Saturday, 27 August 2016

Brilliant Trees.

The Eureka Inn provided a very sparse breakfast indeed. A visitor from Vermont was distinctly unimpressed. Her father's hotel always provides juicy watermelons for all guests.

A quick trip to an area pharmacy saw my dwindling supply of toiletries replenished and, as I waited for Simon to rise, I took a look around the faded glamour of the Inn.

Painted portraits of historic visitors loomed large in the lobby. Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Walt Disney, Ladybird Johnson, Ringo Starr, Merle Haggard, Shirley Temple and presidents Ford, Reagan, and Hoover.

Before we left town there was one last chance to look at the architecture and a brief stroll round the Picky Picky Picky Store where massed ranks of Carhartt jeans retailed at $30 a pop. There was plenty choice of braces and cowboy boots too.

We were soon back on the 101 heading south. Thousands of redwoods growing out of the mountains and rocks.

On the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park they reached their zenith. Twice as wide as cars and up to 360ft tall, some as old as dinosaurs, they created a canopy so dense that, in places, headlights were requested. Standing beneath them was a very relaxing yet humbling experience.

We didn't see Bigfoot but Pepperwood (population:50), situated in a break from the big trees, seemed like the sort of 'town' he'd enjoy.

At the south fork of the Eel river we paused a while. The tree cover had given the illusion of a mild day but you could feel the heat all right here. It was in the 90s. The Eel river was a waterway we crossed countless times as logging lorries plied their trade and held up the traffic.

We stopped for a quesadilla'n'Coke at Lalo's Mexican fast food joint in Ukiap before motoring down through wine country to San Francisco.

When I was a kid my dad used to dream of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. He's since achieved this but he'd passed this dream down to me and as it came into view for the first time, shrouded in mist and with the SF & Oakland skylines over the bay, it was not to disappoint.

We checked into the Clift. A swanky joint between Downtown and the Tenderloin. Way out of my usual price range but I'll try not to worry about that until I get home.

Big chairs festooned the lobby and, in the cavernous wood panelled bar, I took my complimentary drink. I rarely touch spirits these days but it felt apt to have one. I opted for an East Tonic, a fancy gin'n'tonic, that would've set me back $16 otherwise.

We had a quick Trumer Pils in the Warwick and then a couple more in the Ha-Ra. A much more down to earth experience. Punters got animated by the Giants v Dodgers game on the TV and they blasted out punk and indie tunes. A Place To Bury Strangers even cropped up.

It was gone 2am when I finally hit the hay. Our evening had started and finished late and it looked like tomorrow morning would tell the same story. Hopefully it'd also see another dream come true.

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