So we left open mic last night, which by the way, sounded a lot better than Ear Bleed Arcata Open Mic Night.
sidebar -- I looked up whether bleeding from the ear is ever a good thing, or even just NOT a bad thing - as it turns out, the only time bleeding is expected and/or a good thing is due to deliberate puncturing of the eardrum to drain the ear of unwanted fluids and blood originating from extreme infection. This procedure should only be performed by a licensed surgeon. Since neither Zach nor I have extreme infection and/or unwanted fluids and blood in our ears AND I seriously doubt Aaron, the performer from the open mic night in Arcata, was a licensed surgeon (at least he did not testify, testify, testify, testify, testify -- yes really -- testify, testify to being so), YES, it is safe to say that the open mic night performance in Arcata was horrendously bad.
Back to the point, yes, we left and traveled south through Mendocino to arrive at our campsite at Van Damme State Park which all in all wasn't too shabby. I think we're getting better and better at this camping thing, or at least more and more clear about what we need to do better and better.
I'd say Emma has earned a C + in slack-line dog-run leashing. She does all right when she's eating and we're setting stuff up around her -- not sure if she'll ever be cool with it for extended periods of time. Regardless, she didn't get eaten by a bear so I'd say 1 point for the the dog-run.
I am still having temperature issues -- apparently I don't own base layers, socks, or water resistant gloves that can actually keep me from A) Being a super-bia in the morning and B) Crying and apologizing for being a super-bia in the morning approximately 30 minutes after I warm up. If you're struggling with what to get me for Christmas, any of those things would be amazing -- and Zach would thank you for preventing this vicious a.m. cycle.
After a breakfast of beans and egg tacos seasoned with my tears, we headed off to downtown Mendocino to see the sights. Mendocino is a sleepy little coastal town with picturesque cliffs, art galleries, book stores, bed and breakfasts. We got to the city around 9 and walked around for a few hours. Notable sites -- one of the galleries had many pieces by this artist that were pretty cool and, quite surprising, if not disturbing, the visitor center's photo mushroom exhibit ("We used to have a live mushroom exhibit -- but we had to get rid of it because they got smelly").
Nothing like fungi to get you in the mood for some physical activity. Zach suited up to bike a 30 mile stretch of Hwy 1 between Mendocino and Port Arena. Emma and I went ahead in the car, stopping to play ball at a few of the beaches and take some photos at a view point or two. I would share some of the photos with you if I could -- the northern coast from Hwy 1 is absolutely stunning with it's misty cliffs and crazy big, powerful waves -- but I can't because, again, my photography skills can best be described as "sucky" and so you'll have to hope that Zach caught a few shots from his bike which will undoubtedly (and annoyingly) come out better than anything I took with our nice camera.
Zach and I met up at the Port Arena Lighthouse -- or more accurately at the cafe 2 miles from the lighthouse. A short bagel and cheetos break later, we were off again. Hwy 1 is gorgeous. Really. Gorgeous. Hwy 1 is also super, super curvy -- up to this point it hadn't been so bad, but the section of road following Port Arena was especially treacherous, hugging the cliffs of the coast and twisting with hairpin turns. As some of you (namely Mom, Dad, and Penny) know, I don't do so hot with the motion sickness. You're reading the words of a woman who spent 95% of all childhood roadtrips in a drug induced coma to avoid throwing up (Thanks, Mom).
sidenote -- My grandmother's best friend, Aunt Jeanne, once lost a prized hat to my "problem." I had a red slurpee before leaving the hot springs. I rode in the very back of the Suburban. The hat left blue, came back purple. You do the math.
Just as I felt like I was going to toss my cookies, though, my attention was drawn elsewhere. As we rounded a particularly tight turn, a strange noise not unlike the noise your garbage makes as it is hurled into the back of the municipal truck tumbled through the roof of the car. I instinctively looked back to see what had shifted in the car that would make such a noise when out of the rear passenger window I see our entire Thule box tumbling off of the roof of the car and rolling towards the cliff side of the highway (for those of you wondering) . Lucky for us, the box is pretty heavy and not designed for rolling, so it slid to a stop before reaching the edge. Zach had just enough time to slide the box out of traffics way before any cars came by.
One of the brackets was broken, another bent, but no one was hurt, the car is fine, and REI has an outstanding return policy. We strapped that puppy back on the car after unloading a few items (yay cam straps) and headed on to San Francisco.
We're staying in Richmond tonight (and possibly tomorrow) with a friend of J.J.'s, Ashley, and her housemates, who are all lovely and wonderfully hospitable (can you say warm, homemade mushroom barley soup??). We even got to drink some Kompucha -- apparently Christian, Emily's brother and housemate loves this stuff. He likes to tell people how awful it is, and then force them to drink it. It wasn't so bad -- kind of like carbonated sake.
Alrighty, that's it for tonight, I'm pooped and so is Zach. More tomorrow!