Monday, August 30, 2010

“So,” Asks My Favorite Traveling Companion,

“Just how adventurous do you feel?”

We had watched the Salmon Festival parade in Klamath, CA. We had toured the festival booths. I had bought a bottle of home-canned salsa and a jar of jelly. It was time to head back to Crescent City for lunch. And we find ourselves standing in front of the Klamath River Café. “Why not,” I replied. “Let’s give it a chance.”

So we walk into the almost empty small restaurant, surmising that any potential customer was skoffing down Indian Tacos and hamburgers at the Festival. Well, the café may have been empty then, but it certainly wasn’t at the time we left.

Décor was basic. Above the pass-through between the kitchen and the dining room was a large sign reading “Welcome to Klamath. Fish On.” Salmon fishing is a big deal here.

So are the redwoods. Displayed on the walls were a local artist’s impressionistic carvings of redwood trees. You could purchase a small tree for $16.95, a medium for $18.50, or a large for $19.95. I didn’t see the price for the double trees.

As we looked at the menu, none of the lunch items piqued our appetite. Nor did the day’s special of a turkey melt with fries. So I asked the waitress if we could still get breakfast. She launched into a long explanation about the small size of the grill, having too many orders at noon for pancakes, and the fact that they weren’t really busy then. Finally, she responded, “yes.” Breakfast for two coming up.

For Chuck it was the Sinker, a concoction that included home fries, bell peppers, onion, cheese, and sausage. Two distinct elements made this noteworthy. First, unlike many similar breakfast mélanges, this did not suffer from an excess of cheese. There was enough cheese to bind the different components together, but not so much that the assemblage became a gloppy mess. Second, it was served with a small side of smoky and just slightly spicy salsa that enhanced the Sinker’s various tastes.

He added one of the large frosted cinnamon rolls to his order, and this was served warm, full of cinnamon, and iced with a vanilla frosting that had been applied after the roll was heated.

I took a more traditional route and ordered the eight-ounce Fisherman’s Ham Steak Breakfast with eggs (“over easy”) and home fries. My plate contained a large, half-inch thick slice of smoky and not salty bone-in ham that was as tender as any fine steak.

Eggs are eggs. What can I say other than that there was no uncooked albumen (I hate, hate, hate runny egg white), but the yolks remained appropriately liquid. And though I prefer hash browns, the home fries with red skin-on potatoes, onion and red, yellow, and green bell peppers were very good.

We took a chance, and it paid off. While the lunch menu was unexciting, the Klamath River Café serves a very good breakfast and earns a 3.5 Addie rating.

The drive back on Highway 101 to our RV Park convinced us that this was one of those days that the fog was not going to burn off by mid-afternoon.

There are several roads between Klamath and Hiouchi that offered panoramic views of the coastline; local folks reassured us that we would have no trouble navigating these roads with our truck.

But when they say things like, "It goes from gravel to a dirt road for a short bit" or "We have a school bus that takes kids on a class trip up here every year," instead of being reassured, I became more apprehensive--especially when the latter comment is made about a one-lane road that is open to two-way traffic.

And when the Klamath Coastal Drive has the statement: "drive the edge of the continent" in its description, I start looking for the nearest paved highway.

But for some reason the road to the Klamath Overlook sounded navigable (makes sense doesn't it?).

The road took us four miles through the handful of homes in Requa and past the historic Requa Hotel to the overlook.

Even on this cloudy, foggy day, the view reached "Wow" level.

The views in the two photos above show the mouth of the Klamath River emptying into the Pacific.

When we came back to 101, we spent a little time just listening to the ocean.

The ride through redwood forests was even slower than was warranted by the fog. The imposing figures in the fog created a air of mystery as we traveled north.

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