Our drive on Tuesday from Napa to Eureka on Hwy 101 seemed very long – it’s around 250 miles, which IS a long day for US! All but the last 60 miles is quite far from the coast, reflected in the temperatures, well above 90 degrees until the last hour of our drive.
Highway 101 is a major north/south route through California – but it doesn’t always look like it. Traveling through the redwoods south of Eureka looks way more like some little county road but, no, we’re on it, 18-wheelers are on it, lumber trucks are on it… and of course none of us are traveling quickly enough for the sedans, SUV’s and pickup trucks that are on it.
We arrived at the Eureka Elks Lodge (read our review and see photos here) at 4 pm, when there were 4 (out of about 22) sites still available. As we unhooked Jules in the parking lot, a pickup truck pulling a 5th wheel roared past us, and snagged themselves a spot. We got the next one, and the last two were filled by 4:30.
The big scandal at the Elks: the owners of one of the trailers park their big pickup truck in an empty space next to them, and don’t move it until it is the only vacant space left AND an RV has arrived to fill it. This is a no-no.
Each time an RV arrives, several of the folks in already parked RV’s come outside to see whether the space hogs intend to move their truck – and they never do. Folks stand in little clusters glancing towards the offending pickup truck and consulting one another… it’s quite entertaining (to me). As you can see, the parking here is very tight, so everyone keeps an eye and ear on everyone else’s business (actually, you can’t help it if your windows are open!).
The Elks Lodge is right next door to a pretty little golf course, and Odel headed over there first thing this morning to play a round. I had my own agenda, beginning with a trip to Redwood Acres, the fairgrounds here in Eureka.
Fairgrounds in California almost always have RV hookups, and we usually enjoy management’s laid-back attitude, the reasonable prices, and the spacious grounds we find there. We had visited Redwood Acres a couple of years ago but, since our likes and dislikes in RV parking seem to change as we travel (and age?), I thought I’d take another look.
Redwood Acres costs $5/night more than the Elks ($20 for the Elks, $25 for Redwood Acres) for 50 amp FHU. The Elks Lodge provides cable TV (not so the fairgrounds), and is in a more convenient location not far off Hwy 101 – but there were very few rigs at the fairgrounds, making it look much more appealing than the Elks parking today. If the Elks RV parking is this crowded next time we visit, we might just move along to Redwood Acres.
After my scouting mission, I drove 10 miles north to Arcata, for a walk around the Arcata Wetlands (photo above). This wetlands is part of Arcata’s water treatment program, and 5 miles of trails wind around and through the area. Too bad for me: about 4 miles of the trails are currently closed during the week for levee repairs. I had a pleasant, but quite short, walk.
Odel hadn’t called for a ride yet, so I headed to “Old Town” Eureka to view some of the amazing buildings there. The grandly ornate wooden structures reflect Eureka’s past as a prominent lumbering and milling town, and it is great to walk the streets of old Eureka on a cool, sunny day admiring the restoration work that has been done.
In this collage, the Carson House (upper left) – since 1949, the private “Ingomar Club” - is likely the most photographed building in Eureka. Seems like it would make a great setting for some dark, gothic tale, though you would need a much gloomier day than today!