Today we are back on the road, northbound. We decided that if we could get up early, we would take the extra hour to drive the coastal highway. We both slept poorly; in my case because I just do, sometimes; in Caroline’s because she is sunburnt after our time at the poolside yesterday. It was breezy and only twenty-some degrees Celsius, so she didn’t realize she was burning until it was too late. Despite the rough night, we did get up early enough to eat a real breakfast at Adel’s, the restaurant right next to our hotel. It was quite nice, we probably should have eaten there last night, instead of El Farolito.
Back to the drive. In order to get to the coast from Healdsburg, you have to.. wait for it… drive over mountains. Before I let Caroline plan another trip, I am going to make sure she has a topographical map, and knows what all the lines mean. There were a surprising number of wineries tucked away in the hills and in the Anderson Valley, but of course no tasting rooms were open at 830. We were halfway through the hills before we even found an espresso stand, and it was closed. For sale, in fact. Filled my travel mug at a general store instead for fifty cents!
Amazing drive through the redwoods, but neither picture turned out well enough to be picture of the day. Coastal highway spectacular, but every bit as twisty as the mountains. I love the little signs that tell you when you are entering or leaving a ‘Tsunami Hazard Area’. This seems to happen every time you go down to less than a hundred feet or so above sea level. Later we hooked up with a bigger highway, and except for some construction delays, things went more smoothly. Gassed up at Garberville. We found this town to be strange and disquieting. Everyone seemed odd, somehow: the man walking his toddler on a leash, the people with long grey hair, some loose, some in ponytails, great bushy grey beards, and no-one dressed neatly, as if everyone in town made their living as pan-handlers in San Francisco. If they were hitch-hiking, you’d speed up. Stopped at a normal enough Burger King half an hour or so later, but the next town after that was weird again. Even driving by the court house, we never saw a neatly dressed person. Jeans and a denim shirt would have made you look like a mannequin, or a movie star on location. Everyone else was wearing mis-matched layers, or colors that didn’t go, or a sweatshirt with heels, as if they were aliens that all got dressed by robbing corpses.
We pulled into Brookings, Oregon just after 1500, and found our hotel easily. They had booked us into a third floor room in a block with no elevator. We have quite a lot of stuff now, both our carts are full, plus odds and ends like the cooler, the camera, the file folder with all our trip stuff, and so on. We were delighted when the front desk manager upgraded us to a third floor room in one of the blocks with an elevator, and even more pleased when we saw this great room and its spectacular view. We have a huge set of patio doors onto a little balcony with a picture postcard view of the sea, the beach, the driftwood and the cliffs. See picture of the day to follow. The room is spacious, and equiped with a fridge and a microwave, a loveseat, and a table with two chairs. We were yet more relieved when we realized that the parking lot is below the first floor, so there would actually have been four flights of stairs for every piece of baggage. We were both very tired, so we took a nap.
Awoken from nap by Tsunami sirens. It’s okay, we were warned that they test them at 1700 on the first of every month. Still, even at the reduced test volume, it is an eerie experience – the sirens are all along the coastline, and go off in some kind of sequence, so that the sound travels back and forth, near and far as it rises and falls. I imagine this is the only time in my lifetime that I shall hear this sound. I hope so. There is a tsunami awareness card in our hotel room. If the tsunami is detected at sea, the sirens will give plenty of warning, and you can drive to safety with no great worries about traffic delays. If the tsunami is local, you wait until the earth stops shaking, then you have two minutes to run up the hill in your jammies.
Or you can check out and stay somewhere else, no hard feelings.
Went for a drive, picked up some lidocaine spray for Caroline, plus some more bottled water. Refueled the car, forgetting that we are back in Oregon, where you have to let the gas-jockey do it.