Monday, January 04, 2010

North Coast Travelogue: 1/3-1/4

Had to head back down to UCSF Medical Center again Sunday.

Why should I have been surprised that the Eel River got clearer the further south we went? Muddy as expected down by Fortuna and Scotia but, by the time we got to Mendocino County, it almost seemed clear- emphasis on almost. It was still muddy, but there seemed to me to be a tinge of green showing.

I'll have to say, in the nearly four years we've been going to UCSF regularly, this had to have been the smoothest trip, traffic- wise, ever.

One of my most hated sections of Highway 101 is the Ridgewood grade just south of Willits. It takes you down to Ukiah. It's had a few sections of the grade reduced to one lane for most of the four years we've been going down it, or so it seems. Now it's two lanes both ways.

That tight one lane: Not only did that make me nervous- my reflexes not being what they used to be- that also usually means there's at least a few speed freaks that would drive right on my ass most of the way down the grade because they couldn't pass me. I hate that.

As best I can remember, this was the first and only time that I didn't have to worry as much about keeping in the tight one lane. No one was following us, either. We drove all the way down with not one car in front of, or behind us. What a treat!

And not a slow down to speak of in the Santa Rosa/ Petaluma area.We never went below 55 the whole way. Seems like most of the construction is done, for now. I don't think that's ever happened, either.
I don't think either of us wanted to have dinner delivered to the Novato Day's Inn again. Too expensive and, quite honestly, it wasn't all that good. I didn't want to check into the Inn and then hop in the truck again to go find something to eat, either. Not after the drive we just made. Besides, it would be dark soon. So, we decided to head into Novato before we checked in and find somewhere with take out.

We'd heard there was a Quizno's sandwich place close to the Inn, but we weren't necessarily set on Quizno's. We drove a short ways into Novato to look around and found a mall. We figured there should be some place to grab food there. There was. We settled on Phyliss' Giant Burgers. A nice place with 5 or 6 wide screen TVs. Even had a small bar.

I ordered a chicken burger. Connie ordered the cobb salad, the total coming to about $17.00. More than we like to pay for dinner but less than we were paying having pizza delivered. We took the food with us back to the Day's Inn.

Connie couldn't finish her salad. At one point she said, "I keep eating and eating, but it's still here". I guess that's good, but I wasn't all that impressed with the chicken burger. I thought the french fries- that I had to order separately- were pretty good, though. I feel safe in saying neither of us would be going out of our way to go back there. It wasn’t bad, just not anything exciting and relatively expensive. I'd have been happier to find a Burger King.

We did see a McDonald's, right as we drove in to town, but I loath McDonald's.

Did an internet search once we got back to the Day's Inn to see where the Quizno's was supposed to be. I figured now that we'd got a bit of an idea where things were, we should know pretty much where we needed to go for Quizno's. Their web site didn't show a Quizno's in Novato. I could of sworn it did last time I looked. Must have gone out of business like the one in Cloverdale?
Another good thing about the trip was being able to enjoy more than just basic cable TV for a night. Saw one movie I might not have watched if Connie hadn't switched to it. The Soloist turned out to involve an L.A. Times columnist I read on occasion, Steve Lopez.

I would of said I read Lopez often, but I apparently missed his columns detailing his relationship with homeless musician, Nathaniel Ayers. I love movies based on true stories and, after doing a little internet research, the movie seemed to be fairly accurate, although Mr. Ayers doesn't smoke as depicted in the movie.

The next show was another treat. One of my favorite mini- series is Band of Brothers. It's a true account about a company of paratroopers that participated in D Day- Operation Overlord- the Invasion of Europe. I'd actually seen all of the series but the first episode and they showed the first episode Sunday night. Does it get any better than that?
Breakfast the next morning at the Day's Inn Breakfast Room was a disappointment. I've said before their breakfast room needs some work. This time there were no hard boiled eggs available. No bagels available, either, and that's what Connie usually has. So, I had four pieces of wheat (not whole wheat- the phony wheat) bread and Connie had some Cherrios. Luckily she'd brought some yogurt along so was able to at least sustain herself.

