One of the things Sean and I said we were going to do in 2010 was to take more day trips and weekend getaways to the area around San Francisco. As you can see, it's almost the end of 2010 and we've pretty much failed ourselves entirely, but we did also have "buy a house" and "get new jobs" on that list, so we can probably call it even.
(Side note about that last thing: Sean got a new developer job at a digital agency a few months ago, which I can't remember if I mentioned or not, and I switched roles within my company back in June. I am so incredibly happy doing what I'm doing now, and on Friday I got an official promotion, which meant a very pleasing sense of validation as well as a flurry of Linked In-related updating and, of course, a bottle of champagne consumed alongside some take-out Thai and three DVR-ed episodes of America's Next Top Model. Yes, we're very behind. If you tell me who wins, I shall drive over to your house and throw eggs at your mailbox and insult your sister's virtue.)
Anyway! All this to say that a couple of weekends ago, we drove up to Humboldt County with my parents to spend the weekend admiring the redwood trees. The trip was my birthday present to my mother, who once told me that when she was very small, four or five perhaps, she had seen a picture of the redwoods in Northern California and of a car driving through one and so she had, for many decades afterwards, been enamored with the idea of driving a car through a tree. And so I organized a weekend away---under the guise of getting my parents to come up for "cat-sitting"; boy, were they happy when they realized it was only a ruse---and we did just that.
My parents arrived in San Francisco on Thursday afternoon and stayed a few days making delicious meals and setting up furniture, which is kind of how it is when you're a houseguest at our place these days: we put you to work. Bright and early on Saturday morning, we started the five-hour journey north in the pouring rain, which is never exactly pleasant but which is, you know, just rain. An hour or two from our destination, my mother looked out of the window and said "is that snow?" Oh hahaha, we all said, you're hilarious. Snow! As if!
Huh. Would you look at that. Snow. Either that or my dad has a very bad dandruff problem.
Thankfully, the snow was pretty light and it vanished fairly quickly. An hour or so later, tucked up warm inside the car, feasting on kettle chips and listening to David Sedaris, we finally made it to the Chandelier Tree, where, for the princely sum of four dollars, my mother was able to realize her childhood dream.
Did you know how big redwood trees are, by the way? It sounds like rather an obvious thing to say, but I was just completely flabbergasted by how incredibly enormous they were.
I call this one "Honey, I Shrunk My Dad."
I call this one "Please Don't Favorite This On Flickr, Creepy People Who Seem To Have A Wellington Boot Fetish."
Next, it was on to the Shrine Tree, forty-five minutes or so up the Avenue Of The Giants. This one was in a town called Myers Flat, which as you can tell is a pretty happening place to be.
(My brother and sister have a friend called Maia, who lives in London. Needless to say, my parents and I had a hilarious time joking about the drive-through tree being in Myers Flat. "In Maia's flat?" we'd ask each other, straight-faced. "How did a tree fit into Maia's flat?" The thing about being a part of the Burns family, as Sean has quickly found out, is that we all make the dad jokes.)
Anyway, the good thing about driving through trees, even in freezing, drizzly weather, is that it never really gets old.
Also, you just get super creative about your photo posing options.
With dusk falling, we made our way to our hotel for the night, the charming River Bar Farm. After a cup of tea and a quick nap, we headed out for dinner at the Eel River Brewing Company, where we drank beer and ate burgers and generally congratulated ourselves on a pretty perfect day, before heading back to the hotel for a game of scrabble in the parlor. Haven't you always wanted to play scrabble in a parlor? Sean, very wisely, ceded the game to his father-in-law, losing by only three points. For me, who has lost every single one of our games of scrabble to Sean---apart from one, which I remember as clearly as our wedding day, that's how important it was---this was a particularly momentous conclusion. Point Burns!
Here is what River Bar Farm looked like, by the way: like a commercial for Fall:
The next day, after a breakfast at the B&B involving apples from the orchard and eggs from the farm's chickens, we visisted nearby Ferndale, which looked less like a commercial for Fall and more like a commercial for the Victorian era.
Driving around, we kept seeing signs for a local flea market. Since the words "flea market" have the same effect on me and my mother as, say, "fifty percent off" have on....well, me and my mother, we wove through tiny country roads until we arrived at the Loleta Fireman's Pavilion and paid our fifty cents entry to get in. My dad came away with some cherry red work boots, my mother got some old state plates for a dollar each, and Sean bought me a vintage marble rolling pin I had my eye on, making it a pretty worthwhile haul. Just down the road, we popped into the Loleta Cheese Factory, which was basically my dream come true. There were samples as far as the eye could see! Cheese just there for the taking!
It was truly one of the best weekends I've had in a long, long time, every single detail of it pretty much perfect. I'm so glad that I was able to arrange something special for my mother and help her cross one of her must-do experiences off her list.
I don't think any of her other must-do experiences involve gallivanting about on train tracks with her daughter, but I guess I've got that one covered too.
Full set of Redwoods Adventure pictures is here. My very favorite of all is the impromptu album cover photo my parents and I took in which we all gazed wistfully in different directions while wondering how our record would do. Mission: pretend you're in an obscure 1960s band that no-one has heard of and you're shooting the front cover of your album. Challenge: accepted, of course!
I'm the drummer, in case you hadn't guessed. We're going to be huge.