Magnets are my current favorite souvenirs. They are inexpensive, they have a task besides being a memory, and they don’t take up a lot of space. Here are the three that I bought on this trip.

I’ve been collecting pressed pennies since 1985. My first one was from the Oregon Coast. Here are four from this trip.

You can see that we had older pennies (pre-1986) for the Ferndale and Face Rock pressings, but had to use newer ones for the Sky Trail.

I should start keeping a stash of older pennies just for this purpose and I should also probably add “pennies” to my packing list.

Trees of Mystery Does not Disappoint!

On our way back home, we made time for the Trees of Mystery, which was an excellent tourist stop.

From the parking lot, you can see Paul Bunyan and Babe. Unlike the Paul Bunyan that lives up the street from me, this Paul Bunyan talks! You can even hear This American Life‘s Ira Glass talk to Paul in this episode.

Here’s some info:

There was a huge gift shop (befitting any tourist trap worth its salt) and some chairs outside for resting.

And after we stop for a photo, we set off along the path!

I loved the signage in this place. It’s also a very popular attraction and has been for years, so it’s a well-oiled machine. The paths are nicely graveled and wide, the destination was clear, the things to see are fun.

Some of the signs could have used a bit more attention in the apostrophe realm.

These are signs commemorating weddings.

A lot of them recognized Mr & Mrs [husband’s first name] [husband’s last name]. Good job making the women disappear!

We made sure to take the Skytrail. Here’s half of a double picture in our gondola.

The Skytrail let us see the trees from the air, and get some good pictures when the cars stopped.

It was a long way down.

And here we are at the top.

Which provided great views, plus binoculars to better see them with.

We explored a bit and then headed back down.

Self portrait from inside the gondola.

A funny sign. Make your reservation now for 2620!

The path to the exit had redwood sculptures.

I like this one quite a bit.

Matt stopped for a picture with a statue.

Should you visit the California Redwoods, do make time for the Trees of Mysery.

With that, our last stop, we headed north. What a great trip!

Sara & Shawn in Northern California!

We had planned to visit northern California before Sara got a job at Humboldt State University, but it was a happy happenstance that she did, because we got to meet up.

We first visited McKinleyville, where Sara and Shawn are living temporarily while they get settled. It is a house full of boxes at this point because the moving company absconded with their stuff for many weeks before finally delivering it.

After picking up Shawn, we met up with Sara in Arcadia, had dinner and walked to campus so we could see her new working environment including her office.

Sara told us that HSU, Humboldt’s initials are sometimes translated as, “hills, stairs and umbrellas.” While we had clear skies, we did climb a lot of stairs on those hills while walking around.

Including all the stairs to get to this building, the oldest on campus.

It was great to catch up with Sara and Shawn!

A walk on the beach.

We visited Redwood Park, but did not stay. However, in our brief time there, we marveled at the tableaus carved into trees. Here is one we took a picture of.

The fog was still hanging out as we got to the beach.

The purpose of this photo was to mark where we left our shoes, in case we couldn’t find them on our way back.

The tide was coming in, but there was still some good low-tide stuff.

So much fog!

It was windy, and this crow is looking ruffled.

By the time we made it to one end of this section of beach, the sun had appeared.

But the other end of the beach still had some clouds.

Sunny self portrait.

Driftwood shelter

We recovered our shoes without needing the photo. And then we needed to sit down to wipe the sand off.

There were a lot of these types of flowers in bloom. I liked their color and their upright nature.

I’m always a fan of a weathered beach house. Especially ones with round windows.

Arcadia’s Charms

Post-beach walk, we headed into Arcadia’s downtown area. First we stopped for a cupcake.

Downtown is bustling and includes enough bookstores that I could take a picture of two at once. The one on the left, (Northtown Books) plus the light blue building with the red awnings in the middle of the picture. (Tin Can Mailman)

I hung out in the square while Matt job spotted.

Then we took a walk and found a head in a hole.

We used Google Maps for directions on this trip and every time we entered our hotel address in Eureka, Maps always first suggested the same address, but in Arcadia. So we went to find it. It turned out to not actually exist, so I’m not sure what Google Maps was thinking. The closest thing to it was this barber shop.

And then it was time for the Finnish Country Spas and Tubs which was a thing Sara had alerted us about and which I was looking forward to.

Here’s the front entrance. Inside is a small coffee shop.

Through the back door of the coffee shop is this lovely oasis which leads to little cabins with hot tubs or saunas.

Here was our changing room and tub.

The design is very efficient. At your appointment time, you change in the changing room, then soak. When you are done, you go into a different changing room which allows you to change while the tub is being cleaned and reset for the next guest.

It was very relaxing and if I lived in Arcadia, I would probably make time for this spa often.

Escape Eureka and Other Eureka Downtown Things

It turns out Eureka has an escape room and you can go there at nine in the morning. We did so!

The owner said that for the early morning slots, he mostly got tourists doing one last thing before they got out of town.

It was just the two of us, which was nice, as doing escape rooms with strangers is awkward. We escaped, and I enjoyed the variety of puzzles. The clues given came at just the right time.

We also happened upon the Wooden Sculpture Garden of Romano Gabriel, which is kept safe inside in a building downtown.

There was a lot to look at.

And I got my fortune told!

Dispatch from six months later: I do not believe I have yet received a letter that has changed the course of my life. Also, I think I’m hardwired already to avoid the flatterers. And I do wonder if I had played again, as the fortune teller commands me to do, would the next fortune have contradicted this one?

