Saturday, May 17, 2014

Good Days, Bad Days


Our next stop was in Eureka, CA at the Redwood Acres RV Park in the fairgrounds. It’s a Passport America park, but in order to get the half price rate of $17.50 you have to spend two nights. It isn’t the greatest place, but it turned out to be convenient to town and the hospital, which came in handy later on.


While there we checked out Eureka’s old town and waterfront. It was a bit disappointing. Not many people around except for a large number of homeless. We just didn’t get a good feel for the area, but we did have a good meal and beer at Lost Coast Brewery.

Humbolt Bay.



Old Town contains over 150 Victoria-era buildings. This is the Carson Mansion,  built in 1884 by lumber baron William Carson.


It is now a private club. I have a feeling we wouldn’t get an invitation to join.


The Pink Lady mansion across the street, built by the Carsons in 1889 as a wedding present for their son. Nice parents!



We liked this lawnmower/bicycle outside a shop in Old Town.


The next day we took our bikes to Arcata, the next town north on 101, to the Hammond Trail. The trail follows the coast and is mostly paved, although there were some gravel sections.


Views of the coast from the trail.



Since we weren’t too far away, after our bike ride we drove along the coast to Samoa Boat Ramp to say hi to Brian and Leigh, who were camped there all week. Just past the county park is the BLM Samoa Dunes Recreation Area, on a spit of land between the bay and the Pacific and home to a huge Coast Guard station.


Jim was having some sharp pain under his ribs and shoulder when he breathed in deeply, and by that evening was running a fever. He got ready for bed and couldn’t get comfortable lying down. Of course I Googled his symptoms, which could be signs of a pulmonary embolism. He insisted it was just a pulled muscle, although didn’t remember doing any particular activity which may have caused it. Luckily St. Joseph’s Hospital was just a mile from the fairgrounds, and I finally convinced him to let me take him to the ER. By this time it was 10:30pm. Just us and a few homeless people there at that time, so they were very prompt at getting him in.

Because his d-dimer blood test result was positive, an indication that the body is trying to dissolve a clot, they wanted to do a CT scan. Jim had an allergic reaction to contrast dye years ago when he had a kidney stone, so instead they did a pulmonary ventilation/perfusion scan. This test showed no evidence of a pulmonary embolism, but did show that he had atelectasis of his left lung, which can be caused by not breathing deeply, which he had been doing for about 24 hours due to the pain. There was no evidence of a clot in his lung, and the elevated d-dimer was most likely due to the fact that he has varicose veins in his legs.

So after almost 7 hours in the ER, and no telling how many thousands of dollars, he was diagnosed with a pulled or strained muscle and sent home with Valium, as a muscle relaxant. I won’t hear the end of “I told you so”, but the fever had me worried. The ER doc said it is not uncommon to develop a low grade fever with atelectasis.

So we came home and went to bed at 5:30am yesterday. I only slept a few hours, but the drugs kept Jim asleep longer. We didn’t want to pay $35 to spend another night at the fairgrounds, so we finally hitched up and I drove us north on 101 to Trinidad and the Cher-Ae Heights Casino.

Not a big RV lot but in a quiet location well off the road in a scenic location and we can see a bit of the ocean through the trees. We signed up for their player’s club and got $10 in free slot play. While Jim was asleep Debbie and I went in to try our luck. She came out with $40 and I came out with $30. Not bad for a free campsite! And we got a card for another $10 in play for today. We would eat a meal at one of their restaurants to help support them but non-meat or seafood options are almost non-existent. I guess not many vegans are into gambling.


A few days ago we got a comment from blog reader Suzanne, who has her own very nice blog Take To The Highway. She was heading to the coast yesterday and saw that we were nearby and wondered where our next stop would be. Coincidentally she was also planning to stay at Cher-Ae Heights Casino last night, so she stopped by to visit. In fact that is her RV on the right in the above photo. And this is the view from behind her site.


We had a nice evening of conversation and hope our paths cross again soon. She even gave us her Oregon Benchmark Atlas, which she decided she wasn’t going to use. Thanks, Suzanne, we really enjoyed meeting you!

