greetings from shelter cove, california (look it up!)

On the 101
I am at the home of my niece E and her partner T, in a remote part of California known as the "Lost Coast". It is so beautiful and peaceful and quiet here -- not unlike where I live. The Lost Coast has much in common with the North Island, more like living in Port Alice or Quatsino than what most people associate with California.

So, to catch up.

* * * *

I had an easy trip from Port Hardy to southern Oregon. It's a multi-stage journey, and everything clicked. 

I spent the next four days hanging out with (in various combinations) my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, nephew's partner, grand-niece (now 7 years old), and mother (soon to be 91) -- eating amazing food, drinking in amazing scenery, soaking up the love.

It was especially wonderful to get to know my grand-niece Sophia a bit more. Seven is a magical age, and I really enjoyed her company. I hope that, despite being long-distance, I am able to cultivate a relationship with her as time goes by. I had a special relationship with a great-aunt, and I'd love that to be part of my life and Sophia's.

My mother is declining. She is in very good physical health, but her cognitive health is beginning to fail. Or more accurately, the decline that has been happening gradually over years has accelerated. So far, with the ongoing (and often heroic) efforts of my brother and SIL, she lives independently. We monitor, and discuss, and wonder when that will no longer be possible. It's sad, but it's not tragic. She has a very good quality of life and seems very happy.

* * * *

I stayed in Ashland/Talent for four-plus days, then yesterday I drove six hours to Shelter Cove. The drive itself is a highlight of this trip that I was really looking forward to.

I picked up Highway 5 in the Medford area, following it west to Grant's Pass, then drove the length of Route 199 from Grant's Pass to Crescent City, California. 

The road snakes through deep forest and mountain passes, touching tiny, remote communities. I passed quirky folk art, myriad cannibis sellers, and several flags from the "State of Jefferson". I stopped in lovely, quiet rest areas and ate at shaded picnic tables, checking my progress on the posted maps. 

After the road crosses California's rural and remote far north, it meets the ocean at Crescent City. From there, I followed the famed US Highway 101 -- called, depending on where you live, 101, The One-Oh-One, the Pacific Coast Highway, the PCH, Pacific Highway, or the Freeway (and maybe some other names I haven't run into). Allan and I have driven this coastal route several times -- including once the entire length from the Olympic Peninsula to Mexico. But no matter, there is nothing quite like arriving at the Pacific. It is always majestic and breathtaking. I stopped several times for views. 

The 101 snakes through redwood forests -- giant, old-growth trees growing right beside the roadway, on both sides, giving the drive a sense of mystery and wonder.

At Redway, I left the 101, and drove a long, windy road full of switchbacks, hairpin turns, and sharp changes in elevation, for about a hour, before arriving at Shelter Cove. Check it out on Google maps. It is indeed the Lost Coast.

My niece and her partner live a low-impact life in this remote coastal community. After a vegan dinner, we walked less than five minutes down the street and watched the sun set on the ocean. On the way back we saw fox and skunk. 

This morning we ate breakfast on the deck, where you can hear the sound of the surf, and with a view of a beach and the King mountain range.


Amy said...

I am so glad that you are having such a great trip. It must have been wonderful to see your family even if hard to see that your mother has continued to decline. It sounds like she is doing quite well, however, for 91.

Enjoy the rest of your travels!

RossK said...

We love Redway!

In fact, ever since our kids were little we always stop to swim in the 'green water' of the Eel river on our biannual treks to and from the Mendocino Coast.

Shelter Cove (and the drive down from Redway) are truly magical.

There is also a great public radio station with lots of local programming in the area as well....KMUD.

Have fun on the rest of your trip!