… but the rolling hills of the Palouse in eastern Washington are the greatest producers of wheat in the United States.
Gold Beach to Bandon-by-the-Sea, Oregon, 55 miles
Another beautiful day on Highway 101…
This one was a surprise. I automatically stop at all roadside attractions — just can’t resist the kitsch. But I didn’t expect an education. The gardens here are so well-maintained, and the information about the gardens and the dinosaurs is presented on friendly, easy-to-digest signs along the way. The most fun thing was to see the real size of dinosaurs in person (yep, they were huge).
Eureka, California to Klamath, California
Gas $3.02/gallon (why is it going up?)
Holiday Inn Express in Klamath (great, brand new hotel attached to a tiny Indian casino)
$117/night + $25/pet fee
Just north of Eureka is the Samoa Cookhouse – I love finding unique places like this (thanks, Roadtrippers). It’s off the beaten path, but worth the 15-minute drive from Highway 101. Built circa 1893, it’s the last lumber camp-style cookhouse still in operation in North America. Established by the Vance Lumber Company, Samoa is one of the last company-owned towns in the US, and the cookhouse was operated for the working lumberjacks.Today, they still encourage you to eat like a lumberjack. It opened to the public in the late 1960s and meals have been served here continuously for over 122 years. It’s all-you-can-eat, family-style. The menu changes daily and you have no choice whatsoever (you can, however, call ahead and find out when they’re serving pot-roast). For lunch today we had a fried pork-steak, peas, baked beans, and country potatoes, with chocolate pudding for dessert, plus soup, salad and homemade bread. So leave your vegan friends at home. It’s friendly, fun, and interesting, with photos of trees and lumberjacks on the walls, plus a small logging museum. Next door to the cookhouse is the Humboldt Maritime Museum.
Klamath is a tiny town in the mountains, but the hotel, a brand-new Holiday Inn Express, was surprisingly nice (for the price) and Vickie at the front desk was so helpful. There was a great restaurant at the hotel, so I didn’t have to leave once I checked in. If you have kids, there’s a nice indoor pool. All I care about is Wifi.
The casino, run by the Yurok tribe, was just slot machines, which is fine with me. I almost laughed out loud when I overheard a middle-aged woman talking about dating in a small town…“It’s hard to find a man with a full set of teeth.”
I’ll leave you with that.
Gas $2.86/gallon in Fort Bragg, California
Red Lion Inn, Eureka
$71/night + $15 pet fee
Nice big room with a view of Humboldt Bay. Very nice staff. Location not great (can’t walk to anything), but there’s a restaurant on-site.
Beautiful weather today — unusually warm for October, 82 degrees. Just 40 miles north of Point Arena is Mendocino.
375 miles (not enough!)
Gas was $2.49/gallon in Albuquerque
Woke up to snowflakes this morning in Albuquerque, but it was all gone by the time we got outside, so Panda will have to wait to experience snow (probably not too long!). I spent some time in Santa Rosa, New Mexico today, which I missed on last year’s trip. It’s one of those cool historic towns on Route 66 that was bypassed with the building of I-40. It must have been ultra-cool back in the day, with neon lights to rival any town of that size. It’s sad to see the empty buildings languish today.
We’re not going all the way to Chicago, but…Panda don’t care…
One final stop of the day: Cadillac Ranch, the ultimate folk art installation in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere. The first time I visited this mecca was in the summer and it was crawling with people — hard to get a clear shot of a single car. So it was a special joy to have the whole place to myself today. I’d spent the day listening to a classic rock station from Amarillo, and Keith Richards’ Autobiography, Live, read on Audible by the delicious Johnny Depp. So, I don’t know why, but it seemed fitting that the song playing as I drove away from the Cadillacs was “Free Bird.”
Ended up in Shamrock, Texas. Wanted to keep driving, but there was heavy fog, so we hunkered down in a hotel in the shadow of the historic U Drop Inn.