This week we drove up the coast from Petaluma and through the “Redwood Curtain” to Arcata, CA. We called a spot at Mad River Rapids RV Park home. We explored Rae's alma mater, Humboldt State University, and spent two days getting lost in the Redwood Community Park. A quick drive up the coast led us to Trees of Mystery for a beautiful view from the top of the “Sky Trail”. Carmen came too! Next, we explored a little of Redwood State and National Park with a stop by the famous Fern Canyon. It is definitely a must see!
This week also happened to be Rae's birthday so we had mimosas and crepes for breakfast. Next we watched a weed parade (Yes We Can-nabis) that happened to pass us in downtown Arcata. Then finished up her birthday night with a visit to Eureka for a ghost tour. We also spent an amazing hour at Finnish Country Sauna & Tubs for a relaxing evening soak.
Drive up the 101
This was our longest drive yet. We left early enough though to get to Mad River Rapids around 3 pm. The drive was beautiful but a little nerve racking at times. The 101 takes you through a few redwood groves where the massive trees grow right on the side of the road. If I was in a regular car or even just the truck I don't think I would have paid them much mind. However, while towing the fifth wheel I felt like every single one was going to catch on the side of our trailer as we went by. We passed through a small town and encountered a packed reggae festival in full swing. I highly recommend taking the drive if you are heading north of San Francisco. It is 100 times better than the I-5.
Humboldt State University and Arcata Community Park
Rae was familiar with the area since she attended college here for four years. She toured us around the town and we visited her old apartment and work. The coolest place in Arcata is easily the community park. It is behind the college and has miles of dog friendly trails to walk. It still astonishes me how quickly you can go from town to middle of the forest in a matter of minutes! This place was so cool that we spent two days here just hiking, exploring, and taking photographs.
Finnish Country Sauna & Tubs
Address: 495 J St, Arcata, CA 95521
Phone: (707) 822-2228
Hours: Open Daily from 12 pm – 11 pm
Wow, I wish that every hot tub was a wooden barrel. This place was difficult to get reservations as they only accept phone reservations for the next day and the spots fill up quickly. They also don't have call waiting so you must call and call until you don't get a busy signal. I understand why they are busy though because the hot tubs are amazing. You get a private dressing room to get ready in before heading into your own private fenced area with your hot tub. They have a red-yellow-green light system to tell you when your allotted time is coming to an end. This place is another must see in the area. Don't forget to bring a towel (they rent them if you do)!
Fern Canyon and Trees of Mystery
We drove North two days in a row to explore what the redwoods had to offer. We stopped at the tourist trap called Trees of Mystery to check out the large, talking Paul Bunyan and Blue statues. Dogs are allowed so we explored the various trails with Carmen who was excited to be out and about. She even got into a gondola that took us to the top of a mountain! We decided to take the hiking trail back down and that was a horrible mistake. The trails were so steep that we needed to hold onto a rope most the time. Carmen loved it though. One spot that you can not miss while in the area is Fern Canyon. It is one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. This place looks exactly like it does in pictures and we were not disappointed.
We started Rae's 29th birthday out with mimosas in bed. This was followed by crepes and more mimosas at Renata's Creperie (which is amazing by the way). We each got a savory crepe and shared a dessert crepe. Once we were finished, we wandered down to the town center where there was a farmers market. We picked up a carnivorous plant for the RV and a few purple bell peppers for us. Everyone was packing up to close early so we asked a vendor what was going on. He told us that there was a parade to celebrate the legalization of recreational marijuana. We found out that it was named “Yes we Can-nabis” and was a motley assortment of people marching down the street. A sight to see indeed.
Eureka Ghost Tour
We finished off Rae's birthday with a trip to Eureka for a ghost tour. The tour started off on the wharf where locals say they see the ghost of an old sailor looking for his crew. It also took us into an old and very unique hotel that is said to have multiple hauntings. As with the San Francisco ghost tour, they tend to be more dark history than scary but very enjoyable. My only pet-peeve with this particular tour was almost every story was prefaced with “we don't have proof” or “we can't verify”. Obviously, we are on a ghost tour, we know you can't verify the sighting. It really put a damper on every story for us.
It turned out to be a nice relaxing week after the mishaps of week 2. We started to get more accustomed to living in an RV. It also began to feel less like a vacation and more like a lifestyle. We really get into the groove of things in week four where we explored the Oregon Caves and had plenty of fun in the river that was right behind our campsite!