Saturday, June 3, 2023

Bluebill Campground Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Another reason I don't like to make campground reservations! We were aware that Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is very popular with OHV riders but decided that an overnight stay in the middle of the week would be okay. Our first choice was Horsfall Campground. The campgrounds are all in Siuslaw National Forest so Senior and Access Passes are good for admission and camping.

We pulled in to the campground (just a parking lot) and found it packed with huge tow haulers, cargo trailers, and ATVs. Fortunately the campground host realized that we were out of place and recommended Bluebill Campground which is about a mile farther down the road. No ATVs allowed and hardly any campers so we had a very quiet night.

None of the campsites are designated as accessible but most are usable with paved parking pads that have a wider section where a wheelchair lift could be deployed. Site # 14 is accessible because the pavement extends under the table and fire ring however it doesn't meet the strict national forest guidelines so it's not designated as accessible. Campground  43.45007, -124.26201


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Coquille Point Trail and Viewpoint

The rocky islands  that you can see from Coqille Point are part of the Oregon Island National Wildlife Refuge and  provide a protected nesting area for murres, cormorants, petrels, and tufted puffins.  Binoculars are needed to really see the birds. I used the zoom on my camera but didn't get very good photos. As far as I can tell we saw all of the birds except for the puffins. The puffin population has declined dramatically over the last 50 years due to multiple causes such as climate change, the return of eagles, and pollution. A large puffin sculpture, built by Washed Ashore , an environmental group that makes art from beach trash to educate people about plastic pollution in the ocean, is located at the start of the interpretive trail. 
The trail is about 1/2 mile long and consists of a small loop and an out and back spur. It is paved and accessible. Two spur trails with steps proved access to the beach.
The trail is about 1/2 mile long consisting of a small loop and an out and back spur. It is paved and accessible. Two spur trails with steps access the beach.

RVs can be parked along the edges of the parking lot or on 11th Street.  Trail  3.113, -124.4336

Monday, May 29, 2023

Lake Earl Wildlife Area Cadra Loop Trail

All Trails designates this loop trail as "wheelchair friendly". It is not due to sandy soil, a very narrow overgrown section, and a point where the trail is dangerously narrow with a drop off to stream.
It's still possible to do part of the trail. After parking go through the opening at the side of the gate and follow the trail to the right of the interpretive sign or go straight on the gravel road. Do not take the trail from the parking lot. It becomes very sandy.
We followed the trail at the interpretive sign and after about 3/4 mile we came to a narrow section that is very hard to push through and then the section where the trail is narrow with a drop off. We turned around at this point because we weren't sure how far we had gone and what the trail was like for the rest of the loop. I think we could have finished the loop but I don't recommend this section for wheelchair users.

The gravel road is much better. We went about a mile before turning around but I think the road could be followed to the end. Out and back is about 6 miles. The road is a little rough at the start but smooths out fairly fast. Trail  41.79861, -124.21657

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Elk Valley Casino

This is a new location for the Elk Valley Casino. It's an improvement over the old location where RV parking was in a gravel lot and the casino was smaller and smokier.

There are 6 pull through  RV spaces at the far end of the lot. Registration is required - get a players card and go to the security desk to check in for two free nights.

The casino is accessible with easy to reach card and money slots. The chairs are a bit difficult to move. Casino   41.73903, -124.14808


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Redwood National Park Trails

This park is difficult for us to visit since we need both accessible trails and parking areas where our RV will fit. RV parking information at trailheads can be found on the accessible trail links.  US 101 and Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway are the safest routes for RVs because many of the other roads are designated as "not advised or prohibited for trailers and RVs". Download maps here.
Our last visit was in 2017 and we decided to give it another try this year. We found a good parking spot along the Scenic Parkway. The trail signs were encouraging however we quickly found problems. We walked/rolled along the Brown Creek Trail toward the Carl Schenck Grove but the trail became too narrow and rooty after the second bridge.
We then crossed the road to the Prairie Creek Trail towards the Corkscrew Tree. The trail was fine until we came to a large branch that had recently fallen and shattered when it hit the ground. Yikes - there's a reason loggers call these branches widowmakers! Most of the time the branches are dead. It looked like a dead branch caught live branches on the way down but whatever happened there was too much for us to move off the trail and no way to get around it. Time to turn around. Park  41.28642, -124.09033

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Heights Casino

Even though the casino website calls this an RV Park, it's really just a lot with water faucets and trash cans. Check-in is required and there's a flat fee of $20 which is good for up to three nights stay. The lot slants in two directions so leveling is necessary.

