Jason picked up the ‘drag link’ he’d ordered in Redding and we were on our way to Hayfork, CA–site of the 2009 Trinity County Fair. This was another recommendation from our new friends Mike and Maria who were going to be there. Hayfork is a pretty small town and this is the once-a-year big deal that brings everyone out of the woodwork. We were pleasantly surprised too see an even blend of tie-dye and cowboy boots.
Jason hadn’t been to one of these since he was a kid in Texas (100% cowboy boots), and enjoyed checking out the prize-winning squash and going through all the exhibit halls where everything had a ribbon hanging on it. Best muffins. Best 4th grade poster art. Best quilt. Best hog. Best chickens with feathers in peculiar places. You name it, and the best of the county was represented here and awarded appropriately. Good clean fun.
The competitions were not just limited to agriculture. We got a chance to participate too. The kid’s tractor races sounded fun and Bode was game for it, so we signed him up for the four-year old heats. Despite the organizers best attempts to remind everyone that this was all just for fun, we were surrounded by parents coaching their kids on the finer details of pedal-tractor drag racing. “No steering!” “Pedal like you’re mad!” were being tossed around like common knowledge. The kids went in pairs, but due to a no-show, Bode had a solo heat and raced the clock. A clear disadvantage. Jason insisted there was also a slight humidity increase that deleteriously affected the track conditions. If you’re getting our drift, Bode did not turn in the fastest time. The winner clocked in at 7.7 seconds. Bode turned in a respectable 10 flat. Of course, nobody really cared and all the kids got free ride tickets – Bode was thrilled and we went straight for the serpent coaster.
We missed the Ugliest Dog contest and Bode was a little sad. While we were checking out the pigs, I saw a woman carrying what had to be the ugliest dog I’ve seen, and thinking that Bode would be happy to see the winner, I asked “Were you entered in the contest?” The woman holding this tiny furry beast looked confused. I tried to explain that I’m sure her dog wouldn’t have won, and I meant no offense to the dog, but I think the sentiment was lost due to Jason’s laughter from behind me. Oh well, she’s gotta know that dog isn’t pretty.
Next it was time for the pie-eating contest. Jason had threatened to enter, but after seeing the competition, he backed out. Probably a good decision. The kid’s competition was cute – they only had to eat a thin slice. The adults had to eat a half a pie – not as cute. It should be noted that one of the duties of Miss Trinity County 2009 is to help out with the pie-eating contest.
We continued down Hwy 36 toward the coast. It was lovely at first, but there were no lines on the highway and being a Friday night, there were lots of large pickups hauling boats. We stopped at a small burger joint right off the highway – Mad River, the only sign of civilization we’d seen. Jason went to check out the camp sites next to it, but returned and requested we get our dinner to go. Too many strange things going on, including the hitchhiker woman with trashbag luggage and an animal cage who was trying to bum cigarettes from Jason.
Soon after that, a deer ran in front of the car. I noticed something hanging from it, and realized it was an arrow. I was having trouble getting the Deliverance banjo music out of my head when we finally reached Redwoods and I knew we were close to the coast. We camped at a state park, but were up and out of there early in the morning. We later learned this stretch of road is referred to as the ‘highway of death.’ Lot’s of fatalities. Has a nice ring to it too.
–currently headed towards Lake of the Woods and Crater lake–