Monday, September 19, 2022

North Coast Explorations: Heading for the Border

One more day in Trinidad. It's a tiny town and we've seen pretty much all we came to see. We've not been north of the Trees of Mystery so today we've picked a point on the map...the first town in Oregon, Brookings...and are headed there to see what's up there.

At the sleepy little town of Orick, we stop at the general store to grab a few sodas and keep going. Stretches of highway 101 go down to a narrow two lanes with giant redwoods pushing into the tarmac.

The giant Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, let us know we've reached the Trees of Mystery. Everything beyond here is virgin territory for us.

We drive through Crescent City, the county seat of Del Norte County. This is the farthest northwest county in the state. The city is named for the shape of it's beach and bay. This geographic anomaly also means it's susceptible to tsunami damage and has been hit a few times, most recently in 2011 when numerous docks and boats were damaged or destroyed when 8 foot waves originating from Japan from the earthquake that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The city looks like a miniature version of Eureka and we'll make a quick stop here on the way back.

Next is the small town of Smith River and then the border which welcomes us with a big cannabis shop and hardware store.

Not long after that, we arrive in Brookings which is full of traffic and what seems to be more cannibis shop on each corner.

We can't really find anywhere we want to eat and the gas prices were actually cheaper at an Indian casino we passed back in Smith River.

I walk out to Chetco Point while we stop for a bathroom break. The scenery is very similar to Trinidad with rocks scattered about the bay except for the giant sewage plant taking up the space on top of the bluff.

Nothing's calling to us here so we head back. We stop for a rest at the friendly bar at the Lucky 7 Indian casino in Smith River and gas up with their cheap gas.

We look for a place to eat in Crescent City and end up at a hot dog truck, Shruggie's, in downtown. The food, while basic, is very good. 

A transient is sleeping on a nearby picnic bench. He soon rolls over and falls to the ground. EMT's show up to check on him. He yells at them to leave them alone. They shrug it off and join in by getting some hot dogs of their own.

I buy a few baked goods at a local Hmong club's bake sale then we get back in the van to go.

It's been a so-so day and drive to Brookings. We did enjoy the food in Crescent City and the little time at the casino.

One last thrill, though, was the traffic jam caused by a herd of Roosevelt elk crossing the road a few miles north of Orick. After that, it wasn't much longer back to the cabin where we spent one more night watching the wifi TV in our room.

Darryl Musick
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