With the mercury dropping and the snow creeping down the mountains around us it was time to head south in the 97 highway to the border and beyond. Crossing between Canada and the United States always is interesting and it should be relatively easy, declare everything and be honest, is our policy. So as we pulled up to the custom agent we had our list of items ready to declare. For the first time we had to pay the duty on our alcohol that we had on board, which was luckily, the smallest quantity that we have had. $23.03 later we were on the US side and driving down the 97 to Yakima, Washington where we spent the night.
The next morning we followed the Columbia River which is the border of Washington and Oregon. Our destination for the next two nights was along the Pacific Ocean at Cape Kiwanda RV Resort in Pacific City.
With only a 2 minute walk to a beautiful beach along the Pacific Ocean, it was perfect! At this beach, not only could we walk for miles (and meet many dogs!), but at the one end there was a 70 meter high sand dune.
Walking up this sand dune gave us a good workout and a sensational view, complete with a few Gray whales playing just off the shore line. Walking back down was a lot faster and much more fun! In the rocks at the bottom there was a seal sunning himself in the sun, so cute.
A short walk brought us into the downtown, where you had to check the airport runway to cross the road as it started/ended along the one side of the road! You know you are in Oregon when a town of 1035 people has not 1, but 2 marijuana shops!
We finished our day watching the sun set over the Pacific from the patio of Pelican Brewery. Not only did we enjoy some of their beer and cider but we also had the pleasure of playing with a Bernese Mountain dog puppy that was 11 weeks old.
After 2 lovely days here it was time to start our drive down highway #101, also known as the Coastal Highway, to Oceanside Beachfront RV Resort just outside of North Bend on Coos Bay.
Most of the drive was visually stunning as we wound our way up and down the bluffs along the ocean. The campground was located very close to the beach, but the beach was only 1.5km long, so no nice long walks, and it was very wet, not because of the ocean, or rain, but very heavy fog basically the whole time.
We did manage to get a nice bike ride in to see the town. The upside of the fog was that it made the beach walks very eerie and cool, the downside was it was WET! Our problems with water making our life miserable were just beginning. We had discovered a small hole in each of our main slides when we were in Penticton but with it being so cold we thought we would wait till California to get them fixed. Now with all the moisture in the air we had some water running down our walls in our living room. We were not “happy campers”
After two nights at Coos Bay it was time to continue south again on the 101 and leave Oregon behind us. The next three nights, which were American Thanksgiving, we spent in elk country, actually at Elk Country RV Resort just north of Trinidad, California.
Our travels were not bringing us close to the fires that were raging in California, but we were concerned about being very close to the drifting smoke. This however turned out not to be an issue as the next three days here it rained. It rained heavy. It rained sideways. It rained almost continuously.
Remember I mentioned we had a couple leaks in our slide outs? Well, we were NOT prepared for the rain as the leaks were not fixed. So, we put the slides in and our tiny home became even tinier. It was like living in a submarine, compact inside, and a lot of moisture outside. We were in a fairly remote area on the California coast and there was NO cell service, NO internet service, NO television reception, NO car and NO taxi or uber service! This would not usually be an issue for a few days, since we spend most of our time on our bicycles and outside but did I mention, it was raining?
We had one small window with no rain where we were able to go for a nice walk on a gorgeous beach which was about 1.5km across the road.
The one other thing that made it bearable was we had a herd of about 60 Roosevelt Elk that spent the better part of two days living in the park with us. Several times we would get bundled up in our rain gear and go out and watch them migrate to other areas, such big, beautiful animals.
After three days of rain the sun came out and we had to leave! Our drive today took us through the mighty Redwoods of Northern California on our way to Fort Bragg. There is a 51km drive that parallels the 101 called the Avenue of the Giants, that we were told was a must see, so we turned off the highway and meandered through the Giants.
This was a very cool, slow drive as we weaved our 17+ meter rig through the trees. It was spectacular. There is no other way to describe these old trees other than massive.
