Shout it out….Eureka!
There was a point when Brendon was 2-3yrs old, I was managing a new baby and a desperately caged mini doxie and we spent many hours watching Nick Jr. His favorite show during that time was Backyardigans. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s very entertaining for adults with witty remarks and catchy tunes. It’s about four, sometimes five, friends who have conjoined backyards and travel on elaborate adventures in their imagination. As you might have guessed, I have seen many of the episodes repeatedly and we also have a CD permanently stored in our Honda memory. Everytime I hear the word, Eureka, I am immediately singing the song from an episode with the same name where they are prospectors. Here’s a link to the video, the song is at 20:00.
Now who doesn’t love a nice long back story? This was all an intro to our trip to Eureka, on the North coast of California. (it is time to shout…Eureka, Eureka!) We were due for a road trip and what better way to escape the triple digit valley than the coast where the average high was a refreshing 67 degrees.
It’s early, we’re in the car. Now you want us to smile?
Akin to other Pacific Coastal towns, I’m looking at you Seattle, Eureka has an active grunge undercurrent. Can’t say I was expecting that before going and it was a little off putting, since we’d heard stories of beautiful Victorian houses and no mentioned of the town looking a bit on the fringe. Hubby was not too keen on my hotel choice either at first glance, but being a holiday weekend with limited availability and a certain McNulty has to be pretty hard pressed to resort to camping, Best Western *plus* it was!
Day One kicked off with a THREE Hour Car Ride from home to the coast. Endless cheers for no traffic delays and a whole bag of pretzel sticks! I will say the boys were on stellar behavior for the trip, eerily good. Mommy had the most tantrums the first day; partly wishing she was in a room of complete silence and the long overdue escape from the daily grind of life and work finally surfacing.
Being California natives, it’s almost unthinkable neither Vance or I have visited the Redwood Forest before this year, but three hours in the car was probably more than our parents were willing to endure with three children. What an amazing place to visit.
When we arrived on the coast, we headed straight to the Redwood Forest and Lady Bird Johnson’s Grove for a 1.5 mile easy hike through the majestic trees. The forest truly feels like stepping back in time; it’s hard to capture in photos or words just how beautiful and massive they are. Above are some photos from our hike.
At this point our almost 5 year old was DONE! with traveling and desperate for food. We stopped in at Lost Coast Brewery. A very well known establishment, housing half the town while were there (slight exaggeration, only slight), good brews on tap and tasty burgers and grinders. A definite must visit when in Eureka. The day ended pretty early with a visit to the heated pool – the reason I picked the hotel in the first place. Despite no vacancy, we had the spa to ourselves. A fantastic set-up of heated pool, two spas, seating with heat lamps and a fire pit. A real gem of a find. Hubby did retract his earlier statement.
Day Two hubby was able to secure us an extra night! Wooohooo!! There was no way we could face getting on the road so soon again and it made the second day WAY more enjoyable without the threat of checking out. The only thing we knew we wanted to do on our trip was go for a run. After a bit of searching, we settled on a park in the middle of town. We never could’ve guessed there was a Redwood grove in the center. The first mile was pretty painful with an 80lb live load and flat rear tire. But it also was one of those moments with children when you notice they’ve been growing up before your very eyes, yet you see them as so small. We ditched the stroller and ended up running an additional two miles up and down logs and trails, with all four running. Brendon and Hubby continued on for another half mile after John and I headed to the playground. Almost time to sell our good and faithful friend, the double Bob.
Sure is pretty, even with a flat tire.
What is it with boys and walking up logs over ravines? I got about a third of the way up the one on the left and hubby and to come back and get me. The boys were yelling “how can you be so scared?” over and over from the other side. Sometimes I can see them as teenagers and it’s not all good! The log on the right, I did all by myself in a bear crawl. Baby steps…
My little log gnomes.
We stopped in at the local Zoo, adjacent to the park, which was a tidy small zoo. Just the right size and no larger than our boys could endure; their claim to fame is the Red Panda exhibit.
One of the Red Pandas (Left); a Hissing Spider (Right)
Here’s something the Honolulu zoo should add, grooming tools. Man did these goats love to be groomed. John who usually can hardly touch the goats, was all about grooming.
After the zoo, we headed to Clam Beach, right off the highway just North of Arcata. I had no idea how much Vance and the boys missed the beach. Case in point:
Vance stayed in this position for most of our beach time. Those are our children in the distance, you know, near the waves…
They couldn’t believe this is the same Pacific Ocean that surrounds Hawaii.
John, following his “roll, tide, roll” maneuver in the ice cold water, had to wear Vance’s shirt. Thankful once again that I had bags of extra clothing stashed in my car for the boys. You just never know when it will come in handy.
Log climber and Kelp hunter.
We had to talk Brendon out of bringing back this giant kelp. Seriously?! I was laughing so hard watching him run around the beach with it hanging out of his pocket. The boys immensely enjoyed the water, collecting sticks and rocks and the sand. Oh how they have missed the sand.
We tried out a popular pizza spot, Live from New York, followed by ice cream (second visit to this shop for the weekend) at Living the Dream where Vance noted they do not carry chocolate. But they do carry many unique combinations like my personal favorite: Grandpa’s Breakfast – cornflakes and whiskey. Who knew it could taste so good?
Oh and there was this family that came in. I couldn’t help it. I had to take a photo. I have never seen a family so well coordinated in patriotic headwear (this was July 4th weekend).
The first day it was typical coastal overcast weather. The second day it was blue skies. And what did our wondering eyes find down the boardwalk??? A carnival. Oh man. Vance tried to ignore it, but the lure of the carnies was too great. The boys (all three) took a ride on the giant slide and we took a whirl on the Ferris wheel as a family of four. That was just enough to cure their curiosity. Thankfully.
Us on the Ferris Wheel. Brendon told me he was squeezing my jacket very tightly. John was the only one not bothered but the height.
It was a very eventful second day and we were ready to make the trek home again on the 4th. We once again were blessed with well behaved travelers and no traffic delays. A holiday weekend miracle!
This is one of the vista points along Highway 299. I was amazed that it was made out concrete. Looked and felt like wood. Need to remember this for future projects.
And what could make this blog post even longer? One snippet about the actual 4th. The boys have not seen fireworks before. I know, I know. But crowds and large boom sounds are not to the McNulty’s liking. The boys were treated to a trip down Cardenas memory lane. I took them to my dad’s house where fireworks are allowed and we (meaning my dad) blasted fireworks in the near darkness. Why does it get dark so late in Summer. Waahhh. True to memory, my boys had to wait for Papa to feed his chickens. It was so hard for them to wait…I remember the feeling very well. Somethings are worth the experience and the boys were elated. Brendon commented on the ride home that is was the best day EVER!! We also found out that when John gets over tired, he turns into an entirely different person.
The backyard pack + sparklers.
Here is a video snippet of John singing with a sparkler. A mystery guest dancer with some “punks”. I missed the first one where he was dancing because it happened so unexpectedly, but this one is pretty good too. Click the photo for link.
**If our trip had ended after day one, it would’ve been an entirely, not for the better, trip. Another lesson for the future McNulty travels; must do two days to fully relax and recharge.**