Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Northern California…

by Steph

In Arcata, CA, we were staying with Leslie, my best friend from college (that’s University), her husband Olin, and their dog, Poppy. Poppy leads the most wonderful life of any dog I’ve ever met. She gets to walk across the road to the beach every day where she chases birds for an hour or more in the morning, and then goes back again in the afternoon. She also goes hiking in the redwoods, gets a taste of most people-meals, and looked at me with annoyance when I tried to displace her from the front passenger seat of the car. Here’s Poppy:

Poppy the dog

So far Steve would have you believe that all we did in Arcata was shoot guns: not true! We also had a lesson in aerial. If you’re not from the circus you may not be familiar with that term, but it includes trapeze, silks, stilts, and other forms of performance you might find people doing way up in the air without a net while clowns run around below.

Turns out over the last 6 years or so, Leslie has been learning the art, and now teaches and performs around northern California among other places (she even went to the Fringe in Edinburgh a couple of years ago). Here she is on the silks:

Now here Steve is on the silks:

In the spirit of building upper-body strength, we went to the rock climbing gym. Here are some monkeys on the rocks:


Nighttime activities included bowling (ending in a Scooby-Doo adventure in which two of our friends’ wallets were stolen by the group of bowlers next to us, who then took the money to the casino nearby. One of the girls in our group was a force to be reckoned with, and she chased the perps down, marching them out of the casino to the police, who patted them down and gave them a stern talking to. And they would have got away with it if it weren’t for those crazy kids….), sci-fi B movie night at the old cinema (Hercules and Goliath were on the playbill…with surprisingly hard-to-follow plots, we focused on the beer), and bananagrams (a type of speed scrabble word game, which Leslie wins 99.99999% of the time. I managed to win two games by the end of the week, out of many games played).


Here is the beach near Arcata. Look closely to see dozens of surfers.






Here we are with Olin collecting mussels for our dinner.







Here I am trying to lure some feral horses with a handful of grass. It didn’t work.



We also visited the house Leslie and Olin are building in the mountains. When I say “Leslie and Olin are building’ I mean that THEY are building it, not hiring other people to do the work. They designed it themselves and have used found and reclaimed materials, like old construction pallets, antique doors, and even old car parts! Don’t let this lead you to believe it’s some junk heap- it’s a beautiful ‘grand design’ with twisting staircase, vaulted ceilings, and giant picture windows.

After saying goodbye to our friends, we headed East to Lake Tahoe.

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