4. The Sierra Nevada mountains & California!…August, 2021

Day 16 8.2
And….another nice morning on the deck with coffee & conversation. Then Danny & I took a drive down the road & he washed Camper off good.  Id asked him to check the brakes & he wanted to clean all that travel dust out.  In the end, he opted to put some new pads on herwell see how long they last without new rotors.  Campers been a little needy in the health department this yearbut so have I.  And, shes been coast to coast in 8 months with thousands of miles in between & down bumpy dusty sandy rocky muddy roads too.   But, it didnt take him too long & hopefully its a good fix.

Before we left to go to dinner, Danny & I had a long FaceTime with Emma & Clairelove & miss these girls so much!

Yumwe had the Fried Chicken special at Six Rivers Brewery for an early dinner.  And I love their jalapeño beer.  Pete bought me a bottle to take home too!

We could use a nice evening walk after a big lunch at Six Rivers & trying out a couple of beers at Redwood Curtain brewing.


Theres a gazillion blackberry bushes around this hike & all over this area.  I picked, walked & ate my way from Petes house to the post office this other day.  Yum!

Not quite sunset on the marsh.

Over the beer at Redwood Curtain, we got to talking about Oxacan art.  Once back at the house, Leia turned on Coco…a movie I’d never seen before…with a warning we’d both have tears.  And we did, but I thought it was a really good movie too!

Day 17 8.25
The weather’s been perfect here everyday…sunny & nice! I was super excited for this hiking day today…I’ve missed my trails from all summer.  Today is one of my fave hikes up in Trinidad.  We all love this!  We had lunch before our hike at the Eatery, then hit the trail.

The colors of the water here are just spectacular!


Then we hiked to College Cove…still in Trinidad & always a good one.


Chillin’ on the beach.

Happy on the trail!

Amazing water colors!

We hiked over the rocks to avoid the tide.

Leia is always smiling!

Love my time with Leia!

Luke made a quick run up into Oregon last night & got back about 6am this morning.  He definitely needed a nap, & what a better place than the beach?

Then the five of us went out for sushi at Blue Lake Casino.  The boys & Leia had been raving about the food.  I’m not a sushi eater, but we found plenty of veggie stuff & something with cooked meat that I liked.  But, I mostly loved the warm drink Leia ordered called Tomadachi…sake & plum wine mixed…wow!  it was super yummy!

Back at the house our discussion with Pete, turned into talk about us selling our house…YAY!  I loved his view & advice.  Let’s do it!  Sooner than later!!

Day 18 8.26
Luke was up at the crack of dawn taking breakfast orders before they all left.  He ran down to a cafe picked up breakfast sammys,  then they ate & were headed out the door to Baywood Golf Course & Country Club.  Luke is a member & has taken up golf this year.  Leia & the boys all played golf in high school.  Danny used to be a really good golfer, but hadn’t played in about 10 years.  I was invited to come watch, but passed, at least for the first 9 holes.  I don’t love golf..it’s slow, it’s expensive, it has too many rules that don’t have anything to do with the game & my Mom & I were about the only ones in our family that didn’t play golf.

I headed north up the highway for about an hours drive to the Fern Creek Trailhead.  This is another super cool hike around here.  It’s not long, but kind of unique for sure!

The light & so many shades of green...




Lots of different kinds of ferns grow here.

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Meanwhile, back on the golf course….lots of fun was being had!  I showed up around Hole 11.  I walked & photographed & made snarky comments & asked too many questions.  Seriously, I did love walking the course & watching all the interactions between these 4.

Danny had to borrow a collared shirt from the boys & I had to dig deep in my bag to find one to wear too (it was probably a bit to wrinkly for Country Club standards, but it’s still Humboldt after all).



Think it’s easy playing in, around & among Redwood trees?  You know how big their trunks are?  And a clump of them together seems like a huge obstacle.  


We had a late lunch at Pie & Cider…such a fun place in Arcata & super yummy food too with savory empanadas & really good pies & a big variety of hard ciders.   We chilled back at the house…I think a couple of people took naps.  

We had late dinner reservations at the Bistro & Jordan was able to join us …it’s Luke & Petes favorite place to eat.  Their friend & former school mate from Kansas owns this high end restaurant in Eureka.  We’re all so glad it’s done well & made it through the pandemic.  Evan, one of the owners & Chefs, always comes out & sits & visits when we go to the Bistro.  I had no idea what a Sake Bomb was & passed on the experience, but Danny said yes & guzzled it right down.

Once again, coming back late & overstuffed, we headed to bed quickly.

