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Day 6 – Ding Ding Ding

Things I forgot to mention in yesterdays’ post: I took a random detour when I saw a sign reading “Elk Viewing Area” and ended up taking an amazing 3 mile hike through a redwood forest. The views were unbelievable, there were giant ferns and redwood trees everywhere, and about halfway through there was a waterfall. Apparently this was the forest where part of Jurassic Park was filmed, it was pretty damn cool..

And on to today.. The original plan was to haul ass and make an early arrival to Newport Oregon, a nice little town on the coast, and also home of the Rogue brewery. I planned to spend the night at the South Beach campground and pitch my tent on the beach. Everything started out according to plan, I got up earlyish and left the hotel before 9, got my morning coffee at “Dutch Brothers” and hit the rode. I quickly realized that, with the two lane / backwoods highway, it wasn’t going to be a quick trip. I headed west toward the coast, passing through Oregon Dunes National Park, and a number of small towns along the way. The Dunes were huge, and spotted with pine trees, creating quite a breathtaking backdrop to my morning drive. I reached the coast making decent enough time, and once again joined the 101-North. After about 40 miles I decided to pull over at a nice spot overlooking the ocean and dunes and make myself some lunch. After lunch is when the problems began..

After finishing lunch, I started up the car and prepared to hit the road. The only problem was that the annoying dinging sounds you here when a door is ajar on your car, didn’t go away. At this point, I was about 50 miles from my destination, and apparently about 140 miles from the nearest Hyundai dealership. I had to make a choice, and decided my best option was to keep pushing north and spend the night at Newport as planned, then shoot over to Eugene in the morning and see about getting the car fixed. After putting on another 30 miles or so (continuing north), I realized that Eugene was not only West, but also South of me. I also came to the realization that the wind had increased drastically throughout the day and was now pushing at well over 30 mph, couple that with the fact that it was 55 degrees outside mid-day and the idea of camping on the beach didn’t seem like my best bet. After a bit more research I came to find that the nearest motel 6 (the cheapest motel I’ve found to date) was in Eugene, sooo I decided that I would turn around and head back to Eugene for the night, then push on to Portland for the morning. Loooong story short, I drove another 120 miles back to Eugene (with the extremely annoying ding ding ding going off the ENTIRE way), bringing the grand total for the day to damn near 250 miles, and bringing me a whopping 45 miles North from where I started my day in Grants Pass.

When I got to Eugene I contacted the dealership who told me they were swamped today and tomorrow, but if I bring the car in and leave it with them bright and early tomorrow they will try to squeeze me in at some point.. After checking into the Motel I headed over the Eugene Rogue Publich House for some dinner and much needed beer. The bartender told me that she was going to be heading to Newport in a few days to work at the Rogue brewery there, and what an amazing town it was, etc. etc. etc. Not exactly what I wanted to hear after coming just 10-20 miles shy of making it there earlier in the day, but the food and beer were great, and I had a good time overall.

Eugene is a rather interesting town. Very small feeling, with lots of transiants, bums, and hippies wandering about the streets. Most everyone seems to ride their bike around, and it has a very big college-town vibe to it. It seems like a rather large “small town” overall. I’m back at the motel now watching some tube, kicking back, and getting ready to hit the rack for the night. Tomorrow, hopefully, I will get my car fixed and push on to Portland. I think I’m gonna stick to main highways for a few days, I’m getting a bit sick of the back and forth winding, and extremely slow speeds of the backroad highways, not to mention the insane amount of construction on Portland highways. It seems like every 10 miles there someone holding a “slow” or even worse “stop” sign which brings traffic to a stand still for large amounts of time.. Thats all for now.

Day 5 – Oregon

I got off to an early start this morning, waking up around 6:30, catching a hot shower (and learning a serious lessong about using pay showers, the trick being to have quarters and make sure the water doesn’t run out half-way through leaving you covered in soap and forcing you to run back across the campground in 40 degree weather for more change), and enjoying a nice bowl of oatmeal before hitting the road… The morning started with a nice drive through Redwood National Park, cutting in and out of the the forest with intermediary stretches of coastline to break things up. I continued pressing on through the morning and stopped for lunch in Crescent City before making the final push across the Oregon border.

From Crescent City I took scenic Highway 199 North to Selma Oregon. From there, I cut off the main highway and into the backwoods of Rogue National Park. I had originally planned on spending the night in the park, but once I got there, I decided it just wasn’t what I was looking for and opted to head back to something a bit more developed. After studying my maps, consulting google, and putting in some thought, I decided to head to Grants Pass (the closest place I could find with a semi-developed campground). Once I arrived in grants pass I found that the campground was located directly next to Highway 5, and the only other viable camping spot was not any better. At this point I had been on the road for over 12 hours and decided to leave the tent in the trunk and conceded defeat, opting to stay at the local Motel 6 for the night instead.

