SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL POST OFFICE! – My neighbors on NextDoor are complaining constantly about mail being snatched from their porches and of course the Holidays are prime time for mail deliveries. May I point out the obvious advantages of having a PO Box?  For a hundred bucks a year you can have your mail held in a safe,  secure place until you have time to go pick it up.  When I first moved to Fern Hollow  (as I call our little enclave) I got a PO Box because we used to have some  rotten kids  on the street who used to go up and down the pulling  the mail boxes open and your mail  could end up in the street.  Now  I wouldn’t be without it.   Try it.  You’ll like it.

THAT TRAIN:   The folks who are pushing the latest East-West train scheme have bought a full-page ad in the TriCity to push their plan.and solicit investors.   I attended more meetings of the Harbor Working  Group that I can remember and saw several of these schemes come and go.  l wish them well,  but they’re not getting a dime from me.  As I’ve written here before, the only train that makes sense is  a North-South train which would  cost about $1B and I would  invest in that.  Ain’t gonna happen.

BOTOX!  FROM IRELAND?!  I get a few magazines at rates so cheap I can’t help renewing them and one of them  is Allure, which just carried a fascinating- really-  piece about botox.   I did not know that  virtually the entire supply of Botox on the planet is made in Westport, Mayo,  which I visited in 1993 with some relatives.  Westport was a sleepy little town then  and we stayed in a old hotel so old that it had hosted Thackeray (author of Vanity Fair)  back in the day.  Westport had a population of 5,000 when we were there , and hasn’t grown at all, but now  but now about 1200 people are employed at Allergan, which is the only source of Botox on the planet.  I wish I could provide you a link but it the Dec 2018 issue is still on the stands or in the library,  you should give it a glance.  The process for making botox is highly secret but apparently  involves seaweed.  We’ve got seaweed!  Where are our inventors??

YES, LOCO FISH IS JUST AS GOOD AS YOU HEARD; BAHN MI AT THE LAO MARKET- The Loco Fish Company has opened in Eureka  (formerly only in Arcata at 550 S G street)   but it’s hard to find.  The address is officially 1574 Myrtle Avenue  but when you look for it you get distracted by the blazing RED fish truck and you head for that but you can’t get to  it anyway but going THRU the Redwood Curtain  tap room.  Once you find it, you won’t  forget it because it’s among the beet fish and chips I’ve ever had. Can’t wait  to try their fish tacos  their Yelp review gives the wrong address and when you  try their website you  get the Samoa Cookhouse, but if they ever get their marketing straight,  they’ll conquer the world.  A few weeks ago, JF Cahill of the NCJ recommended the Banh Mi sandwiches at the Lao Market in Henderson Canter.  She’s right again-  they are fabulous sandwiches and only available on Saturday, and not every Saturday, but they’re worth looking for.  I got one and was amazed at the freshness of the ingredients.  I was also surprised at t how spicy it was-  the bahn mi we used to get in Hawaii weren’t spicy at all-  but these have sliced jalapeños which you can easily pick out if you need to. All in all, a very nice sandwich and a store worth poking around in.


– Weird Phone Calls: I got a call supposedly from Apple ordering me to call 877 252 7540. When I googled the number, it came up as a scam. I wonder if they even USE phones at Apple?   I also got a robocall, supposedly from United Healthcare, telling me to call but the recording was so bad I couldn’t understand it. When I called the number on the back of my card, the rep said it was a scam.  Just sayin’.

IS Chic-Fil-A coming to Mt Shasta Mall??? Lots of rumors from the Searchlight-Record. Like THIS.

This will be a dilemma  for CFA fanatics like me.   NO,  it is not okay to drive two hours for a sandwich!  Is it?

OUR NO-CLASS PRESIDENT continues to distinguish himself by trashing the victims of last years’ Hurricane so he can aggrandize himself.  Thank God he’ll be gone soon.   Meanwhile the damage from Florence is still being assessed.  We stayed a couple of days in New Bern few years ago in a B&B beautifully appointed and preserved. The proprietors  were Christians and wanted  us to pray before breakfast. We cheerfully complied.  I hope those prayers did them some good.  New Bern is a beautiful little town which contains the oldest school house in the US, from the 1600’s. Prayers for all the victims.

IS BRETT KAVANAUGH A RAPIST or a would-be rapist?  I don’t know and I’m not sure I care. I don’t have much respect for  people who sit on grievances for years and then bring them forth, but it’s not politically correct these days to question them.  I hope he’s rejected  for his weasel testimony,  not for  this last-minute character question.

