Towards the end of July it will be 40 years since I first drove into Eureka.
I wrote towards the end of July
because I'm not really sure just what day we got here. I do know it was less than 3 weeks before my 18th birthday because I ended up going to the DMV right after we got here to renew my driver's license. They wouldn't let me renew because I wasn't eighteen and needed my mother's signature. I had to wait about two weeks until I turned 18 to get that taken care of.
The guy on the left is Jim (he prefers James) Broughton. He was my best friend and moved up here with me. That's what he looks like now. Back then he had long brown hair that hung down all the way to the middle of his back. Update:
Just after I made this post he sent me a picture of him from back then. I've posted it at the bottom.
Just by coincidence, a couple days ago he made a comment on a post I made here back in 2006. I ended up replying, we exchanged a few e-mails and he called me yesterday afternoon. The first time we've spoken in maybe 37 years. Pretty neat.
He still sounded the same to me. He told me I sounded the same but older. He's been living in Arizona for some time now.
Jim and I were living in a small house in Costa Mesa back in July, 1973. For whatever reason I decided I wanted to get away from Southern California and move to "the mountains
". I'd thought of just going by myself. When I told Jim of my plans he said he wouldn't mind going either. That wasn't quite what I had in mind but what the heck. In hindsight that was a good thing.
Then we had to decide where to move to, neither of us having been to the far north before. I'd planned on going to school and picked out either College of the Siskiyous, or whatever it was called. I can't remember the exact name but it was just north of Redding somewhere. Either that or College of the Redwoods. Jim said he'd prefer to be near the ocean so College of the Redwoods it was.
We cleaned out the house, rented a Uhaul trailer, a hitch and hooked it up to my 1964(?) Chevy Nova. The next morning we threw my husky dog, Nika, in the back and headed north. Can't remember the freeway we started on but we headed northwest towards Santa Barbara along the coast. We hit the Pacific Coast Highway and headed north, staying the night at some campground in San Simeon.
Next morning we headed north again, passing through Carmel, then turning northeast towards San Francisco. Across the bay we headed toward I-5, then on northward. Why we didn't just head up 101 as I always do now, I don't know.
Seems to me we should have had at least one more overnight stay but I can't remember one. I do remember the car overheating at one point somewhere up I-5. We walked to a gas station, bought a new thermostat, put it in and were on our way again.
Turned left at Redding and headed up 299. Drove into Eureka probably 10 o'clockish, which means we must have stayed somewhere else overnight or we wouldn't have gotten there so early. I recall driving into town and there was scattered low fog along the bay. Seemed kind of neat and not unlike you might see in some beach areas in Southern Cal.
Our first stop was at Sun Harvest Natural Foods on 4th and V(?) in Eureka. It's just a house now but used to be a natural foods store. I believe it was the start of what was to later become the North Coast Co-Op, but I'm not sure.
Then we drove around trying to figure out where to find a place to rent. We had a friend whose ex- girlfriend had moved to Eureka some time earlier. The friend gave us her address and said she'd help us out (easy for him to say). I don't remember just when we stopped by her place. She lived on 2nd Street. Not sure she even recognized us but told us she didn't know of any rentals and kind of blew us off.
Then we stopped by what was then Kacy's Market on 5th Street and asked one of the clerks where we could find a rental. She said to try the Tri- City....something. We weren't sure what that was. I don't recall if she told us. We drove off.
We ate our first real meal at Angelo's PIzza on 7th Street. Then, not having a place to stay, drove south and out Highway 36 until we found a state park to spend the night at. Kinda silly going that far for a place to sleep, knowing what I do now. We could have just gone to the North Jetty or the KOA campground over by Indianola.
Drove back into Eureka the next day and somehow ended up at Three Corners Market out on Old Arcata Road. Asked the old guy working there if he knew of any places to rent. He suggested trying the "...old Squires apartments
" back down on Pigeon Point Road. We went to check it out.
Found the place. Got out and looked around. Looked nice enough and the big stand of redwoods across the street was certainly appealing for a couple of city boys wanting to be nature guys.
It just so happened one of the owners, Ruth Squires, was there at the time cleaning some things up. She told us she had one larger apartment- a 5 bedroom- for rent. I think it was about $500.00 a month, the total of both of our incomes at the time. We went ahead and rented the place and thus became official Humboldt County residents. For some reason I felt proud of that at the time.
Jim moved elsewhere after some years. I stayed. Ugh!
Picture at left is of Jim and Michelle back in the 70s. Not sure if Jim had the beard when we moved up here. He shaved it off at some point in time but I can' recall when.
Michelle was Jim's girlfriend in Southern California. She moved up here and stayed with us for a while after we found a place.