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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Coastal Road Trip

So after saying goodbye to Jessica's family we headed south along the 101. Our total trip was 1400 miles from Reno to Reno and only 10 miles were on the interstate. We hit three national parks, four or five national forests, and a couple state parks. It was a part of the country I hadn't explored before and I can't wait to go back!

Our first stop was pretty quick just a few miles south of Yachats at a massive Spruce. It was a couple of hundred years old and the roots held it off the ground so you could crawl under it. From there we went south and stopped at a pull out that over looked a bay and also had seals laying on the rocks.

There was a group of people all taking the same picture so I couldn't resist getting a picture of my own. The view was spectacular, so I can't blame them.

From there we went further south and stopped by the sand dunes on the coast. It seemed kind of odd to have such large dunes next to an ocean. We walked down to the beach and were the only ones there. There was endless beach and no one in sight. Jessica could have stayed all day, but we kept going.

As we went down the coast we could see more rocks in the surf. They looked great with the water around them. We stopped for a bite to eat at a pull out and the view was un-describable.

That night we wanted to stay at the Gold Bluffs campground, but it was filled up so we stayed at Mill Creek, north of the Redwoods NP. It was a neat campground in an old forest that was logged. All the massive stumps were there, and you could imagine what the trees must have been like. Some were 7 to 10 feet in diameter.

The next morning we got up and snagged a site at Gold Bluffs in the morning and spent the rest of the day napping and relaxing. We did the little mile hike to Fern Canyon which was really neat and very green.

Back at the parking lot, I was surprised to see a herd of Elk cow's and their calfs. I really didn't believe that Elk would be so close to the ocean, and these were less then 100 feet from the beach.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. I dipped my feet in the water, and it was pretty cold.

The next day it was all about the redwoods. We went to the Tall Trees Grove and then over to the Ladybird Johnson Grove (surprised to hear it was actually designated by Nixon). It was a lot of looking up and being amazed at the size of the trunks. It's hard to appreciate that the trees are 300 feet tall without a good reference.

A few trees had their bases burnt out by fires, but were still healthy standing trees. Crawling in one was pretty neat, some you could essentially live in. It is how I imagined the book "My Side of the Mountain." One of the info signs said that settlers used the burnouts to hold their fowl in.

We found the bull elk in Elk Prarie that afternoon, there are actually four elk in this picture.

The next day we left the Redwoods and headed to Lassen NP. We took all the backroads and didn't see a straight mile until Redding. It was a fun drive, but made Jessica sick after awhile. I had a great time driving my car and we got to see more streams, valleys and elk on the way. We stopped by a vineyard up in the mountains. It had a great view down a valley overlooking it's large green yard. Unfortunately no picture.

When we got to Lassen it was pouring rain, but we found a campsite before it was too dark. In the morning we got up and stopped by King's Canyon Falls before heading back to Winnemucca. I was a surprised at how much snow was still around at 7,000 feet.

The last stop on the way out was a boiling mud pot off the road. Lassen last went off in 1918 and there is still a fair bit of geothermal activity.

Here is the basic route we took:

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Here are the picture locations

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Yachats, OR

Jessica's sister, Chelsea, was graduating from Oregon State after taking classes online, and was getting married in the same trip. So her family rented a house in Yachats, OR and Jessica and I made the trip.

I met Jessica in Reno on Wednesday and we made the 12 hour drive up on Thursday. It could have been shorter, but we took the route with only ten miles on the interstate. On the way up we stopped by Crater Lake, but it was a cloudy.

Chelsea and Doyle have an adorable son named Aiden. The first day we all went down to the beach and played in the sand. Aiden had a great time, but couldn't stop himself from wanting to taste everything including eating the sand.

Friday we ran errands in Newport and stopped by the Rogue brewery. Saturday was the graduation, that I didn't make the trip for, and Sunday was exploring Yachats.

That night we went and watched the sunset at Devil's Churn as the tide was coming in and it was beautiful. We even saw a seal come up and give us a look in the churn.

Then Monday was the big wedding day. It was a lot of fun having the entire wedding party staying at the same house and hanging out. It certainly made scheduling a little easier. Aiden got a tux that was all kinds of wrong sizes for him, but I guess that's what you get for a two year old. The girls hung out in the master room getting their hair done and drinking champagne.

But in the end it came off without a hitch. Chelsea and Doyle chose a most perfect spot to be married. It is an over look on Cape Perpetua in a stone hut that was first built by the CCC. It has great views of the coast line and overlooks the ocean. The ceremony was officiated by their brother Jonathan and the entire thing took about ten minutes. The views were gorgeous and the pictures were fantastic.

And Aiden was adorable.

From there we went down to the seaside to take a few more pictures.

Thankfully the professional will have a better pictures then me! The reception was at a restaurant that overlooked the bay. They opened just for us to be there, it was fun having the entire place to ourselves and the food was delicious. Afterwards we went down and had a fire on the beach, Chelsea was still in her wedding gown.

So Tuesday was the last full day together. We had a terrifically lazy morning, then went exploring to the south in the afternoon. We checked out some tidal pools with crabs and starfish. Then went down to where another river met the ocean, and finally we went on a hike. Aiden demanded that we push im in his stoller like a racecar. It wore out all the guys pretty fast.

The next day we all went different ways. Jessica and I headed south on the 101 for a five day road trip home.

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