A journey from Los Angeles to Seattle on Highway 101, seeking out view spots for picnics… and old car junk for Clark.

Day 12
May 29, 2014
Mendocino to Requa

At breakfast we had arguments with the B&B’s toaster; arguments that we lost. Boo. There were also fill-in innkeepers (not the regular hosts), apparently a woman and her sister. It wasn’t until after breakfast that Clark and I found out we’d each been equally annoyed with them, a mood set when we were ignored for a few minutes after we came in, while they enjoyed a delightful chitchat with each other. Once we found out we’d both been equally off-put, it all became rather funny, especially since we’d both silently tried to persuade ourselves that we were overreacting. Maybe we hadn’t had enough coffee yet.

So, afterwards, we laughed. And we blamed the seven weeks we’d spent on board the MV Explorer last year, when we’d met many wonderful people, but also gotten thoroughly burned out on talking to (or listening to) strangers at meals.

Back on the road, the mood of amusement continued, as we retraced in reverse some of the route that had been the worst day of our previous road trip, two years ago. “Oh, it’s the Avenue of the Giants! That’s where I started crying.” “Ferndale! That’s where we couldn’t get anything to eat because of the parade!” “The Benbow Inn! That’s where they changed our room without telling us, and then we ate in that big empty dining room and they gave you the wrong type of martini.” Clark swears he told me at the time that someday we’d laugh about it. I guess that day is today.

A shady drive with lots of twists and turns.

A shady drive with lots of twists and turns.

Made it to the Requa Inn in Requa (near Klamath), an hour before check-in time. They gave us the wifi code and we sat on the porch and dinked around online until our room was ready, the same room we had last time, called Rhododendron. A lot of the other rooms had their doors open, so we peeked in them all to see if there was another room we’d prefer, next time. Clark, naturally, is drawn to the one with a recliner, set in front of the window to enjoy the river view.

After that, we drove up to the overlook above the mouth of the Klamath River, and found – just like two years ago – that there were grey whales with their calves, near shore. We hiked down to the lower viewpoint and watched them for a while, then trudged back up again.

Pointing at whales we both know my pocket camera has no hope of capturing.

Pointing at whales we both know my pocket camera has no hope of capturing.

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The mouth of the Klamath River. We could hear sea lions barking, but couldn't spot them.

The mouth of the Klamath River. We could hear sea lions barking, but couldn’t spot them.

Back in the room, the bathroom doorknob came off in Clark’s hand, so he got out his Leatherman tool and fixed it. A project! He’s a happy man. Funny, but in an old inn like the Requa, a handle falling off is part of the charm. In a new hotel, it’s an annoyance. I guess it’s all about expectations. We love the Requa Inn, and its quirks.

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Dinner was here at the inn, and we sat with a couple from Marin County, just north of San Francisco. Like us, they were on a trip for their ten-year anniversary. It was, they said, only the second time they’d been away alone together since having kids. It was also the first time either of them had been this far north in California. “No one ever goes up here,” they said. “It’s so remote.”

Now Clark and I sit with our laptops, beside the open windows looking out on the Klamath River. Our dinner companions are in the room next door, and I doubt they realize that we can hear every word they say.

Tomorrow, onwards to Oregon.

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