Thursday, February 22, 2007

North Coast Travelogue: 2/21-2/23

What a lousy couple of days.

Left for San Francisco again on Wednesday. Like I said earlier on, it might prove to be interesting with the heavy rain. Wasn't all that bad really except some of the places where water pooled on the road.

I'd checked the road conditions before leaving and it seemed all the roads were open, the one exception being controlled traffic on a stretch on 101 south of Leggett due to an accident. That was about 8:30 before we left. I was surprised to hear, while listening to KMUD radio down around Confusion Hill, the radio gal advising of the same accident and controlled traffic.

Yep, it was still controlled when we got there about 11:30. Held us up for about ten minutes. Looked like they'd finally cleared the road, though. Found out later that's where both drivers were killed.

Oh, by the way, for you rest stop lovers out there; The Leggett rest stop is finally open again.

One pleasant surprise is I saw few speed freaks on the way down there this time. Seems like there's always a few drivers going as fast as they can regardless of the weather conditions. This time it seemed like most people were using due caution, even when we got further into Mendocino County and the rain lightened up a bit finally becoming scattered showers.

One thing I'd always wanted, and finally have, is adjustable windshield wipers- the kind where you can adjust the frequency of wiping. I love 'em but got a little frustrated with them on Wednesday. I couldn't seem to get them set right and they'd either be wiping too slow or too fast. I was thinking to myself that, as much as I had to keep adjusting the speed, I might as well have regular wipers that I'd have to turn off and on manually. Oh well.

We made it to The City maybe twenty minutes later than we normally would of, time- wise. That was actually a bit quicker than expected as I slow down quite a bit in the rain.

Got our room and had dinner on the cheap having brought along some crackers and cheese to snack on. Not having to pay for wireless this time since I'd subscribed to ATT Wifi, I saved at least $20 on dinner and wireless service alone. I was thinking this might be the cheapest trip down there yet.

That was not to be.

I should have anticipated spending more time at UCSF than usual since we had some medical complications to deal with but, for some reason, planned for just one night, figuring we should be out of there by noon.

Nope. They were busy. Our appointment time was pushed back maybe fifteen minutes. Then the Nurse Practitioner told us the wife should get an infusion and it might take a couple hours to free up space for her. The infusion itself should take an hour as well.

Well, so much for getting back to Eureka that day. Usually, if we don't get out of there by noon, we plan on spending the night. We're just too tired by then to drive all the way back.

Connie suggested calling the Cathedral Hill and seeing if we could beg a room for the night. I didn't want to cause any more hassle for them than we already do. I also wanted to get out of The City if only because I'd only planned on one night there. I told Connie we'd head north when she was done and try to at least make Ukiah.

So she gets her IV. I go to get something to eat, checking my e-mail on the public Mac computer UCSF has down below the food court. Checked the blogs as well but forgot to check doppler radar to get an idea of what the weather was doing.

Go into the Subway there to order a sandwich. Figured I'd get the Turkey Breast...whatever it was called. Ended up with something different as the "sandwich artist" was one of those oriental types with such poor english I couldn't understand her.

She'd say something. I'd ask her to repeat and still couldn't understand. Finally I'd say "No". She'd keep saying the same thing until I'd say yes and then plop a bunch of different meats on the sandwich. Finally got it done and was surprised at how good it turned out.

So Connie gets done and we head out, leaving UCSF at just about 3pm sharp. One thing that's nice is leaving SF via 19th rather than Lomard Street. The stretch of road leading to the Golden Gate Bridge from Lombard scares me to death. 19th isn't all that much better, but it is better.

Got a few minor traffic slow ups on the way to Santa Rosa but we made pretty good time. Finally, after thinking about it for a while, I decide I'm going to try to make Eureka.

I HATE driving at night, especially in the rain, but I'm on a mission. I'm tired and bit pissed, but pissed enough to give me the determination to make it home. I tell Connie that and she's probably not all that happy about it but, hey, I'm the one driving. The only thing that will stop me is if we get word of snow north of Ukiah.

Weather wasn't that bad until we started approaching Ukiah. By the time we get to the north end of Ukiah it's really socked it and visibility sucked. Then we saw the sign telling us of winter driving conditions next 75 miles. Carrying chains recommended. Damn. Mission aborted.

It was all I could do to turn around as I couldn't see the lines in the road but managed to take an off ramp and get headed back to Ukiah proper. Finally made it to North State Street and was glad to finally see the Discovery Inn again.

$79, we didn't have, to spend the night but we both agree the Discovery has the nicest rooms we've ever stayed in. That, and I like the fact anything you might need is close by with a supermarket across the street and a number of restaurants as well.

Another thing we took notice of last night is their heater/ air conditioners work real well. The heater warmed up the room real quick. We were there in the summer during the heat wave and the air conditioner worked real well, unlike other places we've stayed.

Oh, as an aside, watched a kind of fun show on the Discovery Channel that night. Best Evidence was about that contrail conspiracy controversy. Some people call them chemtrails and say the government is adding chemicals to jet fuels for various purposes, one of them to combat global warming.

Fun stuff. Keep an eye out for it. Both global warming believers and deniers might enjoy the show.

So we get up in the morning and there's frost on the truck- got down to 32 degrees.

As it gets light you could see snow on the hills. I'm hoping the roads are clear. After some toast and eggs in the Discovery's Breakfast Room we head out. I'm hoping there isn't ice on the roads as I've seen before.

Nope. No ice and I don't think more than an inch of snow was on the ground, but snow was on the ground from Ridgewood Summit, north of Ukiah, to around Leggett. Made it home in about three hours to the minute.

Only problem is, we have to go back again next week and that sucks.


At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blog reeks of narcissism. Nobody cares that you had a turkey sandwich.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Rose said...

You're a jerk, 3:15

At 5:19 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

3¨15 Why are you reading this blog? Go back to daily kos.

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Do they teach manners at daily kos, ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ?

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Carol said...

Sounds like you made the wise decision to stay in Ukiah, Fred. I hope the weather is better next week. I wish Connie well, too!

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Hayduke said...

Can't let this one pass. It is your blog Fred, and if you want to talk about your turkey sandwich you get to do so. Actually I enjoy this kind of stuff, and if someone does not like your so caled "narcissism" than they can skip that post. It is like "On the Road with Ed"...we ordinary folks can identify with these stories.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Joy said...

Thank you, Fred. Can you please update me on Connie's condition.
If you want to stay at my lake house, please feel free to it.


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