When this trip was in the planning stages, there were a few stretches of journey where there wasn’t much of interest in between our actual destinations and we had to pick an in-betweeny town to crash in for a night. This is how we ended up in Clive and Kearney in Iowa and Nebraska, Trinidad in Colorado, and most recently in Eureka, California. Turns out Portland is a long way from San Francisco so we have a couple days of just driving and sleeping in random places to get through. Fun blog posts await!
We set off pretty early this morning from our hotel in SF, a place with a nice bath and quaintly idiotic housekeeping staff who would give you new shampoo and conditioner if you so much as took the existing ones out of the bowl and put them on the other side of the sink, and saw that the fog that had plagued our visit was finally dissipating. We buggered off over the Golden Gate (no tolls when you’re travelling North, we win!) and headed into wine country.
Dave had been looking forward to this drive, planning a long and winding coastal route, but it turns out going that way would actually take about 135 hours and I would get car sick approximately 27 times so we decided to only do a small part of the coast instead. The rest of the day we mostly drove through idyllic forests with winery after winery and gorgeous rivers. The sun was shining (for once) and it was just generally really nice. At some point we noticed it getting foggy again and sure enough, we’d hit the sea. Probably doesn’t look very exciting to you, but after weeks of being further inland than I’ve ever been before in my whole life it was kind of a relief to hit the edge of the country.
We made a brief stop in a seasidey, touristy looking town called Mendocino which was tiny but somehow supported a film festival, a book festival and something called a “summer street faire”. It still completely baffles us how small towns actually function. Anyway we’d stopped for petrol (sorry, “gas”) and found the towns one petrol station, but it was closed and apparently not due to reopen til either 8pm or 8am tomorrow. It’s hard to tell with a 12 hour clock on the sign. Neither of these times would be helpful to us, and you might worry about your intrepid explorers hitting another disaster, but we’d been sure to pull over before the tank was anywhere near empty so no drama to report here. Petrol was way cheaper 10 mins up the road from Mendocino, anyway.
Heading inland (away from the fog and back into glorious sunshine), our next stop was Avenue of the Giants, which is basically some giant trees. We’d had this on our Pinterest board but for some reason thought it was further up the coast, so luckily we saw the sign for it otherwise we would have really missed out. The first thing you notice about Avenue of the Giants is not, as you might expect, giant trees, but rather the fact that the informational signs are themselves signposted before you get to them. How foolproof can you get?!
Despite the many signs we still failed to stop at the correct place and pick up a self-guided tour pamphlet (so not 100% foolproof, turns out), but we pushed on and saw some giant trees in our own haphazard way instead. They were . . . um . . . big. And woody. And big.
From here it was a straightforward drive into Eureka. We’d been hoping that we’d hit the small town jackpot again here, but alas. We drove for maybe 10-15 minutes from the city limits to our motel, and in all that time it was just endless used car places and an entire industry based on bail bonds and “security solutions”. We didn’t see any actual town anywhere, though apparently it does exist and has a nice boardwalk.
The motel was opposite a Thai restaurant, which I was slightly nervous about choosing since we failed so badly by choosing a Chinese place not too long ago and getting into a big argument (we made up, it’s ok). Thankfully this place was much more friendly and less confusing, with lots of veggie food and a waitress who even asked “are the eggs in that ok?” when I ordered a veggie option. You’d be shocked at how few places we’ve been have even acknowledged the existence of vegetarians, never mind those crazy vegans. Big bonus points there! Oh also the food was nice, and the place was busy but service was still quick. Excellent lemonade, too. Nom.
The motel is, you know, a motel. We’re here to sleep and then drive some more, so not much to say about that. It is next to a noisy road and I’m slightly concerned about the likelihood of recently bailed criminals hanging our in the parking lot, but we’ll see how that goes. Await updates.