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Avenue of the Giants race and (mostly) trip report (Read 1078 times)

         The prelude to the trip started the Friday before Sunday's half-marathon race. I had been leading a Big Band workshop all week in Pt. Townsend, WA, and Friday night was our concert. It went very well and afterwards many of us sat around in Manresa Castle's cocktail lounge for a few drinks. I didn't get home until around midnight. I had hoped to get packed on Friday, but just didn't have the time to get everything together, so I got up early and finished packing. I said goodbye to my wife, Autumn, and hit the road at 11 a.m. My first stop would be Salem, Oregon, four and a half hours later.

     

         Somewhere in Oregon the lack of sleep caught up with me and I got a cup of coffee at a rest stop. I gave up caffeine a few years back so it had quite a noticeable effect. I made a brief stop to see Corby, a bass-playing friend from Salem. I gave him a call in advance and he said he would make me a strong cup of coffee. We talked a bit, played a tune (he on bass, me on his nice new Yamaha upright). Then I continued south on I-5, wired to the teeth.

     

         Next stop was Grants Pass, where old friends, Mick and Christie, had just moved. I stopped there very briefly, babbling on a caffeine high. Realizing I was going to arrive quite late in the redwoods, I soon headed out.

     

         The full moon (the closest and brightest of 2012) came up as I left Grants Pass, and rose up to bounce over the ridges, and followed me as I drove down the Smith River canyon. It was a beautiful night, with Venus coming into view around some corners. At some points, either the moon or Venus were floating in the “V” made by the roadcut through the redwoods. Autumn had been calling me periodically to make sure I was still awake. As I took one call, I pulled over and ended up next to the Amelia Earhart Memorial Grove. I arrived at Crescent City around 10 p.m. and was treated to the sight of moonlight on the waves at the long beach south of town. It was after midnight as I passed through Eureka, and then continued down to Myers Flat, where I had a campsite reserved. Unfortunately, it was after 1 a.m. when I finally arrived. I put up my tent by flashlight, set my alarm for 6:30, and crawled, exhausted, into the bag.

     

         At 5:30, the folks camping next to me started getting ready, maybe to get even with me for coming in so late. I got up and headed up the road to the race site.

     

     

     

     

         Race day- year number 6 for me- was sunny and slightly cool at the start. As usual, running down the old road with huge redwoods on either side is most inspiring- shady pavement, Varied Thrushes singing in the trees. Having had some trouble lately with my hip, I was just in for a survival run, but ended up doing better than I thought I would- I averaged 10:15 a mile which is good considering I've been training 2 or 3 minutes slower than that. I finished about halfway back overall, 12/22 in my age group. I walked back down to the sandbar where all the cars park, opened the door and stuck my feet up on the window to rest a bit. As I was enjoying the sun, the folks parked behind me came up with a Mendocino IPA , still dripping ice from their cooler. I couldn't in good conscience refuse such a friendly offer, so even though it was a little early, I drank it down. Then it was back to Myers Flat to pack up the tent and take a shower. The news there was that their new water heater was broken down, so no shower there. I drove up the road to a pull-off and got out the MSR stove and heated up water for my Clorox bottle shower. Time for a new one, I guess, as it broke up slightly as I used it, but I did get cleaned up quite nicely.

       

     

      Then it was on to the Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka for a Raspberry Brown Ale, plus a couple to go and some Downtown Brown Ale for Autumn. As I was having one at the bar, the folks who had given me the beer earlier came up and said hi- they were there with extended family, some of whom had run the race. After 4 hours of sleep, a half marathon, and a morning beer, drinking the Raspberry was pretty tough, but I hung in there- it's a tradition, after all.

     

         Next, I pulled off at Arcata, and drove around the town a bit. Skyedog used to run a restaurant there and had recommended a carob smoothie- a recipe he worked up years ago. I stopped in and got one to go (yum, yum), and pulled back onto the freeway. North of Arcata, I passed Clam Beach, site of the winter run that Skyedog has done in the past. It goes up and down hill, through the mud, across creeks, and ends on the beach- sounds like great fun (?!). Sunday night I camped on a fork of the Smith River.

