July 4th – Eureka and Crescent Beach

In the morning we had breakfast at the Comfort Inn in Fortuna. It featured make-your-own waffles. While finishing up a load of laundry, the kids swam in the pool and lounged in the hot tub which didn’t measure up to mom’s standard of hotness so mom opted out.

After his night in the folding bed, Ryan woke up with an extremely stiff neck.

The next segment of our journey was just 10 milies down the road to Eureka. We discovered a street festival with several bands and trinket booths and Ryan got a henna tattoo on his bicep.

From Eureka we headed north on route 101 to Lady Bird Johnson Grove of Redwoods. The kids were spazzing out in the car, singing songs, being silly and generally causing mayhem, so we were glad to get out somewhere we could walk a bit. The grove of Redwoods was beautiful. Roby climbed every stump, tree, and rock in sight. Many of the trees had “chimneys” — their base has an opening that is burned out so you can walk inside and look up into the tree. Ryan’s neck still hurt a lot so we had to hold him under the arms as he leaned back to see the tops of the trees.

The next stop along the coast was Crescent City. We had reserved a camp site at the Crescent City KOA.

For the most part our trips in the car have been unventful — an argument here and there, a punch or two, and complaining about who has to be stuffed in the back seat along with luggage. On this particular stretch of the drive, Roby was in the way back and Calvin was in the front seat. Cal asked for one of the squishy pillows to rest and Roby tried to pull one out from between the seats. Ryan heard a ripping sound and saw tiny styrofoam balls starting to fall out. Roby pulled harder until there was a huge gash in the bag. Anyone who’s ever opened a beanbag chair can imagine the explosion of tiny pellets pouring ouf of the pillow under the seats and into the air as we drove. The kids giggled uncontollably, mom sat observing and holding back laughter, dad kind of flipped out that the car and luggage we now covered in an inch of two of billions of sticky styrofoam balls. The first course of evasive action was to close the windows and turn on the AC. Dad kept yelling — “nobody move” “don’t touch anything”. We pulled over to a turn out to dump the rest out of the pillow and to assess the damage. It was worse than expected. The pile was nearly 4 inches deep and under all of the seats.

We were VERY lucky to find a car wash with a vacuum cleaner as we entered Crescent City. We took out all of the luggage and sucked up 4.7 billion of the 5 billion styrofoam balls in the car. We were back to almost normal — or at least as normal as it will be from here until turning in the car.

After that we arrived at the KOA camp site which turned out to be pleasant surprise. Right as we pulled in we say a sign for bike rentals. We expected them to be normal bicycles, but they turned out to be oversized pedal cars and reclining tricycle that you turn with your body weight. After we set up the tents in a beautiful redwood grove, Ryan and Cal rented the oversized carts and Roby used the funky tricycle. They raced around the campground on the gravel access roads and through the redwood dirt trails.

in a rush to make it to the fireworks in town we grabbed a quick dinner at Burger King. We headed toward the waterfront through town. We saw thousands of people so we parked on the street at the edge of what looked like a fairground, RV park, rock concert and freak show. We quicky found out what what it’s like when fireworks are legalized. EVERYONE was setting off roman candles, screeching missles, firecrackers all around us as we walked through the field. We thought we’d seen it all until we got to the beach and saw thousands more people who build huge fires on the beach and were setting off rockets into the strong (30mph +) on-shore wind causing them to float right back into the crowd. There were toddlers hopping around and running through the sparks that were raining down on the beach. It looked like a scene from a war movie. We were so amazed by the crazy pyromaniacs that we had to run back to get the video. Of course it was too dark to video but we captured many of the sounds.

We watched the “real” fireworks from a ridge in the field huddled together in sweatshirts and a towel draped over us. It was so cold and windy. The official fireworks were great. We all especially liked one that had a string of glowing balls dangling from a string on a parachutes.

After the frinale we sprinted to our car to avoid the huge mob. We made back to our tents by 11pm and had a great sleep. Roby and Cal shared a tent, mom and dad had a tent, and Ryan has his own.

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