Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 57- Dec. 31 coast to coast

Last night, I stayed at a hotel in Eureka, CA that was filled with character. I had planned to go to Crescent City, CA so I could have time to play on the beach before I had to get on my way to Portland, but when I talked to my mom at 10:00 pm, she used some logic to get me off the road that made sense. Mom making sense, huh?!?!

She told me that the drive between Eureka and Crescent City on Highway 101 was the most beautiful stretch and if I went through there at night, I wouldn't get to see the ocean views. Well, the inner stubborn child cringes to admit mom is right but, true enough, she was!! I'm sure she was glowing when I said, "That makes sense!"

And low and behold there was a ma and pa inn across the street from where I was sitting at the time. It looked clean and I used my motel quality inspecting skills that I have developed along the way to scope it out.

As I approach a motel here is what I look for:

1-Parking lot and doorways to each room- are they well lit.

2-Lobby- If I have to talk to the manager through a bullet-proof glass window with a little speaking hole in it, I run.

3- Cars in parking lot- I look at the quality of the cars in the lot. I look for vans and SUVs because families usually travel in these vehicles and if they feel safe with their kids there, I am probably ok alone.

Well, this little ma and pa place fit all my requirements and was only $50. Perfect!

I walked through the door and a 68-year-old man (that's what he told me) about 6 feet tall with dark brown hair and dark skin came to the counter. I asked if he had a room and no doubt he did. "It is a safe and clean place to stay," he said.

"OK. Looks like it!"

THEN, he proceeded to spend 30 minutes telling me all about his life- wife, kids, grandkids, all about the motel and where everything was in the room, and the fact that he had owned the place for 30 years. I had just driven 420 miles in 13 hours and was totally exhausted. All I wanted was to get to my room.

I asked what I needed to do to check in and he whipped out the little carbon form you fill out. I proceeded to write until I got to the line that asked for my driver's license.

"Sir, I don't give out that type of personal information."

"Oh, it's a requirement!"

"Well, I'm sorry that's personal and I'm not interested in sharing."

He then proceeded to tell me it was a police law in this county that he collect the license of every guest. He pulled out an envelope that he had written the words, "County law requires driver's license," and says, "See, it's a law."

"Uh, you wrote that! I could write the same thing but that doesn't make it a law!"

He then said he was a police officer and this county is where all the criminals come after getting out of jail so there are lots of problems. -Oh, that's comforting to say to a guest!!

Hmmm... I call BS on that!!!

"Oh, really." I said. "So how do you find the time to work as a police officer and run the hotel 24/7 at the same time?"

"Oh, I'm not one now, but I was and it was hard but I made it work."


"I'll be back, sir."

I went out to my car and booted up my computer, plugged in my mobile internet and looked up the phone number for the Eureka, CA Police Department.

I picked up my next piece of handy technology and placed a call to the department. I explained that the owner of the hotel said he used to be an officer and that there is a lot of crime so the law requires the hotels to get a driver's license from each guest.

Surprise!! Surprise!! There is no such law!! BUT she did say the hotels like to get it because they do have a problem with theft.

That was an understandable reason.

At this point, I had to decide if I would stay or go to another place. I made a few phone calls around town and they all had the same requirement and were FAR more expensive, so I trooped back into the office and debated how to share this information with the man. After all, you shouldn't piss off the manager before your night's stay but I can't stand being lied to!!

I opted to sign his form and wait til morning on my way out to call him on his lie.

Come morning, it was time for a little chat. I told him I called the police and found out that there is no such law and he only required it because of theft. I told him that if he said that from the start, I would have understood but I didn't appreciate being lied to. I also mentioned how easy it is to find out what the police require and what they don't.

He was a little puzzled at the fact that I had actually called, but apologized and said he would change his approach.

I have my doubts, but at least he knows that guests are aware of how to figure out what laws exist.

That was the manager; the room was a whole other experience...