     

     

     

        

         Then it was a short drive north to Eight Dollar Mountain, for a hike with my friend, Mick. We were able to get a view of Preston Peak, a mountain I'd like to climb if I can get down there again (it's supposed to have one of the best views in the Siskiyous). I enjoyed spending a couple of days at Grants Pass with Mick and Christie, who are renting a place right on the Rogue River while they look for a place to buy. Relaxing on their spacious deck helped revive me somewhat.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

         The next day we hiked up Table Rock, an interesting flat-topped volcanic form with a great view of the Rogue valley and Mt. McLoughin. The botanical richness of the Siskiyous is quite amazing- a number of plant and geologic zones overlap here. Table Rock is home to a small plant that blooms next to vernal pools, and it grows in only one place in the world: Table Rock. Unfortunately, it had bloomed out earlier, but many other things were in bloom.

     

         After two days of hikes, and hospitality from Mick and Christie ( plus their two dogs), I set out on Wed. up I-5. At Winchester, I drove east on back roads and followed the Umpqua River to the coast, enjoying a very scenic rural ride. I hit the coast at Reedsport and turned north. I decided I'd better at least have a look at the famous Oregon dunes, so I turned off and drove to the north jetty of the Siuslaw River. Despite a 40-knot wind, I took a short walk through the dunes. The day was spent driving up the Oregon coast, which lives up to its reputation for scenic beauty. Next stop was the Tillamook Cheese factory, where I bought a loaf of Aged Cheddar just before closing time.

     

     

    I followed back roads along the Nehalem River through Oregon logging land in the early evening to a camp at the foot of Saddle Mountain, a place I've wanted to check out for many years. That night was quite cold- I heard the next morning on Portland Radio KPOJ that it set records for the night- 37 degrees in Portland, and I was at a much higher elevation higher than that.

     

     

     

     

         I woke early and hiked to the top. There were clouds blowing over the summit rock, but I had some peek-a-boo views out to the coast and north to the Columbia River. I also saw a lot of interesting plants- one of which was the beautiful pink fawn-lily, Erythronium revolutum. After coming down I turned towards home, arriving there in the late afternoon.

     

     

     

         With all the miles on my hip, as well as on my little Geo Metro, I'll just have to wait and see about next year's trip.

      Sounds like a thoroughly enjoyable trip -- thanks for posting, especially the pics.  I'd love to run the Ave again one of these days.


      Not A Runner

        Cool race and trip report.  I love traveling to race, and this looks like it would be great.  

         

        What is a clorox bottle shower?

        I want to do it because I want to do it.  -Amelia Earhart

          Chuck, I enjoyed reading your report. It sounds like you had a great view of the super moon. I enjoyed it where I live, too. BTW, I grew up in Port Townsend. My first race was the Rhody Run. I ran it in 1981!

           

          Hope your hip heals and you can keep running.

           

            Hey Chuck,  great race & trip report!!!   oh how I miss my old home!!!  lots of memories.  That beach at Crescent City is called Crescent Beach & is a very unknown jewel of a beach. That's where they shoot off the fireworks on 4th of July. If you went around the marina & along Pebble Beach Drive you would have seen a cool lighthouse & faboulous beaches. Go a little further & you can check out Pelican Bay Prison.  Maximum state of the art where Charles Manson was relocated to.  Not sure if hes still there.  Lived in C.City for a year way back in 63-64.  moved south to Eureka few months before the great Tsunami from The Alaska earthquake destroyed most of downtown (rebuilt & better than before).

             

            Glad you swung into Arcata.  small but very progressive little college town.  Right after graduating from Humboldt State, I bought the restuarant & 2 months later met my wife, also a HSU grad.  married 2 yrs later.  Made several changes to menu & added a few things such as that Carob Smoothie.  Key is to peel the bananas & freeze them & blend into smoothies when ordered.   next trip drop in & have a Tofu Nut Loaf sandwich.  Best sandwich in the world, guaranteed!!  lots of sprouts, cheese, tomatoe & tofu tahini dressing.   combined with that smoothie.  cant beat it!!

             

            going back down in July to visit family/friends & will be running the 4th of July 5k at the Arcata Marsh & join in on the festivities in Arcata (Arcata Plaza)& Eureka (oldtown).  Would be really cool to run Clam Beach  again but would need to do some serious hill training first!  really miss running in the Redwoods & beaches down there.

             

            How cool is it to drive that section of 199 along the Smith River?  Been through there in dark & pouring rain, not fun on that narrow, winding section.   Hillsides straight up on one side & river straight down in canyon on other.  scary.