I could do another entire post about Jim on Valium but I won’t go into any of the gory details. Brian happened to stop by the casino on work related business (at least that’s what he told us) shortly after we pulled in, and he got to witness Jim’s crazy behavior. And Jim has no idea he is behaving oddly. Pretty funny! His pain is much better and he can breath more deeply, so it appears to be working its magic. We are slowing moving towards Bend, OR where I have an appointment with a urologist on June 2. If all is well we hope to be able to stay away from hospitals and doctors for a long time to come.


  1. Have been enjoying your travels up the coast. We started from Arizona and are now at Bullards Beach State Park. We will be in Bend (Sisters) the month of June. Our only adventure in Eureka was trying to get gas at the busy Costco on Sunday afternoon.

  2. It is like we are on the trail with you two. We did the exact same things in and all.

    I would have made Paul do the same thing. Hopefully, one day the men will thank us for our

  3. Well I admit to skipping over all the gorgeous pictures of the trail in order to find out about the hospital comment in the first line. I was holding my breath and knowing what i know from our experience would have done the same thing you did. Tell Jim he's lucky to have someone to care so much for him.

    And then I went back and read your post. What a gorgeous pink house. Nice present is right. Lovely to look at but I sure wouldn't want to have to maintain or clean it. I guess if you have enough money to own it you don't have to worry about those things.

    I was trying to remember why Humbolt seemed so familiar to me. That's where the young woman Julia Hill stayed up in the Redwood tree to keep it from being cut down. Beautiful pictures of your hike. And excellent job in nearly recouping all your camping costs at the casino. Tell Suzanne Sherry says Hi!

  4. PS Jim on Valium can't be a whole lot worse than David on dexamethazone. :-)

  5. You are following the same trail we tood just last July and August. Your photos bring back great memories. We saw the mansion and read that the guy wanted to look "down" upon the city. Disgusting. We did not see the pink house. We did love the art on the walls in town, but did not like the campground. If you go through Eugene and cut over to Bend, be sure to look up Ground Works Organics. Ask for Gabe or Sophie. Gabe grew up next to us in Indiana and is a great Organic farmer. He has booths in both Eugene and Bend on Wednesdays. I think Sophie does the Bend F.M.

  6. I hope this finds Jim better now. Always a bummer when you become ill on the road. At least you were near a hospital.

  7. So glad it wasn't an embolism. Talk about something that will put a spanner in the travel plans! It's good that you can drive the RV, I haven't tried yet. Stories like this really suggest to me that I should learn to drive the bus.

  8. Hi, having lived in Eureka for 25 years and moving to NV 3 years ago, it was nice to see the old stomping grounds. The Carson Mansion is wonderful inside also, we only made it in as guests of a member one time. The Old Town Area of Eureka is well known for the homeless, with a mild climate year round there are a lot of homeless people in Eureka and in Arcata. I'm happy to see that the parking spots at the fairgrounds are now paved, we last stayed there 2 years ago while back visiting and it was raining (as it does most of the time there on the Humboldt Bay) and, as the lot was just dirt and gravel then, it was a real mess. Glad you enjoyed the Redwoods and the Coast, and good luck on your travels north!

  9. Jeez, too much doctor stuff! You guys need a break!

    Ahhh, Bend, one of our favorite places! Enjoy!

  10. Sorry to hear about Jim's scare. I think you did the right thing. You don't want to mess with those symptoms. You need to take some video of him on Valium so we can enjoy it too.

  11. I guess you're not able to stay until next weekend and the kinetic sculpture race. It's my all - time favorite event.

  12. Jim and I should bring our Narcotics and be the entertainment at a future rally… :)
    Box Canyon Mark

  13. Glad to hear all is well with Jim. While going to the ER is not pleasant, chest pain is nothing to mess with at our age.

    I love that mower bike!!! Our daughter has a Reel mower for her small yard. I think she needs this for sure. The rake on the back was a hoot!

  14. Glad things turned out great for Jim. I just love the coast. I could look at pictures and read about it all day long. I even recognize the rocks. :)

  15. It was so great to get to meet you all! (Honestly, I tried to stop Jim from climbing up on the roof of my rig, 10 minutes after he tells me he is "not quite right" from the Valium! YIKES!!) Hope you guys enjoy the drive up the PCH as much as I have! Look forward to our paths crossing again one day.


  16. What an awful night in the ER. Glad everything turned out OK. Keep well for a while, OK?