20220803 Eureka to Crater Lake

Hotel Breakfast isn’t that hard

I am perplexed watching people at hotel breakfast bar. What is the hold up? Have you never had done this before? Get in there. Make some choices or get out of the way of the hotel breakfast professionals:

Choose your own breakfast adventure.

  • Unripe banana
  • Yogurt
  • Suspicious sausage
  • Wet eggs 
  • Dry old bagel 
  • Plastic danish

Choose! Choose now! For god’s sake what is taking so long? By the way, that spray next to the waffle iron isn’t for that. Just stop.

We checked out Eureka, Woodley island, and Arcata. We got Costco gasoline. Moved up the road.

Proper planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance

A simple plan poorly researched. I have a problematic jacket designed for kayaking. It has rubber gaskets at the neck and wrists to keep water out. It is called a Dry Top. I have a huge head and on my best day in the past 30 years I have a 18 and 1/2 inch neck. The jacket has a rubber neck gasket wide enough to accommodate my elbow. You can not imagine how hilarious my family finds this. I have struggled for minutes to get in on, then I start turning blue. I stretched it out over a pot for days. I trimmed it. It didn’t get any better.

In my imagination, I thought a visit to the Kokatat factory would involve a cowardly lion, a straw man, and a little dog too! End result would be me meeting the magic man behind the curtain and walking away with a dry top that fits my fat head. There is no great and terrible OZ handing out wishes. There isn’t even a show room or factory outlet. There was a polite and efficient HR lady. She gave me the 800 number and told me to call repair and talk to the guy. He was helpful and informative.

Back to the trees

We checked out the Redwoods. I think we repeated a lot of the places Merryweather and I visited. I had a grove in my mind to visit, but couldn’t quite remember the name. We stopped at the National Park visitor center north of Eureka. They were extremely helpful. The place I was looking for was very close.

Ladybird Johnson Grove

The Ladybird Johnson Redwood Grove is a pretty easy walk. They have a nice parking lot, but don’t allow trailers. This was unfortunate because some a-hole had parked their trailer and totally messed up the parking lot traffic pattern and also managed to park smack dab on non-pavement.

The a-holes in this rig were too busy posting about reconnecting with the spirit of nature to follow rules. Rule #1 no trailers in the the grove parking lot. Rule #2 Park on durable surfaces Rule #3 Leave No Trace

I persuaded Mrs. Jon Bruce Entertainment to go ahead while I found a parking spot.

I eventually got parked and grabbed my cameras. There was a little boy, let’s guess 6 years old (is that first grade?). Walking with his family. He had a sling shot at half draw and wheeled around on me as I passed him.

I had this moment of clarity. I could see that he had not broken or killed anything with his sling shot yet, but he was close. He was at the inflection point. I stopped and explained to him that he shouldn’t point it at anything he wasn’t willing to destroy. His parents tried to poo – poo my concerns. So I repeated myself. Twice.


I eventually caught up with Mrs. Jon Bruce Entertainment. She thought I was an idiot. But I was struck by that awesome, terrible power of life and death or destruction, annihilation. That kid was about to cross a line. Like a caveman discovering fire. The Redwoods were almost completely devoid of awe or mists or portents. Still pretty amazing.

I don’t know what this is, but it was a stand out among the giants.

All this shaman-like fore knowledge had left me hungry. We had lunch along the coast at a taco stand. I had a huarache flatbread with chicken, cabbage and Cotijilla cheese. Huarache flatbread is something I have never seen before. It was either a fry bread or a naan. It was ok. At only one point, did I wonder if an old huarache sandal would taste better, there was a lot of cabbage. How often does life present us with a new ingredient in the taco world? Not very often, they should be avoided at all costs.

Huarache is Beach Boys for sandal

Have a Plan B for entertainment in the Redwoods 

Or be prepared to be alone with your thoughts and your physical media. Sirius xm is spotty, cell service is spotty, terrestrial radio is for the birds. Luckily, we have a usb with Shane Smith and the Saints and sixty-four gigabytes of hits. We saw some elk and a turkey and an eagles nest.

We turned out the pacific coast and headed for Crater Lake. We got to Crater Lake towards evening. I think this was maybe the second unplanned day.

The drive was dry and hot and fire season

Heading away from the coastal redwoods towards I5 was a swerving climb towards the sun. The kind of dry and dirty that clings. It gathers in the unseen creases. We pushed pretty hard. Drove past the last town. Drove into the park. We had no plan. No reservations. The person in the passenger seat was hungry and a bit grumpy.

A different sort of National Park sign.

A lucky break

I stopped at the Crater Lake Lodge. There was no room in the inn. The restaurant was reservation only for guests of the lodge only. The hostess and our waiter thought they could accommodate the big tippers from St Louie. I ran out to the car to get a parking spot and shivvy Mrs. JonTheBruce inside for food.

Pro-Tip: I can’t tell you how many times asking the person at the place for help worked. Basically, every time. The person at the place knows what is going on and can help. Work Really Hard to Plan Ahead. Be Nice to People. Tip Extravagantly.


Dinner was excellent. Fancy, Famous, National Park Lodge, buffet style. I asked a lot of questions, because I wanted to make sure I understood how the dinner was to proceed. The house salad had blueberries and goat cheese and was delightful. I chewed all my vegetables thoroughly and survived another serving of broccolini.

Our waiter would be offering desert when we were ready. There were four options. We got them all. She only had a bite of each. Me too… But my bites were much bigger.

Crater Lake may be the opposite of the fountain of youth. The man sitting next us in the dining was maybe, positively ancient. And not a fun, healthy ancient. His wife was complaining about the lack of a dress code because 10 years ago they had to suit jacket and dress to dine there. I thought she was being catty. Mrs. JonTheBruce was gorgeous, but I had neglected to put on long pants. The ancient one’s crone was wearing a pair of knock off sport sandals that weren’t quite long enough to keep her talons from clicking on the polished hard wood or ripping apart the carcass of an elk along the roadway. She was offering her opinions on how who or what they had left in the camper would be faring while they were at dinner. They had left a window open. The camp hosts probably wouldn’t even notice.

While Mrs. Jon Bruce Entertainment was tending to her Maslov’s heirarchy for food, I made a reservation at the closest reasonable hotel available using the lodge internet.


We drove out of the park along the western side of Crater Lake towards Chemult. The most amazing sunsets ever thanks to the heat and haze we had endured all day long.

Unfortunately, we used up all the good luck. I had booked the next closest hotel room. An hour away, google said it had 9 reviews and four stars. Mrs. JonTheBruce pointed out after I booked it that the smaller print non-subjective rating of this hotel was actually two star hotel with a Four star rating. This was unfortunately a gross exaggeration. The Eagle Crater Lake Inn was an old motor lodge and the start of a bad day. 

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