Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reggae, Rodeo and Restaurants

I decided to write about my experiences here in Eureka by "topic" rather than chronologically, since I am already behind...

It has been a whirlwind of activities here!  I was reminded that the population here is imprisoned for 9 months of the year where they cannot see 50 ft ahead because of fog, their hair and clothes are rarely dry, they close shops and schools on a rare sunny day, furniture and accessories are nailed down to avoid breakage during the frequent earthquakes and everyone is on alert for the tsunami sirens.  Their pasty-white bodies emerge with a vengeance in June.  Here is a weather sign.

One might ask why anyone would live here?   I can't imagine it but, people who live here are fiercely protective of their lifestyle and most have generations of family in the area.  They are also tied by the unique industry of the area.  So, when the weather breaks sometime in June, all recreational and agricultural hell breaks loose!  Everyone is outdoors partying REALLY HARD!  So, that is the insanity I have been caught up in!

First outing was a trek across 1/2 mile of sand dunes to the site of the annual Sand Sculpture Contest.  Thank heaven this occurred at the beginning of my visit BEFORE I gained the extra 10 lbs!  It was a  brutal hike. 

Unfortunately, by the time we got in gear, the tide had started to come in and most of the sculptures were kaput.  However, this one still survived. 

An odd phenomenon occurs here; the daylight extends until 9:30pm.  The daytime at 8:30pm looks more like 5pm back home.  So, activity is extended with longer days.  It's only fair!

An unanticipated activity was occasioned by a conversation between my sis and me.  She owns an RV park and must regularly empty the quarters out of her soda machine and laundry. Every week, she has 2 large bank bags of coins to handle.  The problem is there are no coin-sorting machines in town and no banks will take the coins, so they tend to accumulate and she eventually spends hours rolling them.  

So, we started brainstorming and decided to see if the casinos would take the coins.  Lo and behold--ALL the casinos take them!  There are 3 casinos within 30 minutes--2 of them charge 5% and one of them does not charge anything!  

So, each week, Sharon and I visit the casino, exchange the coins, play some video poker, have lunch and take home from $25-$100 in winnings.  My sis is very lucky and always walks after a big win.  

This casino in the photo is Cher-ae Heights and has a beautiful restaurant overlooking the rocky shoreline of Trinidad Cove. 

We attended a Dog Show.  The Kennel Club Lost Coast Chapter held a competition at the Fairgrounds in Ferndale and it was fascinating to see so many familiar and "new" breeds of dogs in "perfect" condition.  Here's a little guy who got pooped out from all the fluffing and fussing.

One of our many jaunts took us to an event held at the Fairgrounds called "Humboldt-Made Fair"--celebrating the awesome people and good stuff made by Humboldt enterpreneurs and artisans.  The fair features businesses that produce specialty agriculture products, food and beverage creations, manufactured and crafted goods.  

The Fair also had a terrific show with a Pirate Bird Trainer and his macaws and sun conjure birds.  My favorite trick was:  a squadron of sun conjures zooms overhead and, when people in the audience wave a dollar bill, they zero in, land on the person, remove the dollar bill and carry the bill in their beak and deposit it in a money jar. Then, they perch on the landing ramp and await their treat.  

The audience loved it so much that they kept waving bills at the birds during the entire show and the Pirate accumulated a nice full jar of money! Inspired!  Forget about tips and just train your birds to collect money! The Dollar Bill Trick‬‏ - YouTube

The fair food tent had a winery sampling and a 10 beer sampler from the local brewery Lost Coast Brewery.   It's a good thing were were only a mile away from home!  

This is a decorative door panel from the Lost Coast Brewery restaurant, which we also dined at.  They also serve a 10-beer sampler on a plank that has holes in it for the 4oz glasses for $10.  Lost Coast Brewery

The local artist who designed all the beer labels also painted murals on many of the buildings in downtown Eureka and his art also is featured in downtown bistros and coffee shops.  This one is on the Performing Arts Hall.

This one is on the side of a barbershop (yes, they still have barbershops here).

This coastal region is a Winery haven.  This scene is typical of the constant climate--misty, foggy and around 55 degrees. 

This is the Moonstone Winery in Trinidad, CA right on the ocean.

They have people who will drive groups around to the wineries in their beat-up 70's Volkswagon roof popups. 

Sharon and I sampled but none were wonderful enough to buy.

On the 4th of July, downtown Eureka pulls out all the stops with the Old Town shops displaying their stuff on the sidewalk, the usual food vendors, a harborside carnival of rides, street dancers,

biker characters, local bands and craft vendors setting up shop on the sidewalks.

The evening 4th of July party was hosted by my sister's friend, Theresa, who lives across the street. 

The setting was breathtaking; her home is nestled within a redwood forest.

