Mendocino County Line

14 03 2008

LONG trip today. We left Santa Rosa, California around 9:30am this morning, heading up the 101. We turned in towards the coast at Cloverdale, heading for Mendocino, crossing the Mendocino County Line which was made famous in a song somewhere, sometime…

The drive to the coast was very narrow and winding, but also very beautiful. Lots of Californian Oaks with dripping mosses and lichens. The day was glorious. Mendocino was as pretty as ever, and as it was the first time Char had seen that part of the Californian coast, she was as taken with it as anyone who sees it for the first time.

We continued making our way up the coast (Highway 1 at this stage) until we rejoined Highway 101 at a tiny spot called Leggett, where we took the car through the drive-through tree. (photos to come…). Then we followed 101 to Eureka and beyond, until after some 9 hours of driving we arrived at Brookings, OR, where we grabbed a room for the night. In total I drove some 337 miles, and there’s another 333 to Portland tomorrow…
Some of the highlights of today’s trip:

  • Magnificent redwoods
  • Lush green forests
  • Brilliant coastline
  • Raging oceans
  • Very winding roads
  • Lots of rain in parts; beautiful sunshine at other times; cloudy for the rest; some fog in places
  • Very cold wind!
  • Expensive fuel ($3.79 average in northern California, but only $3.50 immediately over the border in Oregon)
  • Smooth driving and handling in the Mazda6




Sitting on the dock of the bay

14 03 2008

Char and I walked down to where she was doing her training this morning. We grabbed a bite to eat at “Specialty’s” along the way, then she went on to the training group while I went and checked out the Wells Fargo Museum that Char had recommended, located – not surprisingly – in the Wells Fargo Bank. This museum is probably not something that most visitors to San Francisco know about. I found it interesting. And those coaches were really cool. You could actually sit in one upstairs. Surprisingly, they held 9 people INSIDE and another 9 on the top fully loaded (3 on the driver’s bench and 6 up on the very top).

 Wells Fargo coach

I then went back to the hotel to upload some photos, do final email checks, and check out. Because the valet parking would’ve gone in to another 24 hour period (and at $43 a day I didn’t want that!), I asked them to get the car and I loaded it up (on the hotel staff’s advice), then put it in the parking garage up the street.

Off I went. I visited the Museum of Crafts and Folk Art (they had a textiles exhibition on), but for $5 it was a bit light on… Then I went to the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) where I saw Klees, Mondrians, Dalis, Lichensteins, Warhols, Matisses, etc. So it was a bit of an arty farty day, not the normal stuff most people go to see in San Francisco.

SFMOMA

But I had a problem. I realised that the hotel staff had really given me bad advice by telling me to put the luggage in the car and not leave it there in storage for collection late in the day. Silly me. I got all paranoid and stressed out that the luggage was at severe risk (memories of my sister and her husband having all their luggage stolen from the trunk of their car and having to deal with embassies etc. to get replacement passports).

So after leaving SFMOMA and having a quick bite to eat at a Californian Pizza Kitchen (HUGE appetizer!), I skedaddled back to the parking garage, checked that the luggage was all there (relief!), then drove on out of there.

Appetizer!

But what to do for about 3 more hours, until Char finished her training course?

I ended up driving down to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and on to North Point as I remembered it being a nice place to just sit and relax, and vaguely remembered that there was open parking there. Yes! I found a 4 hour parking spot in view of where I sat. I read my book, glanced every so often at the car, and just chilled out looking over the bay watching the ships come in and go out. The day was nice and sunny, but the wind was pretty cold. Some very brave people were swimming….

North Point, San Francisco

Char called just before 5, so I headed back to the financial district in downtown San Francisco, picked her up and we hit the road north. The traffic was surprisingly good considering it was peak hour, and we were over the Golden Gate Bridge within 30 minutes.

We headed north as far as Santa Rosa, checked in to the local Holiday Inn Express, and had a nice meal at Applebees. Boy, have they got the marketing down right!! They do these ‘dessert shooters’ for $1.99 – they are just mini versions of desserts in a smallish glass cup. By being small and cheap, I’m sure they get MANY more people eating dessert than when they had those big slices of pie etc. I had the BEST Key Lime Pie ever – it was superbly tangy and with hardly any sweetness. Most Key Lime Pies I’ve had in the US have had a little tang and a LOT of sugar. Not this one. Highly recommmended.

The Holiday Inn Express had free wireless broadband, so at the moment Char and I are sitting on our respective beds working on our latops. Sad, really. And geeky. We even talked about playing Scrabulous online while we’re in the same room, as we don’t have a Scrabble board. What a couple of nerds!!





Artificially heatened

14 03 2008

My new phrase of the day is “artificially heatened” (as in ‘artificially sweetened’), and it applies to all those houses and businesses in southern California that keep the heating turned on, even though the weather and temperature outside is magnificent.

No wonder the Americans are massive consumers of energy. Every private home I’ve stayed in so far has had the heating turned on, day in and day out. It’s springtime, people, and the daily temps are hovering around 75F. You don’t need the heating on. Open a window or door and ‘let the sunshine in’, and the breeze.





Dead skunk in the middle of the road

14 03 2008

It’s springtime in the US, and that’s ‘skunk time’! I’ve seen a few dead in the road, but fortunately haven’t run over any.

If you’ve never smelt skunk, be aware that it’s highly pungent and almost impossible to get out if you get the smell on you – or under your car!





“Partnering”

14 03 2008

I heard a new term the other day – “partnering”. It’s used by those bidding on large projects (such as construction) and is a budgeted line item.

What it really is, is costs for entertaining the bigwigs – golf afternoons, drinks at the bar, lunches, dinners. Schmoozing, basically. But I guess the bean counters wouldn’t agree to “Schmoozing” as a line item… “Partnering” sounds better, but it’s the same thing.