Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hwy 29, with a rebel yell

"Let's go the direct way, the Garmin says we can" I tell him.

His eyes widen and he smirks at me. "It's a great motorcycle road, but with the bus and trailer..." he trails off with a worried scrunch in his eyes.  It's my week to drive the bus. I wonder for a moment if it's scarier to actually drive the twisty road or WITNESS the driving of the twisty road. Based on my experience following him down Scott Mountain, I think the witnessing might be more gut-wrenching.

We compared Waze, the Garmin, and Trucker Path.  All say we are green-lighted for Highway 29 from Lakeport to the Napa Valley.

I lived in Napa for a dozen years or so a long time ago; he grew up around here.  He knows this road well.  I am brimming with overconfidence.  Finally he shrugs.  And we're off.

The first 3/4 of the ride up the mountain the roads are beautiful, wide, and freshly paved.  I'm wondering what the big deal is.  Then we reach the foot of Mt. St. Helena and he says over the radio "here we go", and sure enough, shortly after we started into our first 10mph curve.  There were a lot more after that.  At many points the front left tire of the bus was on the yellow line and the right rear tire of the trailer was on the white fog line. But I managed to keep it all in my lane, and sort of maintain a reasonable speed.  Most of the time.

We still haven't fixed the stereo on the bus, so when I started getting nervous I started humming to myself. Which eventually became outright singing. And it got louder.  By the time we reached the final turn which was a long horseshoe 10 mph bend I was singing With A Rebel Yell at the top of my lungs.  Stewie glanced over at me from the passenger seat and blinked, unimpressed.

Hello Napa Valley.  You're so beautiful in the Fall.

The view from Skyline Park on the South side of Napa

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Old friend, great cider

One of the things I struggle with in our new lifestyle is flexibility.  We paid for a month in Brookings and dammit I wasn't leaving 'til I got my money's worth.  When Shawna woke up with a headache from the smoke for the 6th day in a row, the law was laid down. WE ARE LEAVING! I've heard that tone before, this is not the time for a discussion, this is the time to start packing.  Napa is on the horizon, might as well start moving. We loaded up and started rolling. Step one get out of the smoke, we drove South for about 100 miles 'til the smoke cleared, as well as our coughs and headaches. Over a good lunch at Kabob Cafe in Arcata, we started planning. I wanted to carry on to Ft. Bragg, another five hours or so.  This is where the flexibility thing comes in; Shawna picked this moment to be inflexible.  She said no. "Arcata is far enough for today, I'm tired and my head still hurts".  Understand, I had no good reason to go to Ft. Bragg other than familiarity. What I am beginning to discover is that most RV parks will have room for you for one or two nights with little or no notice.  Let some flexibility in!  We stayed at Redwood Coast RV park on the South side of Arcata, about 5 minutes from where we had lunch.  After we settled in I remembered a friend and former coworker who had recently opened a cidery nearby. I reached out on FB messenger, long story short, we got together for breakfast at Renata's Creperie (Great Crepes!) and got a tour of Wrangletown Cidery. Being flexible allowed me to reconnect with an old friend and drink some great cider.  Wrangletown makes a great DRY cider, like a dry white wine.  They also make still wines under the North Story label.  Ask for it everywhere you go to drink fine wine and beer. Seriously, Pat is pretty much a one (wo)man band and her business is helping to preserve traditional cider apple orchards on the lost coast.
Our view of Konocti Mountain at the end of the day, with some cider

After our night in Arcata, the original plan was to continue on to Fort Bragg but we were unable to locate a suitable site.  I decided to flex my new-found flexibility muscles and diverted us to Clearlake where we found a rough but very friendly park right on the lake.  We settled in for the night with some cider.

Redwood Coast Cabins: $$$ A little overpriced for what it was (lots of long term tenants with piles of stuff lying around, dog shit on the ground in our site when we arrived)
Food: Never had a bad meal in Arcata
Kabob Cafe $$ 
Renata's Creperie: $$
Internet access (campground):
Calyx/Sprint 7Mb down 740Kb up
Verizon: 6Mb down 440Kb up
ATT: Not tested