Tuesday, April 23, 2013

North Coast Travelogue 4/21- 4/22

We left Eureka just before 11am Sunday after stopping at Taco Bell for my traditional iced tea. This time Connie suggested a burrito for her, too. She wasn't all that happy with the offerings the One Log House in Piercy anymore and decided to just have a burrito to keep her going.
The Eel River looked nice and summerish, not really a good sign for April. Despite that, I was surprised to see a bunch of cars parked and people swimming in the river at that place alongside the road just north of North Leggett.Saw even more people swimming in the Russian River down in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. Is the water that warm already? It's going to suck if we don't get more rain before summer.
Stopped at the Moss Cove rest stop between Laytonville and Willits for a bathroom break. Four or five cars parked there, and a couple motorcycles. Only saw 2 guys. Where were the people that were with the other cars?
Got to Willits for gas and didn't feel like hassling with the crowd at the Safeway. Besides, last time we went, Brown's had gas for about the same price as Safeway. I decided to do Brown's. Price difference wasn't even close to last time. I think it was around 50 cents a gallon more at Brown's. Oh, well. I wasn't turning around and going back at that point just to save a few bucks.

We didn't stop at Willits' Taco Bell, either. Didn't feel like hassling with it and didn't really relish the idea of hours old burritos for dinner. Wasn't quite sure what we'd end up doing for dinner at that point.
 No cop cars or protesters we could see at the south end of the bypass construction.
Flew through the Santa Rosa area. I was worried about Petaluma because of the supposed widening project in- progress there. As it happened, I don't know if we've driven through the Petaluma area so quickly. Maybe because it was Sunday? But we always drive through there on Sunday.
 As we approached San Rafael, we discussed what to do for dinner. It would definitely be something in San Rafael, but how and when? We'd never done it this way before. I suggested we keep an eye out and take a closer look at what was visible from the freeway just north from where we'd be staying. We could either get something before we check in, or check in and then go look.

Connie actually felt like finding something to eat first. That was just what I was thinking in the back of my head. I did NOT want to get to our room, turn around and go out driving again. I'm generally burned out by the time I make Willits and fried by the time I make San Rafael. Not something I enjoy.

As we approached the turnoff before Lincoln Avenue, only a McDonalds and A&W Root Beer could be seen. We pulled off to see what else was there. Just the Macplace, A&W and a couple foreign style restaurants- Mexican and Hawaiian, or some such. I wasn't into dealing with a real restaurant. I suggested A&W as I hadn't been to one in decades. Connie agreed.

We decided on take- out but, since we didn't know what was on the menu, decided against the drive- thru. We didn't want to clog up the line while we perused the menu.

Only two people sitting at a table inside. Food looked a bit expensive for junk food places, but the staff were friendly enough. I mentioned that they didn't have the tacos the Eureka A&W used to have- the best tacos ever. The guy replied they used to have them but his boss said they were too much trouble to continue offering. He said his partner also thought they were the best ever. I looked at her- Mexican gal maybe in her 40s- and she nodded back. Soulmates!

I ordered 2 regular burgers and a large order of fries. Connie ordered a veggie burger and medium root beer. Total came to around $14.50. Steep by my standards, then I noticed the guy combined our orders into one value meal plus a couple extras so he probably saved us a bit. Can't argue with that.

We grabbed our order and tried to head back without going to the freeway. There was a street that seemed to parallel the freeway heading south. We figured it might take us to the Villa Inn. It didn't. It dead ended a few blocks south, turning into a pedestrian trail. No biggie. We just headed back to the freeway and ended up at the Inn within minutes.
Real hot at the Villa Inn. Maybe in the high 70s or low 80s? But the robust air conditioners in the rooms made that not much of an issue. We didn't get the exact "special" room we'd requested, but got the one next to it and that's all that mattered. Any room on that side of the Inn is fine with me.
We got going a bit late Monday morning. I've always felt you should try to get parked at UCSF by 10am. After that there's a chance the parking garage might be too full, although admittedly we've only been shut out from parking once in all the years we've been going there. We left San Rafael after 9:30 That had me worried.

I doubt the new automated toll system at the Golden Gate Bridge saved us any time. It was nice to not have to remember to have cash ready. I prepaid my toll online. If I also get a bill in the mail, I'll assume that's not working well.

In addition to getting going a bit late, we ran into our first ever traffic "jam" on Park Presidio. Traffic moving at a crawl that probably set us back another ten minutes. But, we got to the parking garage and there's plenty of places to park.
We prepare to go to the clinic and Connie can't find her purse. YIKES! Turns out she left it in our room back at the Villa Inn. This could be a problem if they ask for I.D. on check- in, which they do on occasion, but nothing we can do about that now.

