Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Thursday, May 12, 2016

An Adventure, No Matter the Length

Tall Ship Days @ Coos Bay, OR
Day 3 [Conclusion]

Though I was still up for more adventuring, when we woke up at 6:30 in the morning I could tell that in the short period that we had been traveling that it was a bit more intense on my companions then we originally anticipated. For those wondering what I mean, normally when we travel up to Washington state, we take I-5 and it takes us 2 days to get there. Yes we miss a LOT of things along the way and don't get a chance to explore but the journey is relatively quick. The route that we had taken up to that point was, though short in appearance on a map, felt twice as long due to the constant twists and turns along with only being able to go 10 to 45mph. Due to this, it took us 2 days just to get to Oregon. So collectively we agreed that for this time around we should cut across Oregon, catch I-5 and head back down to California. Though internally just a smidgen disappointed that we had to cut the trip short, I was glad that this time around we had no plans to begin with and that I got to see things that I hadn't before.

7:53am - Coos Bay, OR
Tug Boats Awaiting Repairs @ Coos Bay, OR

Checking out of the hotel we were at, we grabbed something for breakfast along with some gas but there was one thing that I was determined to do before we left. I had discovered that Coos Bay had a couple of ships in their harbor for their Tall Ships Days. The sign that was up had said that the historical vessels would only be there until May 15th so I wasn't about to miss the opportunity to take at least a few pictures of them along with the various tug boats that were available. So of course I ventured around the pier armed with my camera and took as many pictures as I could before we piled into the vehicle and made our way. The plan was to cut across the state from our general location over to I-5.

9:47am - Sutherlin, OR
Cliff side Vegetation 

Jokes of course occurred as did the battle with the radio to find something to listen to which wouldn't end up having a ton of static due to our mostly remote location. We couldn't help but be amused over our uncanny ability to stumble across yet another batch of road work along the way. Of course I took the opportunity while being at a stand still to take a few pictures of the plant life next to us before we had to move along. After a scenic drive along the Umpqua River, watching the morning sun filter through the leaves of the trees along the way then roaming the rolling hills and passing through small communities, we eventually reached Sutherlin. Topping off the tank and stretching our limbs, we checked the map just to be sure we were on track with our journey before getting onto I-5 while aiming for the California border. Along the way, we marveled at the amount of snow on one of the peeks we were passing. We couldn't tell if it was White Rock Mountain or Battle Mountain but it was quite lovely.

12:42pm  - Californian Border

Cliff side Vegination 2
We've entered California several times before from both Oregon and Nevada so we were prepared for the usual list of questions: Do you have any produce? Are you bringing in any plants from another state? Do you have any drugs? Do you have any weapons? You know, the usual line up of inquiries
before they allow you to pass through the border into the state. I'm not quite sure if we caught the guy on an off day or what but all he did was look at our plates, told us to have a nice day and let us through. The literal interaction with the man was maybe 15 seconds, if that. So onward we went, though collectively confused. We joked that it was because we were Californians and he was just welcoming back one of his own. It wasn't long before we saw the familiar majestic form of Mt. Shasta. It had been quite some time since we had seen that much snow on its peak so we were actually quite thrilled with the site. Of course, like in usual Californian fashion, we quickly ended up in traffic as crews worked on repairing the roads before the Summer vacationers began their trek to our more northern neighbors.

2:55pm - Redding, CA

Nearing the Californian Border
There is a joke that we have whenever coming back from a trip and that is whenever we do return, the state welcomes us by being on fire. With unseasonable warm temperatures as we made our decent through the valley, we were greeted by a fire near one of the towns we were passing. Of course one of us had to go ahead and make the comment of "Ah, mother's milk" as they breathed in deeply. This was of course greeted by a round of laughter and comments about how the state wasn't even in its official Summer month yet and it was already catching fire. Reaching Redding to fill up on gas, we realized that by the time we hit Sacramento, we would be hitting the evening traffic. That was when the feeling of dread began to fill us since we knew what kind of mayhem we would face once we entered the area.

