Our Honeymoon Journal
     Entry 5 - 25 August 2000
Coast, countryside, forest and mountains. All day, sometimes fog, sometimes not. Click here to see what the weather is like today...
  Fort Bragg to Bandon

Vanessa How we hated that sound in the morning!Knowing that we had a lot of driving ahead of us today, we set the alarm for an early start. We had breakfast at a diner near the hotel - "Ada Belle's Restaurant". Chris had bacon and eggs while I enjoyed a very large plate of ham and eggs. I also tried some apple jelly. This was rather like the apple jelly my mother makes, only it tasted tart compared to my Grandma's smooth, sweet recipe.
Bay north of Fort Bragg. (5 photos) There was still a light fog across the landscape when we set off in the car. It did not last long, but it made the view of the coastline more interesting. We stopped at one bay not far north of Fort Bragg to take some photos. By this time, the fog had cleared. Shortly afterwards, we left the coast and headed inland.
Humboldt Redwoods. (5 photos) This was redwood country, so we left the main highway and took a side route to the famous Avenue of Giants. Need I say that we saw lots of BIG trees? All around this area there is plethora of tacky tourist stops selling all sorts of timber products. Wood carving is almost as big as the trees in this area. I lost count of how many carved wooden bears and sasquatch decorate the buildings along the roadside.
Chris Most of the timber product seemed to be something called Burl. A lot of it appeared to be created with a chainsaw. Myrtlewood was also popular.
Vanessa We stopped at a place called Leggett to get some snacks and fuel. We met a couple of other tourists, Americans, who told us that they had spent the last two days travelling from Portland through fog. That made us a little anxious, as we were on our way to Portland. Were we to be treated to the same obscuring weather? Having just used the "restrooms", I warned them that there was spider running around in there. The man immediately asked how big it was. It was only about the size of an Australian 20 cent piece, so I told him it was nothing to worry about. He thought differently and it turned out he was scared of spiders. We gleefully told him about the one we found in our kitchen one night - a wolf spider that was as big as an outstretched hand...
Shrine Drive-Thru Tree. (5 photos) I didn't know this, but apparently there are two drive through trees in the area. The first is near Leggett and it looked to be rather crowded and over-commercialised. We stopped to see the one at Myers Flats, instead. Yup, it is a very big tree. To experience it properly, we left the car in the car park and walked through the mighty hole in the mighty trunk.
  After that, we drove on to discover that road works in the area was almost as popular as wood carving! We had some long delays at times, which put us behind schedule. It quickly became apparent that we would not reach our planned destination of North Bend for the night. We were not concerned, however, as just about every town we went through had plenty of vacant accommodation. One of the benefits of travelling in the off peak season!
  Lunch was at a place called Eureka. We stopped at a Sizzlers restaurant and had a pleasant meal. Once again, the servings were huge! Chris had Cajun steak and I had baby ribs.
  What flower was that?The country north of Eureka is a flatter area between the mountains and the sea. At this time of year there are lots of wildflowers and I had a good time peering out the car window as we sped along, trying to work out what they were. There looked to be two types of yarrow - a tall yellow flowering type and a shorter version with white flowers. I think there was also yellow clover, orange poppies, purple scotch thistles, yellow dandelions, and something that looked like a white daisy. There were also some grasses that we grow as ornamental plants in our gardens at home - shivery grass (also known as Quaking Grass - Briza maxima) and the tall pampass grass with its feathery, silver-coloured flower fronds. Both sides of the road were thickly lined with different kinds of conifers and other trees. We could only catch occasional glimpses of the sea on the left. The further north we travelled, the duller the sky became. When we could see the mountains, they were shrouded with clouds. It looked like we might get some fog after all.
Campers and tourist shop. (2 photos) I can understand why this area - so pretty and wild - is popular with the tourists. Redwood National Park was full of them - even in the off season. We drove along a long land bridge with the sea on one side and a deep lagoon on the other. Parked along the beach side of the road was a solid line of happy campers. At the town of Orick, I took a photo of a typical tourist shop for the area. Bleached driftwood (burl) is a big selling item...well, I suppose it does have a certain rugged beauty. And, of course, there is the obligatory chainsaw art...
  At Klamath, we crossed a bridge with gilded statues of bears decorating its ends. Chris told me an amusing story about the bridge. I'll let him tell you...
Chris According to the software package I used to create the plan for our holiday, the bridge across the Klamath River is called the Bear Bridge and the story goes: "Originally gray, the bears were painted gold in the late 50s or early 60s by a group of residents who set out to give the town a face lift. State government officials painted the bears gray again to expunge what they had believed was the work of vandals. The residents repainted them gold. State government painted them gray and again, the residents made them gold. This went on for some time. Finally realizing that the local citizens were behind the golden bears, the government relented and the bears now stay permanently gold."

