Thursday, May 31, 2007
Of Redwoods, Harbors and Stash
Last Thursday, Kevin said he would like to go for a drive for the Memorial Day weekend. Ok.
My in-laws recently purchased a lot in Brookings, Oregon. They will be retiring there after my mother-in-law has completed here servitude to the US Government next year. She has calculated the time to retirement by calendar days, weeks and working days. Considering the challenges in her personal and professional life over the last several years, she is quite deserving of some "down time". I am frequently awed by her strength and perseverance, and sincerely hope that I would handle things as well as she does in a similar situation. I know that this can be a rarity in some circles, but I love my mother-in-law. She is awesome.
Kevin and I have been curious about where we will be spending our Thanksgiving holiday - having spent that particular holiday in Idaho Falls ever since Kevin and I became a couple. It's about 350 miles for us to get to Brookings. It's 450 miles to my mom's in So Cal, and that takes about 7 hours, when everything works at its optimum level. It took about that long to get to Crescent City this past Saturday, though we had traffic on and off from Novato to Santa Rosa.
The last time we drove that far north on the 101 was around 1993 or 1994, when we drove up the Oregon Coast to the Columbia Gorge, before heading east to Idaho Falls via Boise. One thing that has changed - Indian Casino's. There were no casino's back then. Other than that, it was still beautiful with the vast Redwood forests, rambling streams, diversified wildlife and revitalizing ocean breezes.
We stopped in Hopland and had a beer at the Hopland Brewery, where last time we were there we had some really good pub food. They don't serve food anymore. We were disappointed.
The beer is still good, and this is the first microbrewery in California, dating back to 1983, if I recall correctly. My favorite brew is Read Tail Ale. They make some tasty mustard too!
We continued to Crescent City, where I had made reservations at the Curly Redwood Lodge. It's a no frills motel, quiet and clean. Very reasonable too. The only drawback - we really wished we had brought our own pillows. Flat, well used, uncomfortable, fiberfill. Highlight, for me at least, the sound of the fog horn at night. It was very soothing.
We had breakfast at the Fisherman Restaurant, which is across the street from the Lodge. The first breakfast we had there we both had a couple of really good dishes - a smoked salmon omelet with cream cheese filling (light and fluffy) and Eggs Benedict with cod instead of ham. Mmm, delicious. The next morning I had a sourdough grilled cheese sandwich with bay shrimp and Kevin had cod and eggs with 2 huge pancakes. Not as good as the previous day, but still tasty and filling. Dinner Sunday night was at the Smuggler's Cove in Brookings-Harbor. First, the food is pricey($15 for fish 'n chips), but the beer was not at $3.50 for a Guinness. The fish 'n chips I had was good, beer battered halibut, but it was one of the more inexpensive menu items. Kevin had a salmon open-faced sandwich, which he thought was decent. Both of us would have selected a seafood dinner, but they were $20+, more than we wanted to spend. The clam chowder was ok, but very, very thick. Kevin was happy to see a Dairy Queen in Brookings, and we had a little ice cream for an afternoon pick-me-up.
We didn't do too much in Crescent City. We went out to Battery Point Lighthouse, which was scheduled to be open, but was not. We took pictures and walked around. We were lucky since this past weekend was clear and warm enough not to need a jacket for the most part. I had several minutes of panic as I had dropped our small digital camera when we were checking out the commercial harbor. Luckily, when we retraced our steps, Kevin found the camera. Huge relief! I bought that camera for Kevin's birthday last year, and was about ready to have a major cry if we hadn't found it. Disaster avoided.
When we were done with the Lighthouse, we headed north to Brookings. After driving around for a while, we left a message with the in-laws for clarification. But since my cell battery was running low, we had to keep the phone off for the most part. We finally had a message and some directions, which allowed us to find the lot.
During the time we were waiting for the message, we drove around and came across an Arts & Crafts Fair. It was part of the annual Azalea Festival. We walked around and looked at the paintings, drawings and photographs that comprised the Art Fair. We than checked out the Craft booths. Across the street was a Quilt show, so we checked that out. Then we headed over to the VFW Hall for the Fiber Festival.
Inside the VFW Hall were weavers, spinners and dyers. Not a large space, but a lot of beautiful things. I met a spinner, by the name of Cherie Torkko-Barnes. I bought 3 skeins of yarn from her - 2 hand dyed dishcloth cotton and 1 lace weight tencel. I finished the dishclothes on 5/29/07:
This is the lace weight, I am calling it "Kelp, Mussels & Sky", or simply "Brookings":
I spent $23 - that's it. I've already warned Kevin he'll be holding the lace weight while I wind it, because I know it will fall off my swift! As far as souvenirs go for the weekend, besides this I bought a charm, a book, a sticker for the car and some taffy. I was a good girl.
is working on a bridge 10 miles north of We headed home Monday and wanted to see if taking the 5 would save us any time. Nope. No way. IT IS SO BORING. At least after Mt. Shasta. Nothing but flat, boring farmland. Just like the stretch of the 5 we take to So Cal, there is a great threat of road hypnosis. Besides, CalTransRedding. We hit the backup to this bridge 18 miles north of Redding. It took an hour and 10 minutes to get to the bridge. One lane - each way. The CHP warning said to expect a 5 to 30 minute delay, but insure you had water, snacks and a full tank. Right, 5 to 30 minutes. So, now we know, we take the 101.
It was an enjoyable weekend. I'm looking forward to going there again. I would like to take some hikes in the National Parks in the area. Take some pictures of the elk, which we did see, including a bull elk with a decent rack. I might even try my hand at fishing again. There are also places like Eureka and Ferndale that have beautiful Victorians. I'm just excited about all the different things we can see, do and learn about in the years to come. Besides, there are stash enhancements opportunities yet to explore!