The highway over to Fort Bragg was a very interesting 50km drive which took us back over the mountain to the coast. It had approximately one thousand bends and turns, I lost count around six hundred! The straightest stretch of the road at any given time was only about 50m! The RV park where we stayed was basically a parking lot, BUT it was in a gorgeous location basically right beside the bluffs overlooking the ocean.
We were able to walk right out to the bluffs where we witnessed two beautiful sunsets! We were quite happy to discover and enjoy a bicycle path very close to the bluffs along the ocean, definitely one of the nicest cycles we have had!
We had been told of this “Glass Beach” which is abundant in sea glass created from years of dumping garbage into an area of coastline. The reason this was done was because of the tide and the currents, the garbage never got taken out to sea so the glass just constantly got worn down to form “sea glass”. The pictures we had seen were far more impressive than it actually was, one reason is due to the fact that tourists have taken so much of the glass away there isn’t much left to see.
Since we were at the mouth of the harbor and marina, there was a fog horn blowing every few minutes, even though there was no fog, so we did not get a lot of sleep for these 2 nights.
The next morning found us taking the curvy road back out to the 101 and heading south again to Monterey Bay. For the next four nights we were staying at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA. It was a very nice campground, mostly empty and a great location, half way between Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay right on the bay. With the forecast calling for more rain we had a small window to hop on the Harleys and drive over to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The day spent here was an amazing array of big and small, colourful and grey creatures of the deep. We got to touch and feel sea urchins and witness a “feeding” in the 1.2 million litre kelp forest tank. Another 1.1million litre tank housed sharks, sea turtles, sardines, sturgeon and tuna, what an amazing place!
The next day we had an appointment to get our slide tops resealed, but with strong winds and rain in the forecast we had to cancel it again. When we checked the weather forecast there was sun coming so we decided to stay an extra day to get them fixed. Finally they were fixed, what a relief!
This extra sunny day also allowed us to cycle into Santa Cruz, another great cycle along the coast. We ended up on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, which had a good size amusement park,before turning around and heading home, stopping briefly to watch the surfers on the large swells that were rolling in. Since we were going to be away from the water for the next month we went down to the beach for one last sunset over the water.
With some great clouds in the sky and the ocean water angry we were treated to a beautiful sunset. Not only was the sunset awesome but after many, many years we finally saw the “green flash”. It was very exciting to see!!
Next stop on the 101 was at Buellton, which was a suggestion by a Facebook couple called the Fit RVers. We had contacted them looking for a good cycling locations in southern California. Buellton is about thirty minutes from the ocean and Santa Barbara. It was a nice RV resort but our first night was anything but peaceful. With a wedding going on at the pavilion and numerous neighbours being family’s with young children, it was very noisy. With this being our home base for the week it was time to explore some of the area roads. The first ride took us out into the surrounding hills and some vineyards and vegetable farms.
Another ride took us over to the city of Solvang and out to a little State park. Both rides gave us some good cycling but then the rain started again, so the bikes got put away. We did take the city bus over to Solvang for an afternoon of walking around this Danish heritage town, which is the home of the Hans Christian Anderson museum in the local book store. It was a very quaint little touristy town. We also explored Buellton by foot ( it was very small). We occupied our time with some sour beer tasting at the local brewery and a fun visit to the Airstream dealership, where we went through every length of trailer they had on the lot.
The movie Sideways was filmed here in 2004, so we went for drinks and dinner at the restaurant/bar that was featured in the film called the Hitching Post II. It looked exactly like it did in the movie, which was kind of hokey, but a fun night out. Buellton is also world famous (so they claim) for the split pea soup at Andersen’s. We went and had a dinner of soup, which was actually very tasty, at the restaurant that has not changed very much over several decades.
Our trip down the Coastal Highway (#101) has come to the end, as it is time to cut across to the eastern side of California.