Thanksgiving Storm 2019

Saturday, November 23 was packing and stocking day for our Thanksgiving break, with the goal of getting to Richardson Grove SP before dark. It was a gorgeous drive and we were set up by 4 pm. The park was empty along with the cabins as the weather was supposed to be a wet and windy one heading into the week. We walked to the visitor’s center which was closing and then walked the nature trail. In the morning we packed, drove down to the river to park, made breakfast and went into the visitor’s center. It was another crystal-clear day. We drove down Highway One and although I dreaded this drive with all the turns and possible traffic, we maybe saw 10 cars the entire distance, and only pulled over twice to let one car go by each time. Our new destination was Westport-Union Landing SB. The campground is split into two sections on an eroding bluff with very minimal access to the beach. We found a site with the perfect view and explored the area, never really finding a way to the beach that wasn’t guarded by the tides coming and going.

Nothing better than a nice evening, an empty campground and these redwoods at Richardson Grove SP.

Such a cool building adjacent to the visitor center. Love the craftsman style of the old park buildings.

Hopefully we fit!

Breakfast along the Eel River

4:39 Sunset

This is the bet view ever!

Up Monday morning to another sunny, yet very windy day we headed toward Ft. Bragg to have lunch, visit the harbor and look at campgrounds. It was fun to shop around town (they have a great little downtown historical map) as we hadn’t been here in almost 30 years. We enjoyed beers and clam chowder at the brewery and listened to everyone talking about the incoming storm and how PGE were already staged in a huge lot awaiting the storm scheduled to come in the next day. That night, we again were stunned by the sunset and our view of the ocean, and really didn’t want to leave the spot. We talked about the incoming storm and decided that to drive the next day inland might be a bit adventurous and that staying on the coast would be the safest. However, the tide was supposed to be very high – 6.9 at one point on Tuesday.

The Coast Guard was practicing in the Noyo Harbor.

Walking around downtown Ft. Bragg was eye catching.

Chowder and beer at the North Coast Brewery

One last sunset before the storm

We arose Tuesday to one of our propane tanks empty and after hitching up in the rain we drove south in search of propane.  After numerous visits to possible propane places, and finding the power was out in some of the county,  we finally drove into a gas station that had power, filled up one of our tanks with propane and got gas.  We headed south and drove into Van Damme SP, just south of Mendocino. The park aide told us that they had just gotten off the phone with the ranger and was advised to give warning to anyone coming in that it was at their own risk due to high winds and possible trees falling. They advised us that we could park across the street in the en-route area but the potential high tide might be an issue. They went on to advise us to try the Navarro River mouth where there were a few campsites. We headed further south and drove down to the beach parking lot area where the camping was. We felt safer there as there were no trees around us and the ocean front and river seemed a safe distance away. As it poured, we ate, drank, read and watched a few cars come and go. Around five the rain stopped, and we went outside to walk around and enjoy a cotton candy sky. Around 7 pm the rain and wind started in earnest, rocks from the parking lot flew by and I moved to the back of the trailer further from the wind and the big windows. For the first time ever, I was scared. Eventually the wind and the rain became steadier and not as violent and with a movie and wine I relaxed enough to sleep. John was always confident regarding our situation.

Awaiting the storm in the rain and wind.

A little bit of rain relief to catch the sunset

The Navarro River meets the sea – we  were lucky the wave was out at sea! The morning was worth the storm.

The Navarro Inn was built to house sailors when they anchored to get timber shipments.

The morning came and the skies tried intermittently to let sun through. We ventured out to look at the results of the night in the river and the beach, and saw two seals going from the river, back to the ocean – it was ten steps forward and five steps back but the pair eventually made it. We walked to the Navarro Inn and looked around, read about the history and watched a bald eagle. The sun was coming further out and we knew we had weathered the storm. Now it was time to head to Marin and spend some moochdocking time with family.
This from the LA Times: “The Thanksgiving-week “bomb cyclone” storm that drenched California not only set a record for the lowest pressure recorded in the state, but also generated a 75-foot wave off Cape Mendocino.At 7:33 p.m. on Nov. 26, the No. 94 Cape Mendocino buoy operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography Coastal Data Information Program recorded a maximum significant wave height of 43.1 feet, and that night also measured a wave of 75 feet. These waves were in water 1,132 feet deep and were at 13.3-second intervals.”
It was a fabulous holiday with family, but again the weather started to infiltrate our thoughts and instead of staying more days we headed home on Friday to escape a possible snowstorm coming in on Saturday. It was an uneventful drive, and we were glad to get home – but it took us a while to get into our driveway due to the snow we missed when we were on the coast. It took a pickax and shovel to get rid of the berm that snowplow had made. The next morning, we were able to get safely out, and park in our storage area. That potential snow that was due – never materialized, but we were done taking chances.

Love that we can moochdock and have figured out how to use the curb.

Lots of family for the holiday and great food as always!

The annual kid pic

The annual cloud pic

Lots of snow going up the mountain

Just enough snow for concern