Day 21- Gasquet, CA - Laytonville, CA * Day 22-Laytonville, CA
Today marks three full weeks of Quarantour. We are holding strong and still have a genuine lust for what is still to come. I’m grateful to have a partner as adventurous as I am who can live so minimally in an 8’ x 7’ box that we tow behind our car that pops up and spreads out into what we now call home. I am grateful for August as well. He does the road like an old pro trapped in an 8 year old body. Our conversations are deeper and more inquisitive than ever. His self taught knowledge of the atlas is improving daily and shows a true love for this journey and those to come. If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now. I’m happy.
Today started slow as Maggie’s alarm didn’t sound. Her phone died overnight in between us as we slept. Oh well. We got out an hour later than planned with no real schedule to abide by. Rebecca had given us a list of places to check out on our ride south down the 101.
Our first stop was in Trinidad where Maggie found organic triple shot iced coffees for us while August and I walked to view the coastline. We overlooked a beautiful natural harbor and discussed what year Dark Side Of The Moon came out. As we wandered, we recognized a sign for Katy’s Seafood which was on Rebecca’s list for best smoked albacore. We bought the albacore as well as some smoked salmon and packed it away for later. We met back up with Maggie and got back on the road.
Next stop was Arcata for bagels and a trip the Market for cold brew concentrate. Arcata seems like a laid back town and I wouldn’t mind sticking around a little bit longer in the future under different conditions. Everyone was masked and respectful of each other, and I felt an overall sense of community there. Black Lives Matter signs adorned the windows and gardens of many of the houses we walked by on the way to Los Bagels. Maggie and I ordered slugs and August got an everything bagel. This would prove to be our only meal until much later in the day.
After leaving Arcata, we were Laytonville bound, but not before taking a parallel detour down the Avenue Of Giants. The Avenue Of Giants is a road that travels alongside the 101 that cuts through a dense redwood forest that showcases the majestic nature of the redwoods. The bases of some of these trees were wider than our car. As a matter of fact, we pulled off the road for an attraction that allowed you to drive through the base of a redwood. We weren’t actually able to do it as trailers weren’t allowed, but we paid as walkers to view and walk through the base. I’ve spent $6 on dumber shit. It was cool to see though.
We eventually made it to Laytonville where our dear friend Marc, from our Palo Duro and Telluride adventures, was awaiting our arrival at a local market. We exchanged pleasantries and purchased some goodies for dinner that it turns out we wouldn’t need for tonight. We stopped by Marc’s brother’s restaurant before heading to his brother’s farm to set up camp.
We nestled our pop up in a back corner of the property next to Marc and Katie’s vintage Argosy. We have gotten the set up and break down of the camper down to a science by this point and our home was ready in no time. After Marc’s brother, Mat, gave us a tour of the property, we were informed that a family style meal was awaiting us back at the main house. We couldn’t be more grateful for the hospitality we have been shown on our trip so far, and today is no different.
We found ourselves back at our campers after dinner drinking beers and catching up on our journeys and new ideas. This is an exciting and weird time as we are exploring creative, out of the box ideas knowing that the music scene will not be a reliable source for income in the coming months. That’s all I can say on that now. August was just happy to have WiFi for the first time in days, so he caught up with his friends on his Nintendo switch before I laid him down to sleep.
Of course, time flies when you’re having fun, and it is now 3am. Maggie just preemptively took 2 Dramamine to hopefully subdue what would surely be another hangover day, and I am here reminiscing on what turned out to be a great day driving, exploring, and catching up with our fellow road dogs. Love is in the air.
This morning brought yet another harsh reminder of the reality out country is facing. Due to Covid case spikes and the subsequent local government mandates put in place to aid in once again flattening the curve, I received a text informing me that our Placitas, NM play will most likely be canceled. We have also decided to cancel our second Dallas stop as our host recently tested positive.
After getting our things together for a day on the Eel River, we followed Marc and Katie to Marc’s brother Mat’s restaurant, The Big Chief, for lunch. The Big Chief is influenced by the flavors of New Orleans, and it did not disappoint. I had a shrimp poboy that was on point. The bread is made by a west coast baker specifically for the Chief and The Parish Cafe in Healdsburg, where I’ll be playing tomorrow. We’ve already decided to return tomorrow for lunch while we launder our clothing.
We made our way down a long highway off of the 101 that followed the Eel River to jacuzzi rock. Jacuzzi Rock, at least today, was completely vacant. We made the rather treacherous hike down the steep hillside to our oasis for the day. Large Jade boulders lined the beach casting shade on crystal clear, still-water pools amidst rushing river waters. The river bed was made up of well worn jade and agate of all shapes and sizes. I was unable to identify the plentiful 5” fish curiously swimming around our arms and legs. This was exactly what we needed.
August has become quite the explorer and helped Marc and I navigate an upriver hike around the boulders and through the current until we reached whitewater rapids. The colors. The feel of the cool rushing water against our bodies. Friendship and oneness with our surroundings. All of our worries washed away, at least for the moment, and that’s enough for me.
We kicked our legs up with our backs to the rapids and let the current take us back to our pool. Marc and I discussed the idea that we could forego all life giving sustenances to stay here as long as we could. It’s places like this that dreams are made of.
We eventually had to get back to the farm for me and Marc to set up for an evening of music for a few of the farmers and their friends. The excitement around the camp was palpable. Justin, the proprietor of the farm scrambled to set up lights and lasers and a disco ball. Marc and I finally settled into our seats and put together a solid unrehearsed set.
We then set up August for a DJ set and he rocked the crowd, often leaving them wanting more. He has a special thing going on with his electronic music and it was evident tonight. Our new friend, Jacob, worked with August post set to produce a track on the spot that Jacob freestyled over. It truly is special.
Marc and I were coerced into playing a second set, and we were grateful to do so. Everyone here works so hard every day from what I can tell, and the music we played for them tonight was such a great outlet for them to relax and enjoy themselves and each other.
We hung for a little while after the set before retiring to our respective campers. It was another long and beautiful day and tomorrow is coming fast.
The reality of the world today has not escaped me. While our travels continue to be exciting and new, a journey of this length is no escape. But we aren’t escaping life, we are living it.
Remember to be good to yourselves and each other.