Day 17: Port Orford, OR to Crescent City, CA

Sunday 9/25

The rains came during the night escorted by high winds. We camped under redwood trees so we were protected from the full force of the weather. The downside of our location was listening to tree parts dropping on the tent all night. I woke frequently from the thumping noises, half expecting to hear the crack of a branch just before it went through us like a toothpick fulfilling its manifest destiny with an hors d’oeuvre. Thankfully, the tree menace was all bark and no bite, just like our undersized tent-mate.

We spent the morning in the rec room posting pics and availing ourselves to the coffee and muffins that the proprietor made available to the guests. At a paltry $12 for the night (hot shower included), we highly recommend the Port Orford RV Village if you’re ever in the area.

On our way out of town we stopped at a gas station. Four loaded-up dualsporters pulled in for gas. Dualsporters in Port Orford? If they weren’t doing the TAT, I’d eat my helmet, dirty liner and all.

No helmet consumption required on my part: The crew was from England* and they had just completed the TAT starting from Tennessee (three men, one woman). Not to belittle our journey, but theirs seemed like a real journey. Not only did they start from Tennessee, but they also had to deal with the logistics of getting their bikes shipped over. And the language barrier! How many times did they end up with #$@&! potato chips when they really wanted french fries?

We cruised down the 101 south for a while. The trailing edge of the storm had not yet fully trailed away so we were buffetted about by heavy winds. The salt spray made it impossible to keep our shields clear and after a while of lousy visibility and constant shaking from the wind, I actually started feeling rather car sick. The occasional stop for road repairs was a welcomed break.

Breakfast time. Simon was allowed to accompany us into a small restaurant. Perhaps a large carbo sponge buried in sweet carbo sauce was what I needed to soothe my queasy stomach. I slipped Simon just enough to keep him from crying.

Just north of Crescent City we turned onto a dirt road that wound through private property.

At one point I noted the distinct smell of “indie” commerce. Fences and gates along our route were well-marked by No Trespassing signs. It’s not as if Oregon didn’t have their share of signs, but the frequency of the signs in California made me wonder if there was some sort of law whereby if you posted a warning at least every few hundred yards, you had a legal right to vaporize anybody who stepped foot on your property.

The road we were on was supposed to be a public road that reconnected with the pavement, but we found ourselves at a closed gate. The property right next to it had its gates wide open but our GPS showed that road going nowhere.

Not wanting to piss off the type of people who choose a life of self-exile in the forest**, we found a different way back to the main road.

One of the highlights of the trip was the ride through Jedediah Smith State Park. I grew up in Northern California and have visited the redwoods many times, but they never stop blowing my mind. If ever there was a place that would pass as Middle Earth, it would be the land of old growth redwoods.

We found a horse stable on the edge of Crescent City that also doubled as a campground.

The camp sites were far apart and many of them were in pockets of trees, offering total privacy. Here’s Wayne and Simon entering the lair.

From inside the lair we could keep an eye on our nearest neighbor, the dude in the Buick.

We ran into the owner and she said that she wanted campers to have the experience she had as a kid, where people in tents weren’t treated like second class citizens to those in RVs. I don’t know if goats were a part of her childhood camping experience, but she had a couple with markings very similar to Simon’s. I held Simon up to see if he noticed they were soul brothers, but all he did was flame off so I think the connection was lost on him.

Back to our nearest neighbor: The twenty-something guy was sleeping in his well-worn Buick because he had to leave his aunt and uncle’s house due to an unspecified domestic violence issue (I would’ve asked for more details but it already seemed like he was telling us too much). He looked like the kind of guy who could visit violence upon someone, so I made sure I knew where my bear spray was that night.

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* I do see the Australian flags on their bikes, but I could’ve sworn they said they were from England. My apologies to them if I have their country wrong.

** Many years ago I was hiking with Mexican friends in the interior of Mexico. We stumbled upon a pot farm in the dark; nobody was around. The next day on our way out we encountered men with rifles in hand. They said they would’ve shot us but they knew we weren’t the federales and even if we reported them, they were harvesting and would be gone by the time anyone got there. Lesson learned: Pot farmers might or might not shoot you.

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Day 17 overview: 103 miles

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