Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Take A Few Days Off Along the Mendocino Coast... and I'm Overwhelmed!

We "drove off the map" I guess and into an internet black hole for the past several days. It's gonna take me a couple or three posts to catch up! and I still have some Glass creek and Bishop Mule days stuff for show and tell!

My stubborn side paid off. Following on the financial butt whacking we took in Lincoln with another truck breakdown... rather than retreat... I bowed my neck and pushed on the next day.

... and found a National Forest camp that cost us $4 a day...($8 and 4 with access card) in California! :)

*Middle Creek Campground, Upper Lake California*

Coming through California, until this year, we've always had great difficulty finding camps that were, for us, affordable. Well, it would appear that we've broken that problem. We've now been in California for the better part of 12 weeks!

I never would have predicted that. But, the eastern Sierras and now even the bit of northern Cali that we've been sojourning in has proven, outside of tow vehicle repairs :( to be as affordable as a guy could ask for... if he figures out where to look.

The camp at Middle Creek was warm... I guess use just about stops shortly. A ranger told me the OHV folks think it gets too hot and dusty... The last day or two there we were all by our lonesome...

So a bit later in the season, the only company you'd have there are the squirrels... dozens of the lil' buggers...

*Mom and the kids*

The camp sits eight miles north of Upper Lake California on Elk Mountain road... with the town of Upper Lake sitting on Clear Lake... for all the Boondockers draggin' one of those "Hole in the Water" rigs behind 'em.

*Upper Lake, California*

*Above Middle Creek Campground*
There's lots of backroading and ATV trails all through the area... and far views when you climb high enough into the mountains above the camp.

But take your time... the pavement ain't real shiny... and the way it lays back on itself  'round the bends... and the hurry the folks in Cali seem to be in when they're behind the wheel... you'll get some real liver quiverin' moments if you go rushin' and bumper rattlin' through them thar hills!

We snooped around the local area a couple of short drives/rides...

It's an area of orchards and vineyards... with a bit of "Farm Art" here and there...

Just east of Upper Lake in the town of Lucerne we found a lil' bed and breakfast hidden on another back road that auto trippers in the area might take to...

The place is right near the lake itself and set in a grove of shady trees...

I didn't get a good count but it looked to be six or so cabooses set up for the lodging at as unique a Bed and Breakfast as you could ask for.

Sitting there on the porch after a hot day behind the wheel... or straddling the saddle of a scooter... sipping on a cool brew...

Looks like a sweet stay to me.

We used this camp to make two day trips to the coast, north and south of Fort Bragg.

We'd intended to just swallow our financial pride and eat the $35 bucks a night for the state park camp at MacKerricher State Park above Fort Bragg so we'd be on the coast... but after seeing the camp on a day trip on the Raider... decided it wasn't worth the effort to drag the fiver over there... for what is really... a trashy camp, for a price that rises above a lot of the "Private" campgrounds.

And... the three roads going across to the coast from Hwy 101 near Ukiah... would be an eye crossing, frame bending exercise in RV Driving gymnastics! I mean... when you can check your own taillights riding a bike or a pickup with out having to turn around as you're making a switchback... of which there are three or four hundred on each option... :) you know the road is juuuuuuuust a mite windy!

Ran into my own butt twice! Whew... a beautiful drive for sure... but don't be in a hurry... or if you are I'm hoping you deal with frustration real well... 'cause a hurried trip 'cross there you AIN'T gonna make. ;)

The first coastline day trip we made we took the Raider on a two hundred mile circle up Hwy 101 to Leggett and turned south down Hwy 1.

Right off we stopped at the "Drive Through Tree" just after leaving hwy 101.

It's kind of comical there... with every rig waiting in a Que to take their portrait sitting in the hole in the tree.

Good thing we hadn't taken the truck here... there'd be no Pic!

There's a nice lil' gift shop there for those feeling the need to satiate their souvenir   hunger...

... but best of all, behind the shop are some tables in the sun on the edge of a big meadow in the tall trees...

... and a small lake there that is absolutely filled with frogs and ducks and a cloud of dragon flies...

*A Custom Ford F1 Truck and Casita*

Not to mention one old Ford that stopped for a visit... Well... mostly a Ford. The body was sitting on a frame that was mostly Chevy Malibu with a Chevy 350. ;)

After our lunch in the sun we reluctantly climbed back on the bike to continue on south through the timber in search of the coast.

Each place we find lately is so sweet a spot... that we don't want to move on... yet on we are pulled just the same. The gypsy fever in me is a strange master... though it keeps me hungry, it feeds me what I need...

Riding or driving through the coastal range... straight roads are not to be found ;) You roll along through the hills and every lil' bit you slide into sections that can only be described as ethereal and cathedral like... it's an awesome, beautiful section of the country.

... and then you finally break out of the forest and are on the coast itself... the PCH... what those of us who love it call the Pacific Coast Highway...

*Along the Mendocino Coast*

One small lil' tip, maybe... some believe it's best to run it north to south... that way you're always on the Ocean side.

Me? I couldn't care, one way or the other fits me fine... there's spots to pull out and soak it in, all along the way.

It was another ride through the twisties back across the coastal range to hit Hwy 101 at Willits... where we stopped for a surprisingly good bit of Mexican chow at what had appeared to be a fast food spot... and then finished our roll back to camp...

... none too soon. Two hundred miles straddling the fender of a cruiser on California twisties is 'bout as long a day as herself can handle.

... and I'll admit... a cool "Kona Longboard" sitting in the early evening shade under the walnut... or whatever sort of tree that shaded the rig is... was a fine end to an extra fine day.

Living High in Spite of Murphy!


Jack said...

Oh, what memories! Thank you, thank you. :)

Barb said...

Me,too. Thanks for the memories. When I first started full-timing I drove my motor home up 101 all along the California coast. I remember some of those twists and turns. Boy, was I driving slow! It IS such beautiful country to drive through, it was so worth it. Be a lot more fun on a motorcycle, though. :)