Food and wine were plentiful

...and later the group gathered around the fire ring

Norm was in charge of burning the marshmallows for s'mores.  

The perfect ending to a wonderful 4th party was...NO FIREWORKS!!!

The MamaJamma festival of all in this area is the annual, renowned Reggae on the River.  

It is a 3 day fest and attracts reclusive rasta-types to come down out of the mountains for miles around.  

The very first sensation on arrival inside the event grounds was the odor of umm...human beings that do not observe the same level of hygiene that most of us do.  

We hoped the river would dilute the problem but the water was too cold for the usual mass butt-naked immersion.  

Thank goodness for "sensory fatigue"--soon, it didn't matter!  

The games began with the heavy reggae beat as background music for the afternoon!  This is my nephew Luke and neice-in-law, Helena and no one knows who the tie-dye dude is.

A crowd scene; 

We found a mellow place under a tree to set up our group and drink beer... this is my brother, Phil on a beer run.

Newphew Luke proudly proclaims his Indian name is "Runs with Beer".  Luke is a marathoner which makes this teeshirt so very special!  This is Luke's signature "pose".

Here is Helena who should probably slow down... looks like Norm has completely stopped! 

But Norm soon rallied and demonstrated his Yoga technique for anyone caring to watch.  Hey Norm, take it easy--you still have 6 months to get Medicare!

Sharon relaxed with the event publication; note the graphic leaf next to the article about the upcoming Hemp Festival.

The atmosphere of the festival was mellow and relaxing.  Pictured is sister Sharon, her husband Norm, Helena and Luke.

I rode home north on US101 with my brother, Phillip, in the brand new red Camaro convertible he rented.  The convertible top completely disappears into the trunk and all the instrument controls display as holograms on the windshield.  Very weird.

it was an amazing scenic sunset ride-one of those beautiful snapshots that stay in your memory forever! 

While my brother and nephew were here visiting their sisters from Washington DC, we thought we might do something a bit rougher and decided on the Fortuna Rodeo. 

The announcer chitchat was real corny but the action was exciting; the only part that makes me cringe is roping the calves.

Before the rodeo was a ridiculously overportioned chuckwagon dinner. 

The meat portions were so huge we took home 3 lbs of beef.

It is no wonder that I am wearing an extra 10 lbs as I depart Eureka!

The day before my brother and nephew had to leave to go back to DC, we all went for an outing in downtown Eureka to the Farmer's Market.  

These Eurekans don't do anything "straight" and I photographed these children dancing wildly while musicians played music. 

We had fresh ground coffee and a sweet at a street side bistro.  This is Luke in front of the earthquake warning sign that was on the front of the coffee shop.  The sign says "This is an unreinforced masonry building.  You may not be safe inside or near unreinforced masonry during an earthquake".

We walked off our pastry calories with a stroll on the Eureka Harbor Boardwalk.  

This is a view north and you can see the Fog Line which always lingers at the coastline.

We finished our day outing with shopping and lunch.

I am not even going to attempt to remember the  many restaurants I ate at with my sister and friends/family.   

We were "out and about" almost daily--during my stay here, we had our hair done, I had a facial and 2 body massages, visited friends and also spent some time at her office at the RV park.  

Here is my sister holding up some of the many signs she posts at her park.  Her stories about the tenants are extremely funny.  These are mostly tenants "without a clue".  She claims to "manage by rhyme"--a technique she learned from the OJ trial--remember "If the glove fits, you must acquit!"?  She teaches her tenants that "You must Pay to Stay" and "If you park on the grass, I'll kick out your ass".  She says it works fairly well--people tend to recite the rules in singsong manner and retain the rules much better than the written form.  She "makes deals" with tenants who break rules and she imposes a fine  "If you pay on time, you avoid the fine" or "If you pay today, your fine goes away".  Wow I am so impressed at my sister's management skills!

Sharon "won" an auction for 30 gallons of ice cream and a 30 minute magician act, so she decided to have an ice cream/magician party.  Here is our magician in his pink tuxedo doing card tricks, which he did very well.

Here he is with my brother and nephew.  He is practicing to go to Vegas or maybe try out for America's Got Talent.

Generally, we ate out almost daily which has been wonderful but played havoc with my waistline.  Restaurants in Eureka tend to be very small and intimate, occupying tiny storefronts.   Townspeople have been successful rejecting big box business such as Walmart and Red Lobster and most eateries are local and owner-owned with incredible menus!  

I have emptied the fridge of all but protein drinks for my trip home...

1 comment:

  1. Been to Eureka and you are right.....FOGGGGYYY! But, we had fun bummin' around. It was before I married and my EXboyfriend lived in Sonoma, CA. Will say one thing, though.....the northern part of CA is a WHOLE LOT different than Southern CA!!!