime routine efficiency significantly. If I could sew, I would have made this exact thing for myself. Instead, people good at making things made the absolute perfect solution to spending outside Dory time with fewer bugs. If I wanted to go nuts with it, I could work on a screened skirt to go across the bottom, but really, we were virtually bug free without it.

IMG_9756Saturday we actually got my pretty blue bike off Dory (it’s been a while) and we took a trail along an old railway line. But first, you have to go up a pretty steep up and down paved trail. We walked our bikes on the steepest sections. It wasn’t very long, so it was ok. Once on the Old Haul Road trail, it was much flatter, but unpaved. We came across many a sign telling us the trail was closed and dangerous. Did we listen? Well, we worried, but continued on because other people had told us it was ok. There were a couple places I wouldn’t have tried if it had recently rained because it looked like the whole road was falling away. For those sections a bit of walking and one spot of scrambling was required, but we felt like it was all something we could handle. Eventually, we’d gone plenty far, had lunch, and turned back. We figure it was about 12 miles all told and that was a pretty good day. Back at the Visitor Center, we enjoyed M&Ms and a fudgicle. Yum. Then nappy time, then dinner. Then bug free yoga stretches, then deep sleep.

Sunday we took a different route, recommended by a ranger, along Skyline primarily, all the way to Highway 92. We totally should have gone that way to begin with. Much easier. The ranger’s eyes got all wide when I told her we’d gone up Old La Honda by accident. Those same eyes appeared when I asked if we should continue on Alpine to the coast. Nuf said. We needed to head over to Half Moon Bay to dump tanks and that was a great spot for lunch. Richard was not allowed to ask if there were available sites. First day of school Monday, so “just one more night” not an option. Summer is officially over!

Total miles: 87.8, 15.1 mpg, 3 hours 22 min (including wrong way and backtrack). Site: 4, private, away from the thick of other campers, private, no solar, no cell service. Richard got 3g back at the Visitor Center which was enough to check email and texts, but nothing more.

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