The “Big Move” Thursday February 10

morning at Shorline RV I think today qualified as the very shortest move we have ever made from one campground to another. Our little spot at the fairgrounds in Ferndale was quite comfortable, except for the fact that we don’t have a satellite and there was very little TV reception, with the majority of broadcast stations in Spanish. After our hard driving day on the Lost Coast, we thought a little bit of TV would be good, especially since the news from Egypt seemed to be shifting by the hour. The skies were clear, but it was still way too cold to think of dropping the kayaks in the water. Our hope was that if we moved a bit farther north toward Eureka we might find a place along the Mad River or even farther north on Big Lagoon to slip into some water and christen my new raspberry colored boat.

After a bit of time, Swift Kayak stood by their promise to replace my green topped boat with the damaged paint without charge to me, and in early February my new boat was delivered to Klamath Falls late one dark evening. The shipper was traveling all over the US from Rochester New York, and his load was an amazing mixture of high end kayaks and $60,000 racing rowers. My little boat was tucked in safely and this time wrapped in some amazing felt and plastic that took considerable work to get undone, and the paint job was perfect.

view from the front of the MoHo at Shoreline.  We have the end site number 55Shoreline RV looks like a parking lot behind us but it 's not too bad from our far end spot and really convenient to EurekaWe took our time with a lazy breakfast and then loaded up the rig for the short 13 mile drive north from Ferndale to Eureka. Our searches had revealed another possibility for camping at the Redwood Acres Fairground RV Park, so we drove by to check it out. It looked merely OK for 20 bucks, another parking lot with rigs lined up along the one road, and while there were full hook-ups, there was no cable and wireless could be sketchy. Instead we opted to go back the Shoreline RV, where we stayed last fall, and with our CampClub USA card we spent a reasonable 20 bucks a night, including 70 plus channels and screaming hot Wi-Fi. We knew the routine, the manager shows up around 5 in the evening to take money and check you in, and in the mean time you simply park, fill out a form, and give her a call. We again took a spot on the “unavailable” back row, where she gets a bit antsy about people running over her sprinkler heads, but after assuring her we remembered that part, and that we are only 26 feet long she calmed down.

lovely ferns and moss taking over the campground signOur spot was perfectly level on pavement, with a view on two sides of the slough. I checked the tides even though the wind had come up a bit, we thought maybe with the sun we could get out on the water. Again, it was not to be, with high tides listed before dark in the morning and after dark in the evening. In Humboldt Bay and all its surrounding rivers and sloughs, the tide is the most important factor, second only to wind. We had neither in our favor.

view of Big Lagoon from site 11Instead we traveled up the coast north beyond Trinidad to check out Big Lagoon, one of three large lagoons that keep showing up in internet searches for kayaking around this area. The Lagoon was beautiful, but no more protected from wind than Humboldt Bay. Near the launch area was the Big Lagoon County Campground, completely empty except for the camp host, with somewhat rough sites right on the water. The signs warned against motorhomes or trailers, but we were sure we could fit the MoHo in there just fine. Of course, here there were no hookups at all, and with kayaking out of the question, we didn’t consider leaving our fancy smooth asphalt parking lot back in Shoreline RV. Still, it was a pretty park, and gave us something to think about when we come back sometime to try kayaking in the lagoons. Even with good weather forecasts, we also need to double check where the tides are maxing out since this area needs at least a 3 foot high tide to keep from finding yourself stranded in the thick bay mud.

02 Feb 10 Murals of Eureka  We wandered back to Eureka and Costco to buy the cheapest gas around at a whopping $3.46 per gallon for regular unleaded. Ouch. Afterward, a short trip to the local Chamber of Commerce yielded some maps and photos of the locally famous murals. I plotted the addresses out on the map, since the chamber no longer had the walking tour brochures as advertized, and Mo and I parked near downtown and walked the streets viewing the murals. We actually managed to find all of them except one which we discovered later had listed the wrong street location.

