I finally sat on a beach - fully rugged up tho

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, July 30, 2010

Today we were better organised and were up and away as soon as we could do it. There were a couple of places that we thought would be good to see on the way to Santa Rosa our next stop. One was the Redwood Forest - we stopped the car and went for a short walk and it was a pleasure to be able to actually get somewhere without having problems with altitude. The trees are massive and some had burnt from the inside so made big caves. My only fear was the bears but I still have not seen one. I did see a woodpecker though and a banana slug that was going to be the Californian mollusc emblem but the governor at the time decided it was too ugly - it is amazing what you can learn from the back of postcards. Unfortunately, I twisted my ankle so now I am having trouble walking due to that and not from being up too high! I am turning into an old crock!!!!!!!
We also stopped at a nice little place called Eureka (see photos) where we managed to get down to the beach. This did not get a good write up in the Lonely Planet and I am beginning to think that spending $50 on it was a dead loss. The sand on the beach at Eureka is black (a bit like South Beach in Fremantle) and was very warm. There was also a dead seal (apparently very common) being guarded by these big gulls - we are not sure exactly what they are - and it stunk. Irene actually put her feet in the water but I was not game as it looked far too cold for me. While queuing for the potty after lunch, I mentioned to a local that I was disappointed with the weather as we could not go swimming. He looked at me as if I was a complete loony and asked why I would want to go in the sea. Apparently the water never gets above 50F (10C) and the locals never swim in it. Why live by the sea if you don't go near it? Also why do so many people holiday on the coast if that is the case? It seems quite strange to me!
All along the coast there are signs warning of tsunamis and information regarding evacuation routes. In Eureka old town there are warnings of earthquakes on most shop doors! Perhaps this is why they don't go to the beach. Naturally there had to be a horse and carriage available for joy rides around the town. At least this horse had a rubber mat to stand on while waiting. Some guy had his dog sit right outside the cafe and then was showing people how well trained it was by saying 'bang' so the dog would play dead. There were lots of smokers outside (so the smoke came into the cafe) and one old bloke was coughing his lungs out which was not very pleasant. The food, however, was delicious.
We had a couple of other stops on the way to Santa Rosa, one being the 'world famous tree house' that was not in any of our guide books. We stopped hoping there would be a loo but they did have some interesting chainsaw carved figures so we had to move on. It was quite hard finding loo stops on this part of the trip - we did find somewhere eventually at another out of the way place and they had the worst toilets so far this trip. Unclean, blocked and totally manual etc so I am really disappointed that my love of US toilets has taken a battering. 
There was a great shop here (we did some more shopping) and naturally all the souvenirs were made in China but some of it was soooo interesting like stretchy rubber snakes, dog toys and shot glasses with a big foot figurine in them. It was very strange finding such a shop practically in the middle of nowhere. The one outstanding item on display was the police car with headless cops in it which was probably situated to encourage drivers to slow down and then perhaps visit the place. 
We are in Santa Rosa (just north of San Francisco) for 3 nights and thought it would be a good rest stop for washing etc. There is no laundry in this hotel and it is really not the best. The rooms are small and you have to pay for a fridge if you want one in your room. Hopefully, we will be out and about tomorrow to check out the sights - I am looking forward to checking out the volcanic mud hot springs since it looks like a swim in the ocean will not be on the cards. Yukari and I are keen to see San Francisco as well but we might need to do that on Monday morning on our way south.
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Jane on

You will love San Francisco - one of the best places in US - curviest street in the world, long very steep highways that seem to end in the bay - seals sunning themselves around the ferry terminals - the bridge and of course Alcatraz - Have fun

Lance on

The coast looks beautiful.

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