We decided to exit US 101 at Moonstone Beach and take Scenic Drive north to the casino. Scenic Drive twists and turns along the coast with great views of the ocean but, even though we didn't have any trouble, I don't recommend it for RVs. Part of the road isn't paved and some sections are one lane.

We did not go into the casino except to check-in. Casino  41.05514, -124.12974

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Fort Humboldt State Park and Logging Museum

Fort Humboldt was established in 1853 to keep peace between the Native Americans and the newcomers flooding into the area seeking gold and farmland. In 1860 a local vigilante group attacked Wiyot villages and murdered hundreds of tribal members, mostly women and children who were alone in the villages while the men were away gathering supplies for a week-long renewal ceremony. The remaining Wiyots were taken to the fort and kept in a stockade for their own safety but overcrowding and lack of food and clothing led to the death of half of them. The Wiyots were eventually forced onto reservations. The fort grounds are considered sacred by the tribe.

The hospital building is the only original building. It's a museum with exhibits on the fort and the native tribes but it's undergoing renovation and was not opened when we visited. The surgeon's quarters has been reconstructed and the rooms are furnished with period pieces. Interpretive panels describe life in the fort from the point of view of the surgeon's wife. A path circles the parade grounds and has more interpretive signs.

The logging museum is adjacent to the fort grounds and consists of a path with interpretive signs and old equipment including a huge steam donkey which was used to drag felled trees out of the forest.
The logging museum path is paved and accessible with a rail crossing that's a bit tricky. The paths at the fort are graveled, a little rough but accessible. Both buildings have access to the porch.

The parking lot is small. We fit in the accessible parking space which was slightly longer than the other spaces. Longer RVs may fit on the edge of the parking lot next to the fort grounds. 40.77717, -124.1874 Park

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Humboldt Redwoods State Park Campground and Trails

When we visited the park in 2017 we drove through in one day. This time we stayed at Burlington Campground so that we would have more time to walk/roll on the trails. 

Burlington Campground is a figure eight loop with 58 sites. The roads are narrow, the curves are tight, and the sites are short so, according to the park website, trailers and RVs are limited to 24' however the reservation site accepts RVs up to 30'.  In the photo we're in one of the accessible sites, #54, and there is room in front and back of us so a longer RV will fit. The accessible sites are close to the restrooms and have wide parking pads. They do not have paving to the tables and fire rings.

The  visitor center is next to the campground - an easy walk along the road or on the path that goes through the amphitheater. The visitor center is accessible. The most interesting exhibit is Charles Kellogg’s Travel Log which he built in 1917 and drove around the country to spread the word about the need to save the magnificent redwoods.

Five trails are accessible.  We walked/rolled on four of them. Founder’s Grove Loop Trail and Fleishmann Grove Trail start across from the visitor center. Founder's Grove is almost level and very accessible. Fleishmann goes slightly downhill and has a few cross slopes where wheelchair users may need assistance. All of the accessible trails have an informative sign at the trailhead.

Founder’s Grove Loop Trail is accessible with many old growth trees. RVs can be parked along the road  near the trailhead.

 Drury-Chaney Loop Trail has an accessible 1.6 mile loop with an additional loop to make a 2.4 miles round trip. We walked/rolled the accessible loop. This trail is the most difficult of the three trails with a rolling terrain and a few steep cross slopes. RVs will fit in the pull offs on both sides of the road. Park  40.30819, -123.90869