Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Northern California Trip - Pt 5

NCA_21_MuirBeachFrom the beginning, our intentions for this trip had been to see all or as many of the lighthouses along Hwy 1 as possible and to visit the Redwood National Forest north of Eureka. After a few days into our trip, we realized things probably weren't going to work out as we had planned. First of all, we hadn't counted on the amount of time required to get from Point A to Point B. A distance of 20 miles back home means about 20 minutes driving. Along the California coast? Double or triple that, due to the narrow highway, the enormous number of turns and switchbacks. Second, there's all of the breathtaking turnouts that overlook the Pacific ocean. You HAVE to stop! By mid-week we gave into the notion that we weren't going to make the National Forest, so we spent a little more time than planned on the Avenue of the Giants (see previous post).

Another factor in our "shortened" trip were the brush fires that had inendated Northern California. We saw lots of firetrucks on the highways, but had yet to really see any of the fires or their effects--except for a few areas that were a bit hazey. It wasn't until we moved over to Highway 101 heading into Eureka that we could actually smell smoke. We had planned on spending the day in the Eureka/Arcata area, then cutting across to Interstate 5 Saturday morning, then on in to Sacramento for our flight home. Friday morning we discovered that Hwy 299 was closed to traffic in a couple of places due to the fires. Our best bet was to backtrack on 101 to just below Fort Bragg--where we had been two days before--then cut across on Hwy 20. So, in light of circumstances, we decided to make a quick tour through downtown Eureka, hop up to Arcata and then start heading south.

Ingomar Club - EurekaEureka, California was founded in 1850 as a shipping center for the Trinty gold mines. The town is said to be one of the finest and largest collections of Victorian homes in the world. One of the most unique is the former home of William Carson, built in 1885. The Ingomar Club purchased the building in 1950. To my knowledge, the Club is not open to the public for tours.

NCA_111_ArcataWe spent about two hours walking around the "Old Town/Boardwalk" area. Lots of shops, art galleries, etc. and just enjoying the cool breeze coming of Humboldt Bay. Heading north, we made the short trip to Arcata--home of Humboldt State University. Arcata has been described as "California's northern hippie outpost," which became obvious to us as we made out way to the town's square. The square is a very nice little "park" surrounded by all kinds of novelty shops and galleries. The abundance of "Obama '08" signs let us know that we were in foreign territory. We sat on a park bench in the square and just watched the people, many of whom appeared to be in a 70's time warp based on their dress/hairstyles. One individual--we never could really determine the gender--entertained us with his/her version of some type of interpretive dance. We saw all we cared to see in Arcata and began the trek toward Sacramento...and home.

It took us the remainder of the day to drive from Arcata to Williams, CA which is about 45 minutes north of Sacramento. We hit several places where traffic was near stand-still due to smoke on the highway. We also passed a couple of "fire camps" where firefighters were staying. The smoke was so thick at one point that you could barely see 25-35 feet in front of the car.

NCA_115_OldSacSaturday morning, we made our way to Sacramento. Since our plane didn't leave until late afternoon, we drove to the "Old Sacramento" area of downtown. Located on the banks of the Sacramento River, this 28-acre Historic Landmark District features plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions such as the Wells Fargo History museum and the California State Railroad museum. We spent a couple hours and a few more dollars on last-minute souvenirs in the area. After lunch at Joe's Crab Shack, we headed to the airport.

Our flight home was delayed about 4 hours, but we finally landed at Tulsa International around 1:00 AM! It was a GREAT week. Dana and I got to spend some much needed time together and we got to see a part of the country that neither of us had ever seen. Some day, I hope we can return to Northern California and visit Yosemite National Park.


nacotaco said...

Hi Keith! wonderful read, the Ingomar Club wow so unbelieveable! I have never seen a home with so much going on! the workmanship just boggles my mind.....and all for 80,000.......I know alot back then but wow!a vacation I only dream of! well thanks for allowing me to see thru your eyes! Your a wonderful tour guide!...nancy

Keith said...

Nacotaco: You're right- the Ingomar Club was really incredible. They don't build 'em like that these days. Glad you enjoyed the trip.