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The Accidental Vacation: Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven  Jumbled Vacation Journal 

Sunrise Golden Bear

“I had no problem writing in my journal when I used a mechanical pencil,” she grumbled to Vince.  “So I couldn’t find my pencil, and I quit writing.  I didn’t write anything yesterday, or maybe it was day three.  What have we been doing since we got here?  I remember the Trees of Mystery.  I’ve lost track.”

oregon trip 201320130915_0022139

Since he had nothing better to do for the moment, no lawn to mow, no sprinklers to fix, no chores of any kind, Vince sat down with Marsha and they started sorting through the hundreds of pictures in all of their cameras.  “OK, that’s enough for now,” he said, jumping off the kitchen bench seat across from Marsha.  “You’d better hurry if you are going with me.   Doyouwanttogo?Iwanttoleave here by 6:15 this morning so I can get to the car dealer by 6:45.” Vince took a breath.

“Yes, I want to go.” Marsha rushed to answer the last question she heard.

Vince continued.  “The dealer opens at 7:30, and maybe somebody will come to work early.  I want to be the first one there.  Then I’ll take you to Starbucks and you can use the internet there.  You haven’t written anything in your journal for five days!  What happened?  You can stay here if you want to work on your journal.”

“No,” she answered quickly.  “It’s ok, I wrote some of it online.  But now I’m mixed up.  Is it Monday?  I’m not used to being on vacation and being so out of touch!”

Klamath River Golden Bear “You know it’s getting late.   Are you going to take a shower?  You’re burning daylight,” Vince prodded his wife gently away from her computer.

Marsha now understood what her dad had said to her 30 years before when he told her that she made him tired with all her bustling around, and couldn’t she just sit still for a minute and talk to him.  It was all making sense.  She was almost over her cold, but felt she was still moving at half speed, and Vince was still moving full speed ahead.  She just wanted him to slow down for a second.  It was 5:30 in the morning and he had already had HIS coffee and cereal.

By 6:15, as planned, they were on the road in their red rental car, winding their way back to Crescent City to see what might be wrong with the truck.  While they waited in the parking lot of the GMC dealer, Vince alternated between pacing the lot, and checking his emails on his cell phone.  It was nice to have cellular service.  He barked a few orders of who to call and email to Marsha.  He wanted to make sure that things ran smoothly back home.

“Vincie, it’s only 6:45 a.m.  Hang loose a bit.  I’ll call them when the sun comes up.  Why don’t you go walk around a bit?”  Marsha knew he was antsy.  In all of her many years in education, she still hadn’t learned how to gracefully take orders and be Vince’s unpaid secretary.  She didn’t mind working for free doing community work, but somehow it annoyed her when he thought he was her community.  She had tried to train him for years until now he just mimicked her, “Isn’t there a better way to say that?”

a man on the move Well anyone listening or looking at him would know he was a little pressure cooker.  At five feet four inches tall, his 139 pound muscular build and tense shoulders told the tale that he never stopped moving.  If there was nothing to do, he adjusted.  It was time for him to make an adjustment somewhere besides inside the car.   People had started to arrive, so he bounced out of the car and introduced himself.  Men loved him.  He carried himself like a mover and a shaker.  His demeanor stated, “I am here to get this done.  How do you think we can get this moving?”

Time passed quickly for Marsha too since she had internet and cell service.  Vince kindly let her answer all her business emails, and by the time they had breakfast and got back to the trailer to leave for the day’s adventures it was 9:00.

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Daylight was well on it’s way, and it was beautiful.  The bright blue sky and 75 degree temperatures couldn’t have been lovelier.  The couple drove south to Eureka to check out the road and cancel the other nights at the KOA they had booked.  The attendant was kind enough to only charge a small cancellation fee, and they were on their way, but to where, they weren’t sure.  There was so much to see in Eureka.

Eureka Surfside Burgers1

First on the agenda was lunch.  Vince had not eaten much since 5:00 a.m., and he wanted man food.  That meant burgers.  Marsha had YELPED restaurants all the way from Arcata, and the one that sounded best was Surfside Burgers on Highway 101, the main street, which was also named 5th Street as it ran through downtown Eureka.  The weather was so beautiful that for that one day during the year they enjoyed sitting outside at a little table eating their burgers with 1/2 inch chunks of bacon smothered with two kinds of cheeses, tomato and lettuce.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery171

As they ate, Vince poured through the tourist map he had picked up at the Eureka KOA.  “There is so much here, but I think my brother said we should definitely see the Ferndale Cemetery.  Want to check it out?”  His brother, Jimmy, had gone to Humboldt State, and was an expert in all things Northern California.

“A cemetery?  hmmm.  Sure, let’s go.  Why not?  Cemeteries can be interesting.”  It really didn’t take too much to keep Marsha entertained if there was blue sky and she had her camera along.

“This one is supposed to be famous, according to Jimmy,” Vince added.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery102 “Wow, this cemetery has plots.  Unlike my journal, which has no plot,” Marsha joked.  Look how big the markers are!  This is the size of Ralph!”

