Making amazing time – but not by choice

So, for those of you paying attention to dates and such, you may notice that:

a) I’m posting less often

and

b) The posts mostly pertain to things that happened a couple of weeks ago.

Well, there are a couple reasons for that:

1) We didn’t do a lot of hiking in California (not dog friendly)

2) We didn’t stay still a lot, so lots of miles covered but not as much time to make an impression somewhere

3) Lots of miles covered means a lot of time setting up and breaking down camp, therefore not lots of time to write.

So, here’s the quick recap:

From King Range in California we traveled north along Hwy 101 to Humbug Mountain State Park in Oregon.  We hiked to the top of said mountain.  Expect a post on that later today.

Humbug is right outside of Port Orford, which sort of feels like what would happen if Portland had a population of 1,000 instead of 600,000.  Very cool, very quirky.  Would recommend Redfish Restaurant (dinner), One Lump or Two (espresso), and Tasty Kate’s (pastries) to anyone.

From Humbug we continued northward and arrived at Carl G. Washburn State Park.  I don’t know who Carl was but he has a helluva beach.  The park is set on the east side of Hwy 101 (read: landward side) so you have to take a half mile path to get to the beach.  The trail is ethereal and mossy.  It transitions from tall trees to dense juniper forests as you near the beach.  And then the beach…oh if all beaches could have this immensity and grandeur.

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The first day we walked the beach the wind was blowing at around 30-50mph (58-80kph), which  meant walking nearer the surf enabled one to see.  It may be hard to discern scale in the above picture…but the beach is 5 miles long and probably 300′ (100m) wide.

We would have loved to have stayed longer at Washburn SP but a dearth of cell phone service and upcoming school assignments meant we must continue onward.

And here is where things became a bit weird.

Our departure from here corresponded with Oregon schools’ spring break.  And Oregonian’s like themselves some camping.  We hadn’t made reservations at our next site so we searched for alternatives when the internet politely informed us that our intended stop was fully booked.

One really important part of this journey for us was Portland.  Not to see it for the first time, we’ve been before, but to have its sushi.

Yes, one of the driving forces behind traveling 5,000+ miles over the past 2 months has been sushi at Bamboo Sushi in Portland.  Why Bamboo?  Well, because Mashiko is in Seattle, and that didn’t work for our schedule. But also because Bamboo, like Mashiko, only sells sustainable sushi.

Quick divergence here, but bear with me, it is important.

Most fish that people eat is harvested unsustainably.  What this means is that if the practice continues many of these fish will go extinct.  It has nearly happened for several sushi staples like the bluefin tuna.  So…don’t eat bluefin.  Unless you can sleep knowing that you contributed knowingly to the extinction of a species.  I have difficulty with that.  The issues involved are complex and I could spend another couple thousand words on it without scratching the surface.  So here is a link: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/

That website will answer your questions, and hopefully enable you to make responsible fish purchases.

And, if you are in Portland or Seattle, eat at Bamboo Sushi or Mashiko.  Expect a wait at either, at any time.  But it is worth it.

Soo…where does that put us in the journey?  Ah yes, departing Portland, which chose to remind us how wet the Pacific Northwet can be by raining for 4 days straight.  And not the spritzing misty rain of the Puget Sound, but a steady downpour.

We left Portland and the curse of spring break followed.  Our intended stop, Emigrant Spring State Park, proved to be a state park right off of the highway.  Which means loud.  And the sites were closely spaced.  Which also means loud.  And there wasn’t much to do.  So, we did something we’ve always had the ability to do but never have done on this trip: we skipped it.

Skipping a campsite because it doesn’t look good is one of the reasons we keep our drives so short.  If you drive 10 hours to arrive at a campsite, you’re stuck with it.  But 4 hours?  Just keep on rolling.  This tactic has a downside.  If you get to the second campground and it isn’t ideal…well you’ve driven 10 hours and you’re stuck with it.  This is what happened.  We were aiming for Lucky Peak State Park in Idaho, just outside of Boise.  Well…for those of you trying to camp there, here is the first heads up:  don’t expect much signage indicating where the campground is.  You’ll want to pass the first day use area, go another 6 miles (coming from the highway) and turn right at the next park sign.  At some time of the year the park may have an RV campground open.  When we arrived last week it was completely blocked off with concrete barricades.  There were no signs indicating why.

At this point it was late, we were tired, and we had no cell phone coverage to find a way to make it better.  So, we set off further down the park road just looking for a dirt road to pull off onto and sleep (illegally, but hey, safer than more driving).  Turns out you can get to Boise National Forest by going through Lucky Peak SP.  For those of you who don’t know:  National Forests allow dispersed camping!  Yay legal camping!

I owe a debt of gratitude to the individual who I flagged down and asked about camp sites.  He pointed behind him and said 2-3 miles.  And right he was.

Not camp sites per se, more like patches of dirt off of the dirt road that others had camped on.  But it was good enough.  We spent less than 10 hours there, not even unhitching.  We moved on at 7am (it felt like 6 to us because we had just hit a time zone) because the area had no water, no power, nothing to do, and no cell service.

Our next stop was Willard Bay SP in Utah.  The park was close to the highway, but far enough that the noise was tolerable.  The facilities were nice, the site spacious and well laid out, and internet was there to be extracted from the aether.  We decided to stay 3 nights.  Maybe 4.

Except that the park was completely booked for the next days.  So, having spent one frustratingly nice day there we moved on again.  Our goal was Goblin Valley SP in Utah.  It looked like awesome country to hike.  We wouldn’t know – seeing as how it was completely booked for the next 2 weeks.  As were nearly all other parks in Utah.  So, we settled on our fallback strategy: RV Parks.

By and large RV Parks are not fun places to go.  But there are some gems out there.  This particular park was Good Sam rated 10/10/10.  For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means that the park was really really nice.  Hot tub, swimming pool, wifi, volley ball court, horseshoes, laundry, workout facility, full hookups, well spaced sites and more.  And all for what California state parks would have charged for dry camping.  A bargain at twice the price.

So, we spent 2 nights there – long enough to do laundry, relax in a hot tub, and catch up on life for a moment.

But the siren call of hiking was calling to us, and no matter how nice an RV park, it was still an RV park.

So we departed there this morning and are now in Highline Lake State Park in Colorado.  No hookups, but a bright sun and cloudless weather means we can make what we need via solar.

More posts will be coming shortly (probably) including:

King Summit, via Lightning trail (King Range Conservation Area)

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Humbug Mountain Trail

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The Joys of Espresso, or Why I love the PNW

And many more! Stay tuned!

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