We spent our first night in Garberville, which is ground zero to Humboldt and redwoods. It’s also ground zero to cannabis cultivation. As I stood in line at a local bakery for bagels in the morning, considering whether to carry cinnamon apple bread pudding back to the hotel, I was glad to see a local paper still in print. But these are new times, as a lengthy article explained out how to fill out the permit for proper water reclamation for cannabis cultivation to the California State Water Resources Board. Another article addressed a proposal to put a wind turbine farm out in nearby coastal waters, while a local columnist mused at length about the upcoming Taste of Cannabis festival. The line of muddy trucks stretched in front of the organic coffee drive-thru hut was longer than my local In ‘n’Out.
But we’re off for our own, non-substance-induced mystical experience today, off to drive through Avenue of the Giants.
An America Worth Fighting For
The road through these coastal redwoods is a scenic drive through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, with auto tour stops that sport walking trails and plaques, as well as tiny towns with more than one Center for World Peace and Understanding next to the shops with burl carvings. A burl, by the way, is a part of the tree that gets distressed and starts to grow anew. It can look like just a bump or actually grow out a new trunk.
Off again on another October adventure we go! Since I typically post something travelly directly to social media, I thought I would try, perhaps for at least a week, putting the few pictures and thoughts out in daily blog form rather than a daily photo and long blog weekly. Shall we try? Let’s shall.
Traveling Like a Well Oiled Machine
The Fun Car, aka the red Subaru, aka O’Hara, does like to go. We are the kind of people that have packing down to a science, have taken photos of the insides of suitcases and the back seat, so that we know the most efficient way to strap down that laundry basket full of extra shoes and warm coats, and have tucked away the extra book we may never read, the ear muffs (going north in October!), and a kite or two (coast). Last year, it was 8500 miles down and across from Albuquerque to the Upper Peninsula, from California to Ontario. This year, we are far less ambitious and only look to go Moseying up the Left Coast, San Francisco to Victoria, Canada.
The coast does not disappoint. The first day will be home up to Mendocino, a traverse through the vineyards north of the Bay, cutting through multiple tall tree groves and farmer’s markets. The outside temperature, reported by the car, starts to drop degree by degree as we pass westward by the Schultz Museum in Sonoma and the Navarro River Grove. The road is very twisty; apparently, we did not take the usual way through Willits. Instead we are winding, and winding, and winding up 128 through teeny towns of Philo and Boonville. The problem was that I was driving, at my request, and in this unusual move, KK started as navigator rather than as Formula One racer. Hence, we apparently took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
Over time, the fortress crumbled and the crows took over, fighting battles of their own over the parapets. Ordinary people, no longer as valiant or as bloodthirsty as the ones who had thundered across the hills, built houses, cheery green and yellow boxes everywhere. The railroad men drove their tracks boldly right below, and people climbed on and off the train as if nothing had ever happened.
But the stationmaster always shook his head when asked about tours up the hill.
“Up there? Nar. I never goes up there.”
As the 4:17 started to chug its way, his feet felt the vibrations. Felt them as always, continue long after the cars had blurred across the fields, continue underneath, as if something there was just waiting.
*Based on a 100 word flash fiction prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, based on this photo by Sandra Crook.