Monday, September 2, 2013

Escape to the Coast



It doesn’t rain here from March until the end of October. We get little miserable sprinkles once in a great while but nothing of any significance. That’s a long time to go without the refreshment a nice rain shower gives. Our humidity hovers around 35%.


We got coverage for the animal care so last weekend we decided to bite the bullet and make the long drive to the coast where it’s not necessarily raining but the humidity is more like 93%. We were not disappointed.
We took 299 west out of Redding and drove, well, west. It took us 4 hours to hit the coast at Arcata. I had not been in Arcata since the Maharishi days and I was eager to see if anything looked familiar. It didn’t. But it was still sweet and quaint anyway. Still has the hippie element that I came of age in. So it was familiar that way. And comfortable.
We had lunch at Surfside Burger Shack at 445- 5th St., in Eureka. We’d been holding out on the long drive which took longer than we’d expected so we were starving but in no hurry when we got there. It was a properly funky hole-in-the-wall in downtown Eureka with a wide spectrum of clientele. They had the best burger I’ve ever eaten and it wasn’t because I was starving when I got it. It tasted sort of like In’N’ Out animal style only much better because it was bigger and the meat was high quality grass fed beef. The French fries were like In ‘N’ Out because they were from fresh potatoes but they still had the skin on to prove it. YUM!
We hightailed it over to the coastal town of Trinidad. As a matter of fact I could get into a little tomfoolery by saying we’d been to Trinidad, Samoa and Manila over the weekend and I wouldn’t be lying.


It was classic California coastline. Breathtaking.


Then we went up to Prairie Creek State Park to see the Fern Canyon. We’d heard that parts of Jurassic Park were filmed there. On the way in we saw that there was a meadow for the Roosevelt elk but we didn’t see any. We didn’t worry. Fate had something really cool in store for us.






This is what fate had in mind.





Got a little close to the parking lot.




After that peak experience - and all in the first day - we headed back to our Best Western motel on the AARP plan. What a great motel in a perfectly ugly part of town! Fortunately, they make it a little oasis and you don’t even see the industrial neighborhood once you’re inside the compound.
The next day we couldn’t see how we could top what we’d already done so we decided we’d just have a relaxing time.
That’s when we drove out to Samoa and so glad we did. It was the quintessential California day. Beautiful, clear, no wind, perfect temperature. There were surfers bobbing in the waves. The fog was way, way out there near the horizon. Hi, fog! Be nice and stay where you are. I dipped in the Pacific and was glad to be alive. The sand was soft and warm. The water was, of course, freezing but that’s what you have to expect in Northern California. Who cares? Everything else is perfect!


It was hard to tear ourselves away but we knew we had a long drive back. We drove south to Ferndale and CA Hwy 36. Ferndale is the cutest tourist town. The downtown is all Victorian houses.
On the way back we found Mad River which is a town and a river. In the “town” you find the Mad River burger bar so we had our 2nd burger in two days. This one was not as good as yesterday but the setting couldn’t have been wackier. You have a small and funky travel trailer under a nicely built wood roof awning and from there they serve burgers and shakes. Since the weather was great we had a little feast there by the side of the road as the RVs and the bikers came and went. But I’d had my fill of hamburger so off we went stomach kind of gurgling and not super happy.
The trip back was uneventful and I am so glad we went. I wish I could have remembered a jar so I could put some of the Pacific in it so when I get all dried out here I can open the lid and smell the ocean once again.  

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