Road Trip Hot Spots – Part II

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

In Part I, I talked about the first two days of this five-day road trip which ended up at about 1,200 miles.   We traveled from Portland to Lassen Volcanic National Park and then west through the beautiful Trinity Alps to Eureka and up the coast on Highway 101 through the Redwoods with overnight stays in Arcata, CA and Bandon, OR.

  Of course, we hit a few good breweries and bars along the way.

1,200 miles through beautiful and varied scenery

After the road trip, we spent the final three days at the beach in Lincoln City on the Central Oregon Coast before returning home.   We reveled in the scenery of Northern California and the Oregon Coast while also visiting and revisiting some excellent watering holes.

Although we usually listen to music on road trips except for the fascinating Serial Podcast (“The Case Against Adnan Syed”) on a road trip in the Southwest three years ago, we greatly enjoyed listening to Rachel Held Evans’ audio book – “Searching for Sunday Loving Leaving & Finding the Church”. 

It’s an excellent non-fiction choice recommended by Lisa, our older daughter, which made the New York Times bestseller non-fiction paperback list.  

Evans was an American Christian columnist, blogger and author, who tragically died in 2019 at the age of 39 after an allergic reaction to a medication for an infection.   Her book was thought-provoking and worthwhile.   Her legacy, as stated by a contributor to The Atlantic is:

“…..part of a vanguard of progressive-Christian women who fought to change the way Christianity is taught and perceived in the United States….(based on) her unwillingness to cede ownership of Christianity to its traditional conservative-male stewards’ and that her ‘very public, vulnerable exploration of a faith forged in doubt empowered a ragtag band of writers, pastors, and teachers to claim their rightful place as Christians.”  (Wikipedia)

# (External photo attribution at end of the post  #1 – #2)

From Lassen National Park to Eureka

After a wonderful stay at Highlands Ranch Resort just outside the Park which I relate in Part I, we drove west to Red Bluff, CA and then followed a winding and steep, albeit beautiful, highway (CA-36) through the Trinity Alps to Eureka on the California Coast.

On a future trip we hope to visit this expansive Wilderness – at 525,627-acres, the second largest in California, with over fifty alpine lakes – when the impacts of recent wildfires are not of the same magnitude.  From August to mid-November, 2021, it was one of the California Wildernesses closed to the public because of multiple wildfires.  (#3 – #5)

Driving Up the Coast

In the summer of 2017, we drove down the Oregon Coast to the Redwoods and stayed one night in Arcata, California.   It was a hopping little berg – established in 1860 with a current population of about 20,000. 

We walked around Cal Poly – Humboldt.  It’s a lovely campus.  We vowed to come back and stay at the historic Arcata Hotel – in the center of town right across from the impressive Town Plaza.

Well, the pandemic has evidently and understandably been rough – the same is true of Portland.  And perhaps our memories were a little bit rosy, but Arcata was not really the same.  The Plaza was not very clean and there was a lot of loitering. The shops were non-descript and the downtown area lacked “energy.”

While the Hotel Arcata, (shown below) opened in 1915, was interesting, it did not compare favorably to similar vintage hotels where I stayed in Montana   (#6 – #7)

That said, we returned to the Redwood Curtain Brewery – still a “hot spot” five years later – and Janet and I each had a pint of their wonderful Sticky Fingers IPA.  Later, just walking around town, we discovered a slightly unusual place to have dinner and a beer – but Slice of Humboldt Pie was a marvelous choice.

When Janet suggested it, I shuddered – harkening back to memories of Swanson’s Chicken Pot Pies when we were kids; however, the chicken pot pie  ($7.50) was the best meal on the trip – and a Trinity County Brewing Golden Smash Ale to accompany it was perfect. 

But wait — I haven’t told you about desert.   The apple pie alamode ($10.00) made me beg Janet to return for breakfast or at least argue that “Slice” can be pluralized. Instead, we had breakfast the next morning at the quaint Big Blue Cafe where the staff was friendly and the pancakes to savor. 

Dinner and breakfast made us leave Arcata with better feelings than the afternoon before. (#8 – #9) 

Through the Redwoods

Our time was somewhat limited, but we wanted to take a short hike through at least part of majestic trees, so we stopped at the Visitors’ Center in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and they were very helpful.

As a result, we took a fairly rough seven-mile gravel road where we were glad that we had our Subaru Cross-trek – the destination Fern Canyon.  The Ranger told us that during the summer one has to apply for a permit to make the trip up to eight weeks in advance.

“A level trail of about one mile follows Home Creek as it courses through the forest. This modest stream has over the eons carved a 50 to 80 foot deep canyon through the rich sedimentary soils. The canyon walls sprout an amazing variety of luxuriant ferns and other moisture-loving plants. On a sunny day, thousands of tiny drops of moisture make the canyon walls sparkle.

