Oct 3 – At first this post was going to be about our few days in Crescent City, back in California again. Our campsite was right on a beach at the harbor, where the kids and dogs ran around and explored; we got to go up to the top of a lighthouse; we took a drive and walk through the incredible redwood forest; the kids earned a Junior Ranger badge from Redwoods National Park; and we got breakfast every day from the nearby Vita Cucina cafe, which made the most delicious croissant breakfast sandwiches.
Then I was going to write about arriving in Eureka two days ago, on Humboldt Bay in this gorgeous and remote area of Northern California known as the Lost Coast, and our surprisingly great campsite at the Moose Lodge. (Most Moose Lodges throughout the country allow members to park RVs on available space, but this Lodge has several sites with hookups, among its own redwood grove.)
But instead, this post is about our first visit to Urgent Care.
The day started out great. When it looked like the steady rain was going to let up, I took the chance of driving 3o minutes back north to explore the beaches at Trinidad, which I’ve been wanting to see after reading about the town and the Lost Coast in Sunset magazine months ago. We were rewarded with a muddy walk through thick forest and down some steep steps, which opened up onto an incredible cove – gray sand, crashing waves, black volcanic rocks, sea stacks and nearby hills covered in redwoods leading right down to the ocean. The kids’ favorite part was where the beach met the cliffs, which was full of dripping moss and rivulets in the sand from the recent rain, real live banana slugs, and swings made out of driftwood on each side of the cove.
If this were a story, maybe I would have seen the swings as foreshadowing and been more vigilant later. After playing together on the beach swings, the kids made their own by hanging a long, loose branch in a tree and swinging on it. (More foreshadowing: I explained how to secure the loose branch between two smaller branches so it would hold, but Rita learned this lesson the hard way when she threw the branch up in a new tree, picked her feet up off the ground, and immediately fell onto her back.)
We enjoyed lunch and more stunning views in the pretty town of Trinidad, and later I had some alone time with a glass of wine, oysters, and cheese at the wonderful spot Taste in downtown Eureka.
Back at the Moose Lodge, I took the kids out to play on the swing set after dinner, and this is when the day took a sudden turn sideways. Rita and Charlie were each on an outside swing, and started playing with the empty swing in the middle, pushing it back and forth between them. I should have seen how this could have turned out – said something like, “Hey kids, stop throwing those heavy metal chains at each other!” – but I think I was lulled into complacency by the magical beach and the oysters, and the fact that just a few hours ago we survived standing on cliffs, climbing on rocks, and walking down steep muddy trails; what could happen on a campground swing set?
Charlie let out a piercing scream, and as soon as I ran to him and saw the blood coming from his forehead behind his hand, I knew we were headed to the hospital. Chris found an urgent care in the next town over that was still open; I took Charlie while he stayed with Rita. Charlie was a champ during the wait at the hospital, and the doctor who finally saw us was great with him, very warm and friendly. She gave us the good news that she could close his wound with glue instead of stitches, and it all went smoothly, except for a minute when Charlie cried from the glue stinging as it dried.
We are on our way to the next stop now, further down the coast in Fort Bragg. Charlie is in fine spirits, the glue is holding, and his wound looks good. Onward and upward, but you can be sure that we’ll be just as careful on playgrounds as we are on ocean beaches and mountain hikes from now on.