I woke up about 6:15 AM and walked over to the coffeehouse that we scouted out last night. Old Time Coffee and Chocolates on F street. It wasn’t open yet so I went off for a walk on docks. The fog was thick in Humboldt Bay so I sat down on a bench for a brief ten minute meditation.
Inside the wood paneled coffeehouse I sat down with a mug of Humboldt Bay coffee and began to write. There are some odd people here in Eureka. Even odd for Northern Californa. My favorite was the tall seventy-year-old man with the face of a scarred pirate. He was wearing jeans underneath his jean shorts and stumbled in with a cane, a mini-backpack, and a look of suspicion at everyone around him. After he got his coffee, he shuffled outside, and read the newspaper with the aid of a comically large magnifying glass. Homeless or drunk sailor?
When my dad woke up, we went over to Los Bagels for breakfast. I’ve never been to a day of the dead themed bagel place, but my guess is never have you. I ordered at lemon La Croix and sesame bagel with cream cheese, lox, guacamole, and cucumbers. My dad had the same order but with coffee. Most of the stores were still closed, including the independent bookstore with a Zoltar machine that I desperately wanted to tell my fortune.
We shopped at the local North Coast Co-Op for camp food. Over the past month I’ve been eating about 80% vegetarian due to my new favorite YouTube channel, Pick Up Limes. A Canadian girl living in the Netherlands makes videos about meal prep and minimalism which are two of my favorite topics. Fine, she’s cute also. What do you want from me? It’s no surprise that a cute girl can inspire me to make myself better.
We bought organic fruits and vegetables, seed bread, eggs, yogurt, wine from Mendocino, and of course, since we’re in Northern California, some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery (Red Hawk).
The free California tour guide magazine I ordered in the mail suggested that we stop in to the craft chocolate store, Dick Taylor’s Chocolates. Twist my arm.
Inside the small boutique a friendly girl with glasses walked us through the different types of chocolate that they sold and had us try a few samples. They had pure chocolate with two ingredients: cocoa and sugar, and chocolate with additions (cacao nibs, brown butter etc.) It was fascinating to taste the nuances of flavor by region on the pure chocolate bars. My dad ended up getting one from Belize and I got one with Fleur De Sel added to it. The girl helping us, Meredith, was from Anaheim (Southern California) and moved up to Eureka when her husband got a job. It’s always fun to find people’s backstory. “How did you end up here?” is always a more fun question to ask at a party instead of “What do you do?”. Tony Robinns always says, “if you ask better questions, you’ll get better answers.”
This includes asking yourself quality questions. Don’t ask, “What’s my passion? What are my values?” Instead ask, “What are the things I’ve done in my life that have made me ‘lose time’ and become the most alive? What do I spend the most time doing and thinking about?”
In case you have figured this out already, food is one of my core values. I put this under the umbrella of health (because I also include fitness). I’ve been thinking a lot about core values the past year since I read a book by Navy Seal Eric Greitens, Resilience: Hard Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life.
Once you establish your five core values, you should do things in life that support those five values because if you’re not, then you’re not living your truth. And when you’re not living your truth, you’re fundamentally not in harmony and you don’t come across as genuine to other people. Note to self: Quit full-time job and focus on part-time job (firefighter paramedic) and side business (writer).
The important thing about setting your values is that they have to be your values. Not values you think sound good to other people or your family (because then you’re living for other people). So let’s say that one of your core values is physical fitness. Well, if you’re overweight, then people know that you’re lying, or even worse, if it really is a value and you’re not living it, then you’re lying to yourself.
If you want to figure out what your core values are, sit down in a quiet space, throw your phone in the ocean, and with pen and paper ask yourself a few questions:
· What are the things I spend the most time doing?
· What do I enjoy doing?
· On a Saturday afternoon, if I had a few hours of free time what would I most likely be doing?
Got it? Now start integrating those into your life more often. Need more time in the day? That’s a completely solvable time-management problem. Example: I’m pretty sure one of your core values isn’t staring at Snapchat for 45 minutes a day in 2-minute increments. That adds zero to your life except as a temporary escape (like heroin). Stop consuming and start creating.
That being said your core values will change over time. When I was 7, my core value was cereal and when I was 17, my core value was Magic The Gathering. No wonder girls didn’t talk to me in high school.
We still had another two hours north to drive to our campsite in the Jedidiah State Park portion of the Redwoods. I didn’t realize that the redwoods are actually both a National Park and a State Park. That sounds like a jurisdictional nightmare but as long as there’s federal and state funding for people to enjoy a place like this then I’m all for it.
We moseyed up the 101 North pulling over for stops like the High Bluff Overlook and the roadside attraction called the Tree of Mystery which has a sky gondola and a giant statue of Paul Bunyon and Babe the Ox outside. I love these weird road attractions dotted across US highways. They’re like Fast and the Furious movies, super cheesy but you end up putting money down to go see them.
One highlight was at the appropriately named, Elk Meadow, where there were wild elk grazing near the roadside. We pulled over with the ten other cars and took photos and watched them lazily eat grass as they stared us like we were morons. To be fair, they’re probably right.
When we got to Crescent City, we bought firewood and then drove in to the park to find our campsite. Already hungry, we set up our tent and started dinner.
· Mendocino wine
· Water crackers with cracked black pepper
· Cowgirl Creamery cheese (Red Hawk)
· Samuel Smith’s Organic Pale Ale (UK)
· Baby carrots and hummus
· Turkey burgers (with garlic powder, black pepper) on seed bread with tomatoes, cucumbers, mixed greens, and whole grain mustard.
· Dick Taylor’s craft chocolate
Now, that’s what I call California Camping.
After dinner we walked over to the Smith River to watch the water go by. Someone made a totem pole out of stacked rocks by the shore, so we did what boys do when they go camping. We threw rocks at rocks trying to knock it over.
I made a conscious effort to not look at the time since the afternoon, because I didn’t want to be regulated by it. We ate when we were hungry and slept when we were tired. I spent the evening re-reading the most influential book of this year for me, You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero, by the campfire while my dad tinkered with his new camping flashlights and toys.
Before bed, we had another coffee mug of wine and looked at a few maps of the region for the next day.