It was fun, and we saw a completely different part of town than the “Old Town” where we walked the other day, and enjoyed finding the murals in what is called “Old Downtown”. The largest mural, at 70×70 feet, on the back wall of the Performing Arts Center, was truly magnificent, but my favorite is still the panels on the wall of the North Coast Co-Op.

The day ended with us back in our cozy MoHo enjoying the late afternoon sun and catching up on the world news. We then had an excellent supper with our local cheeses and watched Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love”. I loved this book, and had Jeremy catching afternoon sunlightno idea how it would be possible to make a movie out of it. They did a surprisingly good job and we both especially enjoyed the beautiful locations and Julia’s performance. It’s a quiet little movie, but lovely, although I am not sure Mo got as much from it as I did by not having read the book, so not knowing the background of her spiritual search that was the motivating factor behind her travels.

We decided that it may have been a good thing that we couldn’t kayak because we saw parts of the area that we hadn’t seen the last time we were here, and entertained ourselves in completely different ways.

Tomorrow we plan to drive the wild highway 36 back across the mountains toward Red Bluff and perhaps spend the night somewhere along the way, depending on what we find. This time it really is a spontaneous drive, with no idea what is waiting for us. I love that, even if I get a little nervous about it at the same time.

COLD on the Eel River but sunny in Eureka

We woke this morning to more cold fog in Ferndale, and when Mo stepped outside to let Abby do her business, she came back in rubbing her hands saying, “It’s really cold out there!” Our plans today included some kayaking on the Eel River, and after morning tea we thought better of that plan, and decided to explore the surrounding area instead.

morning fog over the Eel River at Fernbridge makes for a dull day We drove north to Fernbridge, crossing the Eel River once again, shrouded in murky skies and fog, and looking quite uninviting.  On the internet last night I found a web page with put-in information,and with the help of the handy iPhone and 5 full bars, we found the road leading west to the ocean and the new boat launch at the eastern edge of the Eel River Estuary. 

more sunlight o n the way but the wind was killer coldOnce on the beach and out of the car, we zipped up our windbreakers and pushed our way into the cold wind.  There was no way either of us would have dropped a boat into that water and tried to paddle anywhere.  Birds couldn’t even fly, and we watched them winging in place in mid air against the gale.

the Eel River Estuary would be wonderful if the winds weren't blowingAfter a very short beach walk while we tried to find an area that was more protected, we gave up and hurried back to the warm safety of the car.  The only good thing about that wind was watching it push the fog back inland.  The sun came out brilliantly, but it’s warmth was completely unavailable to us unless we were closed up tight inside the car and even then it was a thin warmth. 

Let's check out the Loleta Cheese factory.  This great employee gave me the employee discount for my organic white cheddar! We checked out the boat launch, or I should say I checked it out and took a quick photo while Mo waited in the car, and then headed back inland to Loleta and the cheese factory.  We found this quaint little home town cheese making place last fall when we were here and I was excited about getting some more of their fabulous Organic Sharp White Cheddar and a jar of solid gold salsa, in other words, Roasted Pineapple Habanera Salsa, at 9.95 a jar.  A steal at any price. 

Who knows what was in here, by now we were worn out We then drove the fifteen miles or so north on Highway 101 to the town of Eureka, another place where we camped last fall, but somehow with all our kayaking, never managed to check out the Old Downtown Area.  Today we were actually glad that we couldn’t kayak, because the Old Town was delightful.  Eureka is a place filled with old logging and waterfront history and prides itself especially on it’s lovely Victorian buildings.   In spite of the lagging economy, there were many unique, creative shops that seemed to operating in full swing, even in the quiet February season.

sit and knit in heaven I found a knit shop filled with wonderful art yarns and a truly creative, knowledgeable, inspired knitter teaching a young woman her first purl stitches.  This man knew everything about yarn, and shared his knowledge and expertise so willingly that before I knew it, I had a bag of yarn and another new pattern to add to my stash. What a delight!

inside Los Bagels for some great coffees We took a break for cappuccinos and a croissant at Los Bagels and enjoyed the warm sunshine streaming in through the windows while Mo read aloud from a local arts magazine.  It seems that in addition to it’s reputation for growing more weed than anyplace in the country, Humboldt County also boasts more artists per capita than any other place in California. The town has an incredible collection of outdoor sculptures and there are many gorgeous murals throughout the city.