5:15pm - Sacramento, CA

Mt. Shasta - Shasta, CA
Just as we feared, once we reached downtown Sacramento, we were absorbed into the blob that was the evening rush hour traffic. Honestly I have no idea why it's even called rush hour when we were
literally sitting in our vehicle inching along while large expanses of the highway was at nearly a stand still. If it was any other time of the day, we would make it back to Elk Grove in about half an hour. Due to the traffic, it took us over an hour to even make it to the Elk Grove city limits. Opting to grab dinner since none of us had the energy to cook, we returned home and relaxed from our trip. Of course, we're making plans for future trips but that will wait for a later time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Journey Continues

Fort Bragg, CA
Day 2
Like any first night of traveling and spending the evening in a new location, none of us got much
sleep. Though quiet, peaceful and comfortable, we were still used our own beds and familiar sounds of our house so couldn't get a very restful sleep. Collectively giving up on even attempting to sleep, we got up at 6:30am and started to get ourselves for another day of traveling along the coast as we aimed for the Oregon border.

7:32am - Fort Bragg, CA

Checking out of the motel, we packed our vehicle and we were on the road once again. We took the opportunity to do a little coastal sightseeing by wandering a few of the beaches. Of course we all knew that we needed to reach Highway 101 at some point before noon. Might I add that I do not do well with extremely
twisted roads and a lot of up and down movement? What kind of road is Highway 1? Yeeaaahhh. Though absolutely lovely and scenic, it felt like a test of endurance for me. Even with that little draw back, the scenery was lovely and it helped that my delightful traveling companions kept me laughing through out the entire trip.

Morning Fog Near Eureka, CA
9:17am - Leggett, CA

Reaching the small town of Leggett for gas, we couldn't help but cheer when we realized that we were literally less then a block away from Highway 101. Having a friendly chat with the owner and singular operator of the only gas station in town, we discovered that the man basically also ran a couple of the other tiny establishments that were next to the gas station. He offered us a bit of advise on what would be good to see along the way before wishing us luck on our journey. With one more well deserved stretch, we piled into our vehicle and a way we went. Along the way up the road, we discovered that some of the coastal morning mist had been rolling through which was giving some of the areas an other-wordly appearance.

Gold Beach, OR
2:19pm - Crescent City, CA

After a quick stop at Eureka for lunch, we made our way to the last major city before the California/Oregon border. Of course I went ahead and prepared for more inspiration along the way. It took us a bit but we eventually reached Cresent City. Finding a place to get some gas, we made plans on what our next stop. While going through the border into Oregon, I couldn't help but notice one of the signs that were on the side of the road. Much like California, there was a sign warning of the fees for littering. Unlike it's larger neighbor which has a fee of $1000 for an offense, Oregon had stated a fee of $6250. I couldn't help but blink in shock. It would explain so much as to why there was nearly no trash on the side of the road once in Oregon compared to what I usually see within California. My companions pointed out that it would be nice if our state had slightly higher fees when it came to littering and polluting so that seeing such dumping along our roadways would decrease. I do have to agree with their logic on this one but I don't think we'll be seeing such changes for quite a while, if at all.

3:38pm - Gold Beach, OR
Gold Beach, OR

Taking a moment to enjoy the scenery, we stopped off at the lovely Gold Beach. The surf was rolling in and the wind nearly blew us off our feet a couple of times but even with the sting of the sand and salt water against my skin, I enjoyed the entire experience. There was something soothing yet primal listening to the massive waves crash into the pebble decorated sandy shore while standing there having the gusts of wind whip my hair around. It's such an odd feeling that I find difficult to explain to others since I'm not sure if there is anything to truly explain the sensation.

Drift Wood in Stream, Gold Beach, OR
While we were there, I did notice that the water that was flowing into the ocean from a small nearby creek was crystal clear. I found myself mesmerized watching to the water rush along the pebbles that lined the pathway to the ocean. Even with some of the drift wood that was in the stream, they just added to the beauty that I couldn't pull myself away from for several moments. Completely satisfied with the experience, I trekked back to the vehicle for the last bit of the journey to the agreed upon location we would be staying the night.

5:53pm - Coos Bay, OR

Tired, stiff, and ready for something to eat, our first goal was to find a place to stay for the night.
Spotting a few things along the way to the hotel that I am hoping to take pictures of the following morning, I took mental notes and made sure that my companions knew that I wanted to get images before we left the area in the morning. What could it possibly be? You'll just have to stay tuned!

