It’s raining when we wake up at 5:30 am. I finish off the cold coffee and then drive us to Garberville to get a hot refill at Chevron, check Shell for donuts, then drive to Ray’s across the street – they don’t open for another 30 minutes. They have a sign on the door to leave backpacks and bedrolls outside… hmm. We’re about to leave town when we notice a diner that’s open – Eel River Café – no credit cards accepted.
There are plenty of Holstein cows on the walls to match the black and white checkered floor. Two dollars get me six ounces of orange juice. I order two pancakes and half an English muffin with egg, tomato, onion, and avocado. Caleb gets a large orange juice with biscuits and gravy. The pancakes weren’t all that great, but filling enough that I didn’t finish them. We will drive along the coast, stopping for toilet breaks, gas, and drinks.
We stop outside of Elk, California to pet some cows that were hiding from the rain under a large group of trees. It feels good to be out of the car after being stuck in it for the last few hours looking for a trail to walk. We will get another chance to stretch our legs at Shell Beach before stopping early for the night in the pet friendly hotel town of Petaluma. We get room 216 at the Quality Inn at 4:30 pm, with a Jacuzzi, for $110 (a deal considering the cost of being near San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean, and the Sonoma wine valley).
Our room smells like marijuana and I find an empty blue pill on the floor. The rain stops, but we don’t feel like walking the almost four miles to dinner at The New Yorker Pizza and Restaurant – cash and check only. There are postcards from all over the world on the wall. We get a beer each, a small veggie pizza, an order of cheesy pesto twists, and a slice of cheesecake. We return to the room where I can soak in the tub. A day of rain and turns has me more tired than usual, but water is still my relaxing companion. We watch Green Lantern as we fall asleep.