Hey everyone,

After getting the oil changed and verifying that our brake pads were in good shape, we left Medford, Oregon and headed back to Northern California to see the giant redwoods and a little more of the coastline.  During the drive back to California, something large hit our windshield.  I can't say for sure what it was that hit us, perhaps a large rock or a chunk of wood from the logging trucks, but whatever it was shattered a small section of the windshield, took paint off the car frame, and now we have two large cracks running up the driver's side of the windshield.  This was the first in a series of bad luck events that occurred within the next few days.  Another was me losing part of a filling in my tooth and there was one other costly mishap which I'll talk about later.

: (

We decided to camp at the KOA outside of Eureka California, as it was a good base camp for exploring the redwoods as well as many of the smaller coastal towns.  Once we arrived, we were immediately reminded of the fact that the California coast is pretty cold.  While it was 80+ degrees in southern Oregon (which is about 200 miles northeast of Eureka), it was in the 50s along the coast.  Honestly, I'm not sure how the two of us have not gotten sick on this trip with the constant fluctuations in temperature.  After we set up camp and unhooked the trailer, we set out to explore the area for a little while.  The coastline here was pretty sweet and I scouted out a few photo locations before heading up the coast to see the gigantic redwood trees.

I think there's a monkey up there

Gigantic barely describes how big these trees are.  Monstrous might be a better descriptor, or gigantically monstrous.  Not only are these trees the tallest in the world, but some of them are wide enough to drive car through them.  We drove on a few of the scenic drives and walked through several of the redwood groves, including the Lady Bird Johnson grove.

Tree hugger

Some creep

The next day we visited Patrick's Point State Park, which is home to Northern California'a agate beach.  Here, if you are lucky and/or industrious enough, you can find actual agates that wash ashore.  Since we are basically two dorky kids housed in adult bodies, we treated the agate search like a real life treasure hunt.  The only thing missing was pirate clothes and my parrot back home.  Unfortunately, we came away empty handed but we did manage to find some really pretty polished stones.  We ended up spending about four hours wandering around on the beach, which was definitely a nice, leisurely way to spend part of the day.

Agate Beach
Plundered booty

For sunset, we drove to Luffenholtz Beach which is located near the town of Trinidad.  Luffenholtz is the quintessential California beach, with sea stacks, tide pools, and a wonderful rocky shoreline.  The first night I shot here was mainly for scouting and ideas.  Despite the beach's obvious beauty, it was difficult to find a decent spot to shoot that worked with the cloudless, bright, sun-in-the-face skies that we were having.  The second night I went out, I had a better idea of where I was going to shoot; unfortunately, this was the night that lady luck was not on my side.  I found a spot that worked nicely at hiding the direct sunlight while still having an interesting composition, but of course this spot was really REALLY close to the water.

Throw away shot, but it gives you an idea

What made this location so special was a little drainage hole that would suck the water down and out to sea after the waves crashed onto the shore.  What made this location so risky was that I had to take the full impact of the waves in order to shoot that little hole.  I was able to shield the camera from the water pretty well until a huge wave caught me off guard, dumping a curtain of water onto me and my camera.

The shot that killed my lens

I dried everything off the best I could and went back to shooting.  At first everything seemed okay, but about 10 minutes later my camera started to act up.  I figured the contacts between the lens and the camera were a little wet and didn't pay it any mind.  It wasn't until the following afternoon, after we had said goodbye to California and arrived in Oregon, that I realized that something was really wrong. 

After a nearly five hour drive, we dumped the trailer off at our campground and drove up to Crater Lake National Park.  The drive to the park was pretty cool.  At first there was no snow at all, then little pockets of snow here and there, then all of a sudden there was snow everywhere.  By the time we made it to the visitor's center, we were driving between walls of snow piled 20 feet high on each side of the road.  We may have missed most of the snow at home this year, but this definitely made up for it ten-fold.  The park averages about 44 feet of snow each year and because of this, most of the park is currently closed due to snow and isn't expected to open until some time in July.  After stopping by the visitor's center, which was up to its roof in snow, we drove up to one of the two areas that was open to see crater lake.


From the parking lot, it was about a 500 foot walk out to the lake.  The snow was so high it was insane and we were definitely glad we brought our boots (some tourists were wearing sandals…suckers!)  It was definitely weird being on a nice sandy beach one day and then standing on top of eight feet of snow the next day.  To top it off, it was freezing and ridiculously windy.  The sun did manage to peek out for about five minutes and we were able to see the lake it all of its blue glory.  Unfortunately, it was here that I figured out my camera lens was still acting up and it really put a damper on the rest of the day.  We drove back to camp, where I did some troubleshooting to see what was going on.  After discovering salt corrosion on the motherboard of the lens, I realized the lens was nothing more than a $2200 paper weight at this point.  Although the lens is insured, I still felt pretty horrible and we were faced with the following issue:  How do we get a new lens sent out to us when we don't know anyone out here?

Wizard Island at Crater Lake
The next day at camp, I was too depressed to return to Crater Lake and spent most of the day sulking with Melinda.  To try to pick our spirits up, we went to the local Walmart and bought a frisbee.  We spent most of the day playing catch in the grassy field behind our campsite.  Our campground bordered a reservoir and there was a nice little trail that ran along its edge which we walked for a little while until we began to hear thunder in the distance. We walked back thinking we would finally have some rain that wash the car, but we had no luck. I don't think we've seen rain for almost 2 months now.

The next day we drove to the Oregon Coast armed with a game plan.  We visited the local post office in Bandon, Oregon and they told us that they would accept a package via General Delivery.  If you are not familiar with this process, it is where you ship a package directly to the post office and they will hold it for 30 days until you pick it up with a valid ID.  With spirits renewed, we went to the McDonald's to use their free Wifi and order a new lens.  Of course we ran into another issue.  Neither B&H Photo or Adorama would ship to General Delivery.  Amazon would, but they didn't have the lens in stock.  Luckily, a nice lady overheard my frustrated ranting to B&H's customer service representative and pointed us one mile up the road to a place that accepts packages and has a mailing address. We counted ourselves lucky and ordered the lens.

The next fun part was dealing with the insurance claims department, which basically called us liars the last time we had an issue (a deer hit the car and they said the damage wasn't consistent with a deer strike), so I knew that it probably wasn't going to be easy. After explaining the issue and being told pretty much I'm not smart enough to know what salt corrosion looks like, we had to make a 6 hour roundtrip to the closest camera store in Eugene, Oregon that luckily had a repair guy working there. We got the necessary paperwork and sent it over and finally got it all squared away.

Cape Arago Lighthouse

Coquille River Lighthouse

 The next few days were spent exploring various lighthouses along the coast and Bandon Beach, which is arguably the most beautiful beach in the United States.  I've wanted to go and visit this beach for a very long time now. Rather than try to explain its beauty in words, I'll just let the photos speak for themselves. I just finished shooting here for the fifth night a few hours ago and was a little sad walking off the beach for the last time. Hopefully we can visit here again and maybe next time we'll have some epic sunsets. We'll be continuing up the coast tomorrow to check out the Oregon Dunes and Cape Perpetua. Until next time.

Face Rock: See the Face? Spooky ; )
Distant Sea Stacks at Bandon
Near Cape Blanco
Seagull Islands
Beautiful Bandon: Closest the Sun got to coming out all week
Street Cred
Walking around Coquille Beach


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