07-20-08 - 1

We spent last night in Brookings OR; there seem to be a lot of sad run down seaside towns like Brookings. Lots of people on vacation with a vague air of disappointment. Oregon seems to be full of rednecks outside of Portland. Some rednecks had a bonfire and set off fireworks on the beach near our hotel, that was kind of cool. I swam laps in the hotel pool, and a German family came in while I was there; I hope they spent most of their time in the US somewhere better than Brookings!

There are tons of historic bridges all down the Oregon coast. I'm a bit of a bridge nut so it was quite a treat. Oregon is really cool in that they provide scenic view points for most of the bridges, so you can pull over to the side a bit and see their profile. Near the CA border lots of the bridges have little short trails (a few hundred feet) out to a cliff edge view point, definitely worth it.

Drove down through CA today. Humboldt is full of hippie pot-heads on the side of the road trying to hitch hike. "Get a job you stinking hippie!" I yell as we scream past. Pretty much the whole drive on the 101 from Oregon to Santa Rosa is gorgeous, through valleys full of trees and hardly a touch of civilization; in many places the 101 becomes a windy mountain road and snakes right past redwoods.

We stopped in Redwood National Park and did the short Lady Bird trail to see some big trees. It was foggy as hell and the Redwoods were doing that thing they do - grabbing the moisture out of the fog and condensing it into drops of water - so it was raining near the trees but not away from them. I read that the Fern Creek hike in Prairie Redwoods Park is amazing, but it's a rough drive to the trailhead and I didn't want to put my car through that.

We're spending tonight in Mendocino. What a ridiculous place this is. It's like all the cheezy pretentiousness of Napa moved to the coast in their Audis and Priuses. The shops remind me of Carmel. Stuff like crystal dolphins, jeans for old ladies with elastic control tops. The restaurants are all way overpriced and mediocre, but everyone says they're great because they're supposed to be great, and nobody has a real opinion of their own.

All the old buildings in town here are actually super cute and unusual. I bet it was nice here 30 years ago.

Today we drive back to SF. I'm relieved to finally get to sleep in my own bed, but sort of sad that the road trip is coming to an end.

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