Monday, May 9, 2016

May the Adventure Begin!

Moss covered branches - Muir Beach, CA
Day 1 
Even with all of the preparation, we still ended up with a few things that we needed to do first thing in the morning such as clean the last of the dishes that were in the sink from the night before and tossing out the trash. Just the standard type of thing, really. Once everything was locked up and checked, we topped off the tank in our vehicle and were on the road.

7:58am - Starting location: Elk Grove, CA

The traffic wasn't too bad going through Sacramento save for the typical Monday morning commute for those going into town for work and school. By Vallejo, however, it was the attack of the Bay Area commuters. Taking the bridge that takes drivers through Highway 37 then to Highway 101 south so that we could catch Highway 1, it took a bit to actually reach our first destination.
Horse & Rider - Muir Beach, CA

10:47am - 11:26am Muir Beach, CA

We decided to end up enjoying a bit of an explore around Muir Beach to stretch our legs which in
itself became a mini adventure. Slowly wandering along, we hiked along some of the paths and I was taking photos like mad. So much inspiration. So many different textures and various forms. Was able to see an enjoy creatures and plants that I would normally not have a chance to see in my area along. It would take us a bit due to how twisted the coastal roads that it took a bit of time to find our next stop.

Starling - Fort Ross, CA
12:18pm - 1pm Point Reyes Station, CA

I might want to mention that not only was this stop for lunch but it was basically our first meal of the day. Not something that I would suggest ever doing, especially when the only you had previously was a granola bar before a hike. We came across a rather non-assuming Mexican restaurant which also had pizza, sandwiches, doubled as a small general store and had a pool table for the evenings and weekends. Large portions. Reasonable prices. Oh and I should mention that the staff were absolutely friendly. Devouring our meals, we trekked to our next destination with well filled bellies.

Children Learning History - Fort Ross, CA
3:03pm - 4:11pm Fort Ross, CA

Since this entire trip has nothing that is planned, that means that we get to impulsively wander to a
location to explore and have absolutely no regrets for it. One such stop was for Fort Ross, an 1800s Russian settlement which had hiking routes around the area, the remains of the fort which could be explored (along with encouraging school children to learn the history of the area by being part of the reinactors for a short time), and a small museum. It was an absolutely peaceful environment with an area rich with history. It's certainly a place that I would recommend to visit.

Chapel at Fort Ross, CA
6:32pm Fort Bragg, CA

After a long day of twists and turns along cliffs and through gulches, we finally ended up stopping for the night at a peaceful motel on the outskirts of Fort Bragg. Looking through the images that I had taken, I was a tad disappointed that some of the images I had taken were blurred either by the lens not being completely focused or due to some of the coastal mist that was moving through at the time. However, I did discover that I had several nice shots that I hope to use as references at a later time.

Now to prepare myself for Day 2 of my adventure through the countryside. Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Giving into the Call

As a child, we would constantly move to different states and even countries due to my father being in the military. With each move, I would hate leaving the previous location behind but there was another sensation which I experienced that I could never figure out how to describe. It wasn't until I was older and we would do trips that I came to understand what the feeling was. Yes there was the fear of the unknown but at the same time, there was complete exhilaration. The thrill of exploring a new, strange environment and entering into a world that only the locals get to see on a regular basis. The chance to learn about things of the area. As I've become older, I found the perfect word to describe this feeling that I regularly feel to go out and experience something new in the world:

I do get the occasional case of wanderlust ever so often but luckily I'm in a household where it's completely acceptable since the other members here with me get it as well. How do we handle it when we need to answer the call once the insatiable need is too much to ignore? Road trips! Usually we have a set destination for where we need to go, be it to visit family who are out of state of traveling to festival. Usually.

Recently I made the announcement that we would be going on a road trip this coming week. However, the trip that we're about to go on has no destination. The only thing we know is the route which is following Highway 1 up along the West Coast of the United States and continue along once it changes to Highway 101. Past that, we've agreed that we'll be winging it. What does that mean? There are at least 5 possible ways that we have in consideration as to how we'll be returning home but we haven't come up with an actual plan. Yup! That means that this trip is going to be a complete adventure. I will be keeping updates of this little journey so perhaps along the way, I will find some inspiration for future pieces along the way.