Friday, 26 August 2016

Famous potatoes on the Pacific Coast Highway.

The breakfast set up in our Newport digs was unorthodox to say the least. Once you'd negotiated the strange men in their PJs swigging from flasks in the morning sun you could take a tray back to your room from reception. Imagine eating in an Avis concession.

I took orange juice, cereal, and a doughnut. As I opened my door a spider ran in and whilst attempting to shoo the eight legged critter I somehow managed to give my Kellogs an extra layer of OJ. Yummy.

Things picked up after our drive to the Bayfront. The art deco merged with the wild west. A small, annoying, boy shouted a mildly aggressive hello to me. I returned in kind and he volleyed back with 'did you say Allah?'. Oh dear.

The sea lions were making even more noise. We wandered down to take a look. There were about 100 of them. Enormous beasts. Sleeping and swimming they looked passive enough. Any other action seemed pretty aggressive. A local angler claimed all the fish he caught were quartered by the sea lions by the time he reeled them in. They even gobbled his shrimp bait. Apparently they're all male. The females stay in California while the men and boys make an epic trip up the coast to Oregon for a severely extended vacation. Weirdos.

So it was time to hit the road. Pedal to the metal for an epic drive. Road trip. All of that.

Creeks were counted in their hundreds. Coffee and cookies fuelled us. Vast wrought iron bridges offered us our own manifest destiny. The sublime vistas of the Pacific coastline were sights to behold for the rest of one's life.

Stopping to eat at a diner my jalapeƱo poppers had bacon in. I nearly gagged (which surprised me as I'm quite critical of precious veggies) but Simon polished them off.

We got stuck behind an automobile with Idaho plates. It bore the legend 'FAMOUS POTATOES'. This gave us, literally, hours of highway fun. We talk shit at the best of times but this poor old Idaho guy became our leitmotiv. You can't just eat potatoes. You can drink them, marry them, ride them in a rodeo, live inside them etc; They can fly, swim, talk and each individual spud has its own distinct personality.

Exit Beaver State and cross the state line to California. Redwoods galore but more on them later. An elk sighting curtailed the potato pondering partially. We drove so fast down a hill our ears popped and a crow flew straight into our Jeep. Bad news for Captain Corvid.

Eureka in Northern Cali was our home for the night. Wide avenues and low rise art deco buildings with peeling paint dominated. The Eureka Inn looked like the Overlook from The Shining. An historic inn renovated. But only a bit.

The clerk was the most incompetent, confused, over worked person  we'd met so far but eventually we settled in for drinks at the Palm Lounge.

A brief chat with a charming couple up from Phoenix and it was time for comedy karaoke. We didn't indulge but the wannabe jokers riffed on Michael Jackson, sex, massage, Foghat (!), and prison rape. They weren't great but they got a few laughs.

We needed to eat though and almost everywhere was closed. We settled for a branch of Denny's. Moon Over My Hammy was the silliest thing on the menu but I took a pretty tasty veggie burger and French fries.

Knackered again it was another early night. I watched Friends on my hotel TV. I wouldn't normally watch it on C4 at home but vacations do strange things to you and as the Arizonans had said earlier "What happens in Eureka, stays in Eureka".

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