Eureka, California: Population = 27,226, elevation = 39 feet, Average January low temp = 41.1º, Average July high temp = 63.4º, Average precipitation = 40.33”, Average precipitation days = 127.5
Highway 101 follows the coastline South through Oregon and into California. There are mighty slabs of rock, wrested from the Earth’s crust and tilted like fallen dominoes against the coast. There are broad sandy beaches ringed with dense ferny rainforest. There are little coastal cities, clotted with the traffic on Highway 101. As we passed through Brookings, they were experiencing a dense soup of smoke from nearby forest fires. For miles, the sky was a murky brown. When we finally got back to clear sky, we were in California. The highway takes us through the Redwood National park, where the narrow road twists and turns between the behemoths of the forest.
Eureka is another interesting West Coast city. The harbor is filled with boats, both working and pleasure craft, bobbing pier side. A neat historic district holds many beautifully restored old buildings containing a variety of interesting and funky shops, bars, and restaurants.
There are also murals everywhere. The first murals were done by established artists. Later works were done by a collective of 14 to 24 year olds calling themselves the Rural Burl Mural Bureau, who regularly paint new murals. So far, the Mural Trail includes 22 murals.
It has been a while since we have seen a zoo, so we decided to have a look at the Sequoia Park Zoo. This is not a huge zoo, but what they have is interesting and a little unusual. Just outside of the zoo enclosure they have an awesome redwood forest and a beautifully tended garden.
There seems to be a little confusion about redwoods and sequoias. Technically, both are part of the same species and genus. Up close and personal, the redwoods grow very tall and have needles like a flattened pine branch. The sequoias grow very wide and have needles like little spikes. To see some of the best redwoods, take a drive on the Avenue of the Giants, just South of Eureka. Some of these monster trees are over 1,000 years old. If you ever go, be sure to keep a wary eye on your surroundings. This is where the Sasquatch was spotted.
The summer days in Eureka are cool and comfortable, starting with morning fog then clearing away for sunny skies. This would be a great city to live in, but it could use a little work. The boardwalk has nothing alongside most of it. Too many of the streets are decayed washboards. It could use a good cleanup. But, with all that, it is still a fine city with lots to see and do.
Next up: Penngrove, California