August 15th – Arcata Day 1

Reflecting the laid back pace of the town, this Motel 6 has a checkout time of noon, instead of the industry standard 10am. We got our things together and headed over to our friend’s place to pick up some weed. Three nice big bags for a price to make a Texan weep tears of joy. We passed the bong back and forth a few times, then headed down the road to do some laundry at the laundromat.

Attached to the laundromat was a cafe by the name of “Blondie’s”, serving up incredibly delicious sandwiches. Ours was roast beef, roast chicken, bacon and cheddar on petite focaccia. So good. Until bacon is declared a vegetable, I will never be a vegetarian. Outside the cafe, we met a man named Gecko who smoked us out with a fat piece of hash on a nice green bowl. I love the Humboldt welcome. Arcata has the same charm and hospitality of many small towns, but instead of being filled with ignorant, racist old people, it’s filled with 18-30 year old stoners. It’s kind of magical. While we were waiting for laundry to finish, our friend Elena called us, and said she’d found someone we could stay with in town, her friend Leah. Yay! We hadn’t really given any thought to what we would do for lodging that night, just placing faith in the universe to provide for us. As usual, it came through just in the nick of time. Leah was out having fun on the river, but would be back in a few hours.

When our laundry was done, we headed over the plaza to hang out and make some new friends while we waited for a call back from Leah. We found another hooper and wandered over in her direction. For at least an hour or so we hooped and juggled together, taking breaks to practice our headstands. The grass here is really soft, not at all itchy like many Texas grasses. Though it rains 9 months a year here, in the summer it is absolutely perfect. Temperatures range from perhaps 55 at night to 78 during the day. It’s sunny most of the time, and very little rain for the summer months.

After playing for in the plaza for quite a while, we headed to the Co-Op, an organic local grocery store, to pick up some food for the night. As luck would have it, while we were in the store, Leah called us back and let us know that she was home, and we could come by whenever. We cheerfully finished our grocery shopping, and headed out to the bike. One problem: though it had gotten us there with no problems a mere 20 minutes prior, it would no longer start. It’s impossible to leave the lights on given the design of the bike, so that wasn’t it. Well, I guess we’d just have to jump it. It was at this point that I really began to realize how horribly designed many parts of this bike were.

In order to access the battery enough to even give it a jump, it takes about 35 minutes of removing the plastic body pieces. The friendly owner of an old VW microbus stopped to give us a hand, and we did eventually get the bike jumped. Unfortunately, by the time we had bolted the plastics back on, the bike had again died. Fuck. We found another stranger who was willing to haul us and our stuff to our host’s house a short distance away. One of the many things I really love about this town is that everyone is pretty willing to help each other out. It took us all of 2 minutes to find someone to give 2 complete strangers a ride.

Finally we arrived at Leah’s house, and unloaded our things into the spare bedroom. She was going to a party that night, but we were welcome to hang out and use her kitchen and smoke weed. We loaded up her bubbler, and made some huge, decadent salads that we munched the fuck out of. We’d been eating camp food for a week, and were really ready for some nutrient rich produce. The Co-Op does have really good produce, even if it’s kind of expensive.

Several bowls of weed and salad later my concern over the bike had subsided substantially, and I was instead drifting off into a cozy warm sleep. I decided I’d just use my free towing to get the bike to a place that sells batteries the following morning.

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