Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 10 - From Crescent City to Eureka

Today was a nice and gentle driving day.  We didn't have far to go, and there were several fun detours.  We started off by finding a nice breakfast place to get an omelette and coffee.  Gregory had the Monte Cristo.  I knew the restaurant was going to be good just by the nature of our waitress.  She had the know-how and charm that you expect in a small town establishment and I was ready to profess my love when she returned with my bacon-avacado-cheese omelette (which had been topped off with a little sour cream) along with my buttered toast and side of heart medication.  Since I was already married, she was just going to have to settle for my thanks, and five bucks.

We drove through the booming metropolis that is Crescent City, past the happenin' empty park and a bustling row of empty buildings, over near the coast where some large rocks and a lighthouse were enveloped in heavy fog.  Being late morning, the sun was up, making the surroundings really into a blur, which made me wonder why so many people had gathered at the coast.  It was cold, by the way, like 55 fahrenheit degrees--that's the high.  I had pants a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt, and a hoodie on.  I pondered taking some dirty clothes and creating a make-shift parka around me.  It was cold and wet and a lot of people were gathered to look at "the blur."  I can't imagine that as a draw, but given the exciting pitch of what we had seen of the town, I can't think of anything better to do.

"Come on, everyone, we're going to go down and look at the blur!"

After three minutes of photographing rocks, water, and white, we decided we just couldn't art up the photo essay of our trip any more and left for literally greener pastures.

The next stop was a bit north.  We allowed ourselves to back-track slightly to visit the Jedidiah Smith State Park, which was a Redwood Forest and a 90-spot camp ground.  The river was incredibly wide and the water was the cleanest and clearest I had ever seen in a body of water such as that.  It was pretty shallow, but as clear as glass (that was wavy and perhaps made of water).

We hiked the 1.5 miles, but it felt more like 2.5 due to the twists and turns.  I wore the Go-Pro camera on my head with a headband and a lot of people asked me if I worked for Google.  I replied to each and every one with a pie in the face.  Unfortunately Gregory was stuck having to haul a refrigerator of pies with us through the wilderness.  One thing that has been entertaining about the GoPro on this trip, either on one of us, or on the car, 99% of the time, if there is a guy and a girl, the guy will look with interest, the girl won't even notice.  The one exception was a car full of girls who waved and were all excited to see it.  We decided those girls whoever they were, rocked.

The campgrounds were really neat, though too crowded for me, but as a kid, I would have LOVED it.  Tons of trails and other kids to play with, and the place was pretty good sized, but not so big that you would get lost.  Plenty to do to fill the day, and night.  Seeing these big families assembled, and the smell of campfires took me back to when I went camping with my family in places similar to this.  It also made me want s'mores.

The trees were amazing.  It looked like Endor, and being in California, there is a good chance it probably WAS Endor.  The ferns and ground cover were bright green against the dark ruddy brown of the immense trees.  The other thing I found so amazing was not only the size of the trees, but how dense they were, that the soil had enough nutrients to power so many gigantic trees in such a small space.  I know my description isn't going to do this justice.  I took enough pictures to completely re-create the forest (but don't worry, I'll post them online, so they won't have to chop down the forest to cover having them printed).

Our next stop was at the TREES OF MYSTERY a few miles south.  This was also a Redwood forest, but it felt much more ancient.  The early Indians thought of this place as sacred and walking around, you can see why.  There is just an aura about it that speaks from such an old place in history.  It's awe-inspiring, and tough to describe.  Gregory had been here as a child and remembered parts of it, but since then they added a gondola ride to the summit, which supposedly had a nice view.  Those are things that we like, so we gave them our money and ascended to the top.  Ordinarily they offer a view to the ocean, but since the weather at the beach was "blur," we had a view of the trees fading to white, and then some blue stuff above that.  I think they call that the sky.  Ugh!  See what Crescent City can do to you?  Get out now, while you still can!

There were some incredible trees and the things I liked the most were the full sized trees growing out of other trees.  I'm not talking about branches.  These were more than branches.  These were trees grown on branches.  It was an amazing sight to behold.

We stopped along the highway a couple of times to take pictures.  One of the things we happened upon was a herd of 20 or so elk--big elk--just hanging out by the beach.  A lot of people stopped to take pictures.  I put on my eatin' dress.  They looked so tasty, just hanging out by the thick salty sea air.  It was as if they were brining up!

We checked in at our hotel, luxuriating in our extremely non-smoking room, and figured out where to go to dinner.  Our good friends at Yelp suggested Brick & Fire, a little bistro somewhere in town (I would have said "near downtown," or at "such and such neighborhood" but I know nothing about Eureka).  Chèvre stuffed figs wrapped in prociutto and a seafood stuffed calamari filet got us off on the right foot.  I sipped a pinot grigio in anticipation of our mushroom pasta, which was light and beautiful with a variety of wild mushrooms.  For dessert we had Amaretto drizzled peaches over Spanish bread.  It was quite yummy!

The funnest part about dinner is we met a couple from the San Francisco area and they gave us a number of restaurant suggestions between here and there, and also in the city.  They were really nice and also on an anniversary trip, and we had a good time chatting with them about Portland and San Diego, and various other topics.  We talked about inviting them over for a game of Hungry-Hungry Hippos, but it was getting late, and I still needed to flush the sand out of my Slenderalls.  More adventures tomorrow!

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