Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Northwest Passage

Originally posted in rv.net 10?15/09

OK, I am definitely out of my element here. How far out? Well as you can see I'm crowding poor Jefe in his element and then heading on up to Camper Jeff's and Tizi's elements up in Washington on our way to Vancouver Island, a long way out of our element on this trip. Now we've met the Farctics' in our element, Nemo and Steve-in-29 also in a brief meeting in Utah. And I hope to be adding many more friendly elements to this table over time. Also, catagories may change without warning or notification. Please pay your balance in full to avoid any unnecessary charges. Sorry, trying to do 2 things at once here, pay bills and write. Good thing I'm not chewing gum.

I also plan to try a more serious trip report this time. How serious? Well as serious as running for this outhouse with legs crossed...

Only to find...

Now THAT'S serious!

Starting this trip I was thinking of a movie title as the theme, "The Hunt For Red October",
as we were heading north to see fall colors we don't get here in the desert. As the trip started though, other movie and song titles would take on new meaning.

We are first headed to see Jefe in his element of the High Sierras and seven hours into the drive when we become "Brokedown Palace". Noticed an almost flat tire while getting gas which turned out to be my third cracked wheel. Not forged aluminum but not strictly "pretty boys" either, coming with a 3400 lb. rating. My full size spare was already in use since waiting for my second rim to be replaced from 2 months before. As we know warranty issues are not settled quickly these days. So I ended up with a black centerline that was a display, and a huge complex at not having a set of matching wheels. There were no other ProComp wheels my size on the west coast.

Finally making it to Jefe's the next day we were treated to great hospitality and generosity. It was like meeting old friends and Mrs. Whazoo and I were wondering how often this could happen to us. First meeting the Farctics and now the Jefes with an instant meshing of the personalities was a good thing! So far we are batting a thousand here! We also discovered that we were both heading up to Vancouver Island within a day or so of each other, how do you spell serendipity? So Jefe loaded us up with maps, helped plan my next phase of the trip while Mrs. Jefe made lunch fit for a Grand Whazoo, not the mere Whazoo that I am. After a tour of Jefe's town element he directed us to his High Sierra Lake get-a-way to spend the night.

Pulling up to the lake after a rough 10 miles my steering was feeling "different". More than just a nut loose behind the wheel. While Mrs. Whazoo turned the steering I could see both wheels going in different directions. Now how a guy can bend a tie rod into an L without knowing it is beyond me. Maybe it was the front wheels coming off the ground while popping wheelies for the forest animals, I couldn't tell you. But it was "Brokedown Palace Revisited". And now we were really in a pinch, miles from pavement. At least we were level and had a nice view.

But as usual the Gods were smiling on Whazoo as I tend to get the good with the bad...CELL SERVICE! "Hello, Jefe?" What a way to finish a first date. Also as luck would have it a gentleman named Dave came by to see what all the flying expletives were about and drove me into town to get the tie rod that Jefe helped find for me. That took a full day and we decided to spend a second night at the lake, a bit more relaxed now. I was glad to not have to bother Jefe again, although on the phone I could hear him salivating at the thought of a "retrieval" on the trail. This is one guy you WANT to have with you when off roading the camper. He comes with an onboard welder, tons of experience AND a positive attitude that stops flying expletives in their tracks.

With the rise of a crescent moon...

we un-bottled our passion...

and promptly fell fast asleep. Stress will do that to a guy you know.

So ok, it wasn't really a crescent moon, but it could have been.

From Jefe's element we were going across California to the coast to see some trees, singing "Back On The Road Again". It was 2 lane the entire way and I found myself wishing for a huge Buckstop bumper, how do you spell "slow drivers"? It was almost more than the bulging vein on my forehead could take. But reaching the trees put all that out of mind as another set of expletives took their place. Not thinking I would be impressed, I mean I've seen the Grand Canyon right, I was instantly struck with something words can't express. Surely before I evolved into a desert creature, my mighty chondrial Whazoo DNA was born of this cool dark forest with trees so huge and ancient as to have been here since "The Lord Of The Ring". To me, these are the Ents.

As I stand on this ancient fallen creature of the earth I am feeling spiritual and peaceful. Then I have a terrible thought that others in the past must also have had, "Boy I bet this guy would make a lot of toothpicks!"

Finding a campground for the night it came without hookups and a $35 donation. But what a place with a "devine" type atmosphere. It gave new meaning to the phrase "can't see the camper for the trees".

Seeing this stump gave me thoughts of Kirk Douglas in "The Big Trees".

Farther on we take a side road to the Eel River. We did not see any eels though.

Our first full blown walk through the trees was like being in church as a small boy, and looking up at the much taller adult choir with their flowing robes and stately appearance.

I never knew I was married to a "tree hugger" and I don't mind a bit.

My favorite book as a kid was "My Side Of The Mountain". A young boy in New York runs away from home and lives in the hollowed out tree trunk of a live tree. I have always wanted to do that myself. It was amazing how many hollowed out trunks we did see on the trip, with the trees themselves still happily producing sap and turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. This tree also came with a back door, as did many.

This picture could be in any forest, except that it's not, it's the Redwood Forest.

I was surprised to see that my great great grandfather, a very rich man, had donated money for these trees.

From the Whazoofeller Redwood Forest we are headed for a campsite on the beach at Gold Bluffs Beach. The road in was narrow and dark, the trees being very dense. So different from the desert.

Actually, having lost a day in the Sierras was to be a good thing. As we drive in on a Sunday afternoon many people are driving out. This left us with a great camp spot on the beach. To us from the Valley of the Sun, this was pure heaven.

Two easy walks were right from camp, and the walk of the afternoon was like magic, starting off on an abandoned road.

Once again I'm thinking of "The Lord of the Ring" as we are definitely on a hobbit trail and in the thick of things.

Coming up to this bridge I was immediately thinking of Three Billy Goats Gruff, a bedtime story told to me by my Grandmother in the deep south where we Whazoos' hale from. Ends up being the Bridge of Amore, without a troll.

The next morning and we're off for a walk in the real "Fern Gully", with ferns covering the solid rock walls of this canyon. These ferns' ancestors can be traced back 25,000 years. That's a lot of dog years!

So that's it for Part 1 of this trip, with one more part coming up. I just wish my pictures could do justice to these immense trees and ferns in places under subdued light. I need to learn to use the tripod for the darker places of this earth but I am too impatient, being used to the open desert with plenty of light to make up for my lack of photographic skill.

I'll leave Part 1 here with, of course, a poem. It's a silly little poem, but like I say, these trees will leave you with a sense you never knew you had. A sense of something larger and older at work here, much like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, except that these are living things. A sense that these things should live, much much longer, protected by man. I hope that makes sense to you, it did to John D. Whazoofeller. Make that John D. Rockefeller.

Thanks for reading,
Dave Rogers

Originally posted on rv.net 10/15/09

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