Northern California: long drive #1

We woke up early in Eureka, prepared for a long day of driving. After our ritual morning walk and shower, we packed up the car and hit the road.

We stopped many times along the way, but some of the more impressive ones were in the Avenue of the Giants, and on the cliffs of the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

I had run out of food, so I got a bit hungry on the road. I stopped at a ‘town’ which was nothing more than a few stores in a cluster on the side of the highway, but the Thai Food sign caught my eye. I’m not very good at making split second decisions to pull over; and I’ve missed many vista points, turnouts and rest areas that way. By the time I’ve processed what it is and whether or not I want to stop, it’s too late; we’ve passed it.

But this situation was different, I was already slowed down to 25 MPH, as is the law in these roadside ‘towns’, and after seeing the Thai Food sign, there was a big, gravel parking lot a few yards down the road, so it was perfectly timed with my slow decision-making process. And the verdict was “YES! I do want some spicy Thai curry!”

So, I hung near the door with River in tow and got someone’s attention and asked them to give me a menu so I could make a to-go order. I took it and ate it in the parking lot, sitting in the back seat of my car, while River lied on a blanket in the dirt outside the car, waiting for my scraps.

The scenery was breathtaking and glorious, but the day was fading into night and I was still winding and twisting my way along the coast. It’s much less fun in the dark. I plugged on, and finally made it to my destination by about ten pm.

I drove through San Francisco and was pretty excited that River got to see one of my favorite cities. But he was curled up on his seat and didn’t care much.

I met my brother and his dogs at his favorite beach spot. We wanted the dogs’ first meeting to be on neutral territory to reduce alpha-dominant behavior as much as possible. It went well, so we all went back to his house.

It was great to see that part of the family again. My niece, Ashley, who is a completely different person in real life than her facebook persona (thankfully!), chatted with us for a while, but went to bed early because she gets up at dawn to catch the bus for school. And my sister-in-law went to bed, too, because she was feeling sick. So my brother and I stayed up late talking about all kinds of stuff. 

I was amazed to learn how much we have in common. Our concepts of spirituality are almost identical, even though we were raised as Christians. We both share a deep respect for nature and animals and we both have a dream to drive an RV across the country.

In the morning, I got up early to hit the farmers market, but upon getting there, I learned that dogs were not allowed. So I went back to Jeff’s house and dropped River off and made a trip to Safeway, the gas station and the car wash. While I was gone, my brother took this photo of my dog, waiting for me to return.

Jeff, his dogs, River and I, then had a quick breakfast and took off for one of my brother’s other favorite spots. This one was a park in San Francisco with a big cross in it. He was impressed that the cross was featured in Dirty Harry. We did a small hike to the top of a hill that not only offered the giant cross but a pretty impressive view of the city. 

River got into a scuffle with another dog up there, and in said scuffle, came out without his tags. I didn’t notice until later than night, but now he’s running around without his license.

River in the foreground and Oscar in the background. Oscar was the Alpha Dog of the house, so River and Oscar butted heads a few times; especially because Lucy, Oscars doggie housemate and friend, is blind and needs protecting.

This is the last photo of River with his dog license tags.  In the back ground is my brother, Jeff, his dogs Lucy and Oscar and some hippies having lunch.

I had another long day of driving ahead, so we only had a brief time at the park. At around three thirty, I was again packing the car up and hitting the highway. My plan was to take good old California Highway One (Pacific Coast Highway) as far down as I could.  Next stop, Carpinteria.


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