top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Meandering up the coast

We’re in the part of the trip where we slowly meander our way home. Our days are spent driving, staring at roads and scenery, eating, finding RV parks, eating, sleeping, and eating. There will be a lot of photos of the road in this Trip Log, but not many of us eating, because we never think about that.



March 30, 2024 (Sat)

We are staying at the Mad River Rapids RV Park.


We got curious about the name “Mad River”—do the waters drive men mad? Is there an increased incidence of rabies among the local dogs? Is the river so turbulent, it seems as though it is angry?


Nope. In 1849, a white doctor got angry that his party didn’t wait for him. Hence the name. We like our history better…



Arcata, CA (just north of Eureka)

This is a “slack” day for us, where we spend two days in one place. This time, there’s a good reason for that!


Travel Tip: Let’s say that you take a medication that keeps you from having nasty migraines every couple of days (like, say, Robert). When you started the trip, you weren’t worried, because it was only three weeks of travel. But when our trip got extended to seven weeks, well, supply became an issue.


But, you cleverly get your prescriptions filled at Costco. It turns out that all the Costco’s are connected and they can freely transfer around your prescription—even to different states! Of course, the medication that Robert takes isn’t usually in stock, but the stores don’t know until they try to fill it. As a consequence, we’ve tried getting that prescription filled at two different Costco stores only to have them not be able to get it until we were out of town.


This time, Eureka Costco, has the elusive medication, so that’s where we’re headed today!


The actual tip: If you get your prescriptions from Costco (which means you might be paying a bit more), then you can get them easily refilled when you are traveling. You might have to hang around a town for a day or two, but hey: isn’t your health worth that?

The Ingomar Club, which exists to preserve itself and to serve food to its members. Eureka has a whole area full of old Victorian houses, but this one is the fanciest. 

Another one of the fancy Victorian houses. Gini wants you to think about what a pain it is to paint all that trim regularly which means sanding the trim first... 

Harvey in his natural environment—at the gas pump!



Day 46 Travel

Our travel on Day 46 (Sat)




March 31, 2024 (Sun, Easter)

Happy Easter! We depart our campsite in Arcata, California and head for a campsite in Crescent City, also in California.

Here’s a shrub carefully manicured to look like a travel trailer. Robert thinks it’s pretty funny. Gini does not like trimmed shrubbery.


Driving down the road near Trinidad. This Trinidad is not warm and sunny, although it does have beaches.


The Trinidad beaches


Beaches near Klamath are more rocky and have construction cranes near them


The trees by Harvey’s campsites are getting larger, in honor of Pretty Big Redwood trees nearby


The campsite we land in at Crescent City is a KOA campground. The KOA campgrounds are always perfectly adequate. This one features noisy small children running around until 9:00 at night.


“Why aren’t they in bed?” asks Gini. “Isn’t tomorrow a school day?”


No, as it turns out, it’s not. Seems this week is Spring Break in these parts. Robert points out that Gini carefully selected this campsite after turning up her nose at three other choices.


Day 47 Travel

Our travel on Day 47 (Sun)


April 1, 2024 (Mon)

Today, we make our way up the coast into Oregon and land in the Oregon Dunes, a place popular with motorized vehicles.


Giant storm that wiped out part of Highway 1

This morning we read about a giant storm that caused a chunk of Highway 1 to collapse into the ocean. Highway 1 runs along the coast, and sometimes is the same as Highway 101—the highway we’re mostly following.


We were not on Highway 1, because we went on it once before in Harvey. Highway 1 has lots of twisty-turny roads that run right along very steep drop-offs. Although the speed limit on these roads is usually 50 or 45 mph, there are frequently yellow signs that say “5 mph” or “15 mph.”


“Those are advisory signs,” says Robert. “Sure, the Highway Industrial Complex would like you to go five or ten miles an hour, but they’re complete wimps. If the tires aren’t squealing, you’re fine!”


This attitude is not prevalent with the rest of the crew of Harvey.


“We are not going on Highway 1. Period,” declares Co-Captain Gini. The previous time we went on Highway 1, she alternated between clenching her eyes shut and muttering, “We’re going to die, we’re going to die.”

La Cucaracha rides along with us near Smith River


Near Smith River


Ship Ashore Gift Shop and Museum

We’re driving along near Smith River and we see a very large ship. On the ground. Not even close to the water.


