We arrived in Garberville late in the day, having taken our time through the scenic north of california, and found most of the tiny town closed for the day. After a little walk we found a quiet cafe’ still open and got a little touch of the close-knit tiny town. In all my travels, it’s still rare to walk down the main street somewhere and obviously be out-of-towners, but here it can happen, less than a day from San Francisco on the highway. It took 20 minutes to walk the town, including getting some coffee, and we decided it was best to just find a spot to camp in the woods down the road. We were walking back to the RV, my short legs trailing behind as always and an older man that I had said hi to walking past stepped onto the sidewalk, opened his hand to me “A flower for a pretty lady”, and handed me a thick roll of honey oil flowers wrapped in paper, welcome to Humbolt *wink, wink* 😀
We spent a very quiet night in the forest off the side of the road, a cop stopped by around 7 to check on us, two minutes later smiling and waving to us as he went on his way. The morning interaction was even more brief- he pulled up, Aaron smiled and waved, and he kept going, didn’t even bother to talk to us. We were all a bit offended actually, what kind of cop wouldn’t want to stop and search sweet hippies like us? But somehow we managed to move on with the day and go hiking down by the gorgeous river flowing through the woods, skipping rocks and trying to entice tadpoles to play. We hiked by a redwood large enough to park the RV in; how I love this place!
Moving on to Arcata, just down the road from Eureka, was almost taxing as my brain tried to absorb all the scenery we passed before making it into town. We parked on a side road a few blocks from the main plaza, and spent two nights without anyone even noticing. We arrived in town just as the sun was starting to go down, shocked at the fact nothing, even on the main square was still open except the bars. After being in the big city, it’s still shocking to remember how early small towns close, though we enjoyed exploring anyway. We spent far too much time looking around for a proper cafe’; out of the dozen we visited not a sinlge one had the tri-fecta of basic coffee shop requirements- bathroom, wifi, and outlets. Don’t even get me started on places that don’t have decaf or tea, though I know I’m far in the minority in caffine obsessed America.
After sadly stumbling around all of the blocks in walking distance and interviewing half a dozen locals for suggestions we finally went to Luke’s Joint(which we thought at first was called Loose Joint, a far more befitting name for a Humbolt County cafe’ in my opinion) just to finally get coffee and breakfast as we had wiped out all the firewood in the area. It proved to be a very nice place, bathroom and outlets, no wifi, with a strange collection of “still life” of food paintings all over the walls done by customers. The waitress was helpful, the bathroom gorgeous, the food and coffee decent though a little overpriced, but all in all a good breakfast. We told the waitress to let the owner know if they put in wifi, they’d have an edge over everyone else in town, and I kind of want to come back in a few months to see if we had any impact here.
Deciding it would be a good idea to camp a little outside of town for quiet and wood for the stove, we stumbled across a gold mine- a beautiful spot right by the river with a little park and walking trails and a perfect little fairy glade hideaway in the trees between the road and river. This place has been quite the find- Aaron screamed with joy when we found the local junkyard and has been drooling over all the old cars while tugging me away from all the friendly cats we pass walking down the street and Zoe wonders if she can turn her obsession with sanding into a temp job at the local foundry. This is the first place that has seemed to have potential for decent land at an good price- though if we find anything, this cafe’ issue has to be fixed, even if I have to open one myself!