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery125 “You could put two Ralphs in here side by side, Marsha.  Look at the inscription on this one.  Did you hear that woman over there that said she found someone here born in 1799?  Almost all the markers around here are from the 1800s”

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery122 Marsha was already in another world taking pictures of cracks in the walls, and lopsided head stones, dates, and moss on rocks.  Vince took the dog and walked up the steep incline to the top of the cemetery.  There was no point in calling down to Marsha.  He knew she would never hear him.  Vince wished she were up there so he could show her where to stand to get the best pictures, but he knew she would get irritated at him for telling her what to do.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery168

“Sometimes,” he thought to himself, “I just can’t win with that woman.  She wants my help, then she gets mad when I tell her what to do.  Why can’t she just do it, and smile at me?  That would be a lot easier.  It’s a good thing I think she’s cute!”  Vince knew his 61 year old wife was no traditional beauty, but there was something about her smile, WHEN she used it, that he couldn’t resist.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery129 Knowing and doing were two different things.  Marsha did eventually make it to the top.  “Come right here, sweetie,” Vince held his hand behind him for her to grab as he led the way over to his chosen spot.  “The view is great.  Just point your camera out this way.  See how you can get the ocean in the view?”

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery160

Judging from the look she gave him, he had been right.  He should have kept his mouth shut.  But obediently she turned to align herself to his body, and pointed the camera exactly as he told her, and snapped the picture.  “Was that so hard?” he thought to himself.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery169 Marsha grinned at him.  She read his mind, and decided it was not worth it to make a big deal over his bossing her.  The day was too perfect.  She kissed him lightly on the cheek.  “That was a perfect shot, honey.  Thanks.”

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery PG

As they left the cemetery, Marsha struck up a conversation with a gentleman placing flowers.  It didn’t take long until they were engaged in a heated conversation about whether or not Southern Oregon and Northern California should become the 52nd state of the Union.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery116“This area was all set to become the state of Jefferson before World War II,” he informed her, assuming she knew nothing about history.  These trees need to be managed, and the government just won’t let us do it.  Ferndale is dying.  There’s no industry here,” his ranting continued.

“Marsha, sweetie, we need to be going.”  Vince saved her.

“It was nice to talk to you,” Marsha smiled sweetly even though she wanted to punch him in the teeth.  Vince and Marsha headed toward the rental car.

The Gingerbread Mansion

The Gingerbread Mansion

“Ferndale is amazing.  I love this place!  It looks like it is still 1852 around here.  Let’s take our time and take some pictures of the buildings,”  Marsha  wheedled.

Klamath Canon199

She hadn’t needed to try hard.  Vince enjoyed watching her have a great time, and he loved the architecture as well.  If he had been thinking with his brain when he was in college, he would have become an architect.

Klamath Canon203

Architecture was his first love, and he knew he would have been good at it, but other priorities called louder than college, and he had been a good salesman, too.  As a bright young man, his hard work rapidly drove him to the top of the electronics company where he worked many years.   His thoughts of college dissipated in the fast running money stream.  He still enjoyed designing and redoing their home.  He was glad that Marsha enjoyed the beauty of the buildings as much as he did.

Quickly the day slipped by, and the couple headed back to their temporary home base in Klamath at the Golden Bear RV Park.

SFW Herds of Elk108 As they drove, Vince spotted a herd of elk bathing in the river, and pulled over.  Marsha jumped out of the car with about 20 other onlookers and captured the amazing views on her digital camera.  Vince snapped a few shots with his cell phone.

SFW Herds of Elk112 “There is another herd about 10 miles up the road,” warned a driver coming from the south.

SFW Herds of Elk124 When they reached that spot, the elk crossed the highway as if it were a meadow in their private forest.  Cars on both sides of the road stopped in the road, and everyone got out to take close up pictures of the racked celebrities.  The elk seemed used to it, stopping to pose as they crossed the street, or lay in the grass having a leafy picnic.  The effect was magical.  Drivers became instant friends as they marveled at the large herd animals.  Vince sat in the car worried that Marsha would be trampled.

SFW Herds of Elk101 Eventually a few cars inched forward around the herd, and soon the spell was broken, and Vince and Marsha headed down the road.  Both accidental travelers were ready for a nap, and they still had to figure out how Marsha was going to conduct her meeting the next night with no internet or cellular service.

26 replies »

  1. Did you get to see the Carson Mansion in Eureka a beautiful Victorian home If I remember the story correctly Mr. Carson owned the lumber mill in that area. When times got hard he put his men to work building this Mansion. It owned by some club of something. I know that there were a lot of Victorian homes in Fortuna also.


