10/15/05 to 10/20/05
Saturday, 10-15, was still gloomy and rainy in Florence, OR., so much so that
we didn't even want to go outside to pack up and leave.  We were scheduled to
stay another week, but decided the first break of rain we would head out.  
Luckily our chance came on Monday, 10-17.  We headed south on 101 in the
first sunshine we had seen in a while.  We actually felt like we were on vacation
again.  The further we went, the warmer it got.  And the coast was beautiful.  We
stopped many times to look at the ocean.
When we got into California, we started driving through the amazing Redwood
Forest.  We left 101 south of Eureka and took the Avenue of the Giants which
winds through a forest of huge redwoods.  It was only about 4:30 or 5:00, but it
was very dark under the huge trees.
We had pulled over to take the above picture, then we walked further into the
forest.  We found a huge tree, biggest one I've ever seen.  It had two tops, so I'm
not sure if it had been two trees and just grew together, or if it had been topped
and so split out into two tops.  Being that it was so far off the road, we like to
think that we discovered it.  It was huge y'all!
At 7:30 we could no longer see, it was so dark in there, so we headed to the
State Park Campground.  It was also under the trees, with a narrow road winding
through.  Since we couldn't see, we pulled forward (no way we were backing up
between the huge trees in the pitch black) into the first space we found (which
turned out to be a tent only space.) and went to bed.  Tuesday morning, 10-18,
we got up bright and early to see the rest of the forest, but it was still dark.  Finally
at about 9:00 the sun started making its way down through the canopy and we
headed out to find the drive-thru tree.  You've seen the picture, with the VW bug in
the tree, well that one fell down in 1991, but there are others.  The one we found
only had a clearance of 7' by 7', and we were pretty sure the RV wouldn't fit, so
we just walked through.  After our discovery of monster tree the night before, the
drive-thru tree was pretty disappointing.  I bet we could have driven the RV
through the tree we found, if there had been a hole in it of course.  Anyway, they
say this drive-thru tree is 5000 years old.  How old do you suppose that makes
our tree?
After the drive-thru tree, we headed to Cloverville where there is another NACO
park.  We've got a site in the warm sunshine, under trees that are harassed by
beautiful red-headed woodpeckers.  They take acorns and shove them into every
hole and crevice in the trees.  There are huge cracks in the poor tree limbs where
they have shoved in so many that the tree just splits.  We think the woodpeckers
are pretty, but the park is trying to get rid of them.  Apparently they do the same
acorn in the hole trick to the wood buildings too.  (I have other pictures of the
woodpeckers, but when they get to drilling a hole, their head goes to fast and
always turns out blurry in the pictures.)
There is also a huge family a quail that live in the brush around here.  Richard
keeps telling me how they scratch at the ground like chickens and how the small
ones pick on each other like chickens.  I think he is ready for more chickens.  

This NACO park is on the Russian River, so first thing Wednesday morning we
headed down to look at the river.  I had seen an access road to the river on our
way to the park the day before, so we loaded up the soar and headed upriver 5
miles to put in.  The river was pretty low, and it is scattered with large rocks, so
we knew we would have to struggle a little, but we had no idea what we were in
for.  We made it through a few little rapids, then we lost control approaching a
huge rock (hey, we're out of practice, it's been months since we've had this thing
out, it's been months since it's been warm enough!) and ended up sideways to
the rock, right up against it.  No problem really, I though it was funny, but as I
turned around to look at Richard and have a little laugh with him, I realized he did
not think it was funny.  He was leaning half out of the canoe, hanging on, with a
look on his face that told me immediately that we were going over.  Now, if you
remember back to the Coast Rica page, when Richard fell out of the canoe
because we had stopped parallel to a rock wall and the water had surged up
under the back end of the canoe.  Same thing, but this time he held on so instead
of him falling out, we flipped over.  I went running down stream to catch the paddle
(we don't know which of us experienced canoers let go of their paddle, but it's a
big falling out of the boat no-no to let go of the paddle) and our water jug and
Richard's life jacket which he hadn't tied in.  We were soaked.  Remember how I
said it was warm, well it didn't feel so warm in wet clothes.  So I stripped down to
my bikini, and Richard took his shirt of, and we spread them out on the canoe to
dry as we went down the rest of the way.  (This didn't work however, as we got
stuck on rocks and spun around on the way down, they got thrown into the bottom
of the boat for safe keeping.)  We had a great time anyway, and enjoyed the
California sunshine.  
got us,
Today, Thursday 10-20, we enjoyed more warm sunny weather and took the
motorcycle out for a ride through acres and acres of grape vines.  We're in
Alexander Valley, which is where all the big growers are.  People have grapes
growing right up to their front door.  I've already told Richard that although I do
want grapes, I do not want 48 acres of them.  Tomorrow we will go to the SOAR
company headquarters and trade in our boat for a shorter version (maybe better
to get around those rocks) then maybe we'll hit a few wineries for some tastings.  
(No, not in the boat, in the truck!)  I bet they don't have cranberry wine!