Everyone is moving out of the campground but we stay a while. It is a beautiful place, along the Upper Rogue. The water rushes along big boulders and further down, there is a gorge with natural bridge, pools, cascades and underground river flow. What a find!
Big Dog has been in touch with his brother-in-law’s mother who lives in Grants Pass. We’ll be having dinner with her tonight. So it’s goodbye to the lovely Upper Rogue and on down, stopping at Mill Creeks Falls for a short walk, and a fishery along the way.
It’s a large operation with steelhead salmon and other fish. There are manmade runs where the salmon come up to spawn and holding tanks where they can grow until they are released. (At least I THINK they are released at some point.)
Arcata friends had told us about Applegate Valley and their recent wine boom so we take that route to Grants Pass.
Jacksonville, at the east end of the Valley, is a pretty little Victorian town with quaint little shops and restaurants. It was once a train depot and the station – or parts of it – still remain in the center of town.
Applegate Valley is also a lovely valley, dotted with wineries. Unlike the more developed wine areas, this one is still in its nascence and has a very rustic charm. Tasting rooms might be a little roadside stand. Or a barn. But it is too hot for wine so we just keep pushing Sprockets towards Grants Pass.
Grants Pass is a medium sized town, built on both sides of the Rogue River. We are hot, sweaty and dusty so before we meet Mrs. A, we take a dip in the river, fighting with the ducks that have taken over the banks. I just float along, but Big Dog is there scrubbing his scalp, his pits (and probably crotch, too!) right in front of the houses and buildings that line the river. They must think we are indigent bums.
Turns out, the restaurant we take Mrs. A, The Taprock, is in one of the very buildings we bathed in front of! From their large dining room window, you can look out to the river and the banks with ducks. What a sight we must have been for the diners!
Mrs. A invites us to stay for the night but we want to keep moving. Big Dog is confident we’ll find somewhere to boondock for the night.
A visitor’s guide we had picked up shows several campgrounds near Selma, but after driving several miles up a country road, Big Dog bails.
“We don’t know how far it is! It could be 20 miles away!”
This happens once more before we both think it’s better to just keep driving towards Oregon Caves National Monument. It is getting quite dark by the time we turn onto the road that ends at the Caves, but we manage to find a campground a few miles away from the Park and pull in. At least we’ve already had dinner.