We definitely got our shoes wet, but it was a stunningly beautiful canyon. 

We followed the experience by leaving 101 for a diversion up the ten-mile Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway.  While a guy named “Newton” may not have been popular with the A-crowd in high school, he had vision and he:

“……was instrumental in the 20th century for securing hundreds of thousands of acres as parklands.”

Fortunately, we did not come across any aggressive elk – either the largest species in the deer family or members of the fraternal order who had been drinking and were rowdy.

Photo Oct 05 2022, 11 39 24 AM

A Bandon Hope…..

On our 2017 Coast trip, we really enjoyed our stay in Bandon (population 3,100) on the Oregon Coast near the California border (90 miles).

We stayed at the Bandon Inn, a classic older motel, but well-maintained, has a great breakfast and where virtually every room overlooks the Coquille River reaching into the Pacific.  We watched whales surfacing from our balcony.  The Inn overlooks Old Town.

On that visit we also discovered a wonderful bar – the Broken Anchor Bar and Grill and had a long conversation with Jessica Neal, the personable and entrepreneurial owner.  We then had a beer at the Bandon Brewing Company, which had opened the day before.  We could walk to both from our room at the Bandon Inn. ( (#10 – #11)

 
jessica-e1510535254794

Hoping to be able to see her again, I told her by phone when we were going to be in town.  She was leaving the next day for a week in Mexico, but she kindly took a break from packing and came in.  It was obvious when catching up with her over drinks that she has used her work ethic and business instincts to adapt and work through the challenges of the pandemic.

Jessica took a risk a little over six years ago, opening the Broken Anchor after the former bar failed.  We found out chatting in 2017 that she is a Minnesotan, who after college and getting her teaching certification, started working in restaurants and bars after moving to Oregon.  (According to the reviews, she knows how to make an outstanding cocktail).

She had worked at two great Portland bars previously reviewed by Thebeerchaser – Crackerjacks Pub and the Dixie Tavern.  We were sorry to hear that shortly after our first visit, she ran into a few strokes of bad luck with both a fire which destroyed her liquor inventory and her walk-in freezer malfunctioning – the latter resulting in a significant loss not covered by insurance.

She has since changed her menu and entertainment options, developed a loyal Bandon clientele and hired and retained good staff.   We were there at a weekday Happy Hour and the place was filled with an energetic crowd. 

And Rylee, pictured above, the Anchor’s “mixologist,” made the best Bloody Mary I’ve had in years.  The social media reviews are overwhelmingly positive as exemplified by these two excerpts:

3/5/22 Yelp“This is apparently THE place to be in Bandon after 8pm (and in reality one of the few places open “late”). We got into town around 6:30 and spent about an hour getting settled at Bandon Inn….We’re in town for 4 more nights so we may just end up back here before heading back home.”

2/7/22 YelpNice clean restaurant with friendly staff.  The food was fantastic and came in good portions.  They have a great drink selection too!  Definitely on my list of places to eat when in town!” 

Cheers to Jessica for her perseverance and a toast to her continued success.

We walked down the block – returning to Bandon Brewing Company and had dinner – we each had a great burger and scrumptious fries accompanied by a pint of their Everything is Awesome Pale Ale” – which although not awesome, was smooth and drinkable.   We had enough food left over from dinner for lunch in the car the next day.

Photo Oct 05 2022, 6 55 17 PM

The Final Day of Travel

We often travel up and down the North and Central Oregon Coast, but hadn’t seen the spectacular southern part since 2017, so were looking forward to breathtaking scenery and a few short walks in the many Oregon State Parks along the remaining three-hour 150 mile route.

Well our views were not awesome either and we drove through pea soup fog all the way to our place in Lincoln City and for two of the three days we were there before returning to Portland. 

That said, we loved this trip!

Cheers!

External Photo Attribution

#1.  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rachel_Held_Evans.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: Dan Evans – circa 2009-10.

#2.  E-bay – Searching for Sunday (https://www.ebay.com/itm/254525497591?chn=ps&_trkparms=ispr%3D1&amdata=enc%3A1Ycw0sflNSourRZmA0JhUPA19&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-.

#3.  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trinity_Alps_Wilderness_(140359867).jpeg L censed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Source: Imported from 500px (archived version) by the Archive Team.  12 August 2011.

#4. Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pinus_balfouriana_Trinity_Alps_01.jpg) L censed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Source:  Tom Hilton 4 July 2009.

#5.  Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pinus_balfouriana_Trinity_Alps.jpg)  L icensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Source:  Miguel Vieira from Walnut Creek, CA, 22 August 2010.

