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BRAGGLOGO.JPG, 2 kB Favorite places: FORT BRAGG
Van Damme State Park

VanDamm-Rock.jpg, 46kB 2012.04.23
Van Damme State Park
I don't know what would be the most distinctive picture of VanDamme. It is all beautiful! But this rock island could be one of those icons. There are no sheep grazing on it, and you can only get to it by boat.

VanDamm-Beach.jpg, 43kB 2012.04.26
Van Damme State Park
And, as you can see, there is not much of a beach. It is all gravel mixed with sand. A fresh water stream flows all year into the beach and continually re-cuts various channels through the sand. You can not freely run on the beach with abandon, you could step on a rock.

In contrast, MacKerricher has REAL beaches, lots of good sand, with easy direct access. But, now that MacKerricher has closed off so many camping sites, VanDamme now has more clearings and sunshine. And do not even think about getting an RV into Russian Gulch. Russian Gulch is designed for tents. And just supper walking paths. I understand that a motorhome came into Russian Gulch and tried to turn around. With every move the motorhome became more trapped. A large Chinook helicopter lifted the motor home and turned it around. Chinook helicopters do not come cheap.

VanDamm-43.jpg, 33kB
There was no one else in the park on this upper loop of VanDamme, only a few reservations for the next days to come. So we had the pick of some neat camping spaces. I choose one that not too many others would choose: plenty of sunshine. Number 43. It rains at night, or at least drizzles from the fog. My wife and I get depressed if we don't have sunshine part of the day. Got to feel the warmth! And love to experience the contrast.

VanDamm-BackLt.jpg, 30kB
Van Damme State Park

Linda is in the RV catching up on her women's magazines. But Woofie and I are out here, in the wild outdoors, on a manly expedition. It getting dark, maybe we will go inside.

If you like sunshine, choose the "upper" loop where more sites have at least some sunshine. You are not as close to the ocean, but still quite walkable. I would guess about a half mile. The bad part of either loop is that you have to cross the road - which is a real highway. Be carefull!

Noyo-southMarina.jpg, 68kB
Ft Bragg
South Noyo harbor

This is not part of VanDamme, but you will need to go into town ten miles away to eat. And I just could not pass up this picture of the marina which was damaged by the Tsunami, as was shown on the news.

VanDamm-Dump.jpg, 46kB
There is a nice pull through dump station at VanDamme and it can conveniently be gotten to from either of the two loops.

VanDamm-Alone.jpg, 113kB
We were the only campers here the first night, except for a motor home parked down at the stream. The stream is not part of this loop. Then on the second night three came in: a volkswagon Van, a truck camper, and a motor home; in preparation for abalone season. ...More the third night. About the fifth night, it was evedent that we did not have a diving suit like all the rest. Everybody - and I mean everybody - had a wet suit. However, my wife was in her own element, and was uncontrolably happy to be yacking with everyone. But I thought the solatude of the first night was just fine.

To the left of the white travel trailer is a big meadow or field. The road incompases this meadow all around, and is pegged by the campsites. Fantastic view by all - if you have a back window.

Seen three dear out the back window. One was pregnant and quite round. I love it with no generators. It is like you are not even there, and all the wildlife come out. No one else had generators either. Quite natural and quiet.

VanDamm-Woofie.jpg, 36kB
Woofie is part of the family and depends on us to take care of her. Woofie is in charge of "sniffing".
VanDamm-Tick.jpg, 11kB VanDamm-Tick3.jpg, 6.1kB

TickMaleP1230805.jpg, 4.5kB
There are plenty of ticks here. Woofie got one. It crawled down in the hair of the top of the neck and attached itself before I could get it off. This is a male DogTick (Rocky Mountain spotted fever) and not a BlackLegged Tick (Lyme disease). Before hand, I sprayed her with a flea and tick repellant. Evedently, it did not work! Perhaps I had applied it too lightly.

TickP12.jpg, 35kB
This tick was found on my leg during a shawer after we arrived back home to Chico. It is a female. Looks like it is either an American DogTick or a Rocky Mountain WoodTick.
Also keep your dog near to you. There are mountain lions.

VanDamme-Me.jpg, 45kB
Here is a picture of me on the other side of the meadow, almost straight acrose. This is not a bad spot either, lots of morning sun, but looks like no afternoon sun.