    • We didn’t get to see the Carson Mansion. We didn’t spend too much time in Eureka, because we headed off to Ferndale. By the time we got there, Vince wanted to head back so that he wasn’t driving through the redwoods in the dark. Eureka was about an hour and a half away from where we were, and you know Highway 101. There was some construction which added to the travel time – not to mention the elk. I would have hated to meet them in the dark! 🙂 We spent most of our time right around Klamath and Crescent City, which was closer.


  2. Love it! With all the hassles of a major break down on vacation, you both handled it great and you had a wonderful memorable vacation together:) What an adventure too! I love your photos too and as I read, I felt like I was with you on the adventure wondering what was next:) We actually have elk like that close to us here and often they will come visit us….love seeing them as they are so incredibly majestic! Also the hamburger looked yummy….I am going to note the name of the burger place for future reference:) Hugs:) TOM


    • Yes, it’s close enough to you, that you could head over for a long weekend. 🙂 Thanks for the nice compliments and encouragement to keep writing. 🙂 Believe it or not, I am actually glad we had the breakdown. We would never have spent the time to explore, and it was truly lovely. 🙂


      • I would love to if I could grab a few days just for me time to come see you:) No seriously keep writing…I get frustrated at times with my writing and feel like a ding dong…totally stuck but we have to keep writing so we do not give up. I know I would never give up on writing but sometimes I want to go throw dirt clods against the bank behind the barn:) And that is why you are young at heart TOM…you see things as the glass is still half full as in a good thing….negative people only see the glass half empty…keep seeing it half full and your heart will always be happy and full of adventure:) I am like you I see and look for the good in unexpected circumstances…life is good:)


  3. This is fun. I would have enjoyed the stop at the cemetery too.
    You mention “the state of Jefferson.”
    I saw a bit about that on the history channel once. Interesting population there…
    The gingerbread mansion looks nice. Do you know why they call it that?
    There sure are a lot of elk up there.


    • The population of two that I stopped to talk to were interesting. The first was the man who left the area to find work. The second was a painter who painted the Gingerbread Mansion, and was working on another Victorian hotel downtown. He was an older, very lean, white man, who had painted just about every building in town – over and over again. He was definitely busy, and didn’t show signs of stopping. And he worked alone. So if he had all the work in town, it didn’t leave very much for the young folks coming up behind him. There was no industry there that I could see. The Jefferson State advocate, who had moved away, and wanted to come home, said there wasn’t any work since the government curtailed the logging industry so much. It is a difficult dilemma. The elk were happy to live there. I don’t think they care if it is Jefferson or California.


    • Thank you so much Daniela. That’s such a high compliment coming from you. You are an outstanding writer. I still think about your guide to the poor single women who come to your country looking for single men. Soooooooo funny! 🙂


  4. Mmmm….that burger looks really good. 🙂 Hubby is a much better photographer than I am, but I do sometimes resent that after I’ve taken a shot of something, he will take a much better shot of exactly the same thing. I suppose it’s a man thing. 🙂 great that you saw those elk. What a bonus!


    • You get my feelings perfectly. I think our husbands must be related. Both good photographers, good at remodeling their houses, good at….That can be a bit intimidating, but then there’s us, well at least you. I bet your husband can’t touch a piano the way you can! 🙂 And I bet he didn’t take all those pictures that you took. Your pictures are absolutely marvelous, and so varied. Your writing is superb, weaving the stories around so many different pictures. I bet he can’t do that! 🙂

      Yes, the elk were definitely a highlight. That was one time we were at the right place at the right time, and the next time we drove through, we hardly recognized the place because without the elk, it was totally blah!


      • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Marsha. You really don’t want to hear my hubby sing, and he really must never touch my piano unless something needs adjusting. 😀


        • hehehe. Vince can actually sing, and we sing to the dog. He doesn’t do it in front of anyone else, though. 🙂 Probably a good thing for both of us. I used to sing quite a bit, but my voice is totally out of shape now. We have a piano, and he loves it because it is beautiful old oak. I bought it from a friend who had it in her house, and 30 years ago I said if she ever wanted to sell it, I’d love to have it. She called me, twenty five years later out of the blue, and said, “I’m going to sell my piano, and you said you wanted it.” So I have a beautiful piano, that I can play a few tunes on from memory when I was a child, and I can plunk out anything I know by ear, but it is plunky. I can read music with much disgrace, and when I tried playing at church, my husband refused to come because it was so embarrassing to hear and watch me play. 🙂 But I have a beautiful piano. And I dust it. 🙂


    • The plot thickens, Ralph! You’re one of the tallest people we all know! I just figured… Illustrations… poetic license … Thinking of you 🙂 I just wanted to help my readers get grounded! 🙂 love you, Ralph. 🙂 xoxoxxo


  5. Oh, and Mr ET is always telling me how to get the best photo, after I’ve already taken one. And then he says, “If I had taken that photo I would have…” Thank goodness he has his own camera now. He can take thousands of photos any way he wants.


    • Vince had a little camera, but he does need a better camera of his own. He really IS a more talented photographer than I am, I think. But we talk about photographing a lot. He used to do a lot more of it when he was younger. 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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