Sunday, April 30, 2017

Epic Road Trip - Day 3

Due to various circumstances day number three is now almost 5 days ago...

Day 3 of the sister's epic road trip had us getting up at friends D & K. I was early so figured out the fancy capsule coffee machine (I would advertise, but have forgotten the name) and had a lovely cup of coffee in the quiet of the morning. The sun attracted my eye to a precious piece of this particular family's life - a painted rock. It so reminded me of the couple that I have and proudly display, one from each son.  I have a "thing" for rocks anyway with random, unlabeled piles throughout my home, so this touched me.
A's rock
Shortly thereafter we were headed back down the road for a more-than-adequate breakfast in Katerina's Cafe in Auburn, CA. It would get six-stars in my book what with friendly staff, very cool old-world atmosphere and excellent breakfast offerings.
Breakfast at Katerina's in Auburn

Then we were off to meet up at a cousin's house with our traveling partner, FL, for a 3 day adventure in Northern California, main goal the redwood trees. Both parties arrived within 5 minutes of the other and by mutual agreement decided to skip lunch and simply get on the road. A very wise decision as events would prove.

We proceeded up Highway 29 to cross over onto 101 headed North through the famous Napa Valley. We did a short stop in Healdsburg to have a coffee and snack at the "Shed".

 The first sign of a potential problem was when I saw a road sign saying "slide on Highway 101", but we didn’t really pay much attention to it. Had texted a classmate from my high school boarding academy that we were on the road as he lived in the area where we intended hiking. (I had renewed his acquaintance via Facebook and when I realized that he would be close to where we were intending hiking contacted him). Went passed Willits (FL had done the economic planning for the by-pass so enjoyed riding over that) and there was another sign that the road was out on 101. I mentioned that and we did finally pull over at about 20 miles past Willits and tried checking info. Turns out that there had been a bad slide on 101 south of Garberville and the road was totally shut. So we had to turn around and re-trace our steps past Willits to Highway 20 and go up I-5 to 299 to Arcate and down to Eureka. 

It truly was an end of sorts as we had to start back-tracking and go well out of our way.

Map of the day's driving
(Our original route Williams - Willits - Eureka up 101
What we had to do: leave from above Willits on 101, back down to Highway 20, across to Williams, up to Redding, then left across 299 to Arcate and down to Eureka)
Bingo and the hard-researched trip was down the drain.  Timing of course was also shot. As we had skipped lunch we all agreed that we needed to stop for dinner in Redding to cheer ourselves up and keep ourselves primed for the detour over Highway 299, especially when we found out that there had been slides there as well and that there were a couple of places where there was bi-directional traffic at roughly 1 hour intervals! My sister researched eating places and came up with Moonstone Bistro. FL meanwhile had her also text someone that he was mentoring for her suggestions in Redding. We checked her recommendations and all three decided that we preferred Moonstone Bistro. It was conveniently located not far from Highway 299 and we had a wonderful meal. K. had the vegetarian burger that for once wasn’t dry. FL and I had the normal burger and they too were to die for with lovely marinated pickles, a choice of cheeses etc.  I ordered the salad, K the fries and we split. Tanya – a hostess or manager – gave us the latest info on Highway 299 when we inquired of the waiter what news was on the slide. She was VERY helpful, so after a delightful meal, we buckled down and started over Highway 299 stopping for sunset pics of the mountains. 

One of many docks along Clear Lake on Highway 20

Sunset from Highway 299
An interesting, long and grueling night it turned into. Several things helped us retain our sanity including being lucky enough as we arrived at the first major slide area to only have to wait about 5 minutes for our line to go through giving me just enough time for a few photos. 
line of cars as we waited to go through
At the site of the slide

Not a small machine!
blurry photo of the machine halfway up the mountain above us

blurry but then we were hurrying past the slide itself
moving on past the slide

It seemed like a never-ending night with FL driving through thick and thin. But we were all three good at the never-ending remarks and jokes about our situation. Throughout cellular service loss and cuts K negotiated the cancellation of our Garberville BW hotel for the next night as there was no way that we were going to be able to get there; the request for two nights at our BW in Eureka and the cancellation of the dinner reservation for that night. We finally arrived at 23.05 at our hotel in Eureka! Literally checked in, went to our rooms, I dumped my luggage, grabbed a flash light so as to not wake up K upon my return and took FL for a more than deserved beer. Finding that was also a challenge as, although Applebee's had been open when we came in, it wasn’t when we tried. Adel’s equally not so we went down to the pub streets that he knew. Even there it took cruising up and down several parallel streets for us to find a pub that was still open -Steve & Dave's in Eureka. Beer greatly appreciated! When I returned to the hotel I also needed to check on e-mails and answer my classmates (we had called just before we found out that we couldn’t get through) so it was 1 in the morning before I hit the bed – and was out like a light!

It was a true adventure, but then I seem to specialize in those!

A video posted by Facebook user Wendy Kornberg shows the dramatic slide. She can be heard encouraging the Caltrans workers to run as slide increases in size, finally exclaiming “Oh my God! Holy cow!” as it comes to and end.

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