8. National Park Road Trip…April/May/June 2016

day 21…5.11 
Luke & I went to eat breakfast at The Country Store…soooo yummy!  Then we got Pete’s truck & took the dogs to the nearby river for a long walk…there are 5 dogs currently at the house.  The river is up from when I was here last year; they had a ton of rain this spring.  The dogs chased sticks, swam in the water & played with rocks.

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Luke was going to take a couple buddies up to a mountain bike trail, so I went into Arcata to the Bead Store (needed new cording for my choker) & sat out in the Plaza enjoying the sunshine & people watching.  The bikers changed their minds, so Luke met me in town & we went for a beer at Dead Reckoning.  A place that was new to me last year, but I loved!  The same bartender was there….uber knowledgeable about craft beet & they have about 30 on tap!  Always so much fun to ‘talk beer’…I had an IPA from Modern Times—a brewery I’ve heard great things about several times on this trip—& Luke tried a couple of sours.  All were very good!

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Evan, one of Luke’s good friends from Kansas has recently opened a restaurant in Old Town Eureka.  Evan & another friend, Brandon (also from back home), moved out here years ago after visiting Luke & Pete one time.  The restaurant has been a dream of Evans that came to fruition about a month ago.  Luke’s been helping him & his partner for the past few months, getting the place ready & through the opening.  Everyone is raving about the food….Luke’s never eaten so good on a consistent basis!  So, the plan was for an early dinner of fish tacos.  We had some time to kill before they opened at 5, so we walked around Old Town & the boardwalk with killer views of Humboldt Bay.  We stumbled upon a “Visitors Center” downtown, which was also served as a tap room for local beer & wine, cheese, etc.  We shared a beer from a local home brewer (who used to live next door to Pete) then went to Humboldt Bay Bistro for a delicious dinner!  We had fish tacos, two types of oysters, a steak kabob & a wonderful drink!  Pete’s girlfriend Leia joined us, & three of us just ‘oohed & ahhhed’ at the food!  It’s housed in a former restaurant in an old house with a wonderful courtyard, eclectic local artwork, simple furnishings & big windows with amazing views.  It’s doing great & I wished I’d taken photos!  We have reservations for all of us to go there Friday night, along with Brandon & his girlfriend.  Maybe I can discreetly take a couple of photos then.  Everyone is excited to go back for dinner!  I’m so happy for Evan!

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After dinner, it was time to meet Pete at the McKinleyville Community Center for him & Luke’s weekly Futsal game…soccer played on smaller goals, 4 players & a goalie, co-ed so two players always have to be female & played on a basketball court.  Right off the bat they had to forfeit because one of the girl players didn’t show, but they played the game anyway.  It’s fast & furious & when those ‘missed’ shots hit the wall behind the goal it sounds like an explosion.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN TO WATCH!  Luke was in goalie the first half.  They ended the game with more goals than the other team & everyone looked like they had fun.

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After the game we stopped by the house for the guys to shower, picked up Leia & all went to Redwood Curtain Brewery in Arcata. One of their friends was playing music tonight.  We tried some beers, chatted & listened to the tunes.  Super. Fun. Day!

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day 22…5.12 
Pete & Luke were both working today, so I was on my own.  I drove into Arcata mid morning…slowly.  I’m listening to an audio book that I swear has taken the entire state of California & was nearing the end.  I sat in my car listening while waiting for my early lunch stop (love visiting with the boys & their town, but I’m eating & drinking all the time…not any hiking!) to open.  Japhy’s is favorite of Lukes…soooo YUMMY!  I had the special green curry soup with chicken & a small salad.  It was chilly out this morning & it was the perfect choice to start my day.

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I drove up the highway about 15 miles to the small but beautiful town of Trinidad.  I took the scenic drive & pulled off at the beaches to just look.  It was chilly & cloudy but beautiful anyway.  I took a short walk out on one of the viewpoints & watched the surfers & SUP’ers for a while.

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I had an errand to run in Trinidad & then wanted to take the huge stairway down to the beach.  But when I got to the lighthouse, where the walkway begins, it was closed…bummer.  But, the view is still fantastic!

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It was almost time for my 2pm appointment I’d set up that morning…time for an adult-responsible-mundane task!  Fortunately, I have very few of those when I travel, but I’ve driven 4,200 miles so far & the girl needs an oil change. I finished the audio book while waiting for the car & then I was off & headed back to Blue Lake.  Leia was done with school for the afternoon & the weather in Blue Lake was sunny & warm.  We walked to the Logger Bar…a super favorite spot in this tiny old logging town.  They make mixed drinks using fresh juices they make on the spot…yummy!  The decor is giant old logging saws…laid back, great drinks & interesting atmosphere & within walking distance of the house…just perfect!

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Pete wasn’t off work yet, so we walked about three blocks to the Mad River Brewing Company & ordered a beer…we both had the Porter…pretty good stuff.  Soon, Pete showed up & joined us.

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About 7:15 it was time for me to leave to meet Terri—a long time friend of my sister-in-laws but I have gotten to know her too.  She lives out here…loves all the fantastic live music they have in Arcata & loves to takes long walks on their beautiful beaches AND she takes awesome photographs!  She’s also a traveler.  We grabbed a beer together last year when I was here & tonight we were meeting at Bittersweet…the Cider Bar Pete introduced me to.  It’s great!

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We each had a couple of samples of cider & chatted for about an hour & a half. I enjoyed every minute of it!

PS:  Today while driving through McKinleyville today, I drove by the WORLDS LARGEST TOTEM POLE (disclaimer:  Peter didnt believe me so by Googling this subject, he found this claim not to be true).  So, Ill just say.I found a really really tall totem pole in McKinleyville.

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day 23…5.13 
Luke went to mow the grass at the restaurant this morning, so I caught up on a phone call & took a shower.  When he got back we drove up to Trinidad to the Lighthouse cafe.  Id heard from a couple of people about their Mash Potato Waffle conessounds weird but thought Id give it a try.  Somehow, Ive lost a few photos from my phoneIm sure theyre buried somewhere, but my lunch photo is one of the MIA.  I grabbed one off the cafes website.  It a fresh made savory waffle cone with mashed potatoes, beef gravy, large chunks of super tender brisket, a little cheese & some bacon.  Luke ordered the spicy fried chicken sandwich.  Mine was delicious!

They also make their own ice creamso we each had cone then headed north on the 101.  We drove into Redwood National Park & took  the Newton Drury drive through these giant trees.  Ive done this drive at least twice before, but it never gets old.  We pulled off & took a short walka nice day to be in the woods.  

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Found the famous “Banana Slug”, cool baby ferns just unfolding, salmon berries, Elk & then down the road near the Redwood National Park Visitors Center the magnificent Pacific ocean.

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Tonight the four of us plus four more friends were going to Evans restaurant….Humboldt Bay Bistro.  WOW!  The food was great!  I had the halibut special….fresh halibut with coconut & a pineapple salsa, OMG magnificent mashed potatoes (don’t even remind me I had mashed potatoes twice today) & some yummy veggies.

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As the evening wore on we were all STUFFED to the brim.  Chef Evan came out to visit & offered some dessert, but I thought I would die if I ate one more thing!  It was a super special meal, some amazing food & fun to be around Luke & Pete’s good friends!

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Two hours later, after getting home & chatting with Leia & working on the site…I’m still stuffed!  Tomorrow is another adventure with the boys—both off work—as my time here in Northern California winds down.  


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