Wednesday, October 25, 2006

North Coast Travelogue 10/22- 10/24

Headed to San Francisco again on Sunday.

I'm thankful to Glenn Franco- Simmons of the Eureka Reporter for that one editorial he wrote where he picked on the environmentalists and their Subarus. Remember that one? Now it gives me something to look for on those long drives.

I was happy to report a while back about the first car to scream past me on the freeway being a Subaru. This time, no such luck. The first car to scream past me- I was going 65- was a Ford Bronco, or some such. The second one, right behind that one, was a Subaru, though.

I never realized, until I started really looking for them, just how many Subarus are out there. They seem to be very popular cars.
Anyone who goes to the Bay Area rightfully complains about having to deal with the Santa Rosa area. I'm getting to wonder if the Petaluma area isn't worse. Sure, sometimes you get jammed up in Santa Rosa, but it seems we always do going south by Petaluma.

I can't figure out why.
We couldn't take advantage of a free room at the Cathedral Hill Hotel this time. Oracle was having a convention in San Francisco so all the rooms were booked. We fell back on the Native Daughters of the Golden West Home on the corner of Fulton and Baker in The City.

Though it costs more than free, $50 a night for the two of us, this place isn't bad. I think I actually enjoyed it more than the last time we stayed there.

Knowing the roads a little better by now, our city map was a little easier to read. Driving to the UCSF clinic only took like ten minutes. It seemed like less than that. I measured the distance on the map and it was less than a mile and a half. That's almost walkable. Certainly bikeable.

I get a kick out of the free internet there. As I mentioned before, they don't provide internet, but the place across the street has wireless and it's an open connection. You can pick it up from inside the house.

For some reason I ended up losing the connection around 8:30ish Monday, though. Couldn't figure it out. Computer said the signal was there but I couldn't connect to it. I hope they didn't decide to secure it after all this time. Interesting that place doesn't mention anything about internet on
their web site.
Stayed at the old reliable, Day's Inn in Novato, Monday night. I enjoy staying there but I'll have to say I get a little miffed with some of their staff sometimes. I've stayed there how many times? How many times have I seen the guy at check in? Yet he asks me for a photo id again. That gets on my nerves.

Starvation rations for a couple days this time. For some reason Connie figures just one serving of the microwave meals will be sufficient for me and so all I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner was one serving of lasagna or whatever else she brought along.

Breakfast was really bad. She mentioned she'd bought some ham and egg Hot Pockets. I'd had them before and figured that would be fine. Are they making them smaller now? The ones we had weren't the ones I remembered. I had two the size of mid- sized cookies. That isn't going to work. I can handle one or two meals like that, but not two days.

Finally, on Tuesday night, I mentioned that we were on starvation rations. Connie didn't have a clue at first, then finally realized what I was saying and said she'd bring more in the future. First feeling of a full belly I had since leaving home was Tuesday morning at the breakfast room at Day's Inn.

Oh, one thing about Day's Inn: My laptop kinda went south on me and I was wondering if I'd have access to internet while I was gone. I figured if worse came to worse, I could use the public iMacs at UCSF and the computer in the lobby of the Day's Inn.

I'd assumed the Day's Inn computer was free for guests. I guess I was wrong. Took a closer look at it while I was there and it costs $1.00 for ten minutes. Heck. I couldn't even check my e-mail in ten minutes. Good thing my laptop was still useable.

Need to get that laptop fixed. Apparently the "backlight" is going out. Sometimes the screen goes black on me, although you can still see the desktop icons if you look real close. I didn't even know they had backlights. Still useable at least for now. Weird thing is, I have to use battery power. If I plug in the AC converter, the screen blacks out within seconds. Still works to charge it, though.
The roads are being repaved down by the Mendocino/ Humboldt County line. Controlled traffic just south of Richardson's Grove held us up maybe fifteen minutes. I suspect they'll have most of it finished by the end of the week, from the looks of it.

The backed up traffic on the north end of the construction zone, where that gas station is at the south end of Richardson Grove, caused us to miss our usual last stop before Eureka. We usually stop there to take a break but we would have had to fight our way through the line of stopped traffic to get in there. We decided we'd stop at Garberville instead.
This was the first time I'd been in Garberville in probably at least fifteen years, maybe twenty. I was surprised at the amount of traffic and all the activity. I figured that it would be a lot quieter there. I also never noticed how many hotels and motels Garberville has.

I didn't see any indication of the parking problems in Garberville I'd heard of recently. I did see a Sheriff's Deputy writing a ticket for a truck parked in the red zone in front of Ray's Food Place, where we'd stopped to get something to eat.