THE BENBOW EFFECT-  For the last few years, my family has been having its summer reunion at the Benbow.  We skipped last year because of the big construction project and were eager to see how the place looked.  The new construction has been done so artfully it’s unobtrusive.  You could walk right past the new entrance.  But they haven ruined anything, only enhanced. I asked for an ADA room and was placed in the new 4th floor, where the rooms have been constructed out of what used to be offices. The bathroom was huge! We were apprehensive because there had been a rash of negative Yelp reviews  I swear to God, I can’t figure out why.  The service was snappy and the food was  better than ever. We were there during the week and there were no weddings or the like going on but the eight of us gave the staff a workout.  The youngster who adjusted our cooler was from Serbia. We loved the  lox benedict and of course the salmon was good.  We love going down during Christmas.  For $12 you get a world-class lunch and you’ll feel like a millionaire for a couple of days.  Works for me, anyway.





A release from the Harbor Group:

The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group will be having its monthly luncheon this Wednesday, the 29th.  But instead of having a guest speaker, we will be having a general discussion about Pacific Northwest Railroad’s plans for rail connect between the deep-water sea port of Humboldt Bay and the truck-rail hub terminal at Gerber near Red Bluff.

At our last two luncheons, representatives of PNR gave us an overview of what they are planning. It wants to connect the Port of Humboldt Bay to the national rail network.  The goal is more efficient, reliable, and—consequently—economical shipping of containerized goods between our nation and the Asia market. Their project is threefold: (1) the inland terminal, (2) the sea port, and (3) the rail connection between the two.

Our luncheon discussion will focus on the plans for the rail connect. We want to discuss what we see will happen to our port with the rail connect…what will we get with rail connection to the rest of the Nation; what are the positives and negatives we foresee of doing it?  Further, what might happen without the rail connect…are there advantages of not having rail connection to the rest of the Nation?

The luncheon is at the Samoa Cookhouse and is a “no host” event. Lunch starts being served at noon; and the discussion will start around 12:20.

We invite and encourage you to attend and participate in the discussion.

Larry Henderson, Chair

Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group


EAST-WEST Rail Grant Video and O Those Willow Creek Peaches

The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group presented an overview of Trinity County’s recently obtained grant to study an East-West rail route.  Will this be the study that  finally drives the stake through the vampire’s heart?  I’m all in favor of studies. They’re nonpolluting, for the most part,  and they keep State and County employees off the street. So I say, Study ON!  Study it to death!!  Good training for fledgling Associate Governmental Program Analysts, or whatever they’re called these days.

Anyway, the recent program was a preview of the study.  The only concrete fact that stayed in my mind after the meeting (and I’m still thinking about it) is this: there are NO incorporated cities in Trinity County.  None.

Charlie Bean provided the following  two videos of the presentation.

HERE is Part One.

And HERE is Part Two.  Many thanks, Charlie.

Well, all this talk of Points Eastward coincides with the appearance, however ephemeral , of WILLOW CREEK PEACHES at Murphy’s. They had some last week  that were about the size of tangerines and really ugly,  but God were they good!  Eating-over-the-sink good.  Hopefully they’re be back soon. And all this talk of Willow Creek peaches reminds me of the several happy years I spent as a member of the Eureka Kiwanis. Kiwanis used to have a powwow during the summer hosted by the Willow Creek Club that everyone looked forward to all year. They had a pit bbq, excellent food and everyone had a great time and everyone went home with something.  I came home with a lug of tomatoes so big and ripe I carried them around to the  neighbors that very night.  And I don’t like tomatoes! but these were fantastic.

One year my big shepherd jumped into the river and couldn’t get out because he was so weighed down by his wet fur.  Ben Doane of the HCSO waded in and rescued him.  (Thanks, Ben! I’ve never forgotten that.) I don’t know if Kiwanis still has its Willow Creek barbecue, but go if you’re invited. Hearts are broken and mended, careers are trashed and salvaged and there’s lots of good eating. A lot of the folks I knew from then have  passed but I hope the Willow Creek club is still going strong. Good people.



The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group is having its monthly luncheon on Wednesday, June 29 at the Cookhouse which will feature a presentation by the Timber Heritage Association. Those are the great folks who bring out the speeder trains on holidays and are working on a round-the-Bay tourist train.  

The flyer for the event is HERE.   Pork steak! See you there!


NonStop Sac to Boston, Siemens Shows Off

“Please come to Boston in the springtime..” Remember that song? Well, you might not make it by springtime but starting June 18 and continuing till September you’ll be able to fly to Boston NONSTOP from Sacramento on Jet Blue for as little as $199 each way. Take your kids on the Freedom Trail! Or catch the train up to Montreal- a one day ride- and show them a foreign country. That last would be my plan and I’m almost excited enough about it to consider flying again.

