Jul 20, 2008
|Fri 7/18. Before leaving Grants Pass, we called my nephew to let him know we were about to arrive. He invited us out for dinner on Friday night. We researched some campgrounds that were convenient to Mckinleyville, and picked a place called Kamp Klamath, located in the Redwood Natl Forest. Steven and Deanna were patiently waiting to go swimming again, and this place sounded like it had it all: boating, fishing, volleyball, SWIMMING (we thought in the Pacific). IT WAS THE CAMPGROUND FROM HELL. We were greeted by a local,(I think he was the owner) who hadn't bathed for a week?? That should have been our first clue. We asked for directions to the beach and were told it was a long walk, but we could drive to a parking area and then walk about a ¼ mile to the beach. Off we went. It turned out, the BEACH?? was on the Klamath River, and was not a beach at all.
We nixed the swimming idea, but continued to follow the DIRT road to the ocean, where there was no beach either, just bluffs overlooking the water. There, we made an interesting discovery. What looked like an abandoned farm house sitting on the bluff below the road with a clear view of the ocean, but with no apparent access.
Further up the road was a foot path leading to the house and a historic marker giving its' history
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese submarines patrolled the waters off the coast. Our government built this house to look like a farm house from the air, but in fact, it housed a radar station and two 50mm anti-aircraf guns. We were not prepared to go hiking, so we did not investigate it any further.
We went back to the campground and decided we would try fishing. Again following the directions given, we took a short hike through bug infested woods to the river. The fishing spot looked liked it was the discharge point for the campground waste system. We nixed the fishing idea. We called my nephew to see if he had room for us to park at his house and he said absolutely. However, it was already getting late and we had paid the campground for the night, so we decided to leave first thing in the morning. We piled into the jeep and drove to Mckinleyville, for dinner with John and Mina, at a nice Italian restaurant. It was delicious, and it was great seeing them. They were eager to see our "home on wheels" and insisted we come to their house on Saturday and spend the day..
After the last 3 campgrounds , one more beautiful than the other, I guess it was wishful thinking to get 4 in a row. "Third time's a charm" so it goes! "Kamp Klamath" was a huge disappointment.
We arrived at John and Minas' in the morning and John brought us to the beach, where we spent a couple of hours. Steven , Deanna AND LUKE had a ball. The beach was huge and flat, and the surf was perfect. I counted maybe 50 people. John said it was crowded for a Saturday.The water temperature was in the 50's, but it didn't deter the 3 muskateers, especially after Deanna got knocked over by a wave, with all her clothes on. Luke played and ran, like he had never run before. Steven called the ocean "refreshing". The real kicker is that this is a county park beach and it allows camping with a 3 day limit. It woud have been the perfect spot for our visit, but wasn't listed in any of our books. Mina had spent the day shopping and cooking, preparing a dinner of fresh salmon and a native Persian rice dish. It was excellent. We don't get to see John and Mina that often and it was great catching up on family stuff. John examined my broken finger, and suggested I put it back in a splint. He's only a brain surgeon…what does he know about broken fingers.
They have 3 children, all grown (almost). Two sons in college and their daughter, who lives and worked in Wash DC. They have a big, beautiful home overlooking the bay, and they made us feel so at home. They were great hosts. I know they loved having the company, and we were glad they had invited us to stay.
A quick anecdotal story. John and Mina moved to Mckinleyville 15 years ago to escape the urban decay of Baltimore, and so that Mina could be closer to her parents who lived in the bay area. They were like pioneers to this area, following the "oakies" who settled here in the dust bowl days. It has since grown into a nice little community, and it is a great place to raise a family. In the last few years it has gained some attention for being located in the middle of the medical marijuana growing area of CA. Having that distinction, attracts a lot of pot heads and other unsavory characters to the area.
Soooo…after we came back from the beach, John suggested we visit the Redwood Forest in Arcata, a town right next to Mckinleyville. Steven and Deanna chose to stay with Mina. When we arrived in park parking lot, we saw two obvious crackheads shouting at each other. It quickly turned into an ultimate fighting match, except one of them had a railroad spike in his hand. When I dialed 911 and was describing the scene to the operator, one of them must have realized the police would be there soon. The nut with the spike, jumped in his car and left and the other one walked into the park. Fortunately it didn't appear that either of them were hurt. It was like watching an episode of COPS, live and in living color. When the police arrived, we gave them a description and plate nr of the car. We decided to go back to the house and I told John, "so much for this quiet little hamlet you discovered on the Pacific coast"'. He agreed it is not the same place he moved to 15 years ago.