#6.  Wikimedia Commons:  (File:ArcataHotel.jpg – Wikimedia Commons) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Cacophony 24 June 2008

#7. Wikimedia Commons (File:Arcata Plaza.jpg – Wikimedia Commons) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Terrence McNally   6 October 2005.

#8.  Slice of Humboldt Pie Facebook Page (Facebook)

#9.  The Big Blue Cafe | Facebook

#10 – #11. Bandon Inn (1) Facebook

Road Trip Hot Spots…..Part I

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

I smiled as we rolled south on Interstate-5 through Grants Pass, Oregon, heading for our first night’s stay in Redding, California – only 285 more miles for what would be a total of 472 or about nine hours from our home in a Portland burb.  (#1- #2 – external photo attributions at end of the  post.)

My heightened spirits harkened back to the great memories from our last road trip – a long one – clear back in in the summer of 2019.  

And was that a road trip!  Fifteen-Days – a 3,700-mile journey through six western states going as far east as the Dakotas. Those who follow Thebeerchaser blog know that besides touring a number of fantastic National Parks and Monuments as well as the impressive Custer State Park, we visited scads of wonderful bars and breweries. 

2019-07-06 18.12.02

While on my own – the first six days driving solo – I visited twenty-three bars and seven breweries including my favorite bar since I started Beerchasing – The Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Montana.  (Don’t worry, at most of the bars I visited those six days, I had a 7-Up while talking to the owner or bartender).

Janet flew into Billings where I picked her up for the rest of the trip.  We subsequently stopped at ten bars and nine breweries for a total of forty-nine memorable establishments where we met wonderful people, had outstanding beer and good food. 

It reaffirmed our appreciation for the National Park Service.  The scenery was varied and stunning.  The complete list can be found at the end of the post below:

https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/07/05/big-sky-beerchasing-the-preface/

Then a Three-year Pause….

We had no idea that a global pandemic would stifle not only road trips for the next few years, but essentially curtail all travel other than occasional trips to the beach and to Seattle.   

One doesn’t fully appreciate these journeys until their absence.  To use a Beerchasing analogy:  Schlitz Beer was always my favorite beer, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until they stopped producing it in 1981 when I learned the meaning of “When you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of Beer!” (#3)

And while major back surgery this June made us reject extending our trip for several nights in San Francisco, this 2022 journey was still about 1,200 miles.  We reveled in the scenery of Northern California and the Oregon Coast and while also visiting and revisiting some excellent watering holes.

Redding

Since we felt finally felt comfortable dining inside without a mask, we chose Final Draft Brewing for dinner and beer after a walk across Redding’s impressive Sundial Bridge.   

I had some trepidation the name of the brewery evoked based on repressed memories of graduate school which bubbled to the surface.  Both my sister and her husband were high school English teachers at one point in their careers and were kind enough to edit all of my graduate school papers.

When I often submitted what I thought was my “final draft,” it would be returned with a sea of red ink and no smiley faces drawn at the top. It clearly redefined the meaning of final.”  Dave Booher, seen in the photo below taken recently in Wales, looks like a kind and gentle soul sipping his IPA. 

However, the image on the left shows the volume of red pens he used just to “correct” one paper.  He was merciless (but I guess, in retrospect, he did teach me how to write and perhaps his actions were based on the quality of my narrative……He is also a quality human being. #4)

Dave is a patriot and served in the US Navy Submarine Service –  five deterrent patrols on two Fleet Ballistic Missile nuclear subs and one tour on a diesel boat, USS Dogfish,  launched in the late ’40’s and used as test platform for secret sonar experiments.

He also advised me – a guy who served on Destroyers – that: 

“There are only two types of naval vessels: submarines and targets.”

He still has a sign in their bedroom he altered from the 1950’s.  His version:

 “Better Red than Dead!”  (#5 – #6)

He’s so into scarlet that even though he’s an ardent U of Oregon Duck fan, he wears a University of Alabama Crimson Tide jersey to the games at Autzen Stadium…….you get the idea! (#5 -#6)

Note:  Dave informed me after reading this post that ironically, the photo of him was taken at a pub called “The Scholar’s Bar” in Aberystwyth, Wales.   He also added, “Please note that in these perilous times my current favorite colors are sky blue and sunflower yellow.”

 But I Digress…..

Final Draft Brewing was a great choice and even on a Monday night, this establishment, opened in 2017 by owner, Adam Ward, was hopping with 34 rotating taps including hard cider and seltzer and with an expansive food menu.  There was also a nice outdoor patio and as accurately portrayed on their website:

“Big Screen Tv’s, Exposed HVAC & An Open Area Brewhouse Located Directly Behind The Bar Are All The Unique Elements That Make Final Draft Brewing The “Go-To” Hangout In Downtown Redding!”

