2. Northern California—Luke & Pete!…March, 2023 

Day 4 3.25
Leia & Pete are off work today, Jordan had other plans, so the 5 of us went to the Farmers Market under really chilly damp-feeling skies.  They have a busy market with lots of wonderful California fresh veggies, meats, flowers & food booths.

IMG 9565.JPG

Pete feeding his goats…Peanut Butter, Jelly & Nutella (names of the goats, not what he was feeding them!)

IMG 9573.JPG

Mad River brewery right down the street from Pete & Leias in Blue Lake.

IMG 9590.JPG

The boys were in a drawing that was going on at the local casino, so we all went back for that.  Bummer neither of their names were pickedthe grand prize was $15,000 in appliances.  They both could have put that to good use!

IMG 9585.JPG

Then we moved up the road to the drawings being held at the casino at Trinidad.  And while neithers name was chosen in that drawing either, Pete hit a winning machine & Luke ended up winning more than the grand prize!  A pretty fun evening.  Luke & Pete dealt poker for a long time in these towns; working at 2 of the 3 casinos so they know so many people.  And while they havent dealt poker in a long time, the casinos are still a big part of their lives up here.  Its pretty fascinating to watch & try to understand.

Day 5 3.26
Leia & Pete love pickle ball (Luke plays too, but not as much as these two!).  They both play in tournaments all over…but Pete especially is crazy about the sport & a very very good player.  They have a pretty nice size group of really good players here.  So, Sunday morning we all were at the courts…Danny & I just watching & feeling like sloths among all the activity going on.

IMG 9595.JPG

It was our first day of no rain & some sun.  Temps were still cool, but a pretty nice day.  I’ve met several of their fellow players over the years, & it was great to see them again & catch up.

We headed back to the house & enjoyed some time on their deck, then Luke showed up with yummy pizzas from a friend of theirs new place in Eureka.  Leia is learning the Tongue Drum & I love hearing the music these make.  Sitting out there, under the sun, with all the green around & the noise of the water flowing under the bridge in their backyard, the goats bleeting once in awhile, the low sounds of Danny & the boys talking & Leia’s music….It was wonderful!

Luke pulled out the ping pong table & the competition began!

IMG 9628.JPG

IMG 9639.JPG

IMG 9644.JPG

The weather was still decent, so Danny & I took a walk from their house down to the river.

IMG 9665.JPG

IMG 9678.JPG

I so wish he would retire & we could do this more often!

IMG 9669.JPG

Day 6 3.27
Woke up to gray skies & super cold temps.  Pete was back at work today, but Leia, Jordan, Luke, Danny & I went to the Big Blue Cafe for breakfast.  Then, because I always, always ask to do this, we went for a walk in the Redwoods.  They have them all around up here.  The National Park is north of them; Avenue of the Giants is south of them.  But today, we hiked in the community forest, which is right near the campus.  How do you not love this area?  It’s got the Pacific, beautiful rivers, beaches, & the Redwoods….such magical trees & forests. 

I loved this walk!  It’s almost impossible (for me anyway) to capture the size of these trees in a photo.

Trillium blooming all over the place!

Happy hikers!

So much life here in the foresteven things that look dead are not.  Hiking here is looking up to the tops of the trees & also constantly looking down at all the stuff on the forest floor.so cool! 

IMG 9687.JPGIMG 9700.JPG

I found a Banana Slug!

IMG 9710.JPG

Love this photo!  The only negative to this hike was missing Petewished he could have been with us.

IMG 9712.JPG

My smile was huge the whole time…it’s such a fantastic place.

After our walk, Luke took us to Dead Reckoning to meet Pete after work.  There was good beer, fun pinball & a few laughs & always good conversation.  

IMG 9729.JPG

Leia had to work tonight, but Luke ran back & picked up Jordan & the 5 of us were meeting at the Bistro for dinner.  When Luke & Pete moved out here, about 17 years ago, they had two friends that came out to visit them within the first couple of years.  Evan & Brandon went to school with Luke.  Once they visited here, they moved here shortly after.  Evan owns & runs a high end restaurant down on the bay in Eureka.  We enjoyed a very posh meal for our last night here.  It’s always good to see Evan & it’s nice he joins us at the table for some catching up & the food is fantastic.

