Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Long and Winding Road - July 15 - Day 26

Jerry ...At breakfast we met a couple from Wisconsin who had just retired, sold everything, and were driving around the country figuring out what to do next with their lives. He was retired from the insurance and HMO businesses and his experience there made him fully support a government run health care system.

We drove north on the coastal highway for the next two hours at a speed of about 25 mph. Beautiful views (even some sea arches), twisting curves, and car sick kids. The air stayed cool, in the fifties. Even going just a few miles inland can raise the temperatures significantly, but
along the coast it stays cool. And foggy. When we drove close to the shore, we were in a fog, but when the road moved away from the coast, we would drive out of the fog and the temperature would rise. It was interesting seeing the fog covering one side of the road and not the other. 
We ate a restaurant with a Wizard of Oz theme. Good food, but a strange place. To get to the bathroom you had to "follow the yellow brick road" through the kitchen and out of the building to an outside bathroom (not porta-potty, it was fully functioning). 

We saw something else on our drive beside the ocean, a sign warning us that cows crossed the road, so be aware. I thought, "You have to be kidding me. Cows? There is nothing here but cliffs and the ocean." Well, sure enough, up
the road we saw some cows, hanging on to what appeared to be a seaside cliff, munching on grass. I told the girls that they should pause for a moment to consider the fact that now they had seen everything. Of all the places to see a cow, on a steep embankment overlooking the ocean was not where a place I ever expected to see one. Not exactly prime pasture.

Another two hours of driving got us to the town of Leggett, where route 1 ended. It was about 15 miles inland and the temperature was 93 degrees. In Leggett we drove down a road to a giant redwood that had been cut to allow cars to drive through it (for a $5 fee). Yes, we paid it and yes, the van fit through. We drove on 101 to the city of Eureka, where we went to the movies. Beverly, Blair and Molly saw Harry Potter 6 while Brooke and I saw Night at the Museum 2. Night at the Museum finished nearly an hour before Harry Potter did, so I talked with some theater workers about Eureka. They have two kinds of weather, rainy and low fifties in the winter,
foggy and high fifties in the summer. I don't think they ever see blue skies. It was a lumber and 
fishing town, but they blamed the environmentalists for stopping the timber industry (although we did see a huge load of lumber as we entered the city) and reduced numbers of fish for the decline in that industry. 

Before we leave California I want to say a word about motorcycles, bicycles and skateboards. Apparently they have no rules here. Traffic lanes mean nothing, motorcycles just ride on the line between the lanes if traffic is slow or stopped. Motorcycle cops do it, too. Bicyclists just ride on the sidewalk in the cities and on the roads in the country. Skateboarders, however, ride on the streets and sidewalks, whatever they feel like doing whenever they feel like doing it. 

This morning we are heading for Redwood National Park. Our scenic drive has added a day to our journey.


  1. Seems like when they named Eureka, they meant "I have found it! The place where the sun don't shine!"

  2. Motorcycles driving up the middle of the road is called splitting and it is legal in California as long as they are not going more than 10 mph faster than the slower vehicles. (At least it was legal when I was there) Pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles no matter what or where they are. The heck with cross walks. It used to scare me to death to have the Peds walk out in the street without ever looking. As for the skateboarders and bicyclist, well they are just special. Am glad you got a chance to drive the coast. It sure is pretty.

  3. Love that shot of the girls sticking out of the van!