Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Travel Log: Second LONG Day of Driving

Today we headed over to the California coast to see the Redwoods. It took us a bit longer to get there than anticipated due to a lot of this:

The trip started out well enough, with ES declaring his little feifdom in the back seat his own "paradise." He had everything he needed - DVDs, Nintendo, coloring books, snacks...

About 45 minutes later, I had to pull the car over on the side of the road when the SECOND fist-fight started in the back seat because YB didn't want to play the same thing that ES did on the Nintendo.

It's gonna be a long trip folks.

We stopped in Eureka, CA, and had lunch at the Lost Coast Brewery. Why is it breweries always have awesome food? I mean, their specialty is supposedly beer, right? So why would they kick other non-beer-oriented-restaurants' collective butts when it comes to making darn good food? Anyway, I digress.

Lost Coast Brewery

I had a yellow chicken curry that was absolutely to die for. I mean it was SO good... (How good was it?)

It was THAT good.

Seriously, I would've licked the plate clean, but my wife would've whacked me across the back of the head and ES would have hung his head in shame and embarassment. The waitress told us they make everything there in house with the exception of the Italian dressing, and she swore up and down and verified with the chef that there was no MSG in the curry. As much as I love curry, I normally can't have it because of the MSG. This curry also had sweet potatos in it which was just the epitome of "fusion." Sweet potatos and curry powder together? Who knew?

I tried a nibble of the boys "chicken nuggets", fries, and barbecue sauce and they were all awesome. My wife and I tried a sample of the Tangerine Wheat Ale and the Downtown Brown Ale, and they were both excellent. (Aside: In spite of my claim that all breweries have awesome food, the opposite does not always hold true. I've been to a few breweries where I just didn't care for the beer at all.)

We headed south to the Humbolt Redwoods State Park and drove through the Avenue of the Giants.

Shot out the window at the entrance to the Avenue of the Giants while LW grabbed a pamphlet from the welcome kiosk.

I had to lay down on my back to take this picture of YB next to one of the ginormous redwoods.

Then I put the camera on the ground and used the timer-feature in the camera to take this self portrait.

Then we went to see the Drive-Thru Tree. My wife hopped out of the car with the camera and ran ahead of us to take a picture as we drove through.

The Drive-Thru Tree

We barely squeezed through. The side view mirrors brushed the edges of the tree a little bit, but we made it.

Rewind to entering the Avenue of the Giants. I told the boys to put away their Nintendo's while we drove through the redwoods, and they could play with them again when we got back on the highway. YB happily complied and enjoyed getting out of the car with me to take pictures. ES was a total pain in the arse - whining and complaining about how he "didn't care about a bunch of stupid trees."

However, I'm happy to report that the Drive-Thru Tree made it all worth it. Both boys were laughing and giggling and reaching out the windows and touching the tree. ES declared that doing the drive through tree was worth the stop. Hooray!

We continued on down US-101 across the Golden Gate Bridge. That was the second highlight for ES today. He was really excited about going over the Golden Gate Bridge.

During the many hours on the road today, ES proclaimed we were in "mun." That's what it sounded like anyway, but then he explained it's actually M.O.N. Middle of Nowhere. During the intervening hours before we got to Eureka and in between the redwoods and the Golden Gate Bridge, ES came up with other variations or degrees of MON-ness depending on the frequency of the houses and number of cars on the road, such as K.M.O.N. for "Kinda Middle of Nowhere." Being the geek that I am, I contributed to his list and added N.C.M.O.N. for "No Cellular Middle of Nowhere."

Tonight, we stopped in San Francisco to have dinner with my wife's cousin, Cara. She lives at the top of a hill with a nice view of the city. What were the boys most interested in at Cara's house?

The mail slot.

They were enthralled by the fact that they could push their shoes through the mail slot in the front door. Sometimes I wonder - Are they really related to me???

Tomorrow, I hope to bore ES with more big trees and to satisfy one if not two of our favorite food cravings during our third long day of driving across country.

Today's Statistics:
- 342 Number of sharp-hairpin turns we made while following the Trinity River along Hwy 299. (Okay, I made that one up, but it was a LOT).
- 30 Average speed driving through all those switchbacks
- 20 Number of miles per gallon we got on the switchbacks and going up and down hills today. Yesterday we got 25 mpg, but it was mostly long straight roads and I was able to set the cruise control and draft behind large trucks.
- 16 Number of logging trucks we passed chock-full of enormous freshly cut trees.
- 16 Same number of hippie's hitchhiking on the side of the road.
- 1 Number of filthy-nasty-disgusting gas station bathrooms we had the pleasure of visiting. On a postive note, two thumbs up to California DOT for running the cleanest rest-stop bathrooms I've ever seen! You could practically eat off the floor!
- 342 Number of bugs splattered across our windshield. (Okay, I didn't actually count them all, but it seemed like a good ballpark estimate.)

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