Well, the trip to visit my brother went very well. I took my great-nephew, my daughter Camie and her friend Alfie, and we spent two fun-filled days running around McKinleyville, Arcata, and Ferndale.
The drive up was very easy, if long. Highway 101 is always a nice drive, along the Coast Mountains, into the Redwoods, then out along the Eel River into Eureka and the Humboldt Bay area. I took the girls to Clam Beach the first night, where they played in the surf as we watched the sun set.
The next day I took the girls into Arcata to do some shopping. Arcata is a really cute town, but it's hippy-ville USA. Homeless "travelers" hang out in The Plaza, which is a well-known park in the center of town surrounded by the town's shopping district. They play music, dance and smoke dope, mostly. Most of them are not the typical homeless types we see here in Sacramento: strung out druggies or alcoholics or mental cases.
Most of the "travelers" appear to be able bodied young people, 20's and 30's, many of them college students at Humboldt State, who just choose not to work for a living. According to the shop owners I talked to, they panhandle and steal stuff as a way to make do. The town government doesn't seem to want to discourage the "travelers" because they represent a cultural icon that Arcata and Humboldt County is know for: freedom of expression, freedom of choice, freedom to do what you want, drugs included. Interesting stuff, folks.
The shops were very cute, though. Camie and Alfie had a grand time trying on various types of clothing, from hippy stuff and retro 60's wear, to jeans and jackets and dresses.
In the afternoon we went to Ferndale, where the movies "The Majestic" and "Outbreak" were shot. Again, another very cute small town full of various shops. We tromped around a beautiful Catholic cemetery while we were in town, and got some neat photos.
Before we left on Thursday, we went out to the North Jetty in Eureka and walked out to the end of the pier, which juts about 1/2 mile out into the ocean. The pounding surf, even on a quite day, is quite awesome.
We came home over Highway 299: 150 miles or so, through the Trinity Alps, down into the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, into Redding. From there I-5 provided a straight shot into Sacramento. Highway 299 passes through a little town called Weaverville, which is the home town of a good friend of mine. It was all frontier looking, and quite touristy. I think I'll nee to back there sometime.
I've posted a number of photos from the trip over on the photoblog.
Anyway, it's nice to be back. Attending church today was a big spiritual lift I needed. It felt so good to worship with my friends.
I still have many days left on my vacation. Hmmm what to do, what to do.