I'd been on the road for 9 hours on Highway 1, and made it to Arcata by the end of the day, which meant I had averaged about 35mph. Google has the travel time at around 6 hours, but doesn't factor in all the one-way temp road closures, aforementioned double-wides on wheels, slowpoke drivers and, of course, stopping for gas, to take pictures and leaks, etc. I thought I'd stay in Eugene, but like all towns that really have nothing to offer the world except an overpriced hotel room and fried fast-food, it's a hard town to love and, considering all the vagrants just lounging around waiting to scrounge up enough money to buy a dime bag or a hit, I pressed on to Arcata, which was only slightly better. I saw a lot of farm houses that I'd have loved to stay in--maybe someday I'll get up enough courage to just stop in and ask a farmer if I can crash in the hay, but I'd better show up with a sleeping bag, too, because it's cold here this time of year at night.
Had some lackluster lamb kebabs and some really spicy mushrooms before settling in and konking out.
The next morning I realized I'd better get some pictures of how a lot of the 'hippie' drug culture in NorCal lives. To each their own, can't say that anyone living out of their car is any less happy than someone living in a cube to pay for their car; and I can't say someone hitchhiking (holy shit there are a lot of people who hitchhike up here!) isn't actually having a great time, but I find it impossible to trust those who just want something from you (a dollar, a ride, a cigarette, gas money, etc.). I ran into a couple of dudes who were really interested in talking to me about my bike, but not 5 seconds after beginning to answer their questions, they grew impatient and asked for what they really wanted all along: free money. A strange ethical foundation lies beneath the surface of all of my decisions that I still don't quite understand, but one thing is clear--treating people as just a vehicle for something self-serving is wrong, always. That might be the only ethical clarity we have (thanks Kant) that's absolute and an ethical law I can't recall ever having broken for the past 25 years (hey, I was a stupid kid who did stupid things, but I learned). So when someone violates that principle, sympathy and compassion tend to not be high on my list of reactions.
In any case, there's a subculture in North NorCal that's all its own, providing a stark contrast to the pure, unadulterated beauty of the surrounding land and ocean.
And this was straight out of Breaking Bad. A rolling meth lab (or just an RV cruising out to camp on a nice spot by a river), stuck in sand, with the entire back end of the vehicle resting on the ground. I kept expecting a dude to get out in his underwear, but all I saw was a woman looking at the back tire rooster-tailing sand. A little too late even for the 'lowering the tire pressure' trick.