In other transportation news, Siemens is having a kind of expo on February 25 and 26 on the Capitol Steps to advertise its bid re: the HSR contracts. Again, it sounds like a lot of fun for train freaks (like me) and kids (like me.)  Check it out here or if the link doesn’t work check the Feb 12 edition of the Sacramento Business News.

Planes and Trains- Transportation Updates

AIR- Redding gets a grant.  Redding has been awarded a $450,000 grant from the Dept of Transportation in the form of a revenue guarantee to help SkyWest defray the cost of replacing their current turboprop (Embraer Brasilia) service with Canadair Regional Jets, according to the Redding Searchlight Record. The grant requires a $50K match and does NOT guarantee that jets will return to Redding but is a necessary first step in that direction. SkyWest recently pulled out of Modesto and is discontinuing service to Chico in December.

RAIL-HSR is on the way.   The California High-Speed Rail Authority took the first step toward actually buying trains, opening bids for a billion-dollar contract to build trains and maintenance facilities. Siemens, which has a location in Sacramento, will be among the bidders, and interest from Chinese and Japanese manufacturers is expected to be strong. The specs are that the trains must be able to deliver passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in three hours. If Siemens prevails, the economic benefits to the Sacramento area would be substantial.

MORE RAIL– The Economist reminds us that HSR is nothing new, in fact it’s been around for 50 years, just kinda slow in coming to California. Fifty years ago this week the Osaka-Tokyo line commenced operations and has “since whisked 5.6 billion passengers across the country without a single serious accident.  Punctuality?  The average delay is  less than a minute.” Japan’s HSR, at 200 mph,  is actually pokey compared with China’s Shanghai maglev  (430 kph) or the maglev being developed to update the Tokyo-Osaka run to a speedy 500 kph, about an hour’s time. This will cost $47B, but the Japanese have a government that is willing to invest in infrastructure. 

STILL MORE RAIL– Closer to home, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Appellate court found that the North Coast Railroad Authority and its partner the Northwestern Pacific Railroad can expand freight service without further environmental review.  Specifically, the panel found that freight rail traffic is interstate commence and not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act.  The envronmental groups that brought the suit, Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, had not announced at press time whether they would appeal. The NCRA’s next step is to raise $5M to rehabilitate the tracks between Windsor and Cloverdale and to recruit customers for the freight service between Napa and Windsor which currently runs twice a week. 


Graduation Day- “Reach for the Stars”

Saturday the 14th was my cousin’s kid’s graduation day from UC Santa Barbara. I wasn’t expecting much aside from heat and chaos so I was pleasantly surprised that the graduation speaker actually had something to say that was memorable.

His name is Jose Hernandez and he was born in French Camp. If you’ve ever known anyone from French Camp, you know it is a migrant labor settlement. He spoke of following his parents as they moved from job to job picking  strawberries, lettuce, whatever. Finally a teacher took an interest in the family and convinced the parents to settle near Stockton so that the kids could get a real education.

One night in 1972, the family watch Gene Cernan walk on the moon. Jose told his father, “That’s what I want to do”.   His father told him that he could do it but he needed to make himself a roadmap to follow. “And don’t skip any of the steps.”

Jose graduated from high school in Stockton although he had not learned English until he was twelve. He earned a BSEE from the University of the Pacific and then an MS from UC Santa Barbara. He joined the Johnson Space Center and held a number of assignments while applying for the astronaut program. He applied again, was rejected again.  NASA let it be known they would like their personnel to know some Russian (for space station work). He learned Russian.  He pursued every avenue they suggested. Finally,  after TWELVE TIMES,  he was accepted into the 2004 astronaut class and on August 28, 2009 he achieved his dream: two weeks on the Space Shuttle Discovery. He sent the first tweet from space in Spanish.

 Since then he has run for Congress, unsuccessfully. Clearly we haven’t heard the last from him.  His “Reach for the Stars” foundation encourages kids to explore careers in space.  The gloom and doom which was underlying the ceremony due to the recent murders in Isla Vista could have taken over, but didn’t have a chance after Jose finished speaking. It was a good day, and he didn’t skip any of the steps.

FOOTNOTE: The road from the Bay Area up here is an AWFUL ROAD which seems to get worse every year. I kept thinking how much it would be to be riding a bus or a nice relaxing TRAIN. Talk about reaching for the stars!