             

            did you see the Roosevelt Elk around Orick & Prairie Creek Redwoods SP?

              Gatsby Bird

               

              have you ever run the Dipsea up in Marin county?


              Best Present Ever

                Gatsby Bird

                 

                have you ever run the Dipsea up in Marin county?

                 totally off-topic, but how does one pronounce Dipsea?  Dip-see?  Dip-see-ah?  Dip-say-ah?  something else?  

                 

                Gorgeous photos and I'm quite envious of your trip.  


                Am I doing this right?

                  That trip sounds amazing!  I'm green with envy here in the flat prairies of the great plains.

                  No excuses....

                     totally off-topic, but how does one pronounce Dipsea?  Dip-see?  Dip-see-ah?  Dip-say-ah?  something else?  

                     

                    Gorgeous photos and I'm quite envious of your trip.  

                     Dip-see.  

                     

                    Nice report, and sounds like your Ave. went much better than my Big Sur (30-40 mph headwinds in parts, ugh).  I love that drive in the Smith River Canyon.  And now I know where to eat next time I'm through Arcata!

                      well, your thread title caught my eye so I had to read about your trip. I, too, live in GP (actually Wilderville, you would have passed the turn-off to my house about 10 miles out of GP). I've run the Ave HM and the same one in the fall (humboldt redwoods). I think next year I will head back down there for the marathon. It's a great race, well organized and I prefer the smaller marathons.

                      I know alot of folks in GP, and in these smaller towns it seems everyone knows everyone. but I don't think I know Mick and Christie Wink

                      Table Rock is a great hike - did you do Upper or Lower Table Rock? Lower TB is the longer and more challenging climb. I hiked that one last weekend when it was upper 80's. yeah, it was a bit tiring!

                       

                      Glad you enjoyed your trip and got to take your time getting there and back. so much beauty to soak in down here.

                      Tammy

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                        .  And now I know where to eat next time I'm through Arcata!

                         

                         

                        Wildflower Cafe & Bakery.    originally called Sprouted Seed on 16th & G.    Melanie from the former 18th st Bakery purchased it from me, brought in her bakery & changed name to the Wildflower.   she sold it a few yrs ago, don't know current owners.  anyone going through there stop in & also run across the street & grab a yogurt from Scott at Redwood Yougury. 

                           If you went around the marina & along Pebble Beach Drive you would have seen a cool lighthouse & faboulous beaches. 

                          did you see the Roosevelt Elk around Orick & Prairie Creek Redwoods SP?

                            

                          I stopped at the lighthouse and jetty on a prvious trip- neat place. Didn't see elk at Orick, but saw some along the Umpqua of in the distance.

                             

                             

                            What is a clorox bottle shower?

                             

                            You take a one galon Clorox bottle, wrap it in black electrical tape, drill some holes in the top, fill it with water and put it in the sun for 6-7 hours- I used it for years when I was doing a lot of backpacking and climbing- always had it tied on the back. Pick it up and pour over you head. If there is no sun uyou just  heat the water in a pot.

                              Chuck, I enjoyed reading your report. It sounds like you had a great view of the super moon. I enjoyed it where I live, too. BTW, I grew up in Port Townsend. My first race was the Rhody Run. I ran it in 1981!

                               

                              Hope your hip heals and you can keep running.

                               

                              Wow, a Pt Townsend native ( I grew up in Mt. Vernon- in Chimacum now).  Was '81 the first year for Rhody? I understand it was a full marathon for the first year or two. I just ran it on Sunday for the 15th or 18th or something time- 12K. Great fun and a yearly tradition for me.

                                I know alot of folks in GP, and in these smaller towns it seems everyone knows everyone. but I don't think I know Mick and Christie Wink

                                Table Rock is a great hike - did you do Upper or Lower Table Rock? Lower TB is the longer and more challenging climb. I hiked that one last weekend when it was upper 80's. yeah, it was a bit tiring!

                                 

                                Glad you enjoyed your trip and got to take your time getting there and back. so much beauty to soak in down here.

                                 

                                They just retired in Grants Pass- you might see them out on hikes or taking some natural history seminars/classes, that kind of thing. I think Christie has joined a hiking group of some sort. They are liberal politically and may get involved on something along that line.  Mick also has Saquatch fever, so if there are any sightings, he'll be there. It was lower Table Rock ( I think- the one furthest to the West), what a neat spot- that oak savanna was interesting, too.

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