IMG 9734.JPG

After a big meal, we headed back to Petes house & had a good time the rest of the evening with him & Leia & all of us really enjoyed some of the dessert Evan sent home with us…OMG good!  We played a game called Irk! that was pretty fun; then we all tucked in.  It was our last night here….time went by so fast!

Day 7 3.28
Im not a fan of good byes, but todays started early-- first with Pete as he was back at work today.  Then hugs from & for Leiashe is such a special woman!  Luke picked us up & we went back to his place for the morning, then saying good bye to Jordan.

IMG 9737.JPG

Trying to put off the good bye & get a tiny bit more time in before we leave.

IMG 9739.JPG

Luke took us to the tiny Arcata airport right up the road from his house.  One last big hug, then we were off to check in, going thru security, listening as the only two flights got delayed & visiting with other passengers…all wondering about our flight-fate.  Danny & I had a really long layover in San Francisco today, so we weren’t too worried about delays, just cancellations.

But one hour after our originally scheduled time, we took off in a little jet, flying south over the ocean & the redwood trees & heading home.

We had dinner at the San Francisco airport, then boarded at 1/2 full flight on time.  We had a tailwind, so we arrived 30 minutes early…awesome.  We made it home about 12:30am, greeted our cats with a hug & managed to stay up a couple more hours.  

It had been a wonderful trip…a gift from the boys for our birthdays this year & I can’t think of anything better.  I’m so happy they are happy men, good men, fun men & nice men.  Moving out to California all those years ago, was obviously a good choice they made.  Their lives out in that beautiful part of the country are filled with fun, lots of good friends, big love & happiness.  And while I miss them so much everyday, I wouldn’t wish anything different for them.


After the Farmers Market, we went to the local Co-Op to buy some cheeses to snack on at Pete & Leia’s this afternoon.  OMG!  When I showed up in the beer aisle, Danny was holding this….one of my fave beers from Bend, OR.  WOW!  I was super stoked & had to refrain from buying up all they had to pick up the next time I’m out here.  But I was good & only bought one & shared it.  YUM!  I’m always stoked when I randomly find this beer!

Yes….I can’t come to this wonderful state without partaking of this ice cream delight (& I don’t even eat ice cream very often). Pretty fantastic!

The United Packing Challenge:
When you fly Basic Economy on United Airlines (our choice; the, boys would have paid for any level tickets), you don’t get to carry on a bag or check a bag; only an under the seat personal item.  And, they seem pretty strict about this…you not only get emails before you flight, reminding you that you CANNOT bring on an overhead bin bag, & offering you multiple times if you want to pay more money to check bags & even going so far as to not letting you check in before your flight.  Instead you need to go to the UA counter, & verify that you ARE NOT CARRYING ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN AN UNDER THE SEAT BAG.  It’s printed in BOLD on your boarding pass & the gate agent reminds all the lower class customers of this before you board the plane.  To pay for us to check a bag would have been an extra $130 for the flight…no way I’m doing that.  These flights are super expensive anyway (all flights seem high for that matter!)

I was concerned that Danny could not meet this challenge easily; but he came through with flying colors or more importantly, a smaller bag.  I on the other hand, was failing this test.  And I have done this before with United, & did OK.  But this time was really close & because I was on the aisle, those ‘under seats’ are smaller than the window & the middle.  I had to push my bag under the seat with my feet…shoving as hard as I could.  But in the end, I did it.  Mostly, though, kudos to Danny who took a smaller pack & must have taken less stuff.  It’s winter, so I may have over done it on the number of coats I took, but I sure wore them all!

IMG 9744.JPG

This trip is in the books….Now I’m home with two days & long to-do list before my next adventure begins!

home   1

 vikhill@gmail.com   Wweroiweuprou                                                                                                                                                 © Vicki Hill 2024