Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer 2008 - Day Three

Katie at the Battery Point LighthouseOur first full day in Crescent City CA, and we're looking for some wee adventures today. Dawg & Katie & Net venture off to Starbuck's and the grocery store, returning laden with coffee supplies and breakfast fixins. We make breakfast a community meal, with everyone pitching in with prep or cleanup.

After breakfast we're off to see the Battery Point Lighthouse. Timing is an issue here: the lighthouse is open to the public on Wednesday through Sunday (so if we're going, it must be today, it'll be closed tomorrow and the day after) and is accessible only at low tide. We look up the tide tables, discovering low is at 9:40 am ... ack, that's coming up soon! Joker and Paks are not interested in going so it's Nettie, Piggle, Dawg, Kate and I who hustle out to our bikes and putt down to the point. Once we walk across the causeway to the island, we discover the lighthouse does not open until 10:00 am and so we must cool our heels for fifteen minutes. Heh.

The modern lens (not Freznel)We take the 45-minute lighthouse tour which turns out to be pretty nifty. Battery Point Light was first lit in 1856, and originally sported a fourth-order Freznel lens (19th-century Freznels are considered cool things to see if you are into that sort of thing.) We aren't allowed to take pictures anywhere inside the lighthouse quarters but can photograph up in the tower, so this picture is of the modern barrel lens that replaced the Freznel lens when the lighthouse was automated in 1953. The space is so tight, I cannot back up to get a good picture and can only take a photo of little bits of the light.

Mouth of the Klamath RiverAfterwards we zip back to the house, pick up Paks and Joker, and go for a ride down the coast to the Klamath Overlook, which is a spectacular spot high on the bluffs overlooking the mouth of the Klamath River. The road isn't very well marked, and I think I've gotten us lost in a residential section (yes I am in the lead again) and call for the group to turn around on the flattest, least-graveled spot of road I have seen for a while, but "flattest" and "least-graveled" is not saying a whole lot in this particular circumstance. We eventually regroup at a B&B parking area at the bottom of the hill, get directions, and find out we were on the right road, I had just given up way too soon. (This adventure does preserve my [completely undeserved] reputation of queen-of-turnarounds ... they say that if I'm leading a ride, there will be a U at some point.) Up we go again, this time finding our destination. It's totally worth it, the view is spectacular. We see bald eagles, a harrier on the hunt, a zillion osprey, and seals playing in the surf below us. We don't see any whales, alas, even though this is a good whale-watching site.

Redwoods on the Cal-Barrel RoadJoker Net and Piggle head back north to Crescent City after the overlook, while Paks Dawg Katie and I head south for a little more sightseeing. We cruise down 101 a little further to the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway, a ten-mile drive through old-growth redwoods that takes us to the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. We stop at the visitor's center, get passport stamps, smell flowers, take pictures of birds and elk, and then venture a little further into the woods by trying the Cal-Barrel Road. A ranger told us it was paved, what a liar. If it ever had been, it's so degraded now that it's nothing better than packed gravel covered with pine needles, not the best surface for riding a big bagger. Paks in particular dislikes this kind of road intensely. We give up about a mile up the three-mile road, park the bikes, and walk. We've found a wonderful little grove to explore, and strolling through the hushed forest is magical. The redwoods are truely a magnificent place.

Back home for dinner, Net's in charge of picking where to eat, and overshoots the destination by the pier. So how come I'm the one who gets teased when we all have to do a U-turn? LOL

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