June 27, 2016
It was wonderful to see my dad last night. Today I finally got to visit with my Uncle Ken, my mom’s youngest brother. It had been more than thirty years! After waking up in our room at the Hampton Inn, we ate their complimentary breakfast and headed out. We planned to meet up with Ken at Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California. The drive, of course, was spectacular, as it has been since we left Denver. In addition to big trees, we were all looking forward to seeing the Pacific Ocean. When we eventually did see the the ocean, she was covered in a thick blanket of fog. We knew she was there, though.
When we pulled in to Trees of Mystery, Ken was off his motorcycle at the entrance of the parking lot. It was great to see him, and he looked good. I gave him a big hug and introduced him to Skye, Jenna, and Hayley, and vice versa. After a brief visit in the parking lot, Ken got us tickets for the tram and we embarked on the brief hike through the park. The trees in this part of California can be massive, and Trees of Mystery has many examples of these giants. It was fun to consider the evolution of the species as well as their individual histories. I enjoyed catching up with Ken as we walked. We’ve exchanged letters pretty regularly for many years.
From Klamath, we snaked our way down the California coast to Patrick’s Point State Park, where Ken’s friend Molly had brought food and supplies for a nice cookout overlooking the ocean. Ken grilled corn on the cob, which was delicious, followed by burgers, which he managed to turn with a foil pan cut with the sharp edge of an aluminum foil roll box. He’s a master improviser. While we ate, the waves lapped against the shore just down the cliff from our campsite.
It was chilly on the Northern California coast, so when we had finished eating we got back in the truck and headed south to Eureka, where Ken lives. We stopped along the way to visit several towns, including Trinidad, where there is a neat memorial lighthouse.
I drove him to put his motorcycle back into storage. He’d rode it up to meet us, but didn’t want to leave it parked on the street. On our way back we stopped at the garage where he’s been working on cars. It was fun to just hang out and talk. When I was very young, Ken would take me for fast rides on his motorcycle or in his Porsche. He let me drive his truck before I was ten, and bought me my first beer (11). He was definitely the “cool” uncle, whom I always admired and loved. It was great to reconnect after too many years.