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California Dreamin'

9 November 2017

So, we’re just hitting the one-week mark on the road. A caution to all: the service shop we had check over the rig noted that the “factory grease” in the bearings was neither of great quality nor quantity.  Even being brand-new doesn’t guarantee your trailer is ready to roll.  Our couple of snags were quickly fixed and new tires installed, brakes were adjusted and we're good to go. 

So, we hit the road for the quick 1 ½ hour drive to the Coho Ferry in Victoria, B.C.  The customs clearance was fast, very courteous, and downright friendly!  We had a 1 ½ hr ferry ride with no whale sightings, but still a great trip. 

We arrived at 1 PM in Port Angeles, Washington.  A cool little coastal town, with quick access to some of the best salmon fishing areas in the region.  We'd checked out the Elwha Dam Campground before our trip, and on arrival (a scant 10-minute drive from the ferry) we decided to stay 2 nights.  There was so much to see and do in the area we felt it well worth the time, and it certainly was.  We hiked into some amazing waterfalls in a coastal rainforest that was worthy of any Harry Potter movie. 

California Dreamin 2

We checked out a salmon hatchery, and encountered a Bobcat that was desperate to snag one of the hundreds of 20 pound plus Coho salmon.  Two were trapped in a pool beside the rapids, but the poor cat just didn’t feel like risking a swim in the turbulent waters. 

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All of us watching from the other side of the rapids were cheering him on.  He gave us a sad, defeated look, and wandered off to find a better hunting spot.  We really hope he managed a salmon dinner. 

Just prior to salmon watching, we had a great lunch, and an hour in the hot springs at Sol Duc.  They aren’t large, but there are 3 pools of varying temperatures.  For the adventurous, there are natural hot springs that can be accessed along the Elwha River. 

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We chose to wing it for our first week or so of travels and followed the Pacific Coast Highway 101, all the way down to California.  There are plenty of private RV parks, State and National Park Campgrounds, but our favorite so far have been the National Forest Park Campsites.  Definitely much more private, with lots of trees between sites and affordably priced. 

The highway itself isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart. Two lanes with lots of climbs, drops, twists and turns, but the scenery along the way has been well worthwhile.  Mechanically, we’ve had to readjust our hitch, which hadn’t been done when we upgraded to a 1-ton truck, but we were able to do that with hand tools. A blown 30 Amp fuse in the truck had to be replaced to keep our batteries charged enroute. I suspect our year-old batteries will need to be upgraded prior to our boondocking once we head east to Nevada, but we’ll see how they fare. 

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