I was vaguely aware of Allen leaving early in the morning, but mostly I noticed he was gone when we woke up much later. We smoked some bowls and spliffs with Kobe while we brewed and drank our coffee. We were kind of low on food, so breakfast ended up being a fried egg on a buttered corn tortilla. Not bad, but a little odd. A few more bowls, and I was ready to go drop off the key at the shop.
It was a very pleasant 30 minute walk from Kristen’s house to the bus stop on Campus. The air was cool, but the sun was warm. Arcata is a small enough town that people actually make eye contact with you and smile as you walk down the street. It’s really nice, and very different from big cities like LA where everyone pointedly ignores each other. Plus, where we have oaks and cedars, Arcata just has redwoods everywhere. It’s amazing. I arrived at the bus stop about 15 minutes early, and sat down on a bench to enjoy the day. Eventually the bus arrived, I payed my $3 fare and moved to a seat near the back. I knew it would be a little while before we arrived in Eureka, so I just kind of checked out for about half an hour.
I stepped off the bus a couple blocks from the shop, and walked the remaining distance. The owner wasn’t there, but his wife was, and told me to just leave the key on the desk, which I did. I walked right back out of the shop, and went to catch a return bus. I had spent the last of my cash on the fare here, so I had to stop in a gas station and use the Bank of Peanut Butter Cups once more to get some cash. On the ride back I ended up sitting up front in the handicapped section. A couple stops later, some traveling kids got on the bus. I struck up a conversation. A man named Joseph, and his female companion Kush. I had to chuckle to myself a little, but it was a very appropriate name for a short stoner girl with a little extra padding. They seemed like nice enough folk, though I felt Joseph was irrationally afraid of the world outside Humboldt County. He even went as far as to say the WWOOF, an organic farming volunteer organization, was actually a scam to kidnap hippies and steal their identity. I have many friends who have volunteered and traveled through WWOOF and have only positive things to say about the experience. I tried to tell him this, but all I got was a “But how do you know, man?” Fucking hippies. I guess it’s better to be too skeptical than too trusting, though.
As the bus pulled up to the entrance to Redwood Park near the university campus, Joseph moved towards the exit and invited me to come smoke a bowl. I’m never one to turn that down, so I hopped off the bus a stop early and followed him into the woods. We encountered a group of incoming freshman and inviting them to come join us. They had just picked up their first sack at the local dispensary, and a new pipe to smoke it in. We all sat down on a log which had fallen over a small stream. The water sparkled by cheerily beneath us. It was a little chilly here in the shade of the giant trees. We loaded up two pipes and sent them both around the circle until we were all extremely stoned. While we were smoking Silent Bob walked down the trail past us. As he was about to turn a corner, he turned to us and said “Great spot.” and walked away. We all laughed at the oddity of seeing a fictional character appear in real life like that, but just kind of shook it off as a coincidence.
I thanked Joseph for the smoke, and began the walk back up the hill to Kristen’s. I opened the door to see a craftsplosion had gone off in my absence. With the intention of continuing to host many Couch surfers, they had started assembling a display where guests could post a little blurb about them on it. I drew a pastel mandala of the earth, and left a brief note of gratitude for the hospitality. Also, Hilary’s mom had decided she didn’t want couch surfers in the house, fearing for her daughter’s safety around us crazy drug smoking vagrants(ha!). In the interest of maintaining peace in the house, all the guests would need to clear out before that night. Kristen turned to Kobe and asked him if we could stay at his place. He immediately agreed, which was awesome. We hung out around the house and got blazed for a bit longer. Kristen found a friend with a truck to come give us and our hundreds of pounds of shit a ride to the neighboring borough of Sunnybrae where Kobe lived. The suburb is nestled comfortably in the redwoods, and their house was an attractive two story structure backing right up to the forest.
When we arrived, several parents of the new roommates were still hanging out, checking out the new place, so we headed into the woods and set up a fire. Not for the first time this trip, it took Gianna’s badassery to get a fire going, but sure enough she succeeded where the rest of us failed. Joint after bowl after spliff went around and around the fire. We were sitting in a small clearing completely surrounded by trees at least 100 feet tall. Eventually we got the word that the parents had left and we could all move inside. Beers came out, as did a Bong, and before long everyone was feeling pretty great. Kobe’s roommates were three lovely girls: Fiona, Chelsea, and Erika. Lucky bastard lives in a sweet house in the redwoods with three very attractive stoner chicks.
Dan told us the only couch surfing horror story we’ve heard so far, involving a morbidly obese alcoholic sex addict in Las Vegas. Take this lesson: If someone can’t be bothered to fill out a profile on Couch surfing, they aren’t worth the risk of staying with. For what it’s worth, we’ve still only had amazing experiences with Couchsurfing.org, and hear overwhelmingly positive stories from others who participate in this amazing experiment. Kristen and Fiona told us of their travels in China, and the hardships of being two white girls alone in a poor foreign land. It sounded like a pretty amazing journey. I’ll make it that far east one of these days. I mentioned that I had seen Silent Bob earlier, and evidently this is actually a thing. There is a guy who dresses as and plays the character of Silent Bob in Arcata, though he is not Kevin Smith. Conversation went around the table fluidly and effortlessly for hours as we finished the house beer supplies, and smoked countless joints, spliffs, and bong bowls. It was tremendous fun. These were our sort of people, and it was good to feel at home somewhere so far from Austin.
Very very late we all stumbled off to bed, or in our case the floor and our sleeping bags. Things had improved dramatically since just one day prior when I had really given up hope for any positive outcome from the journey. I had no idea what the next day would bring, but my faith in the universe had been restored, and I knew no matter what we were in for, it would work out.