Day 6 – the sun rose to a beautiful day with blue skies and a mist covering the Eel River Valley below the Bear River Casino. We enjoyed morning coffee outside in the paved parking lot next to our rigs, followed by a light breakfast and back on the road at 9 am.
It seems everyone was anticipating some warmer weather and a break from the rain. The mist we saw from the casino was in our path, although thick at times it didn’t slow us much.
The 101 turned inland through Humboldt Redwood State Park and the Avenue Of The Giants. Traffic was light and even though the sun shone the highway was still wet under the shade of the Redwoods.
We continued winding south through the heavily treed hills of the Eel River for most of the morning. Our plan was to head back to the coast and highway 1 as soon as we could…. What a mistake.
We turned off the 101 at Leggett Ca., as soon as we turned the corner, I had a glimpse of a sign that read, “motor homes over 40 ft. not advised”. I immediately pulled over, but the narrow shoulder did not allow for all our rigs to stop for more than a couple of minutes.
I quickly conferred with the my followers and the consensus was to continue. My thought was that we could turn round if the road was too windy ……not. The winding narrow road was immediate, and no place to turn around.
The twenty something miles to the coast took more than 2 hours, the road was extremely treacherous with 10 mph blind corners and steep grades.
Many of the corners were so sharp it was necessary to use most of the road to avoid our trailers going off the road. Thank goodness for the walkie talkies as Lynda alerted our followers of approaching vehicles, including an ominous logging truck.
Thankfully the traffic was light and most approaching vehicles approached the corners with caution.
We finally reached the coast and pulled over to relieve the tension we were all feeling. Arriving at the coast we thought would put and end to the crazy roads…….it was not to be. Highway 1, a mere narrow country road was not much better than the road from highway 101, although the scenery was spectacular, when I could steal a glance to see it.
We made a quick stop at Fort Bragg for fuel and lunch, during this stop ‘H’ noticed the bracket holding the spare tire on the rear of his 5th wheel had bent to the point that it may fall off. Lucky he spotted it or may have caused an accident, not to mention the cost of replacement. He uncoupled the tire and put it the box of his truck.
At this point the vote was not to continue on the windy coast road, although beautiful, and head inland at the earliest opportunity. I checked with the service station attendant and she recommended hwy 128 over the shorter much windier route hwy 20.
Although 128 was not as bad as the morning fiasco it was not far behind. The early afternoon was spent winding through forests and then the picturesque vineyards of Mendocino County to Cloverdale on the 101. Soon the GPS voice instructed us to leave the 101 and resume hwy 128 on the east side of 101.……not a chance. I would have had a mutiny on my hands.
I opted not to mention the GPS directions and checked with ‘A’ for an alternate route to Napa, our destination for this leg of the trip, hwy 116 seemed like the shortest. The remainder of the trip was a little less stressful, except for my trailer brakes locking up sending bellows of smoke into the air at each stop light. I didn’t realize until ‘R’ mentioned it after we stopped for the night, actually 3 nights at Napa Valley Expo RV Park, the Napa valley fair grounds…….and BOB.
The moral of story of this day is “ALWAYS CHECK ROAD CONDITIONS AND ANY RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS“
I hope you have enjoyed this article and it helps with traveling ideas, Watch for my next article on our trip.
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