And I looked all around and saw no sign of Eric Kirk. I figured he'd have the red carpet rolled out knowing I'd be coming to town. Oh. That's right. He didn't know I was coming.
Am I the only one that gets spooked by the wind when I'm driving? Two or three times between Rio Dell and Eureka I thought the wind was going to blow me off the road. One good gust would be enough to actually move the truck off course, or so it seemed. I was actually more worried about overreacting to the wind than the wind actually running me off the road.

It seemed like the wind was really blowing. Then, when I got home, it didn't seem anywhere near as strong as it did when I was driving. Oh well, don't have to worry about that again until the next time I go back down. And the time after that, and the time after that....


At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you get a chance at SF around a special occasion day-try the Hotel Majestic at 1500 Sutter St-15 blocks from Lombard.

$135 a night, the beds are 4-posters, tubs are clawfooted and there is a small 'frig. A very elegant place at any price.

Lillian Gish used to live there. Nick Cage stays there frequently.

The Continental breakfast is a FEAST!

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Heraldo said...

You've got to plan your whole trip around hitting Santa Rosa at the right time, otherwise you're doomed to the traffic jams. But it's not an exact science as the traffic there is getting worse.

It must be the environmentalists fault.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Halloween Fred!

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heraldo is right-make sure you are heading towards SF so that you pass through Santa Rosa by 3PM and you will be facing the heavy traffic. Leave SF before 3PM any day and you will be ahead of the rush there. On the weekends avoid Santa Rosa from lunch time through 6PM both directions. Saves gas too.

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Subarus. Just like rednecks and Ford F-150 trucks, the left wing and mostly environmentalists all are attracted by the glowing light of acceptance via the Subaru. Preferably the Subaru Outback. Like this Japanese auto manufacturer is more concerned about the environment than say Honda or Nissan. Or Ford and Chevy for that matter. It's wonderful marketing. My secret joy was knowing that in order to purchase a Subaru here locally you had to go through Howard Hanlon and Coastal Auto Mart or Nader's Auto Mart to get one. Yes, you had to be slimed by capitalism in order to acquire one. I'm just curious if folks thought the name Nader was akin to Ralph and therefore made it an all more wonderful experience. Ah, the irony.

Owning a Subaru is a status symbol. It's the secret handshake into the brotherhood/sisterhood. It's a sense of belonging. You sure has heck don't want to stray too far from the pack. I believe Darryl Cherney(sp?) even wrote a song about the hippies love of Subarus and Volvos. That's why I love the wry wit of Darryl Cherney.

I dare you to drive through Arcata on any given day and NOT see a Subaru. It's like driving through Fortuna and not seeing a Ford truck. And when you drive by the Black Oak Ranch outdoor festivals ala Kate Wolf Festival it looks like you are driving by a Subaru owners convention. That and the Toyota 4-Runner. The only accepted SUV for the young liberal male outdoor enthusiast/social activist.

I still think Isackson could have survived in Arcata if they had gone to being a Subaru dealership rather than a Ford dealership. Then everything would be oh so groovy. Sigh...I guess it just doesn'twork that way.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get spooked by the people in front of me who don't know how to friggin drive. No offense Fred, but it's usually an older couple or some twit on her cellphone. Then of course the idiot who's riding yer tail through the mountains and once he passes you he slows down to nil in front of you.

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My best friend's Subaru came from Redding much better deal there!

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I know my wife's cousin, Lorraine, asked us some time ago about buying a Subaru. She's very Lefty. We go back and forth all the time about Global Warming.

Love the gal, actually, despite her politics stinking.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger J. Alora said...

Wow, I never knew there was such hatred of Subarus. Is this just the Subaru SUV-type things, like the Outback and the Forester? I've had my little Impreza for years and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Gets great mileage and cost under $10,000 for a brand new car.

At 12:14 AM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said...

Subaru's are the new Volvos, now that the boxy 245s are gone. We had an outback awhile ago. Good car.

Santa Rosa is perpetually jammed because of rampant development and civil engineers all basically geared towards getting traffic to 101. The offroads don't allow for alternative local traffic very easily, except for Stony Point Road which we sometimes use to get to Petaluma.

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said...

The Subaru got close to 30 mpg on the highway btw.

Oh, and Fred, stop in any time. I'm on Sprowel Creek Road, just over the freeway west. Can't miss the sign.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Carol Ann said...

Fred, the Flamingo in Santa Rosa has been tastefully remodeled and is very affordable.

I had a suburu once and it was a champ. Over 200,000 miles on it when I traded it in. Now I drive a Toyota, which was manufactured in the United States.

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I got 2 Suburus — no hippy in disguise here and as far as I know I have never known them to be part of a secret handshake. But I'll tell you what — I just turned 100,000 miles on my forester and never had anything more done than regular maintenance. Damn thing is a gem. Am I liberal? I'm pretty moderate, but I gotta say that if my being on the road sticks in Glen Franco's craw — then all the better

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Update: Lorraine's in town. She told me she ended up buying a Subaru. No stickers on it, though.


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