I grabbed a quick bite to eat, checked into the motel, and prepared to call it a night. Chrissy called me just as I was pulling into the motel, and mentioned her fear of “bed bugs,” filling me in on some batlles her sister has faced with them, and “suggesting” (I use quotes around suggest because chrissy doesn’t really ever suggest as much as repeat her point over and over until I concede or at least begrudgingly agree to abide by it haha, love ya babe). With my new found fear of nasty hotel beds in hand, I took her suggestions and lifted the mattress to check for signs of the lil critters. I didn’t find any bed bugs, but I did find a porno mag (an apparent remnant from a previous tenant). It was a gross and rather amusing surprise to say the least.

I had originally planned on heading up to Eugene tomorrow and checking out the Rogue brewery, but I have since come to find that the Rogue location in Eugene is a “Public house” (basically a bar with lots of Rogue on tap), and not the brewery itself. But from what I’ve gathered, Newport Oregon has an actual Rogue brewery, as well as some nice beachside campgrounds, so the basic gameplan is to head to Newport, hope to get a campsite, and spend the day hanging on the beach, drinking rogue, and exploring the town. I really want to get a run in tomorrow too, so hopefully I can get an early start, arrive at Newport by lunch, and secure a campsite.

Day 4 – An epic fail

Today started off pretty good. I got a decent nights sleep, woke up relatively early, had a very good breakfast, and got on the road before 10.. I spent the next 8 hours very slowly creeping my way up the 1-North. It’s an exceptionally beautiful part of the coast, with its’ pristine shorelines, massive cliffs, and winding roads; however, this comes with one major drawback: it takes FOREVER to get anywhere. All those meandering curves mean you top out at around 30 mph, and all those beautiful seaside towns mean that you hit a lot of slow(er) spots.. All that aside though, the drive was amazing! Early on in the day I stopped at Muir Beach (named after John Muir, the famed explorer/camper extraordinaire) and took a walk down the coast. The view was picturesque, and even better was all the tide pools and marine tiny marine life that I saw. There were starfish of all colors at every turn, and small crabs that you could only catch a glimpse of as they scurried off to hide under a rock.

After the beach, I continued on up the 1 and eventually started curving around Drakes Bay, which is apparently one of the largest producers/catchers/no idea of clams and oysters. I was told by a few people that I needed to stop there for lunch and have some bbq’ed oysters, and dammit I planned to do it! I came across the first oyster spot, and exactly as I was told there were cars lined up everywhere and people lining up to get their oysters. The problem with this was that there were cars everywhere and no where to park. Couple this with the fact that you’re cruising along a highway and have traffic climbing up your ass, and you really can’t just slow down to peep for a spot. So in all my genius, I decided to cruise on to the next spot and resolve to stop there (where there would certainly have to be more parking). Long story short, 5 restaurants, and 5 failures later I passed the end of Drakes bay and the highway started curving inland. I missed my chance at bbq oysters, but did end up finding a nice fish joint farther north that served a pretty decent ahi sandwhich..

The rest of the drive was beautiful, but rather uneventful. I pushed on for a good 8 and a half hours to try and reach the Lost Coast before dusk. I have been reading about the Lost Coast for a few months now and was truly excited to spend the night there. It has black sand beaches, and breathtaking views of the ocean, and the campsite was situated right up against the coast. Toward the final leg of my drive, the highway once again turned inland, pushing into a redwood forest, which while extremely breathtaking, was also very slow to drive through. The last 14 miles through the forest took me well over an hour, but I finally came out the other side at Legget with plenty of time to get to my campsite and setup before dark. That’s when the EPIC failure happened. The directions I had from my National Geographic camping guide stated that I needed to head west on Highway 1 from Legget for 14 miles to the campground at the Lost Coast. The problem with this was that after Legget Highway 1 becomes Highway 101, so the directions made no sense. Luckily I had cell service in Legget and was able to pull up google navigation on my phone. Thats when I found out that there was a turn that was not mentioned in the guide book that occurred 2 miles prior to when the highway turned forest. What this meant was that if I wanted to go to the campground at the lost coast I would have to drive well over an hour (partially in the dark) through the crazy windy forest roads then back even further before finding the turnoff and taking the final 14 miles to get to the campsite. I decided that this wasn’t the best idea, and found a state park camground only a mile down the road. This is when epic (state) fail happened..

I arrive at the campground and was greeted by the attendant who told me that the fee for a single night of camping was $35.00! Mind you the normal fee for such a site is anywhere from 6 to 12 dollars per night. He informed me that the state of california had drastically rasied its’ fees in order to try and make more money to fund other activities. The problem with this is that I have planned on staying at such campsites most nights over the next few weeks. After a few more discussions with the camp attendant, a guy at the gas station down the street, and a few fellow campers, I’ve decided that tomorrow I’m going to high-tail it to Oregon where the camping fees are supposed to still be quite low, and just hope for the best from there.