The desk guy said the reason there were no eggs was the restaurant had been closed for the last 3 days. I guess that means the restaurant was preparing the hard boiled eggs? Somewhat surprising as I always thought the eggs were done by Inn staff. I guess not. Regardless, a major downer for us as we were both hungry.
We left earlier than usual to head to UCSF as we had a 9:45 appointment at the Mt. Zion campus to see a dermatologist. Once again, for the only time I can remember, we drove straight through to The City without a hint of a traffic jam. We arrived at UCSF with perfect timing- time enough to catch the shuttle to Mt. Zion without any huffing and puffing.

I was really surprised that the UCSF parking garage was so empty. I figured with the holidays being over there'd be all kinds of people with appointments, trying to catch up on business, and the parking garage would be full. That turned out not to be the case. Plenty of room to park, even later in the day.

The waiting room at UCSF Oncology was pretty empty, too. Connie's doctor, Doctor Hege, said she expected a big crowd, as well. She didn't know why it was so slow. Good for us, though.

Saw the dermatologist at Mt. Zion, Dr. Shinkaii, M.D., PhD. Both of us were surprised she seemed to recognize us on sight. We were walking down the hall to the exam room and she greeted us like she knew us. We'd only seen her once before, three months ago- a remarkable gal and a pleasure to deal with.

Did she really remember us, or does she act that way with everyone? After our second meeting with her, I actually think she remembered us. She was just too up to speed on the business we had to deal with to have gotten everything from records and charts.
The Oncology Dept. at the Parnassus Campus kinda sucks lately. Swine flu precautions are in place. You have to wear a mask and wash your hands to enter. Staff don't- they’ve been vaccinated- but patients and visitors do. I certainly don't blame them as many, if not most, of the patients there are immune suppressed or deficient. Common flu can be deadly to them. I just hate face masks because wearing them is uncomfortable and makes my nose run.
Got out of UCSF a few minutes late as Dr. Hege came up with the idea of Connie getting an H1N1 vaccination while she was there. Connie has been having trouble finding any vaccine up here but UCSF had some in stock. Cool.

Actually had a short traffic slowdown in the Santa Rosa area on the way back from merging traffic that lasted maybe a minute at most.
Stopped at the Willits Taco Bell for a pee break and dinner- to- go. Every time we've been there I've been impressed with how the mostly Mexican crew there seems to enjoy their jobs, or at least each other. It was no different this time with the guys and gals laughing and joking as they went about their work.

I mentioned it to one gal that was cleaning up in the dining room. She was an anglo gal and seemed older than the rest of the crew. I told her I was impressed with how happy the workers always seemed there. She replied that she'd worked at a number of Taco Bell's and this one was, indeed, "...the best one".
We got in to Eureka a bit before 8pm. As we're coming down E street we see flashing lights down by our house. We're wondering if they're fire engines, or what? Being a constant worrier about things going wrong, I'm always thinking we'll come home to something bad having happened. It's happened before. So what are those lights over by what seems to be our house?

It was a tow truck hauling off a vehicle from in front of my neighbor's house. There was a Highway Patrolman behind the tow truck, too. Whew! Close one.
So, we get home and both of our butts hurt from sitting in the truck for so long. A little walking around gets rid of the pain, but it's torture when you just have to sit there and drive. Anyone have any tricks for alleviating butt and leg pain during long drives?

We have foam pads we put on the seats, but that only goes so far. The only thing I can do that helps is to stop and get out of the truck and move around a bit and I don’t want to do that every 20 miles. Suggestions are welcome.


At 9:41 AM, Blogger Just a Small Town Girl said...

I have heated seats in my car that have seemed to help.... OK, so I am spoiled.
A few years ago, my husband and I had to make quite a few trips from McKinleyville to Stanford. One stop in Laytonville to pee. On the way home the next day, we were lucky if we stopped at all. I'm married to a truck it's always HAMMER DOWN! to our destination.
If I sit for to long, I get a pinched nerve in my leg that drives me insane. The heated seats do seem to help relax the muscles though. (no heated seats in hubby's truck though, just my car)

It seems like when we travel, all we are thinking about is getting to our destination!?
You seem like the type of person that doesn't mind a little exploration though? Getting out and stretching somewhere different could be interesting

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working out (in moderation, over time) at the beautiful Adorni Center might firm up those glutes and make your automobile adventures as pleasant as they used to be.

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Fred said...

...and make your automobile adventures as pleasant as they used to be..

Our trips to UCSF have never been pleasant, as far as I'm concerned. Not all that bad, maybe, but never pleasant.


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