August 14th – Welcome to Humboldt

We woke up pretty tired, but in otherwise good cheer. There was a shower building on the grounds, and we fully intended to use it. We’d been sleeping outside for a week straight now, and we were starting to get a little crusty. We walked down the hill to the shower to find out they wanted $2 for 5 minutes of hot water. We still hadn’t figured out a place to stay in Arcata yet, and in light of the rather expensive shower here, we decided we would just stay in a motel in Arcata tonight. One more day of living dirty. We ate some breakfast and drank some coffee, then proceeded to head further north up the coast.

This is definitely one of my favorite sections of road to drive ever. The pacific coast highway north of San Francisco, and in particular through Mendocino country, is staggeringly beautiful. Giant Sequoias stand guard on tall cliffs against the rhythmic assault of the vast Pacific Ocean. At one point, we passed another couple comically loaded down on a single motorcycle, camping gear bungee corded every which way. We gave each other a respectful salute as we passed each other going opposite directions. This was the only bike we would see for the entire trip as loaded down as we were. Apparently everyone else was smart enough to realize you really need one bike per person to do an adventure like this.

A couple hours into the ride we stopped at a beach park to smoke a bowl and get a 5-hour energy. Due the incredibly poor sleep the night before, we remained conscious and functioning solely by means of regular administration of stimulants. Twenty minutes later, we were feeling pretty good, and got back on the road, savoring every mile of gorgeous coastline. Eventually we diverged from the coastal highway to go through the Avenue of the Giants, an absolutely amazing piece of road that runs through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and contains some of the largest trees in the world.

After a slow leisurely ride through one of the grandest forests on earth, we stopped at the founder’s grove, a particularly old grove of redwoods. The Founder’s Tree, for instance, is 346 feet tall, and 40 feet around. It’s fucking massive. This tree is easily over 2000 years old. I try to imagine everything this tree might have been witness to over it’s life. We took the loop trail through the grove, walking in mostly silent awe. The redwood forest is a place you feel you ought to be quiet. It’s hard not to have respect and reverence for these gentle giants, mighty columns to the sky. Several of the trees along the path are hollow towards the base, and have plenty of room for several people to stand in. We were running very low on weed, but we did smoke a bowl inside of one such hollow tree. Standing in a tree looking up is a unique and blissful experience. On the way out of the grove, we ran into two fellow travelers and stopped to talk. They were from Austin, and had left a couple weeks before we had. They had walked and hitchhiked the whole way. Though we were at that point actually out of weed and couldn’t share, we did exchange numbers in the hopes of meeting up when we arrived back in Austin.

In another hour or so, we were pulling into Eureka, a town just south of Arcata on Humboldt Bay. The low fuel light had been on for quite a while now, so we pulled into the first gas station we came to. We still hadn’t heard back from our weed hookup in Arcata, so I walked up to a tattooed and pierced stranger to ask them if they knew where to get some bud. He glanced over at the bike and asked where we were from. “Austin,” I replied.

“Austin is a cool town. Hold on a second,” said the stranger as he leaned into his truck to fish around in a bag. A minute later he placed a small glass jar in my hand and said, “Welcome to Humboldt!” He smiled, and got in his truck and drove away. I looked in the jar to see about an 8th of ridiculously dank weed. I’m talking all purple, but practically frosted with big juicy trichromes. We’re talking Grade A, High Times centerfold quality shit here. For free, from a stranger, 5 minutes after arriving in town. I had fallen in love with the area a bit on my previous stay here, and it was looking like this visit would do nothing to change that. I called around, and determined that it would cost $5 more to stay at a motel in Arcata than in Eureka, but we decided to go for it anyways.

20 minutes later we were checking into a motel 6, and hauling our crap upstairs to the room. We ended up cooking dinner out on the balcony on our stove. Don’t let the fact that you’re staying in a motel or hotel stop you from cooking your own meals, even if they don’t include a kitchen. We cooked outside at motels multiple times throughout the trip and never got hassled for it, though we did end up in long interesting conversations as a result of it sometimes. Our contact here did finally call us back, and we decided to meet up in the morning. We took much needed showers, and reveled in sleeping indoors for the first time in a full week. The weed we had been given was absolutely delicious, and we smoked quite a bit of it that night. Fun fact: purple weed tastes better because it has dramatically less chlorophyl than green weed. Between being absurdly high, and finally having an actual bed, we slept really really well that night.

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