Friday, June 28, 2013

From the Redwood Forests to the Oregon Waters

After the Lost Coast we spent several days exploring the beautiful rugged coastline and beaches along Rte. 
101, and occasionally searching for veggie oil. 
Score! Finally.
Big biodiesel operations have definitely gained popularity since we did our first WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil) powered road trip more than five years ago. Due to this competition, we were met with limited success in our first several attempts at sucking up the greasy stuff. Fortunately, in Crescent City our fortunes changed and we got permission to fill up with 50 gallons of free WVO fuel from a local restaurant. 
On our way up North we wandered though many groves of redwood trees as well as completing some serious biking and hiking day trips. 

Not a bear.
The easy part.

On one trip in particular in Redwood National Park, we started out biking a gravel road next to the ocean which soon turned into a serious mountain biking trail over roots, rocks and mud. We don’t have mountain bikes but we kept going anyways, carrying our bikes at times. The trail then smoothed out but gained 800 feet of altitude as we huffed and puffed over a steep mountain path. Part way up, we were greeted by a 200 pound bear lumbering ahead of us rather quickly. Quite a sight to see, especially since he was only about 20 feet away. She looked over at us, but fortunately wasn’t interested and kept heading over the mountain ahead of us. This was the second bear we've seen on our trip. We've also seen elk, deer, mink, seals, bunnies, banana slugs, bald eagles, osprey, and cute little gophers. It's a regular National Geographic special out here. 

Once we made it over the summit we were rewarded by a fun winding bike ride through redwoods down to the paved road. We then got to cool off as we soared downhill through these majestic trees in the dappled sunlight. It was one of those moments where it was hard to not feel overjoyed being alive.  (Check out the video of it below). We finished the day off by locking up our bikes and hiking back to our bus and campsite through a secluded and quiet old growth redwood forest. Many of the trees we hiked past were at least 1000 years old, some several centuries more. These massive beauties always fill me with awe and inner silence. I think the cathedrals we build intend to mimic the feeling you get in forests like these. The day ended  with a sunset over the ocean, a cold shower and some warm dinner cooked in the bus.

A few redwood groves, dirt roads and some chilly river swims later, we found ourselves crossing the border into Oregon. We didn’t make it much more than 35 miles into the state before the Boose decided it needed some TLC. It started squeeling, whining and clunking suddenly at a stop light. This happened at the perfect time though, because we were about to embark down a windy two lane road through the mountains with little to no cell coverage. But we were still on 101 and were able to call a diesel mechanic who highly advised us not to drive the bus, since our alternator had seized up (the clunking) and the serpentine belt was rubbing against it (the whining). Fourtunately, our AAA - RV had just kicked in a couple days prior (thanks Dad!) and we were able to get the Boose towed 85 miles to a mechanic in Coos Bay for free! 
Poor Boose.
We spent a night on the street in front on the mechanic, Kenny’s, shop, and all in all, the new alternator and repair was pretty cheap as far as bus fixes go. There were several honest and friendly people who helped us out in this ordeal, so we’ve come to really like Oregonians.

The bus is running smoothly now, and we're heading inland to explore the Oregon wilderness. Our first stop is Umpqua Hot Springs in the national forest to soak away the stress of a broken boose. Wish us luck!

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Track Our Journey
The journey continues. . . 5 years later