This was our very last one-night stop for the summer. *sigh* Our theme for this trip was to avoid the scorching heat. Mission status: nailed it! In fact, we nailed it so much, we got a little wistful for some higher temps and a little less moisture. I mean, we were running the heater in JULY and had a hard time drying out towels for a good portion of this trip. Anyway, we got our wish on our last day, not so much as to be miserable, but just enough to send us looking for some cool river water.
Leaving Patrick’s Point, we were still in a fog, literally. Richard chose to bike out of the campground and we met up about ten miles south, at Clam Beach. He said the Scenic Drive south of Trinidad may have been scenic, but also was practically nonexistent in some sections. He hit four stretches of gravel and said the road seemed to be falling off in a couple spots. Glad to have taken Dory down 101 instead. Clam Beach was muggy more than foggy, and definitely warmer. Heading further south and inland along 101 cleared the humidity and brought on the summertime temps. Finally, our towels got to dry out. Just in time for our last night.
Standish Hickey is a smallish campground just outside of Leggett. There are one or two areas on the highway between Fortuna and Leggett that get much more narrow and twisty than one would expect of a major California highway. It was nothing Dory couldn’t navigate, and nothing scary, despite the yellow warning signs. Entering the campground is another matter if you’re trying to get down to the river. While trailers and RVs fit into many of the sites in the upper loops, you are not allowed to camp down in the Redwood Campground with a trailer. This is a legit good rule. Getting down there requires going on a very steep and narrow road with a 180 turn at the bottom. Then the pavement ends and you get to go over a “seasonal” bridge. Not sure exactly what that term means, but it doesn’t inspire confidence when traversing with a car.
It was hot enough for us that we drove it anyway, not wanting to walk our butts down there and back up. The South fork of the Eel River is very calm and shallow at this location. It makes for a lovely place to take a dip in the water and calmly float around. Lucky we’d been dragging a floatie around with us several thousand miles that hadn’t been used since our last stay at Shaver Lake. It was way easier inflating the floatie than it would have been to set up my kayak. So we just played around in the water. There are tiny little fish who will come right up to your feet and lick them (or whatever fish do with their mouths). That was pretty fun. I’ll have to do some research on whether there are places where you can do “tubing” (apparently the correct term for what I’ve been calling a floaty boaty). I’d really like to do a whole lot more of that. Not having enough information on this stretch of the river, it wasn’t going to happen this time. Just getting in the river was delightful and a perfect way to cool off.
There were tons of bike tourers staying in the campground and it reminded us of our past trip. It also reinforced how much more we like camping in Dory. But we had to have done it in order to know. We feel that by suffering through that, we’ve earned the right to sleep on 2 inch thick organic wool topped cushions, with indoor plumbing and big screen projection movies. After dinner, we walked across 101 to the Peg House, where they serve grilled food. They also sell “world famous” blackberry sundaes, and we partook happily. Then it was beddy-bye time for the last time before returning home.
It was a great trip. We really preferred staying in places for more than one night. Three nights was a nice amount of time in most places. We spent the vast majority of the time without electric hookups and that worked because we weren’t in the heat. It’s really good to have the generator because you definitely cannot count on the solar panels keeping you topped up, especially in the redwoods. Even blogging was easier this trip and I think that’s mostly because we weren’t moving so much. I maxed my ATT data plan but it still seems to be cheaper paying for additional gigs than it would be to upgrade to a full on unlimited plan year round. We also got our credit cards compromised and cancelled again. That seems to be a thing that happens when we travel.
Our geological theme this year was volcanos, and that was really cool. We visited six national parks and put a whole bunch of state park pins on the map. Cooking worked really well and I’ll be following up with a specific post on that. Mostly though, this was a really cool experience in that we got to go exploring off the I-5 stretch. We saw amazing things we never knew were there, but have passed by countless times. We towed on the order of 3,552 inefficiently planned miles, with one tune up along the way for Bruce. It was awesome hooking up with our BFF camping bud and her pack, meeting friends (new and not so new) on the road, reconnecting with lifelong friends, and even more awesome to get to spend two solid months of time with my sweetie in our Dory. These are the days.
Total miles from Patrick’s Point: 117.5, 14.7 mpg, 3 hours, 3 min. Site 16. No hookups, no dump, no solar. Nice bathrooms. No cell service, but free wifi across the street at Peg House. Definite road noise from 101 in the Rock Creek Campground.