Travel to Needles

by on Jun.09, 2010, under Phil Posts

We just took a trip to Needles to visit my aunt.  The excuse is to help her with various tasks around the place, but the real reason was to get warm and sightsee along the way.  We wanted to go by way of the Oregon coast and the Big Sur coast.  As we left Sequim, it got more and more rainy, particularly after Shelton.  As we traveled, the RV appeared to be either missing or having trouble shifting, particularly at about 40 miles an hour.  By the time we passed Seaside, OR,  I was getting a little concerned about making it over Oswald West State Park to make it to Cape Lookout, so I turned around and stopped at a service station that had a mechanic.  Glad we did — he took a look and a test drive and announced that we at least had a misfiring piston, and possibly other problems.  We decided to fix that first and then see if that cured all ails.  He felt that Tillamook was a little far over the hills to stay the night, so we stayed in Fort Stevens so he could get the spark plugs and boots and start on the car in the morning (it was already 5:00 PM).  The rains were finally letting up, so at Fort Stevens I walked the mile to the beach and got a good look at the wreck of the Peter Iredale.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

The next day we arrived at 8:30 and the mechanic began work.  He had estimated about 3 and a half hours.  After about 5 hours he had all the spark plugs and boots replaced and fired up the engine.  It sounded a little better, but after a test spin we decided it still wasn’t firing right on piston 10, so he ordered a coil (each spark plug has its own coil). 

A Quality Auto Technician

It was pretty fast to replace the coil, take another test spin, and in spite of little noises and bumps he announced it cured.  We left about 4:00 that night and headed as fast as we could to Valley of the Rogue State Park, stopping briefly at Tillamook for cheese, fudge, and dinner.  Going over the hills to Tillamook and the coast range began to reassure me that the RV was in fact fixed.

We arrived at about 11:00PM.  The next morning we left about 10:00AM and headed the 11 miles to Medford for gas at Costco.  We then headed down the the Sacramento Wildlife refuge — great spot to visit, easy on and off the freeway.  We took the self-guided car tour and, even though it was a bit late in the year the winter birds, we still got some good pictures, as you can see.

Egret at Sacramento Wildlife Refuge

We stayed overnight at the Colusa State Park where Rosaura found a tick on Grizz.  That led to some excitement! The next morning we traveled to Pfeiffer Big Sur.  The stretch from Seaside, CA, to the State Park has got to be one of the most spectacular seascapes anywhere, particularly when the wind is blowing and the waves are crashing a thousand feet below you on  a narrow road hanging on the cliffs.Looking north at Big Sur, CA

Big Sur was a spectacular seashore, winding curves hanging over steep cliffs with the shore far below.  Rosaura was sitting on the cliff side of the car, avoiding the view to the calamitous drop.

Looking north at Big Sur coastline

At the end of the Big Sur we stopped at the Elephant Seal refuge on the coast.  At this time of year the females and juveniles are on the coast while the males are elsewhere.

Elephant Seals

Elephant seals at Big Sur

That evening we made it to Needles and my aunt was waiting for us.

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