Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Don't go to Northern California...
...it's skeezy and full of weirdos.
Now, on with the post.
We continued down the Redwood highway on Thursday and came to a beach. The tide was rough, wave after wave crashing on the rocks that lined the shore. It was cold and drizzly, and it was the perfect setting to take care of some business I've been meaning to attend to, but had yet to find the right setting. This next series is for you Dave.
Yes, we brought that can of Beast from Michigan. And it was delicious.
As we made our way through the magnificent Redwood Forest we happened upon this little tourist stop called "Trees of Mystery," however I'm confused as to what the mystery is. You can pay 17 dollars a piece to ride a gondola through the trees. Or you can take some pictures of their huge Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues and leave for free.
Soon the weather cleared and we stopped for a nice lunch of salami sandwiches on the beach.
While the Redwood Forests are part of the national park system, all the camp sites there are run by the State of California. Now, we all now California is hard up for cash, but 35 bucks a night is a rip off, so we settled for a short hike through the woods and continued down the road to look for cheaper accommodations.
You feel tiny standing among these huge trees.
We eventually came to Eureka and stopped for a couple beers at Lost Coast Brewery while we charged our computers and looked for cheaper camping. Turns out Humboldt county operates several campgrounds for fairly cheap, one of which is located in Samoa on an island directly across from Eureka.
The Somoa Boat Ramp allows you to camp around the edge of their huge parking lot. There're fire pits, bathrooms, pay showers, and there's ample access to drinking water, however, you still kind of feel as though you're camping on the edge of a parking lot.
That night as the fire wound down we were visited by one of the Samoa natives, a sly little fox named Frederick. When the group of teenagers who had barbecued next to us left for the evening he crept out of the bushes to see if they left anything behind. No matter how many times we caught him sneaking up to their fire pit he still came back for more. Little did we know that Frederick would be the most normal acquaintance we'd make at this little campground. And according to a sign near the bathrooms, it's likely he had rabies.
The next morning as we drank coffee by the picnic table a fight erupted at the tent a few sites down from us. The couple that stayed there had a large tent and no apparent vehicle. "Get the F*** out of here, man," the guy yelled from inside his tent. "I don't have your f***ing boots!"
The gentleman who was being yelled at stepped away from the tent and made his way towards his vehicle as the man in the tent's "old lady" (his words) began banging a large stick on the ground, also yelling for the offender to "get the F*** out of here."
"You don't come in my home and threaten me, man," the guy who was in the tent yelled again.
The offending gentleman's female companion returned from the site where she had slept the night before and hopped in their truck. A few more minutes of screaming, f-bombs, and denial of boot possession and the truck sped off.
"You don't even have his boots."
"They weren't even his boots. They were his girlfriend's, she gave them to me," he said.
"And you don't even have them anymore."
"I'm sorry you had to hear that, man." the guy yelled from his site over to where we we're sitting.
The campground host came out in her flower-print nightgown and threatened to call the sheriff. The couple said that was fine, they were about to do the same thing.
"You don't come in my house and threaten me, man. I was about to stab that M-F-er."
It was a fairly pretty morning, otherwise. The sky opened up and it was warm. Not a rain cloud in sight.
At the Samoa boat ramp you can fish without a license as long as you are on a man-made structure, so I readied my rod and headed out to cast the line a few times.
After about a half hour with no luck a blue pickup pulled up to where I was fishing and asked if I'd had any luck. He warned me of the remnants of an old dock not far from shore and said he'd lost a lot of good lures there before. I thanked him and he pulled away to park further down the parking lot.
After a minute he yelled to me that the best spot was over there, near where he was. Seeing as I couldn't do any worse (or so i thought) I decided to take his advice and grabbed my stuff and walked over there.
We got to talking about fishing and where he'd come from. Turns out he was originally from Colorado, he used to live on a reservation. He was 100 percent Native American, as was his son, who sat in the truck.
Then he got to telling me about how he was fleeing from the reservation because they were actually an evil cult. He also told me, in great detail, about how he had to beat up some drug dealer the other night, a story he kept returning to as he rambled on about other crazy stuff.
I picked up my rod and tackle box and tried to look as though I really had some place else to be right then, but there was no pause in his storytelling for me to make a clean break.
And then, just when I thought it couldn't get any crazier, he started talking about Bigfoot. I'm not kidding. Just when I thought, "Wow, this guy's really off the deep end," he pulls out a mythical creature. Apparently there was another race of beings here before his ancestors arrived in North America. They had contact with this race, of which Bigfoot is a member, and they apparently lived together for a brief time, and they probably both had contact with the aliens. Oh yeah, he's seen aliens too. In fact, his tribe has connections with otherworldly beings. "I've seen sh** I can't explain." He went on to say, " I've seen a whole valley light up out of no where and then go dark again. I've seen lights in the sky."
Finally there was a pause and I excused myself, I needed to go make lunch, I said. Thanking him for the tips on the fishing I returned to our campsite hoping he wouldn't follow me. Needless to say that ended my fishing for the day.
We made pizza pockets in our hobo oven and awaited nightfall.
We met several more of our neighbors that night, not as crazy as our previous encounters, but a little "off" to say the least.
We left early the next morning, driving back through Eureka.
We made our way to a country road called 211 which ran from the Redwood Highway to the coast. A narrow, winding road with one-lane bridges that wound its way up and down steep wooded mountains. Finally we emerged near the coast where the surroundings opened up into rocky pastures the led right down to the coast.
Despite the exquisite scenery, this cow decided he didn't like being cooped up any more.
Apparently cows don't like black licorice.
We finally arrived at Punta Gorda, a public campground we found on our map, it was a little rainy but we frolicked on the beach anyways.
However, even though it was cheap, it was literally in the middle of nowhere, and with a few shady characters hanging around we decided to head back to the expressway and continue south.
We didn't realize how difficult it would be to find lodging and we ended up starting our trip down Highway 1, the Shoreline Highway, in the dark.
Eventually we made it to a road side park and slept till sunrise. We then packed up and headed to Fort Bragg for breakfast. There we found a (relatively) cheap RV park right on the coast and decided to spend the night.
While the redwoods are truly a sight to see, we can both say with certainty that we will never return to Northern California. The coast towns look pretty from a distance, but they are quite rundown, and there are a lot of belligerent transients roaming the streets. I don't mean to lump everyone here in the same lot, I'm sure there are very nice people here, and it really is quite stunning country. But these people are crazy.