Day 19 8.27
Leia & Danny & I went to breakfast at the Phoenix in Arcata.  Then we drove into Eureka hunting a bunch of murals throughout the downtown.  I love these!

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Pete was taking the rest of the day off so he soon joined us.  We stopped at a gear store & bought Luke his birthday present which is coming up soon.  Then we drove to the zoo.

Right before you enter the zoo, theres a Dahlia Garden.  Luke & Jordan had been a couple of weeks ago, at its prime, but there were still gorgeous flowers here today.

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I liked this little fairy house built on top of a tree trunk...

I used to love going to zoos & taking the kids there when they were little.  But, for the past 20 years or so, they just make me sad.  I get it when it’s an animal rescue center…like the animal would have died if they hadn’t rescued & saved it’s life & maybe that it wouldn’t survive in the wild, but healthy animals just seemed imprisoned.  Danny & I kept talking about sneaking up to the cages, opening the doors & let them run free through the neighboring Redwood forest.  I bet they’d love it!


The Skywalk up in the Redwood trees was pretty cool. It’s at the zoo & was definitely awesome.


Is that a hug or a strangle?


Riding the Banana Slug!

Then we took a walk into the Redwood Forest.  Love love love hiking in these magnificent trees!  

Leia doing her best yoga pose…she had several!

And Peter following up with his widely popular “King Tut’ pose.

This is our ‘happy to be together’ pose under a giant burl.

One huge tree trunk!

We all decided for our last night, burgers on the grill & a night at the house sounded great.

Let the competition begin.  They love ping pong.  I hadn’t played in years, but it was a pretty good time!



We ended up chatting into the night around the fire.

Day 20 8.28
Sad this is our last day here.  Leia made us a yummy breakfast, we talked, packed, hugged & said good bye.  I took Danny to the little Arcata airport & did more hugging & saying goodbye.  But I’d be seeing him fairly soon.  Then I hit the road going south & soon to turn East…for the first time since mid June.

Then other things started to go a bit south too….Danny’s flight left 30 minutes late, which might be no big deal but he had 40 minutes to catch his next flight in Denver with 40 gates in between flights.  I got a text from him wondering if he’d make the connection.

Then 70 miles south of the boys, my red light came on again.  Crap!  I thought that was fixed.  So, now the mind game begins as well as the sweaty palms.  Do I go back or keep moving forward.  I pulled over before I lost service & called my mechanic back home, left a message & told him what was going on.  Then I turned off my A/C (it’s about 90 degrees at this point) & S L O W E D  D O W N to about 50-55mph.  And did that all the way south.  My mechanic wanted to me find a wand car wash & make sure my radiator filter thingy was clean.  So, I took that detour & cleaned it now, once again, hoping this red light crap was done.

I painfully & hotly…very hotly…made my to Sacramento.  I’d heard from Danny in the meantime, he’d made his flight.  At least one of us was having a good day.  And, I thought the wash had done it…as I passed by Sacramento & hit I-80, the damn red light came on again & went off & came on & went off.  I pulled over a couple of times, wait for the car to cool, then turn it on & go.  I made it 50 miles east of Sac towards Truckee, then the light wouldn’t go off & I was frazzled to the bone & hot…it was about 100 around Sacramento.  

So, the first rest area I came to, I pulled off.  I messaged my friends Tom & Kelly who I was supposed to spend the day with tomorrow & camp with them south of Reno, to update them on my situation.  Tom is super smart about vehicles & knows Toyotas.  Tom had me check my new transmission fluid which had been pinky-red when I’d left the boys..it was now brown & with a slight smell of something burnt.  Even I knew this was not good.  Kelly was familiar with the rest area I was in & assured me it was safe & a good place to chill for the night.  I also messaged Danny with the bad news.  My mechanic was already in bed, so I didn’t expect to hear back from him.  Then I swallowed some Tylenol, drank a bunch of water, opened my windows, turned on my fan & fell asleep.  Until 2am.  Then I began to Google all things transmission.  Crazy!  I never fell back asleep, but was super grateful for the sleep I’d gotten.  The temps had cooled down & I was at about 2,500’ elevation now, so it was cooler.  Tom had suggested I go back to Sac instead of forward over the pass.  He also suggested I blast my heater with my windows down…which is the 2nd time on this trip I’ve done this to keep my engine cool.  

What’s going to happen tomorrow?  The thought I could not get out of my mind.

PS:  There are no photos of today because who would want to see sweaty palms, blinky red dashboard lights, & every single car passing me on the road?


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