Our server, Isaiah, was a nice and helpful chap who had worked there for three years and explained the beers and gave us some samples before we decided to get (4) four ounce samplers – each for $2.  All were the Brewery’s own beers (Passive Aggressive IPA, True Blood Orange Kolsch, Attention Deficit IPA and Miso Blonde – the Kolsch was my favorite although all were good.

We shared the Filet Mignon Steak Salad ($17.99) and three Cod Tacos for only $12.99 and both were excellent as was the service.

Another Great National Park!

Lassen Volcanic National Park was only an hour from Redding, so we were able to spend a full day in this geologically splendid example of the sixty-three areas of discovery and beauty maintained by the National Park Service.

Photo Oct 03 2022, 2 52 43 PM (2)

Notwithstanding my consumption of the Attention Deficit IPA the night before, I learned from a film in the Visitor Center that  Lassen Peak is the largest plug dome volcano in the world.  Lassen Volcanic National Park is also one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found – plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and stratovolcano.

Another striking feature of the Lassen National Park and on our subsequent trip from I-5 to Highway 101 on the Coast through the beautiful Trinity Alps Wilderness (the second largest in California) was the devastation caused by wildfires. 

Much of the Park was closed last year because of fire and the lodge where we stayed was evacuated although fortunately not destroyed.

Photo Oct 03 2022, 2 49 56 PM

At times, one could drive down the main road through the Park and on Highway 299 to Eureka on the Coast and on one side would be lush green forests while the view on the other side was blackened stumps, spindly remains of once lofty firs and no undergrowth.

Fortunately, the beauty of Lassen Peak itself and the marvelous story of the modern-day eruption in 1915 and the movement of massive rocks to end points miles away transcended what one hopes is the temporary devastation by the fires. (The Hot Rock in the picture below weighs 30 tons!)

“At rest for over 100 years in this location, the larger boulder here was once in the vent of Lassen Peak. A violent lahar, or mudflow, carried this 30-ton rock speeding down the slopes of Lassen Peak in a slurry of mud, earth, and rock. 

Visitors to the altered landscape reported that Hot Rock was hot to the touch even months after the eruption. The rock’s internal temperature is estimated to have been 1000°F when it came tumbling down Lassen Peak.”  (National Park Service)

And lest one become too complacent about the past and present volcanic history of the Cascade Range, take a look at these photos in what is appropriately called the “Sulphur Works.”  These can be viewed (and smelled……) right by the highway.  Others require some walking.

“The remarkable hydrothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park include roaring fumaroles (steam and volcanic-gas vents), thumping mud pots, boiling pools, and steaming ground.

Water from rain and snow that falls on the highlands of the park feed the hydrothermal system. Once deep underground, the water is heated by a body of hot or molten rock beneath Lassen Peak. Rising hot water boils to form boiling pools and mud pots.”   (National Park Service)

Highlands Ranch Resort

We had reservations that were canceled last year when the Lodge had to be evacuated because of the destructive Dixie Fire, and on this trip couldn’t get into one of the seven multi-room cabins of this magnificent lodging option on 175 acres only fifteen minutes from the Park. 

Fortunately, a nineteen unit motel (The Village at Highlands Ranch) – right across the highway – also operated by the Lodge owners, proved to be very comfortable. 

and

All the amenities of the Lodge were available including the expansive patio with unforgettable views of the meadow and mountain forest,  a rustic dining room and spectacular walnut bar and fire pits to enjoy our after-dinner drinks. 

It was one of the most relaxing and pleasant afternoon and evenings we spent since 2019.  The staff for the Lodge and the dining room and bar were outstanding and friendly.   

Onward to Additional “Hot” Spots….

So ended our first two days on the road trip and we then headed west to Red Bluff through the Trinity Alps to our next nightly destination – the Historic Arcata Hotel in Arcata, CA on 101 – a nice jaunt of 190 miles.   We left volcanic and geothermal country, but now searched for Beerchasing Hot Spots!

Cheers!

External Photo Attribution

#1. Wikimedia Commons: By Chad K – Sundial Bridge, from the south, CC BY 2.0, (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=108094668)   Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

#2.  Wikimedia Commons:  File:Flag of Redding, California (pre-2018).png – Wikimedia Commons).

#3. Wikimedia Commons: (File:Old Schlitz Beer advertisement in Milwaukee Wisconsin.JPG – Wikimedia Commons)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: Victorgrigas   4 January 2014.

#4.  Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Several_empty_red_pens.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: DigitDiva   16 May 2014.

#5. Amazon.com  (https://www.amazon.com/Better-Dead-Than-Communism-Slogan/dp/B07PYXSHXH).

#6.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alabama_Crimson_Tide_logo.svg)  This logo image consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain.  Source: University of Alabama – (https://rolltide.com/documents/2018/6/28//Alabama201819LogosCopy.pdf?id=12116)