It is said that “Home is where the heart is” and having been born and raised in Northern California and Southern Oregon Barb is definitely at home in this area. Over the past week and a half we have traveled from Salt Lake City to Northern California, Southern Oregon and back again.
Arriving in Redding, California we set up at Redding RV Park and headed into town to have dinner with her step mother Paula and step-sister Julie. We had not seen Paula in just over a year and it had been quite a bit longer since we had seen Julie. On the way there we drove past Barb’s Jr. High School and the fire department she worked at as a teenager. We met Paula at her work (which happens to be the same Farmers office Barb’s dad and Paula) used to work at some 20 years ago. We had a great dinner visiting and catching up.
|The site at Redding RV Park was nice but a little tight|
The following morning we packed up and headed north into Oregon to Bridgeview RV Park in Grants Pass where we visited Barb’s aunt Diana and uncle Ron at their home along the Rogue River. They have a beautifully maintained home built in the 1930’s which is right on the river.
|Our site at Bridgeview RV Park in Grants Pass|
|Our site was right on the Rogue River|
Our next visit was to Barb’s grandmother in Cave Junction. At 94 she is a truly amazing woman who lives by herself. A truly amazing woman who has led an amazing life. She gave birth to 4 children, has 8 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and 12 great great grandchildren. But what I find truly amazing about this woman is her sharp mind and her ability to remember the smallest of details. While we were visiting she recited the birthdates of all her grandchildren and as well as many of her great and great great grandchildren. She drove a pickup truck until about 6 months ago when she parked it for the last time. “There are enough crazy people on the road, they don’t need one more” she explained.
She told us stories of growing up in mining camps where her mother was a cook and how she used to come off the mountains in a buckboard and see all the buttercups blooming in the valley. Barb’s mother Carol died in 1977 at the age of 39 and grandma was amazed at how our daughter Jessica looked like Carol. We spent several hours with her and really enjoyed our time.
We fail in the picture taking category for each of these visits but here is a picture of grandma from last year next to her pick up truck.
The following day we were off to Bastendorff Beach County Park along the Oregon coast in the town of Charleston. Barb and I had spent some time here last year and absolutely loved it! The park and campground are located on a bluff overlooking the coast. When we pulled in the campground host pulled up in his golf cart and said “That’s a big rig, what site do you have?” I told him and he said “Why don’t you go up to the group area, there is no one up there and you will have the place to yourself” So up we went and we had the entire place to ourselves all week!
|The entire place to ourselves!|
|Barb chill'in by the fire|
Once you have been here there are several things you will never forget; the waves themselves sound like a distant passing freight train, constant subtle rumble in the distance, the beautiful hill country of the coast and the distant sounds of the fog horns of the coastline are actually quite comforting. Both will lull you to sleep at night if you leave your windows open.
While we were here we planned at least one activity each day. Our first adventure was crabbing! It is a great and inexpensive way to spend a day on the docks. Barb told me stories of how she, along with her mom, dad and brother used to come to these very same docks and catch crab by the gunny sack full. (Which is probably why there are not any left!). We set out 4 crab rings which consists of a smaller ring on the bottom and a much larger ring on the top, they are connected by fishnet. After securing your bait (chicken/fish) to the bottom ring you drop the ring off the pier into the water. When the trap settles on the bottom the entire trap lies flat and the crabs crawl on it to eat the bait. After about 20 minutes you pull it up which extends the net trapping the crabs! If you were lucky you would have 20+ crabs in the pot, if you are unlucky a harbor seal or sea lion will dive down, steal your bait and scatter your crab.
We started off well with lots of Dungeness Crab in each pull which included a couple of keepers (males over 5 ¾ “ across the back) along with some eater size Red Crabs. Unfortunately the seals and sea lions soon saw all the activity on the dock and came over to investigate and started stealing all our bait. They were relentless and just would not leave us alone! We caught a few more after they showed up but nothing like earlier. In the end we had about 15 crabs in the cooler, enough for a nice meal. We went crabbing again a few days later but the mammals of the bay had our number from the first minute and we got tired of feeding them in about an hour and left the docks crab-less.
We created a short 3 minute video of the crabbing and the sea lions......
The next morning it was clamming time! Clamming has to be done at low tide so you can get out to the sand flats and dig for them. The first thing you do is walk out in the flats and look for nickel sized holes in the sand and stick your finger in it! If you feel something touch your finger and move there is a clam there! Well not right there but 12-18” below there. You see they have really long necks that they extend to the surface when feeding. It is a very messy endeavor as you are down on your hands and knees digging a fairly deep hole in search of these rascals. We did manage to catch our limit and have a several meals of deep fried clam strips and a nice batch of clam chowder!
|I know there is one down there!|
|A Starfish and several Giant Green Anemones|
|Lots of Sea Urchins!|
|A closer look|
|Tidal pools.... those are mussels in the foreground and a lighthouse in the background|
|A closer shot of the lighthouse|
|There are 3 guys working on the rigging.....see them?|
We had a great time on the coast, I never tire of hearing Barb’s tales of her family vacations here. She has lost her mother, her brother and just over two years ago, her father. You could tell she was melancholy walking down the beaches and remembering times past. But that is what our adventure is all about, recalling memories of past adventures and creating new ones to remember in the future.