Day 61: Our nation’s highways are in good hands

santarosa

DAY 61: Eureka, California
Miles traveled: 7,902
States visited: 20
Weather: 60, overcast

I never thought I’d find myself at a street fair in Santa Rosa, California, but that’s where I was Wednesday night on my way out of San Francisco.

I’d been told that they have a street festival every Wednesday night, but I had no intention of going – until I found myself passing through the town with an hour to kill before dark. So I parked and walked over. I swear every single person in Santa Rosa must have been there. I thought only old people would be there, but high school kids were too.
There were more people than you’d see at the Pittsburgh Arts Fest. It was crazy.

There wasn’t anything special going on, just food, games, live bands, the kind of thing you’d normally see at one of these. Not terribly exciting, but part of my goal of this trip was to experience small town America. This certainly qualifies.

santacooking

I also stopped in Berkeley before leaving the Bay Area. I’d been here 3 years ago and not much is new, still a collection of funky record shops and thrift stores on Telegraph Avenue. I skipped Oakland, because I checked on yelp.com to see where the cool neighborhoods in Oakland were (Yelp has become my Bible while traveling), and even people who lived in Oakland said there weren’t any cool spots.

Then it was off to the Ukiah Walmart to stay the night. On the way I got pulled over for the first time. Not by local police but by something called the Highway Patrol. The officer approached and said, “I stopped you because you don’t have a front license plate.”

I had to explain to him that we don’t have front license plates in Pennsylvania. His response? “Huh.” He was dumbfounded by this bit of information. He headed back to his patrol car, probably to call the station and find out if this was true, but then he stopped, probably realizing he’d look like an idiot if it was, and sent me on my way.

Finally, I reached Eureka, California. I always thought this was a big city, probably because I see it on maps all the time. But it’s just a small town. They don’t even have a Walmart – just a Big Kmart (which was actually very small.) I stopped in to use their bathroom and was immediately taken into a time warp into the late ’90s. This store matched the old Kmart I used to work at exactly. It reminded me of how poorly run this company is. Kmart is so far behind the times, I can’t believe they’re even still in business.

bigkmart

I also went to Redwoods National Park yesterday – see tomorrow’s blog for details.

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