It is the Fourth of July, and holidays are time for a field trip. Where? Field trip to Eureka!
It is a long drive. It is a beautiful drive. Although the highway now bypasses most of the towns in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, it is still a drive with a high quotient of old weird America. There are quirky treasures in Eureka – stay tuned for the next few holidays – but as the old Cunard Lines said, getting there is a significant fraction of the fun.
I made three stops along the way. There are more. I will pick them up next time.
Stop #1 was Confusion Hill. It is in Piercy, California. It opened in 1949 and has changed little since then. It was built by George Hudson who was inspired by the Oregon Vortex and the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot.
I first stopped at Confusion Hill on the way to Mendocino in the early 1980s. That means I was in my late twenties or early thirties. It’s all about me!
I did not go in the Gravity House at Confusion Hill. It is said to produce tilt-induced optical illusions, making visitors feel the need to stand upright even though they already are. Not for me.
Four-tenths of a mile north of Confusion Hill are the Grandfather Tree and the One Log House attractions.
The Grandfather Tree was closed when we were there. Dang! Not the tree. It was neither open nor closed, but the attraction. Was closed. Lots of carvings:
Adjacent to the Grandfather Tree attraction is the One Log House. The website tells us: “Hollowed out in 1946 from a single log, the Famous One-Log House was created from a redwood tree over 2100 years old! This section alone weighed 42 tons. It took two men eight months of hard labor to hollow out a room 7 feet high and 32 feet long. Enough chips came out of it to build a five-bedroom house! This special log home includes living, dining, & bedroom areas just like any other trailer or motor home. ”
Another amazing thing about this “house” is that its actually on wheels. Art Schmock, the creator, intended to have it tour across the country but ran into problems because of its size so it rested in Clam Beach for a time, then the town of Leggett for 25 years, and then twenty-three years in Phillipsville. Ready to travel again, it moved in 1999 to its current home on US Highway 101.”
Another almost nine miles north on 101 is the Legend of Bigfoot.
There have been 14 Big Foot sightings in Mendocino County, 42 in Humboldt. Humboldt County leads the state. Do you doubt this claim? Check here. I did not sight Big Foot. Lots of carvings here too.
Looking at this photo, I can’t believe that I didn’t buy one of these.
It’s another hour from here north to Eureka. There is the chance for a detour along the Avenue of the Giants – beautiful, recommended – and the chance to drive east to Willow Creek where the Bigfoot Museum is. Maybe eat at Bigfoot Burger. Maybe stay at the Bigfoot Motel. Maybe next year on the trip north.
I asked my friend for his take on these photos of the trip to Eureka. In the early 1970s he was back and forth to Humboldt County a number of times.
A woman he knew (“just someone I used to know“) had moved from her apartment at Normandy Village up to the Lighthouse Ranch, a Jesus Movement slash hippie commune. My friend never bought into the Jesus stuff, although he could recite the Sermon on the Mount. He felt was a stronger articulation of progressive values than the Port Huron Statement.
Anyway, the thing is – he knows the drive to Humboldt, or at least at one time he knew it. He was glad to see these photos, and to think of those days, of unrequited love, Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” as the soundtrack. There is something about our feelings for those who send us away, isn’t there?
What about the post, my friend, what do you think?
I am enjoying your web site and pass the posts on to a few friends. I have driven US 101 a few times but have never stopped at any of these attractions. At a young age, I was in too big of a hurry to get North. It’s time to slow down.
Hi, Tom! This is a great post. I haven’t been on the drive since November 2015, but plan to this August. We’ve missed various roadside attractions now gone…but certainly worth stopping in to whatever remains, since they will be gone before we know it! Mary’s Beer Garden, gone, for instance. Chain sawing for jesus, also history….