The room was an old style room with cement block walls and a concrete slab covered by a thin layer of carpet. The room was just bigger than the queen bed and had one outlet. I plugged in my computer to write on this blog and charge my camera for today's events. BUT when I went to turn out the light, the power went down on the computer too. OOPS, the outlet was connected to the light switch.

Hmm... I had to get my camera charged overnight!

I attempted to sleep with the light on but that proved to be challenging so I did the logical thing- removed the florescent bulbs from the fixture.

This was a grand idea until the alarm on my phone when off at 6:30 am and I couldn't see to get ready. I had to climb up on the bed and in a sleepy daze try to screw the bulbs back in. Well, putting florescent light bulbs is a hard enough task when you can see, but close to impossible when it's dark. I quickly had a great understanding what blind people go through. It took me 15 minutes of feeling and twisting and turning of the bulb to finally get light again.

Once ready and out the door...

I made it coast to coast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to take a few minutes to reflect on my experience.
I can't believe I have made it all the way from the north point of the Mississippi to the south point and from coast to coast!!!!!

If you come to the beach, there is one thing you must do...

Pose for pictures...

This cool spot had no water until I got on the rock!! Then a huge wave came in and soaked my feet!!

There is something about climbing in rocks for pictures that I just love!!

There is a second must at the beach...

Build a sand castle!!!

These fuzzy white reeds were so neat looking, I had to stop for a photo with them...
But the wind was blowing so heavy, I could hardly stand up. My hair wouldn't stay out of my face and the reeds kept blowing and hitting me in the head so this is a special picture!!
Further up the beach, I saw an incredible sight...
The wind was blowing so hard, it was blowing the water right back over the waves creating what looked like tails in the surf.
At this point, it was 10:00 in the morning and I had only accomplished 30 miles out of the 400 I needed to travel. Hmmm... The New Year's ball drops at midnight; I might make it to Portland by them.

BUT I still had the famous Redwood forests to see...
The moss on the trees here was amazing. It blanketed all the branches like a protective coating...

I had to check it out the close up...
Welcome to the Northwest! I haven't seen a fern since I left western Washington 4 years ago and these forest beds were smothered in them...

OH MY GOSH!!!! Look at the size of this tree and this wasn't the biggest...
That was all one tree with a small hole in the middle. It must have been 15 feet wide!!!
Those of us that were raised in western Oregon call this Oregon sunshine and a true Oregonian or northern Californian doesn't use an umbrella...

This picture was taken at about noon.

Just like in the snow, I had to catch a few drops of this gully washing rain!!

My camera has a little bit of a temperamental issue with rain. It totally dysfunctions so most of the pictures came out blurry, and in order to take the rest of the pictures of the day, I had to put a box over my head and keep the camera under it.

You might ask why I didn't use an umbrella. Well, either I didn't bring one, or if I did it was buried under the house of stuff in my car.

Here are the few pictures that came out sort of clear...

As I left Crescent City, Highway 199 twisted and turned through the enormous redwood trees...
while following a river through the canyon...
And that led me to the Oregon border...
I have a total shocker for you...
It was raining!!!!!!
Before I got to Grants Pass on Highway 199, I was in awe of the mossy trees. They looked so mystical...

After spending so much time in lands that were defined by cactus, rock and dirt, I really was amazed at the vibrant green colors these woods brought. I grew up in western Oregon and always appreciated the beauty, but this time I actually noticed the moss and smelled the rain, and felt the moisture all the way to my bones.

It was so beautiful I could have spent another week or more wondering through these woods!!
But now, I am staying with family in the house next door to the house I grew up in. It is a rather odd feeling to look out the window and see your house from this side of the fence. The people who bought it from my family kept it the same color, never took down our curtains, and kept the wallpaper up so it still looked like our house.

The only thing that was a bit weird was I remember the yard being huge!! Now, I look at it and think it looks tiny. Amazing how our perspectives change!!!

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