Monday August 8, 2022
Our route continues to be US 101 and will be for the next few weeks as we continue travel to Washington State. We left Arcata behind on Sunday morning- it was drizzly and foggy for the entire trip up to Brookings.
We passed some very scenic country on the way. Trinidad is a picturesque little burg that overlooks a U-shaped harbor. Trinidad at 367 souls is one of California’s smallest incorporated cities.
She is part of the California Coastal National Monument, a Gateway City. Fishing operations are a vital part of its economy. The harbor was discovered by captains of Spanish galleons and first made landfall on Trinity Sunday, 1775, thus the name “Trinidad”. It became the seat of Trinity County, which then was incorporated into Humboldt County in 1854.
We pass Elk County RV Resort, so aptly named, as we observe 30 cow elk laying in their green pasture.
Patrick’s Point State Park was a favorite of mine when I was a boy. The State Park has been renamed as Patrick Beegan, who the area is named of, turned out to be a not so model citizen. Patrick moved to and built a cabin on the point in 1851. He was implicated of murdering a Native American boy in 1854, then escaped to Bald Hills. In 1864 he led a militia to a Native American village where numerous Indigenous people were massacred.
Although he lived in the area less than three years other homesteaders came to call the area “Patrick’s Ranch or “Patrick’s Point”. The State Park, upon the request of the Yurok, renamed the state park the original place name, Sue-meg.
Crescent City (6673 souls) is the seat of Del Norte County. Ironically the Pelican Bay State Prison inmate population is included in the census. It is the site of the Redwood National Park Headquarters as well as the historic Battery Point Light. Crescent City Harbor serves as home for numerous commercial fishing vessels. Crescent City’s offshore geography makes it unusually susceptible to tsunamis. Much of the city was destroyed by four tsunami waves, the last being 8’feet high, generated by the Great Alaskan earthquake off Anchorage, Alaska in 1964.
More recently, the city’s harbor suffered extensive damage and destruction from tsunamis generated by the March 11, 2011 earthquake off Sendai, Japan. Several dozen vessels and many of the docks they were moored to were destroyed. The first European to explore this land was pioneer Jedediah Smith in the early 19th century. Today fishing, crabbing, tourism and timber are the major sources of income for Del Norte County. An interesting fact is Crescent City, CA is closer to Vancouver Canada (two states away) than to Los Angeles, CA!
20 miles north of Crescent City is our destination for a couple of nights- Brookings, Oregon (6744 souls). Brooking is named for John Brookings, president of Brookings Lumber and Box Company, which founded the city in 1908. Brooking is marketing itself as “The Pulse of America’s Wild Rivers Coast”. The Port of Brookings Harbor was also damaged by tidal surges estimated to be nearly 8 feet by the 2011 Japan earthquake produced tsunamis.
Brookings lies in the “Banana Belt” of Oregon, enjoying a Mediterranean type climate. The “Chetco or Brookings effect” can cause the temperature in Brookings near the Chetco River to be much higher than the surrounding area. Warm air from the Great Basin sweeps over the Cascade Range and descends upon the Oregon Coast Range where the warm air is funneled down the deep Chetco Canyon, canceling the effect of the Pacific Ocean.. Temperatures can be as much as 40 degrees warmer in Brookings than neighboring Crescent City.
The city has many parks. Azalea park is beautiful and well laid out, having gardens, a bandshell, gazebo, kids playground, soccer and softball fields. Harris Beach State Park is tremendously popular. The campground is located on a bluff above the scenic coastline, lying in a beautiful forested area.
On September 9, 1942, Mount Emily near Brookings became the only site in the mainland United States and the second in the continental territory after the bombing of Dutch Harbor to suffer aerial bombardment during World War II. A Japanese floatplane piloted by Nobuo Fujita was launched from submarine I-25. The plane was armed with two incendiary bombs on a mission intended to start massive fires in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest. Ha! The forest was too wet to burn!
AtRivers Edge RV Resort
We are staying at AtRivers Edge RV Resort, located just south of town on the southern bank of the Chetco River. The park seems to be really isolated yet is only a mile from the main highway. The park is well maintained and very popular- as is almost any well maintained park on the coast this time of year. Our Southern Nevada neighbors are here for a month and plan to return next year. They have to book a year in advance ensure a site for the following year.
We visited downtown Brookings, cruising the main drag. We shopped at the huge Fred Meyers store, bought groceries, then went sight seeing. We are impressed with the beautiful and functional Azalea Park. We then head to Harris Beach whose beautiful campground has a perpetual “no vacancy” sign, but one can drive down to the picturesque beach. Jil spots a little dog sitting on top of a motorcycle, gets curious and starts a conversation with the rider. He’s traveled to 25 states with little Sasha riding shotgun, camping with gear he carries on his motorcycle. He lives in Arizona, traveling in the summer months when it’s too hot to stay home.
Sasha The Motorcycle Dog
We are moving to Bullards Beach State Park located just north of Bandon, OR tomorrow. See you then!