5-09-2014 Leaving Brookings and Highway 199

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon  Sunny and in the 70’s today

We were so lucky to have three gorgeous sunshiny days at the Oregon Coast.  Thursday and Friday were dark and rainy, but we thought our entire time at the beach would be dark and rainy, so we were prepared. Loeb Azalea Gard_197

After our morning hike on Wednesday, I checked the weather radar and with the wispy clouds in the west and the low cloud bank over the ocean and knew that anything else we wanted to do that required sunshine should be done soon.Loeb Azalea Gard_195

Azalea Park is one of the treasures of Brookings.  Located on the east end of town, the park has a rich history dating back to the 1800’s.  I read that some of the old azaleas in the park were there when Lewis and Clark wintered here in 1805-1806.  Loeb Azalea Gard_227

Unlike the gorgeous hybrids of rhododendrons and azaleas we have today, these old beauties are tall and rangy, with soft muted colors.  Still, it is great that the city of Brookings has preserved the park and the old azaleas.Loeb Azalea Gard_216

We have visited the gardens in the past, at different times during the spring, but this one I think was the best.  As I said previously, it is a crap shoot, and there is no way to plan a specific date for the best bloom.  Loeb Azalea Gard_212

We again walked the same paths that we walked last December in the dark of winter, enjoying the Christmas light show.  The paths meander around the grounds lined with every possible color and variety of rhododendron you can imagine. 

Another favorite of mine are the pastel spring growth of the Pieris japonica.  Loeb Azalea Gard_241

Huge gunnera plants I first saw at Butchart Gardens in Victoria are reminiscent of a fairy tale world where people are tiny and can hide under giant leaf umbrellas. With blue skies and brilliant sunshine, we had no need to hide under any kind of umbrella.

Loeb Azalea Gard_192 Thursday night the rains started, and we didn’t mind a bit.  Lowering the awning on one side let the water pour off without pooling in the canvas, and we picked up the rugs and kept the chairs safe from rain.  Even a walk or two around the park was a welcome break from reading, watching a couple of great movies, and doing that ‘relaxing’ thing that we had promised ourselves for this trip.Loeb Azalea Gard_218

I have often mentioned traveling home via Highway 199, but usually I never manage to get any photos of the route. 

It is a magnificent drive along the wild Smith River, past the redwoods at Jedediah Smith State Park, winding into the mountains adjacent to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.  Mothers Day 2014_009

There are steep drop offs along the way, some narrow roads with signs warning of even more narrow sections and sharp curves.

Mothers Day 2014_006 Still, we saw full size semi’s negotiating the curves easily, with even more large fifth wheels and Class A motorhomes along the route.  It can be done, and isn’t difficult in a big rig.  It just requires slowing down and enjoying the view.

Mothers Day 2014_002 There are a very few parking areas  along the way, but plenty of turnouts to let the speedy ones pass, and a few places with passing lanes.

Mothers Day 2014_012 Hiouchi RV Park is just a bit east of the redwoods, and is a nice private park.  We stayed there once in 2011, and enjoyed sunshine away from the coastal fog with only a short drive to either Crescent City or Brookings. After leaving the river, at the Oregon-California state line, there is a large tunnel, with plenty of clearance for most any kind of big rig.

Mothers Day 2014_018 When traveling to and from Brookings and Grants Pass, the route crosses over the Oregon-California border twice.  Sometimes the ag inspection stations are open, most of the time simply asking us if we have fruit, plants, or firewood on board.  We do say ‘no’, in spite of the occasional apple or head of lettuce hiding in the RV fridge.  So far, the inspectors are usually so taken with Jeremy on the dash that they smile and nod and never give us a bit of trouble.

Mothers Day 2014_016 It takes a short two hours to travel from Brookings to Grants Pass, and we arrived back at the cottage early in the afternoon to mixed sun and rain.  It was that blustery kind of spring rain that comes and goes, however, and Mo managed to mow the property on Friday afternoon.  I did a bit of weeding, visited with the neighbors, and made plans to enjoy the next two days of Mother’s Day weekend with three of my four kids.  Lucky Me!


Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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