I have to pee.
That’s Universal Camping Law #1: At some point in the night, you’re going to have to crawl out of your warm sleeping bag, put on your shoes, unzip the tent and go into the cold outside to pee.
When I was finished, I remembered looking up at how tall the trees were in the night sky.
I woke up around 630AM, because my body likes early, and made a pot of cowboy coffee (grounds included!) on the camp stove. When the coffee was done I poured a cup and started to write.
At some point my Dad woke up like a bear emerging from hibernation and then brushed his teeth and poured himself a cup of coffee at the picnic table.
A few minutes later he started laughing.
ME: “What’s up?”
DAD: “I’m reading about Eureka in this Coastal California book.”
ME: “What does it say?”
DAD: [Reading out loud] “Eureka is known for it’s elaborate Victorian (homes)…a bit too grimy for it’s beautiful setting, Eureka wears smudges on it’s potentially pretty face…Downtown has a few interesting old business buildings…but unfortunately it’s not safe after dark.”
Damn, that’s funny. They should change the slogan to “Eureka: A Potentially Pretty Face”.
As far as the safety issue, I’ve traveled to a good portion of the world, mostly solo, and I’ve never felt like I was in danger (except this one time in Essaouira, Morocco but that’s a story for another time).
People always tell me that they want to travel, but they can’t because of money or that “it’s too dangerous.” That’s a fear based statement, and generally speaking, you shouldn't make decisions based on fear. People travel the world all of the time and most of them come back in one piece without issue. Most of the time when I encounter quirky towns like Eureka or dirty motels like the Townhouse Motel, I just laugh and shrug it off because it’s all part of the beauty of travel. Without a Eureka, I would never appreciate a Buenos Aires. Without a Townhouse Motel, I would never appreciate a W Hotel New Orleans. Most of the time though, if you’re being honest with yourself, when you say “it’s too dangerous”, the underlying truth is that you’re saying, “I’m too afraid to go outside of my comfort zone”. But if “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”, then get the fuck out there and grow. Put a few more kilos on for that back squat! Go talk to that cute girl at the coffeeshop! Backpack to Madagascar! Make yourself uncomfortable and grow!
If you’re looking for travel inspiration, check out 27 year old Cassie De Pecol who was the first women on record to travel every country in the world, and she did it without a travel partner.
After a camp breakfast of sunny side up eggs, seed bread, and a Noosa yogurt (lemon FTW), we pulled out of our campsite to head in to Crescent City to see the lighthouse and buy some supplies.
A few minutes in to town my Dad looked out the window and said, “I’m pretty sure I was a sailor in my last life and I died drowning.” Only 11:00AM and Dad already came up with the sentence of the day.
At Point St. George there was an old house but no traditional lighthouse. We walked down a path through tall waving golden grass towards the shore where we encountered a valley where the wind was whipping through off the mighty Pacific.
Then we went to Wal-Mart. When I’m on road trips, I love going to “The Wal”. It’s just the oddest collection of products and human beings that one can find in a bargain warehouse. We were on the hunt for water and DEET because I forgot that to mosquitos, my bald head tastes like medium rare steak frites with a béarnaise. The last time I was in a Wal-Mart was New Year’s Day 2017 in Idaho Falls on a road trip up to Utah and Wyoming because as you can tell, I know how to party.
The second lighthouse was in Battery Park, but unfortunately because the tide was in, we couldn’t get to the island. Instead, we listened to the disco station in Del Norte County and rocked out to while looking at the sea stacks in the ocean reminiscent of La Push, Washington.
We stopped at a Safeway and my dad went over to get a bottle of wine and I walked to the neighboring McDonald’s to steal wifi. I was in there for about 30 minutes photo editing and looking at all of the town characters loitering around the restaurant. People in these coastal Northern towns are just odd ducks.
When I got back to the truck, my dad was in there reading a magazine. He said a hobo wandered up to the window and asked him for money and my dad said no. The hobo then wandered in to the market and came back drinking something from a paper bag and said, “I got some anyway. Fuck you.” My dad started laughing as he mimicked him. I told him he should have gave him money because that was probably the mayor.
We did a brief hike through the Simpson Reed Grove Trail to see a cluster of Redwood trees. Somewhere in the Redwoods they filmed Star Wars, so everything around us looked like the forest moon of Endor. There was a fallen goliath tree that had since been carved into by every couple with a knife. What made it unique though, was that the base had probably a twenty feet diameter. DIAMETER! (How's that for girth you size queen!?)
We saw a few people on the trail, but our favorite was a teenage boy walking his dog. He had on stained brown overalls and dirty long blonde hair covering his face like he just walked off the set of The Hills Have Eyes. We said hello as we passed and he muttered something to us in his methed-out mountain language. Dad and I then talked about our favorite horror movies as we walked back to the truck.
After dinner we walked down to the Smith River again to throw rocks at other rocks. My dad and I played best two out of three, trying to hit a boulder while I made fun of him for watching a documentary on catapults. Actually, retired life sounds pretty sweet.
When the campfire burned out, we retired to the tent and went to sleep. Tomorrow we would be heading south to a civilized county where they enjoyed the modern luxuries of indoor plumbing and full sets of teeth.