Trees of Mystery. (3 photos)
We left the coast and headed back up into the forests and hills again. We stopped at a place called the "Trees of Mystery" for a short rest break. Although we didn't go in (lack of time and real interest), we admired the huge statues of Paul Bunyan and his faithful blue ox that were in the car park area. Apparently, the theme park has the Paul Bunyan tale carved out of tree trunks, as well as quite a number of unusually shaped redwood trees. While Chris stretched his legs, I sat in the car and watched the fog rolling in over the treetops.

Coast and roadworks. (4 photos)
Summer is the season for road works.From there, the road took us back to the coast. We had to stop in one place at some road works where half the road had fallen into the sea. There were more road works in the hills before Crescent City. I thought it strange, such heavy construction work with so much large machinery going on in the middle of a deep, silent forest. North of Crescent City, the fog really set in with a light rain.
Arch Rock. (14 photos) At 4.17pm local time, we crossed into Oregon - my second US state - and the weather had cleared again. At 5pm, we stopped at Arch Rock. Now, that place was an experience! Not only was the shoreline vista absolutely breathtaking, but the local squirrels are so tame you could almost touch them. We spent some time feeding and photographing the squirrels, a seagull and another friendly bird. The squirrels were very fat and sleek looking and their holes were everywhere along the top of the cliff. You really had to watch your step. I always thought squirrels lived in trees, but these obviously lived in the ground. Having our fill of small furry animals, we walked around a short track and almost froze our butts off taking some photos of the other side of the headland. A very cold, very stiff wind that must have blown straight off the Arctic made us feel very unwelcome. Still, the view made us linger. The air was quite clear, for the fog was only visible as a line out to sea.
Rocks at Pistol River. (1 photo) It was time to be off again. I took some photos of the rocks along the shore at Pistol River from the car as we drove further north. We didn't have time to stop as it was getting late. It was still broad daylight, but we wanted to get as far north as we could. North Bend was now just a dream - we now aimed to spend the night at a town that was further south - Bandon.
  We had looked in a travel guide and decided that there were two places we might spend the night at - the Caprice Motel and the Driftwood Motel. We came to the Caprice Motel and thought that it seemed ok, even though it was only rated as a single star, so we booked the night. The first room we were given had a faulty toilet so we had to change rooms. The second room didn't have a telephone and smelled strongly of cigarette smoke, even though it was supposed to be non-smoking. The manager lived next door and had friends visiting. There was guitar music and screaming kids until late at night. At least the place had cable TV. Not able to sleep, we watched an episode of a new series of "The Invisible Man" and an episode of "Farscape". We will not be staying at a one star rated place again, even if we have to seriously break the budget!
Chris Vanessa has decided that she doesn't like root beer.We drove around the small town of Bandon to find a place to get dinner. About the only take away that appealed to us was Figaro's Pizza. After examining the choices available on the menu, we ordered a pizza of our own design with a topping of pepperoni, onion, tomato, pineapple and mushrooms. Eight garlic bread sticks were also in the order, plus two cans of root beer (Mugs brand, I think). It wasn't the best pizza - the base sauce was the biggest problem. The garlic bread sticks were awful - dry and tasteless. Vanessa really disliked the root beer, while I found it mildly distasteful. I've had better root beers before.
  There was one amusing incident (to me, at least). Vanessa was in the bathroom preparing for her shower when I heard a plaintive cry asking for my help. She couldn't work out how to get the shower going. After a brief laugh, I explained the usage. When you turn on the taps, the water comes out the tub faucet first. There's a little knob on the faucet that you have to lift to activate the shower. The knob falls down if there isn't enough water pressure going through and the shower doesn't work. The system's not obvious when you look at it the first time. Once you understand it, it's easy enough to deal with and it makes some sense.