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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Dancing with death on Highway 1

May 15 & 16, 2022

7:30 am Are those seals?

Our campsite (very loosely speaking—it’s more of a parking spot than a campsite) at the Chinook RV Resort is the spot closest to the Klamath River and we have a lovely view of this river. This morning we hear a very strange sort of hooting noise.

“Is that seals?”

“Sounds like it.”

“But we’re not on the ocean.”

“Maybe they’re river seals? Maybe they’re ocean seals that took a wrong turn?”

“Do otters make that kind of sound? They could be river otters?”

We resolve that next time, we’ll bring a wildlife biologist on our trip, so we won’t have to wonder.

It’s warm! Sixty-one degrees and overcast. The warmest we’ve been all week (ha, but wait!)

11:00 am

We’re making our way across some kind of California mountain pass on Highway 101. (The Klamath mountain pass? It would explain why there’s a shortage of open restaurants.)

We see a sign that says: “Don’t park on runaway truck ramp.” Actually many signs that say that. We think this seems sort of intuitively obvious, so we’re beginning to wonder about the average IQ of the drivers on Highway 101.

The happy news is that Highway 101 is not only straight on this part, but the speed limit is a reasonable 65 mph, which lets us get to Point B a lot quicker!

12:25 pm Eureka

We stop for gas in Eureka, because there was a TV show with that name back in the 2000’s that Robert liked, although it wasn’t set in this Eureka. Also, we’re down to half a tank of gas and the shock of filling Harvey’s gas tank is quite enough with half a tank.

Then we see the gas prices here: $6.50 a gallon!

Yes, you read that correctly. (We did a few double-takes as well—is that US dollars? For each gallon? Like a regular gallon??) Apparently, California adds a few taxes and we’re beginning to think about how much trouble it would be to convert Harvey to electric…

For contrast, we were whining about gas in Washington state being $4.50 per gallon.

Half a tank runs $125 and we breathe deeply for a minute. (Even our bank sent us an e-mail saying, “That’s a lot to spend for gas. You guys okay?”)

2:45 pm Not exactly Giant, are they?

There’s a side road called “Avenue of the Giants,” and that sounded cool, so off we went. While the redwood trees are certainly large, Robert isn’t entirely sure they deserve the name “Giant.” The trees were maybe 8 to 10 feet in diameter, but in Robert’s humble opinion, “Giant” should be 20 feet or more. And there weren’t very many of them.

But then, “Avenue of the Largish Trees” don’t have the same ring to it, does it?

Gini adds, “Plus, Robert was driving like a madman through the whole thing so it was hard to spot anything!”

Giant? Large maybe...

We’re at the Tooby Memorial Park, which was off the route that Siri planned. In fact, Siri didn’t have any idea where we were and starting repeating “Return to the route” in ever increasing tones of desperate pleading. “For the love of Apple—return to the route, I beg you!”

The sun is out and it’s glorious and 72 degrees and we jump into Harvey and change into our shorts and lounge about for two or three minutes before thoughts of skin cancer (and being late to our campground) begin to fill out heads.

Harvey resting in the sunshine

3:30 pm Twisty turny passages, all hairpin

We have turned onto Highway 1, which seems to consist of either climbing mountains using switchbacks, or descending mountains using switchbacks. Although the speed limit throughout is 55 mph, the “advisory” signs range from 10 mph to 30 mph.

And they’re not kidding! Even Madman Robert begins following the suggested signs. Even then, it’s a lot of swaying side to side.

How does Gini do with this? Well, she either has her eyes squeezed shut and moaning, or her eyes are wide open saying, “Slow down! I don’t want to die on Highway 1!”

So, about the way she reacts to all Robert’s driving…

Highway 1 in a more sedate mood (photo taken by Robert while he was driving)

5:30 pm Arriving at Hidden Pines Resort

We arrive at our destination of Hidden Pines Resort, right on Highway 1, but not in the twisty, turny part. It’s located in beautiful Ft. Bragg (not the one in North Carolina). In addition to being an RV park, they also sell “forest mushrooms” (a dozen different types), knick-knacks, coffee, and whatever else they think you might be interested in.

Robert gets us checked in and the chatty owner asks if Robert has ever been in an earthquake and then goes on about what to do if there is an earthquake (“You might hear sirens or your phone might give you an alert!”). They all seemed to involve driving like crazy which doesn’t really make any sense.

How does running away in an earthquake help anything? Usually by the time you realize what’s going on, the earthquake is over, and being higher up doesn’t make anything better.

Finally, it dawns on Robert: Tsunami!

Mon, May 16, 2022

This is a down day for us, as it gives us a chance to do laundry, get some shopping in, nap, read, take a shower in the fabulous dual-shower facility at the closed pool at Hidden Pines. We did a lot of rather dull things that don’t bear repeating.

Some dull things we did

Tuesday—look out San Francisco, we’re coming in!

Robert & Gini

Harvey Staff

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