We wonder, “How did this ship get here?” It’s not like, “Oh, where did we park our ship? Oh no, the tide got ahold of it!”


A large grounded ship near Smith River


It turns out that this is a ship with a history. Built as a yacht for a millionaire, it was used by the Navy in WWII. After the war, the Navy didn’t want it, so it got sold and ended up as a restaurant and bar. In 1965, it got turned into the “Pirates Den” gift shop and museum.


Sadly, it closed in 2012 because it was not ADA compliant, so no pirate-themed merchandise was available for us to peruse.

Driving near Brookings, OR

Robert in his natural environment

Blue skies near Brookings, OR


Pacific Ocean near Gold Beach, OR


Thoughts on RV camping at this time of year

Southern California and Arizona are near the end of their RV seasons, as the weather is getting too warm and folks are packing up and moving north (or going back home for a lot of the snowbirds). Sometimes you’ll need to call ahead to reserve a space, but most of the time, there’s room.


The RV parks there almost always have a pool and hot tub (or “spa” as they like to call it, because it’s embedded in the ground).


Oregon and Northern California coast lines have a lot of RV parks. Like each little town has four or five and not counting the ones between these little towns. Their season hasn’t quite started yet, as it’s still too chilly for most folks. Even during spring break, you don’t need to call for reservations. Plenty of room for everybody!


These RV parks almost never have a pool or hot tub (well, a functioning pool and hot tub).

They don’t beat around the bush about pot stores in Oregon!


4:00 pm North Bend, OR

After rejecting all the conveniently located RV parks, Gini settles on a KOA campground outside of town. It’s a lovely RV park, except for the tiny fact that it’s right next to Oregon Dunes and it’s Spring Break and driving around on the dunes is extremely popular with people who come to this campsite.

Harvey’s trees have now turned into regular pine trees


This dune buggy has lighted wands at the back


As a result, we get to listen to roaring motors and screaming kids until about 9:30 pm.


Day 48 Travel


Our travel on Day 48 (Mon)

April 2, 2024 (Tue)

Today, we’re heading from North Bend, OR (Harvey’s repair place is in North Bend, WA and we couldn’t resist the symmetry) up to Newport. Gini likes that we started in Newport Beach and now we’re in Newport!.


Along the way we see lots of trees and asphalt.


The day starts early for those Dune speeders


Important reminders from KOA


Even though we only have to go 86 miles, it takes us about two hours to do so. This is because of two things:


  1. There’s a lot of turny-twisty roads! The road designer seems to have had serious vertigo when designing this highway, because everything is a hairpin turn. Even Robert slows down.

  2. There’s a ton of teeny towns, and each town wants you to stop and check our their artsy store selling mermaids with skull heads. So they lower the speed limit down to 35 mph or slower. You can tell the size of the town by how slow they make you go. There’s even a few 25 mph towns along our route.


Road near North Bend


Road near Gardiner


Road near Florence—the morning fog still hasn’t burned off here


1:00 pm, Newport, OR

The last two RV parks we landed at were chosen by Gini. They featured:


  1. Screaming children until 9:00 pm

  2. Screaming children and off-road vehicle roaring motors until 9:00 pm.


This time, Robert gets to choose! Gini is worried that they won’t have room and insists that we call ahead and reserve a spot. We do so.

Good thing we called ahead to make a reservation. They managed to squeeze us in.


9:00 pm, Newport, OR

“Hear that?” asks Robert.


“I don’t hear anything,” replies Gini.


“Exactly,” says Robert, winner of the Choosing Awesome RV Parks award. “Peace and quiet.”


(And then the wind started to blow… Later the carbon monoxide alarm went off. Gini slept through that but tonight Robert gets to sleep on the side of the bed where he can hear the continuous dripping sound).


Day 49 Travel

Our travel on Day 49 (Mon)


Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff

224 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Stephen E. Moore
Stephen E. Moore
Apr 04

There are two places named Mad in Pakistan, one in the Sindh region and the other in the Punjab. There is one place named Mad in Slovakia, in the Bratislava region. There is one place named Mád in Hungary, in the Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen. There is a place named Mad in the Bayern region of Germany. 

The town of Mad River in California has a population of 322. It is situated in Trinity County. It was formerly called Kuntz but nobody is saying why/how the place name was changed, except that maybe it had something to do with the Kuntz Valley where all the gold mines are located. 

bottom of page