Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Weekend in Arcata

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter.

We (Denise and I) took advantage of the long weekend (Good Friday is a Toro holiday) to drive up and visit Jacob on his birthday.  It is a long damn drive from Temecula to Arcata and I don't mind sharing that with you.  It is so long that we broke up the drive, going as far as Petaluma on Thursday evening and then finishing the drive Friday morning.

Denise and I shared driving duties, taking turns with one of us driving while the other caught up with work, thanks to the modern miracle of laptops and wireless broadband internet access.  One of the problems with catching up with work on the road is that Denise must necessarily drive while I'm on my laptop (I don't think California law specifically prohibits the use of Microsoft Office from your laptop while driving - yet - but I figure I shouldn't test it) and consequently has command of the audio programming.  Man, some of that music leaves something to be desired.

We had a nice visit/dinner with T at the Homeroom in Oakland, a mac and cheese mecca.  Only just fabulous.  And really convenient off the 580.  I must stop there more often on my frequent (semi-annual) trips through the east bay area.

After dinner we drove the remaining 45 minutes or so to our lodging in Petaluma and sometime around midnight had an opportunity to Skype with Nicholas in Italy.  He has posted some updates on his blog, so if you haven't already, you should check it out.  It would appear that he is having a great time.

Friday headed the rest of the way up to Arcata, stopping in Fortuna at the Eel River Brewing Company and had lunch in their Taproom Grill.  Had a few good beers, way too many appetizers and consequently not much actual lunch.

We stayed in Arcata at a fairly nice place, the Arcata Stay Scenic View Stay.  It's actually some one's guest house that they rent out for visiting HSU parents and other ne'er do wells.

At this point, I should point out that I am FAT.  I came to this knowledge through the courtesy of the two floor length mirrored wardrobe doors in the Scenic View Stay bedroom.  Aahh!  One look in those mirrors and I came up with what I think will be a foolproof (it will have to be) weight-loss plan.  I will text Denise every time I eat something.  This will help me focus on my consumption and the texting fees will eliminate any money I might otherwise have used to purchase more food.

But I digress.  It was good to see Jacob.  We made a trip to the Arcata farmer's market (being in the Emerald Triangle I decided to buy a couple $5 bags of herb) on Saturday morning.  Later did a little hiking and celebrated Jake's birthday belatedly that evening (Friday he and Natalie were attending Drag Night or some such.)  
Bag of "Herbs" from Arcata Farmer's Market - I believe this one is the Fantastic Fish Blend - lemon basil, chives, dill, thyme and celery

Birthday dinner was pizza, no mean feat given the extremely limited capabilities of the kitchen in the SVS.  The pizza was accomplished with a fair amount of cursing (the f'ing oven door slammed shut on my arm, once causing me to spill half the pizza toppings all over the electric oven heating element, TWICE burning my arm and generally screwing up my crusts by burning portions due to the uneven oven heating.  In the end it was not too bad if you avoided the burned crusts.  Dessert was a chocolate brownie (baked in a cast-iron skillet that was one of Jake's gifts) topped with vanilla ice cream. 

Birthday gifts also included an audio mixer and a camera, the latter being an afterthought because Denise forgot to bring our camera.  I figured since Jake had no camera I'd just buy one, make it a gift and thereby have some photographic record of our trip.

Sunday, we had a breakfast of grandpa's pancakes at the SVS (no oven required, thank god) and then set out on a death march out the Skunk Cabbage Coastal Trail.  Actually it was very pretty and a pretty mellow trail, although a bit sloppy due to the frequent rain.  We did an out and back loop of about 7 miles which would have been fine had I remembered to bring my hiking boots.  Unfortunately all I had was a pair of cross trainers that beat the crap out of my feet.

Returned to the SVS, hosed off my muddy shoes and set about preparing a vegetarian lasagna for our last night in town. We were joined again by Jake and Natalie.  Had to call a short evening, because Jake needed to be up by 4:00-ish for work Monday AM.  We on the other hand, were able to sleep in to a leisurely 6:00 wake up for a 6:30 start to the drive home.  A mere twelve and half hours later we were back at home with our bouncing baby Leo there to meet us.

In case you are interested, there are more pictures here.


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