Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crescent City to Willits, CA

This was our third trip along the Redwoods Highway in the last three years.  It is our first trip going southbound, however.  California has just had a week of heavy rains, which they needed, but there have been many mudslides.  There were a number of spots where the right lane was closed.  Sitting in the passenger seat, I found myself leaning in towards Kim, as if my weight alone would keep us from tipping over on some of the sharp turns, that for whatever reason were lacking guard rails.  I think I much prefer going Northbound on this section of Hwy 101.

When it is time to get fuel, I generally try to look for a place to fill up closer to a larger city or town.  However, IMHO,  one should avoid thinking about getting fuel in Crescent City.  The prices at all the stations were competitive, but there are no easy in - easy out places if you are pulling a trailer (at least southbound).  I imagine the same would be true for anyone driving a MH with a toad.  And speaking of fuel, the average diesel price that I observed in Crescent City was about $4.05 per gallon.  In Florence, OR, we got fuel at a Fred Meyer (Kroger) store.  The rate was $3.75 but with our membership points we had a 40 cent discount per gallon and paid only $3.35 - score!  So far no big sticker shock for us from the Seattle area.  When we left a few days ago, diesel was running about $3.90 per gallon.

We saw two herd of elk on the drive.  Unfortunately, they were not near the road, so no photo opportunity and not on a stretch of road where there was any place to pull over anyway.  In the past, we had better views going northbound.

We had reservations for the night at the Golden Rule RV Park in Willets, CA.  I chose this park based on reviews that I read on  One of the complaints I read was about lack of signage and how it was easy to miss the turn.  Possibly because of those comments, I was diligent about looking for the turnoff.  Here are my hints if you are traveling southbound on Hwy 101.  The park is about 7 miles south of Willits.  At about 6 miles, you will pass a weigh station.  At about 6.5 miles, there is a sharp turn where the speed limit drops to 45 mph.  Look for mile marker HUM 101 39.5 (stands for Humboldt County Hwy 101 if you are wondering).  You will see one of the yellow intersection signs showing a right-hand turn.  There is also an short right-hand turn lane.  The Ridgewood Ranch sign is visible along with the Good Sam signage.  I could see how it would be easy to miss if the foliage was grown up and around it, but when we came by it was pretty clear to me.  However, I was also making a concerted effort to look for it.  If you don’t have a “navigator”, it may be easier to overlook it.  Surprisingly, Roundabout Rhonda (our GPS) actually got this one right.  If you are headed northbound, I spotted a turn lane to use so that you are not blocking traffic on this moderately steep stretch of road.

There is a 1.1 mile twisty turn narrow paved road down to the park and the ranch.  We met a few cars on the way down the hill and slowed to let them go by us.  I wouldn’t want to meet another big rig on this road, but that’s me and that’s why I don’t drive when we are pulling the rig.

It’s a nice little park.  First you will come up on the mobile home section where the office and the laundromat is.  Office hours are minimal.  The check in gal called me to verify about what time we would be there because I guess they are only in the office from 11am - 2pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We wouldn’t get there in time.  She gave me our space number and told me there was a reserved sign on the post.  The management does not take credit or debit cards here; it is cash or check.  The envelopes and registration information is on the front of the office door.  Be sure to look on the driveway office entrance, not the back entrance from the laundromat.  It was a bit confusing for me, but I finally found it.  The cost for a full hook up for the night is $35; $32 for Good Sam Members.  This park has Wi-Fi in the laundromat area only.  Our Mi-Fi did pick up a signal but it was slower than slow….think dial up at its worst.  We did hook up the booster, but did not take the antenna outside.  I was more interested in getting the DirecTV dish set up as they have no cable here.  I guess this is as good a time as any to full admit that I am a TV addict.  Tuesday night is full of wonderful programming for me, including NCIS, NCIS-LA, The Voice, Person of Interest, and Justified, among others.  So we did without internet for one night.  The whole Wi-Fi thing may be a deal breaker for us in regards to returning here for anything more than an overnight.

Our site, #35.

The pool - which we didn't use.  If it wasn't rainy, and perhaps just a titch warmer, I might have.  Anything over 65 degrees is shorts and swimsuit weather for those of us from the Pacific Northwest.

The park’s website boasts wildlife viewing.  I can see that there is potential, and I don’t like to judge based on one night’s stay during a rainy time frame.  The only thing I have seen (and heard) so far is a flock of wild turkeys.  I was hoping for some deer to wander through.  Oh well.  I also saw some birds I’ve not seen before, but I apparently did not pack my birdbook, so I will have to see if I can find them on-line at some point.  One had a brown body, with a red/orange crown, and a white behind that you saw only as he flew away (like a flicker).  He was pecking for food on the ground.  The other looked very much like a stellar jay, but the body was gray.  A bit of a disclaimer here - our windows are really dirty, and it may indeed have been a stellar jay.  

If we were to come back and stay more than just over night, I would opt for one of the back in sites that would give us a view of the creek and a big field on the other side.  The creek is just the other side of the picnic table.

What I wouldn’t want to view is a rattlesnake.  There was a warning posted up in the laundromat which freaked me out a bit.  I am petrified of rattlesnakes.  Not that I have ever had an encounter, but I did see an old episode of the Rifleman as a kid when “Pa” played by Chuck Conners was sleeping in a bed roll on the trail and a rattlesnake crawled in with him.  I don’t recall exactly what happened because it’s been probably 45 or 50 years since I saw the program, but I don’t think Pa was bit.  Someone came along and saved him, maybe his son Luke.  Anyway, it freaked me out and I have not yet overcome my fear.  And for the record, Stephen King’s story, “Salem Lot” gave me a more than healthy fear of Vampires; a fear that I have overcome thanks to Stephenie Meyer and The Twilight Series.

It appears that dear husband is ready for me to stop typing and to get my behinder in gear.  We are off to San Juan Bautista today, and will be there for 5 days.  Yay, a chance to sit back and relax and visit with friends in the area.  Fingers crossed, there will be wine tasting involved as well!

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