In addition to amazing inspirational landscapes, there is a colorful multi-cultural population of people committed to art and creativity. That is a nice way of saying there are some rather strange folks running around Eureka.  It is a very complex culture of artists, people who once must have been hippies and are still here, homeless people, laid-back students, lots of people with bikes and backpacks, and a few ordinary looking folks, whatever that means.

not too busy on the cold windy day After a bit more shopping and street wandering we found our way to the Eureka Food Co-Op, a truly remarkable store filled with amazing organic produce, grass fed meats from the surrounding valleys, and row upon row of amazing stuff.  I managed to get out of there with one small bag of our favorite green tea that we can’t find anywhere else, a bunch of some really gorgeous strange looking kale, and organic endive.  The giant murals on the outside street wall of the Co-Op are my favorite in the city.

Eureka Old town (30) Eureka Old town (29) Eureka Old town (31) the murals on the food co-op are incredible

By the time we got back to the car the winds were stronger than ever and it was after 4pm.  We thought it turned out to be a perfect day, in spite of the cold and wind. Jeremy was very vocal when we got back to the MoHo, scolding us for being gone so long.  I immediately pulled out all the goodies and built some amazing quesadillas with our wonderful cheese, some spicy poached chicken I brought from home, onions, and jalapenos, all topped off with the sweet hot perfect pineapple salsa. 

Tomorrow if the fog clears and the winds die down we will again attempt a kayak trip, but if not, the day will be filled again with explorations.  The 100 mile Lost Coast trip is calling us, with some coastal explorations of places we haven’t yet seen, campgrounds we haven’t yet tried.  Either way, it will be a good day.

More photos of our day in Eureka are here.


A short weekend jaunt to Eureka

Transcribed in April 2011 from our old leather journal

This is a record of the first year that Mo and I knew each other and started traveling together

October 19, 2003

Image005 Image001 Sometimes even a short weekend can be fun.  I love it when Mo says, “Hey, let’s go on a road trip”.  This time we decided to travel down the Klamath River from Klamath Falls, through Yreka and to Happy Camp and across the 299 highway to Eureka.  The trip took most of the day on Saturday, with lots of stops along the magnificent rivers, and a visit to a wonderful rock shop in Happy Camp where I bought a truly beautiful piece of California jade, or serpentine, with a polished surface on one side.

As we traveled across the pass toward the coast, we saw a medium sized black animal crossing the road and leaping up the slope above us.  We couldn’t figure out what it was, too small for a bear but too big for anything we recognized.  A bit of research later revealed images of a fisher, a rare animal in this part of the world that we were privileged to see.

We didn’t arrive in Eureka until quite late, but after settling in to the Motel, we decided to try to find a beach somewhere.  Mo drove us out on a spit of land near Arcata and in the dark I ran out on the sand Image011to smell and listen to the ocean in themoana02river dark foggy night.  It was magical.  On Sunday morning we went to downtown Eureka for breakfast at a great little Mexican fast food place on the wharf, with lovely fresh breakfast burritos.  We walked around the wharf a bit, taking photos of the famous Victorian and then got back on the road toward home.

On the way back, we stopped along the Trinity River to watch some kayakers going down the rapids and thought of my friend Jeanne who does this kind of kayaking.  Not for me, that’s for sure!  We watched a couple of boaters make it and then saw one of them flip and have to swim the rapids.  The sun was gorgeous, and the weekend was just the respite I needed before going back to another week of soil survey in Klamath Falls.