Yesterday (April 12) was a day off for the band—they appear to have taken each Monday off during the North American leg of the tour. The next concert (April 13, today) was scheduled to take place in Oakland, California—some good ~800km away.
We decided—much, by the way, in accordance with Alex Flagg’s recommendations—to take the Interstate (I‐5) south, then take the US‐199 highway to take us along the shore, so we can enjoy some of Oregon’s and Northern California’s scenery.
No need to rush, then; took the time easy in Eugene, Oregon. It was a beautiful day—perfect for a convertible ride, so we took the roof down and passionately consumed each kilometre on the I‐5.
The state of Oregon is a beautiful state. I remember quite vividly my astonishment of the surroundings during the 2008’s Kill to Get Crimson tour—back then, I drove the opposite way. The I‐5, which is supposed to be a busy, boring highway, turned out to be very pleasant to drive and, man, such nice views…
I would summarize driving in southern Oregon as “pretty similar to driving into the interior of British Columbia, Canada—but with hardly any lakes along the way”. True, lakes add beauty but Oregon has quite the scenery to offer. Everywhere you look you see green, green and more green; at some point you think that the entire world is actually green, everything should be green and whatever isn’t green will turn green at some point.
And it’s nice, until at some point you get tired of it. Then we saw this sign:
Somewhere along the Redwood Highway (of course, not before I noticed a sign, placed by Oregon state, thanking me for visiting and begging for me to come back; OK, OK… I will).
The Redwood National Park, and accompanying “State Parks” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redwood_National_and_State_Parks) are a collection of parks located in Northern California and containing… well, you guessed it—lots of Redwood. Folks, are those trees high; in fact, they are the tallest trees on earth. Tall and massive, too; it’s not hard to mistake the trunk of one such tree with a decent‐sized cabin.
The Redwood Parks are gorgeous. Driving through those parks reminded me a lot of driving through highway 4 in Vancouver Island, BC—only the trees are taller (of course) and… again… no lakes, however the ocean is right there beside the road (at some locations).
The roads are at times narrow, and offer endless turns, small inclines and declines—motorcycle riders would call this place “paradise”. Really good place to practice your driving, too. Also, the state of California is doing a pretty good job keeping the area clean, and—more importantly—safe, as the roads here are in tip‐top shape.
We stopped along the way to take some pictures:
It is really hard to capture, using pictures, the actual feeling you get when you’re actually there. I wouldn’t call myself a tree‐hugger, but nature attracts me in very special ways, especially the combination of greenery, mountains, rocks and water. The views along the coast of Northern California reminded me a lot of the magnificent coasts of Cape‐Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada—virgin, wild, rugged coastline that simply begs for mankind to take a step back and stop ruining it for everybody.
The love for nature is also the prominent reason for my wish to, at some point of time, live in the city of Vancouver. Yes, the city itself is nice and all—very laid back and cozy—but what really gives me the kick about it is the natural setting in which it’s nestled.
One day, Vancouver… one day.
For the most part while driving on highway 199 (and then highway 1), it was either drizzling or raining. Therefore, we decided to neglect our original plan of going to Mendocino—Alex was raving about that place, but no worries, I’ll get there at some point—and drive as far as we could towards Oakland. For safety reasons, we decided to stop driving once it gets dark as, really, the risk isn’t worth it.
We stopped for an early dinner in a place called “Bless My Soul Cafe” in Eureka, California. This is a small cafe, owned by an extremely vivid and friendly lady who names herself “Mama Janisse”. She also cooks most of the items in the menu. The prices in the menu (approx $15 an entree) may scare‐off a few people, but wait, don’t go anywhere—even if the portions appear to be small. They aren’t. They’re just enough for %99 of the people I know, and they are delicious. Man, can Mama Janisse cook. I went for the vegetarian Creole—essentially an enchilada filled with good stuff and smothered in some spicy sauce… WOW.
A glance at the map suggested that we should stay the night in Willits, California. We arrived there when it was already dark, around 8:30pm. Super‐8 Motel charged us $80 for a 2‐beds suite—not bad, and the place itself is well‐kept (except for the Wi‐Fi which drove Jeroen bananas until he finally positioned his Netbook in just the right location to get some sort of signal. I should note though that the staff did everything they could to help).
I was way too tired to write a blog yesterday evening, plus I had some little project to work on (sorry, no details) so after a couple of hours of work I decided to call it a night.
That was a very good day—lots of driving but also lots of sight‐seeing and soul‐replenishment with all the nature around.
See you shortly at the next post,