An early morning walk around Eureka

One of my favorite things to do when on vacation is to have a walk around the town. Here’s what I saw in Eureka.

I was interested in this bricked off area in front of this house. It would be kind of front-porch-like, if it had any furniture.

The Carson House is a gem. You can read about it in the picture of the plaque below.

It’s too bad this Map of the Movies didn’t turn up in our pre-trip research. Then again, we didn’t realize we were staying in Eureka.

I checked around to see if we could watch this 100-year-old film and the answer is no. In fact, it was thought to be lost until 2010, when Russia donated 10 silent films to the Library of Congress. Cool!

And there she is! The Carson Mansion, now home to the Ingomar Club. You can see it by googling Eureka California, or just go to Eureka and see it in person. Though only from the street. The Ingomar Club is a private club.

I looked for information about this private club and there wasn’t much. Here is a link to a 1995 newspaper story in which the articles lists a $3,500 initiation fee and $130/month dues (which includes $50 worth of food). The club at the time was males only and required formal wear.

The view from this side shows some additions, cleverly hidden from the front view.

A detail of the house.

Leaving the Carson House, here is another mural, this one giving us a view of the house it blocks.

I enjoyed the name of this shop.

Los Bagels was my favorite Eureka find. Their bagels and cream cheese were delicious!

Here’s a handy Eureka plaque.

Having purchased bagels and cream cheese for our breakfast, I headed back to the room.

Humboldt County Fair!

Advantage to staying in Eureka instead of Crescent City? The Humbolt County Fair coincided with our visit. The Del Norte County Fair was the previous weekend.

To the fair we went!

After our hike and drive through the Avenue of the Giants, we started with some fair food. Matt got some Pad Thai and I got a street hot dog which I had to eat quickly because the stuff on it was making the bun get soggy, but it was quite delicious!

I love a good “any other vegetable” category

Waiting for the start of the Ukel Aliens concert.

The Ukel Aliens turned out to be rad. Someday I’m going to have enough time to be in a community band that plays and sings songs from my younger years.

Look at how much fun they are having! They sounded great too. The woman on the right is Spanky McFarlane who sang, among other things “Sunday Will Never be the Same” with Spanky and Our Gang. She was a guest singer.

Having enjoyed the Ukle Aliens, we headed into the 4-H barn to watch a bit of the pig judging. I love their 4-H uniforms.

This girl eventually sensed I was taking photos.

A picture of a cow is required for all fair visits with livestock shows. I love how pretty the animals look at the fair. And I know they do not look like that on a day-to-day basis.

Into the handmade goods, I found this quilt, which should probably be the eighth wonder of the world.

I’m quite curious as to how it’s maker came by all the crown royal bags. Just the 15 in the bottom row would be more than a lifetime’s consumption of the blended whisky for me. I stand in awe of this quilt.

Some good race car driving.

Then we discovered the Willamette Pie company, which is from our neck of the woods, but which we could not resist.

I got Marionberry pie a la mode, and Matt got an ice cream sandwich. I would have liked smaller portions. However, both items were delicious!

We attended a performance of Special Head. His website says that Special Head “is an Entertainer, specializing in Magic, Levitation, Music, and Performance art. ” (I question the capitalization in that sentence.)

We didn’t know who Special Head (the guy on the right) was, but free shows are fun. Partway through his act an “audience member” started heckling Special Head and eventually joined him on stage.

And eventually showed off his cowboy skills.

Special Head’s act was hampered by a light rain. A few tricks didn’t work because of it, but both performers played off the hitches in their routine as best they could, which made the comedy even funnier.

Although at one point, Special Head said to the cowboy guy, well, at least your mother thinks you are doing well.” And by “your mother” he meant me. Which was not exactly how I was picturing our age demographic breakdown.

Special Head eventually convinces the cowboy to help out with the routine and we get the head in a box.

Plus, this full-on levitation.

Because we arrived early to the Uke Aliens show, we had time to people watch. The girl on the left in the picture above, and her brother were talking with the cowboy about tricks. They both demonstrated to him that they new how to make a pebble disappear from their hand by tossing it behind them.

“Well, there’s a little more nuance than that, but that’s essentially it,” he told them.

Matt and I debated if the kids were also audience plants, or just people who glommed onto the show. I was on the glomming side, Matt was on the plant side.

Special Head and his cowboy friend were a great part of the Humboldt County Fair.

Hiking the Elk River Trail

I love starting a hike when we are the only car in the parking lot.

Our map. We didn’t make it terribly far on this trail. There was so much to do today!

Red Alders on the trail.

This sign is the reason I know the above are red alders. I really appreciated the signage on this trail.

Here’s a picture of an interpretive sign with a banana slug adding something extra to observe.

No salmon spawning today.

Matt on the trail.

Investigating in a big tree.

Disappearing into a big tree.

Climbing up into a big tree.

While my anemic lens cover retraction is mostly annoying, I kind of like how it all lined up here for this photo. (Also, am I even looking at the screen before I take the picture anymore? I really need to concentrate on taking a good photo.)

Our turnaround point.

This trail winds through a ghost town. This sign leads you off the trail to the site of the caretaker’s cottage. There’s a foundation, and the yew trees, but not much else.

I love this photo!

What a great hike! I’m glad there was a general hue and cry in the past and this site was preserved.