LIFE: Holiday snaps
So here's a photographic tour of our weekend adventure to the wild remote southwesternmost corner of Oregon, one of the more secluded areas of the West Coast. Brookings, where we spent most of our time, is tucked right on the edge of the Oregon/California border. You're a good 3-4 hour drive from a city of any major size, but it's a gorgeous area, with the endless Pacific Ocean on one side, the craggy wilderness of the Siskiyou National Forest on the other.
One of the wacky roadside tourist stops you can find on Highway 101 is the enjoyably kitschy Prehistoric Gardens, a roadside rain forest park that features giant life-size colorful statues of dinosaurs created by an area eccentric. Peter loved the dinosaurs and it was a fine pit stop on our journey south, cheap enough at $14 for all three of us.
Once we got to Brookings we camped out for two nights at Harris Beach State Park, an excellent campground with a trail down to the beach. Peter enjoyed running up and down and exploring. He didn't enjoy his first taste of sea kelp, though.
We also took a trek over to the California side to see the redwoods, always one of my favorite sights on God's green earth. We detoured near Crescent City to visit an excellent roadside grove boasting dozens of the giants (redwoods always seem even more impressive in groups). Words can't really describe the redwoods. It's like being in a tree church, and always leaves me awed in all the right ways.
A Brookings sunset.
On the way back, I had one of my inspirations. Instead of driving back up the way we came, why not take this road on the map that apparently cuts cross-country through the Siskiyou National Forest? Never go back the way you came if you can help it, by gum. So we went on a winding, epic journey that only covered 70 miles, but took more than 3 hours to drive. You see, as we moved east from the coast, the road became narrower and narrower, eventually becoming a tiny one-lane road winding through green hillsides and up ever steeper and higher mountaintops. Every once in a while, you'd come across a full logging truck screaming toward you from the other direction (good to get the heart pumping), but otherwise, no sign of life.
At about 40 miles, I started regretting the side trip, but because I am a manly man, turning around wasn't an option. That's when we saw the "Road Closed - DETOUR" sign, which took us on a gravel road so narrow it should've been a hiking trail. If we thought the road was steep before, this topped it. You had utterly amazing vistas like the one seen above; at the same time I was clutching the wheel with all my power as I went around switchback curve around switchback curve around switchback curve so many times I didn't know which end was up. Egad. (Thank the lord, Peter fell asleep during this part of the drive.) Finally, after what felt like three days of this, we popped out on a paved road and turned out to be only 15 minutes from Grants Pass and Interstate 5. All in all, it was a fantastic side trip, through some of the most amazingly raw and unspoiled woods I've seen, but I never ever want to drive that road again.
So it was at that point I gave up driving, and let Peter take the wheel!