3. West Coast Birthday...1.2018

Day 7 1.19
The sky was bright & blue when I first woke up & looked over the ocean…yay!

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But by the time I was dressed & packed & walking about the town for coffee, the sky was darkening & it was sprinkling.

With coffee, I drove north on the 1.  The weather just went downhill most of the day, but it didn’t stop me from pulling off from time to time to watch this beautiful ocean!  It did stop me—again— from any hiking.   By the time I got to Glass Beach, it was pouring down rain.  I also, once again, had quite a few miles fog…but in spite of all that, I love love love this drive.  The last ocean view pullout along 1, always brings me such good memories of my 2012 coast trip…the first time I drove this coast.  That pullout was the last place I camped along the 1.  

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Then 1 turns inland, winding narrowly through the fantastic forest for a little over 20 miles…it’s a slow drive, but soooo peaceful!  Then you hit the 101 which takes you north all the way to Oregon…but I was stopping way before that.

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I drove into Eureka around noon & met Peter at his office which is housed in an historical building in Old Town….it’s pretty sweet with high ceilings, big windows & a great view.  We grabbed some coffee & walked to the marina…the day had turned beautiful & I was so happy to see him!

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Pete went back to work for a couple of hours & I drove to Blue Lake.  Luke had just gotten back in town the night before after a month on the road, & I was really glad to see him & Blue.  Leia got home from work right after I got there.  It was nice just to visit & hang out.  Early in the evening, the boys & I went into Arcata for slices of pizza & to Dead Reckoning…a fave beer bar of mine & then met Leia & one of her friends at the local movie theatre to see a documentary about the Eel River.  It was interesting & a packed house…so many people caring about the environment & this river…great to see in this time when our government seems to not care at all our public lands, air, water….the list is long.  The night ended with all of us around the kitchen table, having a beer & just chatting…these are some of my favorite moments!  The fur patrol—four dogs between the 3 of them—is always in the mix needing some attention—sooooo cute!

Day 8 1.20
I had a sauna & massage scheduled at Leias spa which was wonderful.  Her spa is a couple of minute walk from the house & is such a cool facility!  And I love massages!    

Pete loves to play pickle ball!  All three of them play, but Pete takes it serious, playing in tournaments all over.  So, once my massage was done, Leia & I walked down to the outdoor pickle ball court where this morning’s players were all upper level players.   It’s so fun to watch them all play, but I really enjoy meeting the people involved.  Pete’s tournament partner, Mary, was super easy going & great to talk to.  The day was beautiful & I was hoping to hike the Trinidad Head.  We all met up in Trinidad, but the quick bite of lunch we intended to get, took a little longer.  We missed our hiking time, but walked down to where the lighthouse used to be….it’s such a wonderful spot.

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Pete & Leia had an appointment in Eureka, so Luke & I went back to Blue Lake to the Logger Bar to watch the KU game.  I could care less about college basketball, but I always love to be around the kids when they’re watching the games.  The Logger bar is within walking distance of their house & serves mixed drinks with fresh made juice they make right in front of you…yummy!

Then the four of us met back in Arcata at the Cider & Pie bar.  Another place I enjoy going in Arcata that serves about 12 different ciders from all over, a variety of empanada’s & wonderful pies.  Once back at the house, Leia started cooking making a chocolate cheesecake for the following day, while the boys & I just visited but we all enjoyed some of the Lagunitas & Russian River beer I’d brought.

Day 9 1.21
Happy Birthday Leia!  It was pouring down rain, dark skies & chilly!  I had made plans with a friend I have out here to meet for coffee this morning, but she’d called earlier to cancel; she was sick (seems like everyone is).  

So, we all went down to the community center for Sunday morning pickle ball (I just watched this time!).  I remembered several of the other players from when we were here last February & learned the sport.  We were there for a couple of hours. The other players would come up & tell me how much they all like Leia, Pete & Luke & how much fun it is to play with them…& it was the same with players I met yesterday morning.  

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The three of us went back to the house & just chilled for a couple of hours, while Pete drove into Eureka to play more pickle ball.  We ate a late lunch at small deli in Fieldbrook I’ve heard Pete talk about & was really good.  It was a long lunch, listening to the pouring rain outside, & just visiting inside.

Our evening ended back at the house, with snacks of sausages, cheeses, crackers & delicious birthday cheesecake & of course, beer.

Day 10 1.22
My trip is winding down (sad face).  I was up early to give Pete a good bye hug & say goodbye.  He was on his way to work.  I stayed up, getting dressed & started packing my things.  Luke was the next up, so we visited over coffee for a little while.  Leia was up & had an appointment so we said good bye too.  I got all my stuff in the car, petted each dog a good byewith extra hugs to Dexter & Blue & a giant hug for Luke!

It was really great seeing the boys & Leia.  It was a short weekend, but the timing was good & theyre all doing well, have upcoming travels & are happy!

