Day One: CA 101 to Gold Beach

So… back over Memorial Day weekend of 2016 (note, today is now August 2017), I had a five day road trip driving up the Oregon Coast with Robyn (and then we flew down to LA for three days, mainly to watch The Little Mermaid at the Hollywood Bowl). It’s long been on my to do list to post a blog entry about this vacation. At this point, I don’t think anyone reads this blog (I say this every time, but there is NO WAY anyone’s reading this right?!), but I’ve found my entries occasionally useful years after I’ve gone on a vacation to rejigger my memory, so I still find them worthwhile to write. And mainly, it’s kind of nice to have the pictures here with more words than an IG caption would have. Actually come to think of it, if Soundcloud has taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t trust anything to the cloud/private enterprise and one day WordPress will go out of business and all these hours, probably cumulatively DAYS, will have gone to waste. Hm. Now I’m seriously rethinking this commitment to writing a blog post. Isn’t the next best thing to just do this on a Microsoft Word document and copy and paste my pictures and then print them out? LOL Oh well. I’ve committed already. It’s 10:45am on a Saturday (technically my alarm went off at 6:45am but I was too lazy to go to the gym and other than an extra hour of sleep, I think I spent the rest of my time watching youtube videos of crappy but still very addicting clips of Wynonna Earp) SO I GUESS I CAN FINALLY CHECK THIS OFF MY LIST. I’m giving myself until noon to complete this … GO!

The background for this trip is that I was supposed to go with Kathy, but a few days before, she backed out and I already had hotels booked so I asked Robyn (rather unconvincingly at first, I suppose it’s not very persuasive to tell someone ‘want to go on this vacation with me? my other friend cancelled. but you better tell me soon otherwise I’m just going to invite my mom’). Thankfully she agreed although she was very reluctant at first, as driving from one place to another really conflicts with her preferred vacation style of going to lounging on a beach. She was actually just about to book a solo trip to Maui before I was like “hey how about Hawaii … we DRIVE FOR FIVE DAYS?” Spoiler alert: she ended up LOVING IT despite the fact that I essentially made her drive 85% of the trip.

So we headed out on Saturday May 28th. Of course any time I head north beyond San Francisco, there is my obligatory stop at my favorite restaurant in the Bay Area, SOL FOOD!!! I got a bistec sandwich (I don’t have insanely good memory, there is a picture of it in my archives) and I remember Robyn getting a vanilla latte and it was WAYYY more delicious than I expected it to be. Anyway, onward ho, after our obligatory breakfast stop! Usually I only eat Sol Food after a long hike but having it early morn was a bit odd (restaurant opens at 9 and I definitely dictated our out the door time to coincide with this restaurant’s operations.

DANGGG I have amazing memory!!! My Google Calendar says our next stop was a coffee shop called Steep Coffee. I couldn’t remember the town’s name but after staring at the Google Maps, my first guess was right – Ukiah! (Ok technically I guess it’s Hopland, but Yelp still found the coffee store so I consider that a success). This was a tiny little town that looked like all of its 10 establishments were running along the 101 which at this point, was more like a quiet two lane road. Steep was REALLY cute and had a honey latte drink that was great. Importantly, there was an insanely adorable dog sitting outside.

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Of course I’ll come into the store!

We walked back to our car and there was a little house that offered medical marijuana licenses, by appt only. Robyn knocked on the door, no answer. As we turned away, the owner of the office walked up the path and was like “oh did you have an appointment?” and we very abashedly rushed off going “no! thanks though! we’ll drop by again if we are ever in the area!”

At this point we were 130 miles from my house (2.5hrs). Onward we went, past the Avenue of the Giants (I think we stopped for a single picture but then continued on). We had stopped at Confusion Hill, in Piercy, which I normally would not have stopped at but I think we both needed to pee. This was your typical kind of very random roadside attraction and it’s classified as an amusement park on yelp. We didn’t enter any of it, and just took pictures of random stuff in the parking lot, which involved a shoe house and a giant totem pole. Along this route, you start getting a lot of roadside attractions involving giant cut down redwood trees that have been painted and carved into huge wooden statues. At this point, we were 250 miles or 4.5hrs away from home.