End of the day, sitting at my $35 campsite, around a fire built with my $7 bundle of wood, enjoying my $2 box of trader joes pad thai noodles, and my $6 bottle of Lost Coast Rasberry Brown Ale, updating my blog and trying to figure out ways to stretch some dollars and make this trip last.. Also being eaten alive by moquitos. Note to self, buy some bug repellant. Gonna make it an early night and hopefully get an early start tomorrow…

Day 3 – San Francisco

Today was spent touring about San Francisco and checking out the different neighborhoods, restaurants, bars, and other sites that need to be seen. Aaron and I got up around 9 and headed down to Philz Coffee (an amazing coffee joint and a personal favorite) for a cup of joe. With our coffee secure, we continued down our path, taking the bart down to the embarcadaro. We spent some time taking photos, and walking around the farmers market, then decided it was time for lunch. We stopped at a booth in the farmers market and ordered an mahi mahi sandwhich and a steak sandwhich. We decided to split the sandwhiches so we could each try them both, and I gotta say, they were pretty damn good! Sandwhiches completed, we continued to wander around the farmers market. We found some of the most delicious peaches I have ever seen, and each picked on up for dessert.

After lunch at the embarcadero we toward the warf, then cut into the city a bit more and checked out china town and a few other neighborhoods. Somehow we managed to stumble into the Rogue Nation Public House, and boy am I glad we did! We stopped in and had a double chocolate stout on cask, and it was AMAZING! Met some really cool people at the bar. The bartender, who’s name has escaped me,  was telling us about his plans to open a business making pickles and saur kraut. After finishing our beers at Rogue, we wandered through china town, then down toward the stadium before catching the bart back to the mission.

Tonight we went to a great local chinese restaurant, then went for a drink before meeting up with Sean Cody over at Toronado. Toronado wasn’t exactly what I expected. Overall the staff was pretty friendly, but the beer selection was a bit lacking. That being said we all managed to find a beer that worked and went about making ourselves merry! It was really good to see Sean, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a chance to sit down and shoot the shit and just catch up.

Overall it was a really good day. I got to see lots of the city, tasty lots of great food, drink some good beers, and hang out with some good friends!  …Tomorow: Driving to the Sinkeyone National Park and camping for the night.

Day 2 – San Francisco

Yesterday morning I enjoyed an amazing breakfast with Jon and a few of his friends at Crushcakes in Santa Barbara. Along with the most artistic lattes I have ever seen, we also sampled their Red Velvet pancakes, which simply cannot be explained with words. After breakfast and a few quick goodbyes, I hit the road to San Francisco. As an added bonus Jon decided to jump in and catch a ride back to Hollister (where his folks live).

We started off taking the 101-North to King City, where we took a detour and jumped on Highway 25, winding our way through 60 some miles of scenic farm country before popping out at Hollister. I dropped Jon off at his destination, and once again joined the 101 for the last leg of my journey into San Francisco.

I arrived at Aaron’s house around 7:45PM, and thanks to some good parking karma, was able to find a parking space relatively close to his apartment. After unloading my gear, and throwing on some clean clothes, we headed out for dinner. Aaron took me to La Taqueria, for some epic tacos and a couple of Negro Modelo’s. Afterward we grabbed a few beers and some local spots in the Mission (Aaron’s hood), then headed back and called it a night.

Day 1 – Santa Barbara

Well I’ve officially got the first night of the trip under my belt. The day started off quite well. I got some road snacks from trader joes, got myself a full tank of gas, and started putting some miles behind me. When I got near San Clemente I decided that, in the spirit of the road trip, I would take the road less traveled and headed down the Pacific Coast Highway (as opposed to taking the 5 North). I ended up cruising the PCH all the way through Huntington Beach before deciding that maxing out at 20mph and hitting a stop light every two blocks was just not going to work anymore. So in the pursuit of a bit more speed, I got myself onto the 405 where I was promptly met by LA traffic. Over the course of the next 2 hours I think I did a max of 15 miles.

I stopped off in Topanga Canyon (the first chance I’d really had the opportunity to pull off since getting on the 405), and was quite surprised to find it was 107 degrees outside! After getting myself a much needed red bull I, begrudgingly, plunged  myself back into the nightmare that was the highway. The last 50 miles of the trip took me another two hours and I finally pulled into Santa Barbara just before 7.

I met up with my Craig (a good friend from back home in Minnesota who’s been living in SB for the last 6 years or so) and his roomate Ryan at Enterprise Fish Co. for dinner and a few beers. The food was great, the beer was refreshing, the “liquid cocaine” and “Moose Knuckle” shots were unnecessary but delicious, and the conversation was quite enjoyable. It was really good to be able to catch up with an old friend. After dinner we grabbed a six pack of Firestone Solace (made by Santa Barbaras own Firestone Brewery) and headed back to craigs place. The rest of the night was spent listening to music and generally kicking back.

Let the roadtrip begin!

10 minutes before heading out the door to get my roadtrip started, I decided I should probably get a blog setup so I’d have a place to share my adventure.. So here it is! The Epic Roadtrip of Awesomeness blog!