I started my long drive south down the 101.  I jumped off the highway at Avenue of the Giants to make this 30+ mile drive through some amazing redwood trees.

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No rain today!  The skies were sunny & blue as I made my way another favorite drive in this state.  The 101 from Eureka winds over the Eel River several times.  On my way up last Friday, the water was clear.  But after so much rain yesterday, the water was brown & high.

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There are mountains in the distance all the way down to San Francisco & the closer you get to the city, the greener everything is.  I made a brief stop in Santa Rosa at Russian River & drank a Pliney & ate a salad.  I stayed there for a couple of hoursthey werent busy then drove south a little farther to Grayton.  Its a big casino Luke frequents, so hed given me the heads up on its parking & 24-hour Starbucks.  The rest of my night was uneventfulone of those sort of dreaded nights.  I was determined to not pay for lodging on my last night.  So, I slept in the car for about an hour, killed another hour or two just laying there, made two trips into Starbucks for a bathroom, tea & a hot chocolate (it was a tiny bit cold in the car).  

Day 11 1.23…..the night just blurs into the next morning….
I left about 1:30am headed towards San Francisco thinking that going through in the middle of the night would be the best way to avoid traffic.  And I was right.  I was the only one in either lane going south.  Then I drove through parts of downtown & it was super quiet tookind of a nice way to see the city; no one ever thinks of SF as quiet.  

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I ended up in another random parking lot for awhile, just listening to my audio book, then finally to a Starbucks just opening at 4:30am.  Three drinks from Starbucks in just a few hours has to be a record for me.  Finally at about 6am, I filled the rental with gas, got breakfast at a diner, then drove to the airport.  My flight goes through Phoenix on the way back, & I should land at MCI around 7:30 tonight.  Danny is picking me & I’m so looking forward to seeing him & the cats!

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When I stopped to buy peanut butter & a couple of gallons of water at the beginning of my trip, the cashier asked me where I was from & I told her & that I was headed down to Big Sur.  She said “peanut butter & water will get your far”.  This is soooo true for the way I travel.

When I was in the awesome lodging at Big Sur, the morning I was getting ready to leave, I kept hearing a chicken clucking super loud! right outside my door.  The first two times I did nothing.  The third time, I opened my door to see if I could see it.  Nothing.  I heard it one more time, but never saw it.  I have no idea what that was about.  Was it real?  A super loud crazy ring tone?  Some things are never answered.

Fog, Rock Slide Areas & Cliffs:  The combination of these three makes for some slow driving.  I realized on this trip—it’s not my favorite mix of driving challenges—EEEEK!

I would never want to be a cow…but if I were, I’d rather be a California Coastal Cow than from any other place!  You see so many cows & some horses, grazing in these thick beautiful pastures with incredible ocean views.  You see this over & over & over.  When I was in Big Sur, one of the women from Florida said…”I hate these cows..they get the best views!”.  It’s true.

Another proposal!  I was in Mendocino walking along the bluff just checking at the big waves, & I look back & saw a couple I’d passed & he was popping the question.  Come to find out, they had a tripod set up & were trying to DIY their engagement photos, so this probably wasn’t the first time he’d asked, but it makes for a sweet photo.  I remember at least two other times I’ve gotten to witness a guy pop the question to his potential bride—& both were for the first time.  Once on the summit of Mt. Crested Butte & once near the overlook of Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ.  Both times were fantastic—all of us witnesses cheered when each girl said yes!  Love makes the world go around…however you find it!

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It was a wonderful birthday trip!  I’m not that happy about being 60, but I’m always happy traveling.  I really, really wished Jill could have come & wasn’t sick.  Turns out she was down practically the entire time I was gone.  Glad to report, she’s starting to feel better.  

Big Sur is just as beautiful & spectacular as the first time I experienced it…that special place never disappoints.  It’s not for everybody; but I think it’s magnificent scenery.

Highway 1 & the 101 are wonderful drives…so much open space; pretty rivers; gorgeous ocean views; lovely mountains…road trip perfect.

And, I always love spending time with my kids.  I know I crave their company more than they do mine, & I wish I didn’t so much.  I never realized how their moving away would effect me.  I have friends who tell me they don’t see their kids that much that live near them, but it’s truly not the same.  I’m so happy their lives are good & better because they’ve changed it up a couple of times, met new people & are so independent, but it continues to break my heart because I miss them so much.  Too bad for me.  I know I can swing to be rather emotional at times—I know others that don’t cry easily, don’t pine for their kids so much & over the years, I’ve tried to change & be more like that.  But, so far, it hasn’t worked.  I just am who I am.  I can be impatient, loud, irrational, worrisome, tearful, fast, curious & impetuous.  I can also be funny, loving, joyful, easily amazed, kind & giving.  Maybe one of the things I’ve learned over all these past 60 years is best explained in a quote I love….

“You will always be too much of something for somebody.  Be yourself anyway.”

It was a very, very happy birthday.


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