Part 35: White Salmon, WA to San Diego, CA


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The Trip

We left White Salmon, WA and headed east toward the Dalles Bridge and then south through central Oregon.  Our first objective was meeting with our friends Mark and Arrenia in Arcata, CA and then travel south to the San Francisco Bay area to see Kevin and Kristen.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

As we headed east along the Columbia River, we got our first view of Mt. Hood.  Like many of the large peaks in the Pacific Northwest, Mt. Hood is an extinct volcano.  Well, not really extinct as much as dormant.  Any of the existing volcanoes along the Juan de Fuca subduction zone are likely candidates to erupt again.  Just like Mt. Saint Helens, it is one more way to say "Fuca you!"

The proximate regions of Mt. Hood are forested mountains.  But, further east close to our path are grassy prairies.

We crossed the Columbia River at the Dalles bridge and turned off to examine the Dalles Dam.  Next to the dam were a number of native fishing structures used to catch salmon.

The Dalles Dam was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers and is used for both flood control and power generation.

The fishing points looked quite shaky and unreliable.

The Dalles is not a tall dam, but it is still a massive structure.  The spillway is visible but the powerhouse is hidden behind the trees beyond the right side of the photo above.

We traveled south through central Oregon and came upon a viewpoint for the Crooked River Bridge.  The bridge was constructed in 1926 and was the only way to cross this gorge through the basalt for many miles in either direction.  The bridge is now retired and used only for foot traffic.

We decided to head west toward the coast to shorten our travel path and ended up spending the night at an FS campground on Diamond Lake. Mount Thielsen is the peak visible from the campground and the sides of the peak have been heavily eroded by glacial action.  Thielsen is just one more of the dozens of volcanic peaks created by the subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate under the North American plate.  Diamond Lake is quite close to another well known volcanic structure: Crater Lake.

In the foreground of the photo above is Diamond Lake.  In the distance another volcanic caldera can be seen.

We continued generally west along the Rogue River and came to a viewpoint for the Rogue River Gorge.  The gorge is where the river has cut deeply into the basalt surface rock and left a slot canyon.

The river has cut a deep slot into the basalt.  While not as impressive as some slot canyons, it was unique due to the path that the river chose.

This stump was quite unique.  The tree was cut down by the Forest Service during the construction of access trails for the Rogue Gorge.  But, the tree's roots had fused  with those of a neighboring tree so loss of its leaves did not kill the stump.  In fact, it coated the wound with bark and continues to live compliments of its neighbor(s).

The Rogue Canyon is unique because the river chose a path that exploited an old lava tube.  The river totally disappears from the surface and goes through the basalt lava tube.

Above, the river reemerges from a lava tube.

Another side tube passes part of the full flow of the river.

This hole swallows the entire river.

Many miles downstream, the Rogue flows into a man-made reservoir.  Note that the current water level is well below the high water mark.

The dam was earthen and made good use of the local basalt rock.

Near Grant's Pass we encountered this nice, new span over the Rogue River.

The road was tight, but we managed to make it all the way to Crescent City, CA.  We spent the night in a rather, um, scummy RV park near the water.  We went out to a local restaurant at the Crescent City marina and were confronted with this noisy group of Sea Lions.

Crescent City has a nice crescent beach, but the water is cold.  And, due to the geometry of the shore it has been repeatedly hit by tsunamis, each with significant damage to the city.

The lighthouse at Crescent City is out on a small bluff.  As a side note, the odd look of the waves was present in the RAW image out of my camera.  I am not sure what it is, but it is likely an artifact of the shutter speed combined with the slower motion of the waves.  Very strange.

Near our vantage point of the bay we spotted a number of squirrels living in the rip-rap of the breakwater.  While "cute", they are likely infected with various parasites and diseases including bubonic plague.

The road to the south of Crescent City gave us nice views of the bay and the lighthouse.

Further south along the cliffs we saw nice haystacks and headlands.

Some of the bays had nice sand beaches and tame, but cold, surf.

Perhaps on another trip we will better explore the beach areas.

We traveled south on US101 and then turned west onto CA1.  Highway 1 is narrow, steep and twisty and at the north end goes through very thick brush and trees.  We rounded a tight corner and surprised this elk bull standing by the side of the road.  We slowed down for a better photo, but the noise from Thor's motor sent the bull crashing through the trees.

When CA1 finally intersected the coast, we got our first view of haystacks with erosion caves.

The wave action had eroded a significant tunnel into this haystack.

North of Ft. Bragg the road went through areas that were lined with cypress trees creating the illusion of driving through a tunnel.

After a long, hard day of driving narrow roads we arrived at the Albion River Inn.  ARI is situated on the cliffs of the Albion River and the cottage rooms have great views of the river channel and the surf on the cliffs.  We have stayed at ARI 4 times over the years and have greatly enjoyed each stay.  This one was no exception.  After finishing the complimentary bottle of wine in the room, we headed to the dining area for a great meal (and more wine).

From the deck of our cottage we could easily see the wooden bridge that spans the Albion River.

We spent the night at the Albion River Inn and in the morning ate a great breakfast there as well.  We headed south to our next destination: Petaluma where we will visit our mog friends Kevin and Kirsten.  From Petaluma, we went to visit an old college buddy Chuck and his gal Dorothy in Carmichael, CA.  When we finished in Carmichael, we headed directly back to home in San Diego.  But, given Thor's top speed, our late departure and the miles involved, we spent the night in a L.A. County campground at Lake Castaic.

Next morning, I spotted this odd contraption in the lake.  He rode his bike against the slow breeze.

We broke camp at Castaic and slugged it out on I-5 through L.A.  We crafted our departure time to minimize the traffic encountered, but L.A. is L.A.  We hit the predictable slow spots in the center of the city where there were only 2 lanes and then again at major freeway junctions.  But, we made it home by 1500hrs to discover that our house now has a major ant infestation.

This was perhaps the best trip ever.  Despite our 4 day mechanical breakdown and a couple other minor events, the trip was smooth as silk.  We had good weather nearly every day and only encountered off-road mud when we elected to deal with it (i.e. we were never force-fed a muddy road).

Many thanks  to the good friends that hosted us at their homes, it was great to see you all.

And in closing, I have to say that the high point of our trip was the White Rim Trail followed closely by Bob and Sandy's Barn Dance.  The trail was scenic and tough, but the Barn Dance was awesome.  I had forgotten how much fun something like that can be.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2014, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.