Saturday, July 19, 2008 – Eureka, California

Today when we woke up the marine layer was in.  Yay!  I am really hoping that the cooler moist air will help to soothe my lungs.  I have been having constant asthma problems ever since the fires here in California started.  In fact on the way up here, we passed through miles and miles of murky, smoky air.  There was a fire base camp with hundreds of small tents for the firefighters to get a few hours of rest.  It must be a really difficult job.  Anyway, the moist air from the Pacific is covering Eureka and will probably remain until this afternoon.  And I’m glad.

Marine layer

This morning we went to the Blue Ox Millworks.  We were treated to a personal tour by the owner, Eric Hollenbeck, who had quite a bit of acclaim in the 90’s being televised explaining his craft and honored by President Clinton on Earth Day. Here’s a picture of John standing by Paul Bunyan at the Blue Ox.

Blue Ox

The shop does both new and restoration work.  The machines in the shop date from the 1800’s to the mid-1900’s. They make their own knives for the woodworking machines and their own stains.  They also run a program for at-risk youth.  The mill is an alternative high school.  The kids learn a trade and all their academics through a hands-on program.  On the grounds are many exhibits including a rose garden.

Blue Ox rose garden

After lunch we did a walking tour of downtown Eureka.  I had printed the tour off the internet and was the envy of other tourists. Since our condo is in a great location, the tour started right outside our door.  We walked all over downtown and then took a ride to the Carson Mansion.     

                                        Carson Mansion   

 Finally, we took a ride out to the beach.  As you can see, the beach is a pretty uncrowded place.

Uncrowded beach

An interesting aspect of the beach here is that after Pearl Harbor was attacked, there was a lot of fear that the west coast would be attacked.  For protection, ammunition bunkers were built and the coast guard patrolled the beaches watching for submarines.

WWII bunkers, Samoa, CA

So all in all Eureka has been a pretty interesting place.  There are Victorian houses, a working harbor, WWII history, and the lumber industry.  We ate out at the Lost Coast Brewery Pub and stayed in a condo on the waterfront in the middle of the historic district for about as much as you would pay for a good hotel.  Here’s a picture of our condo.  It’s on the second floor in the middle.  The picture is taken from the Eureka boardwalk.  Eureka only needs sunnier weather and more accessibility to become a tourist haven.

Bayfront One 

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