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Confusion Hill’s Shoe House! Would be decent conditions in SF

We arrived in Eureka probably around 2pm, our lunch stop for the day. Eureka seemed to be the largest city to stop in on our first day, though there wasn’t thatttt much to do. It’s near the water, so you can walk along the small pier. There was a small town square, I vaguely remember a few homeless looking people, and the square being pretty quiet, but we did venture into a chocolate store and picked up a few small truffles and a chocolate banana slug as a gift for Connie, who would be hosting us in Portland at the end of our trip.

We ate at a restaurant called Sixth & E which was a decently good burger joint and a very refreshingly cool AC system. I remember there being bar table style seating, which I enjoyed as it allowed me to stretch out my legs after the long drive (which was only halfway through!). Then we stopped by the Carson Mansion, which is a historical building that inspired McScrooge’s mansion in Duck Tales. Pretty cool! I think it’s now like a private club.

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I was unfortunately not a regular watcher of Duck Tales

We continued on, and the next thing we stopped at was the Trees of Mystery in Klamath, which is about 375mi from home. This is another roadside attraction, way cooler than Confusion Hill. It just has a TON of redwood statues around, the most impressive one being Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox, Babe! I’ve included one photo of me under Paul Bunyan’s foot to give a better representation of its huge size

The main thing I really wanted to see was Samuel H Boardman State Park, which was another 50 miles away and just a little past the Oregon state border. However, a huge theme throughout this vacation was that I had wayyyy overestimated our ability to drive and explore, so by the time we arrived at a place, we’d already be several hours past schedule. At this stop, the first picture I could take was the sun setting into the ocean. Robyn got a little frustrated because I wouldn’t tell her anything about the places we were headed, so when we’d arrive somewhere, I’d be like “ok and now we’re supposed to do a 2 hour hike! Except … hmm there’s still four hours of driving left … and it’s 4pm … but I don’t know why we’re here if we aren’t going to hike!” I’m pretty terrible.

What I learned about this park is that it’s not really just a park, at least not what I envision as a park. It’s more like there’s several roadside stops along the freeway, and you better be pretty quick with the wheel to make it into the parking lot. Luckily there was barely anyone on the road at this hour and Robyn was driving. There are a few hikes that can take you down to the beach, but since the sun was setting and there was still TONS TO SEE in the park, we had to keep moving! Also, it seemed pretty steep to walk down, and we hadn’t brought hiking shoes. I was a little bummed that we had to be the kind of travelers that just park and take pictures and leave, but we had had a very fulfilling first day, and if we had left any earlier in the day, I wouldn’t have been able to eat Sol Food! In the end, I’m happy with what we did but would definitely do the roadtrip again (with more emphasis on the hiking).

Samuel H Boardman Park was still fun even though we didn’t spend as long as I would’ve liked. There are some crazy cool pictures I’ve seen on IG from down the shore like this one (sorry I have no idea how to embed). We got some great photos of the huge rocks on the beach that are so iconic of the Oregon Coast. I liked how it turned out, and due to the timing of the sunset, I really only have the one picture and not like 50 taken in incremental seconds. We headed on, stopped at the only restaurant that was open in town (a decent pizza place) and took home a box of pizza to eat in our hotel! Motel?

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View from the first stop at Samuel H Boardman

Our stay for the night was in a town called Gold Beach (I forget where, but other towns people stay in are Brookings further south or else Bandon further up). Our place of lodging was called the Inn of the Beachcomber but I have no memory of the room, and the photos on Yelp are pretty atrocious, it seems like a collection of every guest’s past grievances. There was a photo of a hot tub, which reminded me that we had bought pizza and I got the thrill of eating PIZZA in a HOT TUB! A questionably clean hot tub … but oh well … this was PURE LUXURY. A year later I did read an article (OMG I FOUND IT – I’m kind of amazed throughout the writing of this post how relatively it easy it was to google what my memory failed to remember) on Vulture that said “I couldn’t stop thinking about how gross it would be to eat a slice (of pizza) that’s covered in the spray of a hot tub” and when I read that, I thought “is that not a symbol of luxury?”

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So that was the first day! I originally thought I’d just put the entire trip into a single blog entry but given how long this one already is … I guess … I should split it up! It’s 12:20! AHHH I was supposed to be done by noon! OF ALL FIVE DAYS! I’ve only done the one day!!!

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