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Trip Report 8 Day Trip Oregon To California March 2012

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Had a wonderful 8 day/9 night trip with my long time friend and college roommate. This first vacation that we took together, was prompted by my friend J’s intent to visit her son who was doing a VISTA/Americorps assignment in Oregon. She suggested that we visit him in Roseburg and then go south to visit friends who had just moved to Sebastapol, CA. J’s husband joked (?) that it would be difficult for two type A trip planners to work together, but it was a wonderful experience to share the planning of hotels and activities.
We flew from Newark, NJ to Porland, OR arriving late and spending the first night close to the airport. The next morning on our way to Roseburg, we stopped in Oregon City (the end of the Oregon trail). While it was too early for the museum to be open, there were many interesting signs detailing individuals who had been part of the Oregon trail and contributed to the development of the area. Since my friend and I both enjoy American history, this was a really interesting stop. Next stop was Silverton where we viewed murals replicating Normal Rockwell’s the Four Freedoms. We also looked at the outskirts of Oregon Garden (not open yet) and walked around the outside of Gordon House, on the same grounds. This Usonian building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright but built after his death. Our primary destination was Silver Falls State Park. We hiked past the first two falls in a ten fall loop—south falls at 177 feet and lower south falls 99 feet-covering 2-3 miles with a 600 foot change in elevation. We could walk behind both falls. Trees were incredible—entirely covered with moss. I would have loved to do the whole route, but time and slushy trails prohibited this, since it snowed a few days earlier. We also saw a lodge built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). Ranger told us that it was the first time anyone had ever asked him about it. After arriving in Roseburg, my friend’s son showed us around and we ate dinner at McMannimens in a converted train station.
On Sunday we toured the school where my friend’s son , W worked, passing a large timber mill which was emblematic of the area. On our way to Ashville where we attended a Shakespear Festival production of Animal Crackers, we stopped at Grave Creek Covered Bridge (yes, named for someone who died enroute) and Jacksonville, which purports to have the largest number of buildings on the national historic register (80). As my friend and I walked under umbrellas listening to the brochure describing the original use of the buildings, the two male twenty somethings in hoodies , who refused to seek cover with us, were soaked. Slapstick comedy wouldn’t have been our first choice for a play, but Animal Crackers was well performed, and all seats in the theatre were great. On the way back, stopped at the Harry and David Flagship store (would have liked to do the factory tour during the week) and the Taprock Restaurant in Grant’s Pass set on the Rogue River. Food was average, but location was stunning. (If you order the salmon, ask them to not overcook it). On the way down I had remarked that I would love to eat there because of the location, without knowing that we would actually do that.
On Monday we spent seven hours driving the Umqua Scenic Byway Roseburg to Diamond Lake where the road was closed for the season (80 miles). We took short hikes to Watson Falls (277 ft), Toketee, and Susan Creek Falls (50 ft). Also saw the supposedly unique head on collision of the Umqua and Little Rivers. Not impressed, but we didn’t go out of the way. A structure built by the CCC was there. After meeting up with W, we drove to Oakland to see buildings dating from 1870. J and W had ice cream sodas in a 1903 drug store with an old fashioned soda counter. We also drove to Rochester to see the covered bridge.
On Tuesday, J and I spent the day traveling down the coast, We visited three adjoining parks, Sunset Beach, Shore Acres and Cape Arago. J had hoped that one of the highlights of the trip would be seeing Grey Whales migrating, but unfortunately that didn’t happen at this point. While we had expected rain during our trip, it was unfortunate that the day we had most hoped for decent weather instead yielded torrential rain. Having visited Bandon before, I was looking forward to walking among the haystacks, but the rain didn’t let up. I have many photos with rain spots here, at Samuel Boardman state scenic corridor and Harris Beach. The rain finally let up when we checked into our hotel. When J suggested (during a downpour) that perhaps we would have a nice sunset, I was not optimistic, but it turned out that she was right. We enjoyed a wonderful view of the sun setting over the beach and headlands.
On Wednesday we started with a quick walk on the beach. I picked up a redwood branch and small piece of driftwood, as well as a few stones. We drove the scenic route down the coast, seeing elk, a CCC visitor center, Avenue of the Giants (made the mistake of taking the Mattole River Road to see the Tall Trees only to discover that the bridge was out and we couldn’t walk there), Mendoccino (everything closed by 5:30 pm but gorgeous town). Got to our friend’s house mid evening.
On Thursday, the four of us drove to Point Reyes, where we finally saw Gray Whales—or at least the blow spout. Walked to Stinson Beach where we had great views of male elephant seals, especially from the life saving station. Drove on to the Marin Headlands and the Marine Mammal Center, where we saw many rescued harbor seal pups. Fascinating discussion with the docent who informed us about the work of the MMC.
On Friday we visited San Francisco. While I had been there several times, most recently two years ago, J had not. We drove most of the 49 mile drive, enjoyed the murals in Coit tower and the Filbert Steps. We also took a San Francisco Walking Tour of the Presidio and learned about he 1906 earthquake and fire. They offer many tours each day, and I’ve enjoyed all three that I’ve taken.
On Saturday, we toured the Sonoma Mission with a docent, and visited the Sonoma Barracks and General Vallejo’s home. We also toured an unusual garden which has plots for different garden artists (unfortunately forgot the name), the Charles Schultz Museum, and Luther Burbank Garden. At the end of the day, we drove through Healsburg and up Dry Creek Rd. to Lake Sonoma and then back down West Dry Creek Road, passing about a hundred wineries. Unfortunately they were all closed.
Left for home early Sunday, after enjoying an amazing, busy week.

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