Crescent City to Eureka

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May 9th 2014
Published: May 11th 2014
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After a great sleep I was up early and out with my camera down to the shoreline. I had visualized some images with the local lighthouse and wanted to see what I could find. The tide was too high for me to walk across the rocks to the lighthouse, so I had to be satisfied with some images from the shore. Still, I’m pretty happy with the results. The effect of the wind from the day before could still be seen in the waves rolling in, so that added to the scene. I had a quiet walk along the shore and explored nooks and crannies in the little inlets.

I got underway about 10am. The goal for today was to visit one of the redwood forests that are scattered along the coast. I chose ‘Prairie Creek Redwood Forest State Park’. Along the way I stopped at some of the ocean access places and generally took my time.

The last time I was to one of the redwood forests was in the 50’s with my mom and dad when I was around 12 years old.

I’m not a good enough writer to put into words my impression of the
Shoreline stacks at Crescent CityShoreline stacks at Crescent CityShoreline stacks at Crescent City

The sea stacks are formed over time as the ocean wears down the softer rock leaving these stacks of hard rock protruding up from the ocean. These may be seen all along the California and Oregon coast.
size of the trees. And it is not just one or two; they are truly forests of redwoods. Parts of the trees gave an indication of their age. In places the bark was old and worn, there were black scars on some trees where they had been struck by lightning but survived, and some trees had damaged parts where other trees had fallen on them, braking them or ripping them apart, but the tree had survived and repaired itself leaving unique and sometimes rather weird shaped trees.

Some of the forest floor was barren as the tall redwoods kept light from hitting the ground, whereas other places the redwoods left open spaces so many other trees and bushes thrived on the forest floor. Regardless, everything was covered in moss and lichens, indicative of how wet it is in these places - one of the reasons the redwoods grow so well here.

At the start of one of my walks, I met two young women on their bicycles taking a rest alongside the highway. They were from Quebec City and had, so far, cycled from Vancouver. They were headed for San Francisco. They were most pleasant and we had
Crescent Beach at Crescent CityCrescent Beach at Crescent CityCrescent Beach at Crescent City

So now you know how Crescent City got its name.
a good chat about their trip, some of my bike trips, their travel equipment, and their work. They both had recently graduated from university as dieticians. One had a job doing this sort of work in Quebec City while the other seemed to be roaming around and was doing odd jobs in Vancouver. She was looking for a dietician’s job in Vancouver, but had no luck so far.

Knowing how wet it has been for the last month I asked them how they survived the rain. They said it was pretty bad for many days, but they saw so many interesting things and pretty countryside that it was still worthwhile for them. Regardless, I’m sure they would have been happier as dryer cyclists.

The road I was on was Highway 101. It wasn’t very close to the coast for most of the day, but I knew on the next day, Saturday, I would be on the old Highway 1 which is right next to the ocean for most of its journey.

I made it to Eureka at about 3 pm and decided to call it a day. After finding a hotel I went in search of some good coffee and found it at Ramones Bakery and Coffee. I couldn’t help but overhear the two men at the table beside me and it was clear they were talking about engineering stuff. Both looked in their late 50’s. Using the excuse of needing some information for my trip tomorrow, I approached them and we got to talking.

It turned out one was a civil engineer and the other was a lawyer who was helping the engineer with some contract questions. They seemed to know each other pretty well so they were probably friends as well. I started off by telling them that I couldn't help overhear some of their conversation and had concluded that they were locals. The lawyer smiled at me and asked, “Are you an engineer?”

I chuckled and smiled at him, “Yes, I am….or at least I was. I’m retired now.”

The lawyer looked at his friend the engineer, “See, it is obvious that we talking about engineering stuff.”

I don’t know what question they had been posing to each other, but my introduction got them laughing. We went on to talk about our respective engineering work. At one point the engineer said that he had worked for Bechtel.

“I did some work with Bechtel myself, back in the 70’s,” I noted. “The company I was with, Montreal Engineering, was a partner with Bechtel on the initial, big Syncrude project back then.’

The engineer continued, “Yah, I was with Bechtel Petroleum, but when the recession hit many of us were shipped of to the eastern offices to work on nuclear power projects.”

“Really, well that is interesting. I worked on the automation part of the project and worked in San Francisco for a while with a fellow by the name of Tom Mckee who came from that eastern office of Bechtel’s”

“Now that name definitely rings a bell,’” replied the engineer, “but I can’t put a face to the name.”

“Well, he was a great guy and smart as a whip. We enjoyed working together. We worked on process simulation on the Bechtel simulators in San Francisco. What a small world it is sometimes.”

We talked on like that for a while and then I asked them for ideas for my trip along the coast and for a recommendation of a place for supper. They both thought I should go to this nearby bar and have one of their good, large steaks. I thanked them for the help, but didn’t feel like that sort of meal and settled for something smaller at a brew pub. The food was only average, but the beer was good.


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