Day 147 – Redwood Highway, April 23, 2011
Wow. I stayed up way too late in the K-Mart parking lot blogging and taking advantage of 3G service, and I’m paying for it today…feeling a bit sluggish. I saw all the redwoods I could handle yesterday, so I opted for a change of pace today. First, in dire need of coffee, I utilized the “Around Me” application on my iPhone to find a local place. The Boat House Expresso Bar, located on the harbor, sounded good to me. As soon as I hopped out of VANilla, a nice lady greeted me and said, “I’m sorry, we’re closed right now…doing a little remodeling and painting.”
“Oh, too bad, I was just looking for a cup of coffee,” I replied.
“I have some coffee brewed, but I can’t make you anything fancy,” she responded.
As she handed me a cup of coffee, I asked if she had change, and she said, “No, it’s free.” One of her friends who was helping her paint chimed in, “Technically, she is closed and can’t serve anyone.”
Confirming her friends comment, the owner stated, “I just bought the place and don’t want to turn anyone away. I hope to be open in May so come back then.”
I explained I was just passing through, but there might be a chance I’ll be in the area again in October on my back home. We’ll see. Hopefully my post will send a few coffee drinkers her way since she was nice enough to provide me coffee on the house!
Dogs were allowed on the beach near the coffee house, so Petey and I wandered
around the area in a light drizzle. The wet weather prompted me to spend some time reprovisioning…gassed up VANilla and went to the grocery store hungry…really not ever a good idea, but certainly a poor choice when living in a van with limited space! Though tonight, I’ll be able to try some Miso soup with seaweed sautéed in sesame oil.
The rain let up just in time for me to take a short driving tour of Old Town Eureka , long ago a neighborhood of bordellos and saloons, now transformed into a district of shops and eateries housed in vintage buildings. Located at the end of Old Town is Carson Mansion, one of more than 100 Victorian homes in Eureka. Carson Mansion is now a privately owned club, thus I snapped a photo of the ornate building from afar.
While the sky briefly cleared, Petey and I took a stroll along the boardwalk fronting Eureka’s busy harbor. I thought I might pick up my first geocache in days, but muggles spoiled my chances. I can’t imagine how many geocaches I’ve passed up in these California parks due to not having cell service…it pains me!
We finally bid farewell to Eureka, and stopped at the Azalea State Reserve in McKinleyville. My Reader’s Digest book claims the Reserve “bursts into bloom” each April. “Well marked trails guide visitors through this unique natural garden, where pink and white blossoms of western azaleas enliven the banks of quiet forest creeks. Well, I found a small creek and lots of bushes, none of which were in bloom. I’m not sure if I was too early or too late for this unseasonably cool year.
Continuing farther north, we stopped at Trinidad Head, near the old fishing village of Trinidad. While I keep forgetting to look for migrating whales, I tried today, but didn’t see any. I did catch a glimpse of a seal lion resting on rock before it plopped into the water as Petey and I strolled along Trinidad State Beach. A memorial lighthouse, a replica of the 1871 original, stands above the beautiful beach and overlooks the rock strewn harbor. I had hoped to find another geocache here, but recent logs recorded it missing, so I didn’t spend any time looking.
As the rain picked up, I decided to find a campground. As we headed toward Redwood National Park, we saw a herd of Roosevelt Elk in a meadow aside the highway. As we continued further, Elk Crossing signs peppered Rte. 101. I
hope tomorrow is a slightly nicer day as Redwood National Park which also encompasses Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park offers a variety of trails through the forests and meadows as well as trails along 30 plus miles of coast. ETB