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A trip up the coast

By Tuesday, September 2, 2008 , , ,

I really do mean to write about my adventures on Amtrak (and there are several good stories there), but that will just take too much thought for now.  I'm in the midst of packing up to move out of L.A. and should be doing some more packing, but I want to blog about our trip up to Arcata before it's really really old news.  

I did make it safely to Salinas and Lukas picked me up and the next day we were off to Mendocino.  We drove over the hill stopping for ice at Summit Market and we were going to buy a little mayo too, but really... who's going to pay over $4 for a tiny little thing of mayo?  We stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge overlook for what we were thinking would be a quick stop.  Parking turned out to be a complete nightmare.  It seemed everyone forgot their driving skill the moment they entered the lot.  People parked in the road, cut each other off, and idly drove down two lanes at once.  Lukas had to use the restroom and after one unsuccessful loop around the lot he simply hopped out when we were close and I kept "driving".  I had gained about 10' by the time Lukas was out.  I had to go to but was thinking finding a parking spot would be a lost cause.  I toyed with the idea of doing a chinese fire-drill in the middle of the road, but then... right around the bend on the opposite side of the bathrooms was a prefect parking spot.  So, after using the restroom since we had the perfect parking spot we decided to take a walk out on the bridge.  A few pictures later we were back in the car going north towards our destination for the next two nights - Russian Gulch State Park.  A super windy road connected the 101 with Highway 1 and I'm sure I drove it much slower than google maps estimated.  It felt like it took forever!  Lukas enjoyed taking pictures out the window as I negotiated the tight turns.  He also had fun telling me to drive smoother so he could be better shots.  Yeah, right... I was doing me best to just drive.  But, we eventually made it. 

The next day we hiked out to the waterfall.  It was a nice hike through the forest and ended at this great waterfall.  We had our picnic lunch here and attracted a little herd of chipmunks.  We hadn't seen any when we were hiking, but they must have a sixth sense for picnic lunches.  The second the sandwiches came out so did they.  Lukas was sitting on a log and I was sitting on the bench next time him when I saw something run under the bench out of the corner of my eye.  I got a bit spooked and jumped up exclaiming to Lukas, "I just saw some kind of animal run under there!"  "What was it?" he asked.  "I dunno, a rat maybe, a mouse."  He jumped up then too.  And then the thing ran by again.  

This time we could tell it was a little chipmunk.  That's much less frightening than a rat.  And, after a second to get my breath it was kinda cute.  It's friends all came out too and weren't that skittish.  If we had let them, they might have come right up to us.  As it was, we didn't want to encourage this behavior so we finished our sandwiches and hit the trail back.  It was a loop so we got to climb up the side next to the waterfall and look down on it which was cool.  

From our campsite we also took a little trip to the Mendocino Headlands.  These bluffs overlooked the foggy Pacific Ocean.  We drove to the north end and hiked out a little trail, took a couple pictures and continued on south.  At the parking lot closest to the town of Mendocino we parked again and thought we'd see how far along the coastal cliff we could walk.  We only got a little ways though 'cause we noticed a little side path leading down towards the water and had to check it out.  It went down a little further and lead to some nifty tide pools filled with clear, green water and little creatures.  Upon further investigation the little creatures turned out to be tadpoles - some even had their legs starting to come in.  These pools must not have been left-over from the ocean 'cause I don't think tadpoles like salt water, but I could be wrong.  Anyways, I enjoyed watching them swim around and Lukas had fun taking pictures I also got to show him what mosquito larva look like (second piece of evidence that these were rainwater pools and not ocean water).  After watching the waves break over the seaweed cover rocks we headed back up to the car and to dinner. 

 Lukas brings out the big "guns"

The next morning we went out to the Mendocino lighthouse.  The fog that seemed to follow us where ever we went was still plentiful this morning.  But, a lighthouse is a lighthouse and must be photographed.  Then, it was back to the campsite to pack up the semi-wet tent (it had heavily misted on us) and off we went to continue our drive up the coast. 

Lukas did the driving on this part and I must say he handled the curves of Highway 1 much better than I would have.  As we drove out of Mendocino we also drove right out of the fog.  We had to pull over to the side of the road for a quick shot of the gorgeous coast line with the fog just beginning to break.   The fog continued to lift and by the time we hit the Eel River we had blue skies, bright green trees, and sparkling water to marvel at.  The rest of the drive seemed to fly by (at least for me) and we made good time to Arcata.  

We had a great time hanging out with my folks, but it was just our luck that the days were mostly foggy.  I think it might have even rained a little, but who knows since "it really doesn't rain that much in August".  Our days were spent relaxing and with little trips up to Trinidad and to the Arcata Marsh.  We saw Get Smart which my mom promptly declared one of her favorite all time movies and also saw Tropic Thunder (which my mom opted out of).  Friday night Shabbat was so nice with Julie, Rebecca, Allan, Susan, and David.  Home cooking is sooooo nice.  Saturday morning we went to Farmer's Market.  I think this is my favorite Farmer's Market.  It combines the fun music atmosphere I like about SLO's with the great produce and daytime local feel I love. 

Then it was back into the car for the drive back to Santa Cruz.  We were planning to stop for some presunset/sunset pictures of the bridge from the Marin Headlands, but our foe the fog was clearly winning the weather battles.  We did find the right spot but when we walked through the wind to the overlook we couldn't even seen the bridge.  So much of that idea.  In the cold, it wasn't even tempting to try to take any pictures.  We ran back to the car and ate our chicken sandwiches made from Shabbat left-overs.  

Sunday we went to the wedding of Lukas's buddy from the 6th grade.  It was a very sweet wedding and Lukas took their pictures.  And the next day, I got to do the Amtrak back to L.A.  It was quite a trip.      

Other little bits of my life...