I grab my cellphone, call the Villa Inn and tell the boss guy what happened. He tells me the cleaning crew hasn't gotten to the room yet, to hang on and he'll see if he can find it. He comes back in a couple minutes and says he has it and will keep it in the office for us. Sweet! What a guy!
Now we've got to stop at the Villa Inn on the way back. We've never gone there from the south, just the north, so I wondered if there was a Lincoln Avenue exit from the northbound lanes. I figured I'd better find out before getting there. When we went to eat lunch at the food court I saw their public access Mac wasn't being used so went and brought up the Villa Inn web site.

The Mac was right near the window and it was very warm there. I was sweating from the heat and having trouble seeing the screen because of the sun's glare, but I found directions. There was no Lincoln Avenue exit but just a couple of turns from the Main Central Rafael exit would get us there. I wasn't sure I could remember the details so used my cellphone to write down the basics. Then we went back to the truck and wrote the instructions down.
We got out a bit late from the clinic, not leaving until almost 2:30. Quickly made it back to the Villa Inn, grabbed the purse, thanked the guy and sped north- the freeway onramp to the north much easier to get to than the way we just came.
We'd have to stop to eat, among other things, but I wasn't in the mood for Taco Bell, again, or any more stops than necessary. We discussed stopping in Cloverdale and couldn't decide between the Starbucks or the Shell station/KFC/7-11 combination place next to it.

By the time we got there we decided on the Shell station. Our last trip showed they had all kinds of stuff to eat and drink. We ended up with everything we wanted and came out paying probably as much for food and drink as we would have at Starbucks for drink alone. About the only downside to that place was the women's restroom was still shut down so everybody had to fight to use the men's. Fortunately, there weren't many people fighting for it at the time.

Damn. Over 3 months and the women's restroom is still closed???
As we left Cloverdale we notice a big fire on the top of a hill to the northwest. We'd seen smoke from it the day before on the way down and assumed it was a controlled burn. Looking at it now it didn't seem controlled at all. Hard to say how far off it was- maybe 5 to 10 miles as the crow flies- but it was really going. Far away as it was we could see huge flames erupting from it. Not sure what was going on as we didn't see any firefighters or planes. Haven't seen it mentioned in the news, either.
Made it to Willits and had decided to get gas at Safeway this time if only for the price. Got stuck in the five thirty traffic jam at the bottleneck with the usual suspects trying to run up the right lane and cut into the line. Wasn't that bad, though. Good thing it wasn't summer!

Safeway gas wasn't too busy but I saw one guy that made the line cutters at the bottleneck look good:

Connie pointed out a guy that seemed to be done filling up and might be leaving so I drove up behind him. He gets out of his car. Locks it, then runs off toward the intersection. We lose sight of him as he seems to be heading across the street to the Jack In The Box. Was he parking his car here in front of the pump while he goes to get something to eat? What a DICK!

I found another pump. While I'm filling up I see some other guy pull in behind THE DICK's car. I go over and tell him he may want the find another pump because the "...asshole that owns this car went across the street". He also went to a different pump.

I don't know what that guy was doing but as we were leaving he had come back to his car and started filling up with gas. Maybe someone across the street had his credit card? Regardless, he's still a DICK for parking his car there. He should have moved his car to the parking lot to take care of his other business.
Stopped at the Leggett rest stop for a bathroom break. As I walked to the building to take care of my business my stomach started churning. Uh, oh. I need to do more than just pee. I didn't want to suffer through using the portable toilet at the Renner Card Lock in Piercy again.

So I did it and only when I'm almost done do I realize the toilet paper dispenser is empty. Like that old joke song: "Stranded. Stranded on a toilet bowl...". There were plenty of the paper toilet seat covers, though, so I used those for toilet paper. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures!
Made it home at about 8:10pm, almost to the minute of what I'd estimated a couple hours earlier. I never realize how uptight the Bay Area makes me until I can kick back and really be comfortable at home.


At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Eel River Ernie said...

So I did it and only when I'm almost done do I realize the toilet paper dispenser is empty. Like that old joke song: "Stranded. Stranded on a toilet bowl...". Remember to old Boy Scout motto of always being prepared!

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Yeah. I suppose I could have brought my own toilet paper. As it happened, I was already pretty much done by the time I noticed the dispenser was empty.

I never worried about it before cause they seem to go overkill on maintaining those rest areas. I've seen the crews a number of times. They seemed to be there every time we'd stop at one for a while.

It looked like the place hadn't been cleaned up in a while. Maybe the super maintenance stuff is a summer thing and they only do it periodically other times of the year?

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

got a roll in the vehicle and napkins in the glove compartment, except for the day at the bank's front door, that was a messy poop and pee, but it felt quite good to squat.

"Glove compartment", seems like a funny thing to read these days. - HOJ


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