Saturday, July 13, 2019

“...And Crowds Gathered Where Ever They Stopped...”

Road Trippin’
with Steve McCarthy

Yes, readers, we are back. And to you of little faith, fie upon you. FIE I say! The Yellow Submarine ran wonderfully with only minor glitches that were best ignored. First, the Roads:

Route North:
Monrovia-Los Alamos-King City, via CA118 and US 101
King City-Woodland, via 101, CA 156, CA 152, I-5 thence to Clearlake via CA16 and CA20
Clearlake to Grants Pass via CA20, I-5
Grants Pass to Olympia vis 1-5.

OK, I know, a lot of I-5, but mostly the less boring parts and because it naturally rained as soon as we hit Oregon, we stuck to the easy route. 

On the way back, it was more interesting:

Olympia to Eugene to Coos Bay via I-5, Oregon 116, and US101
Then, except for the detour to Ferndale, US 101 all the way home, stopping in Garberville and King City for a night each. 

The Statistics:

2713 miles
53 hours driving time
51 mph average
22 mpg 

118 gallons of premium

2 qts oil

2 qts hydraulic fluid

Not bad for a fifty year old French car! 

It’s not a high speed racer, it’s a Froggy Low Rider. I need a sticker on the back that says “Pardon My Stately Pace.” It seems happiest at 55-60 mph which is fine with us. 

So, what new discoveries did St. Serendipity lead us to? Lots of ‘em. 

Rather usually for us, we did not leave at o'Dark Thirty. More like 9:30 am. This was so we could have lunch at Bob's Well Bread in Los Alamos. 

Keefer’s Inn in King City is still a nice, comfy place to stop, and the restaurant is surprisingly good, basic diner food. It’s still family owned, beats hell out of Denny’s and is worth the stop. And, yes, the rooms still have the funky original artwork from when the place was built. Far more interesting than the usual blah Motel Art. 

On CA 152 out of Hollister (and Sean the Unreliable, our GPS lead us over the San Juan Grade, a REAL Iron Bottom Road) we stumbled across the Casa de Fruta. A fruit stand on steroids. Great Place! Not sure if we were just too early or if it’s a weekend only thing, but they have a merry-go-round and a little train ride amid a collection of rusting farm equipment. The dried and fresh fruits are really good! 

From Sacramento we headed west to Woodland on CA16. They have a great Old Town and what looks to be a little tourist railway there. Lots of eateries and shops as well. Out of town, 16 is a great drive following Cache Creek. Lots of farmland and small communities, as well as a couple of old school resorts. Probably good fishing as well. This was why we took the dreaded I-5 to Sacramento, and it was worth it! 

Clearlake is, well, Clearlake. It can’t seem to make up its mind if it’s a funky lakeside resort town, a la “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss” or the tweaker capital of California. My buddy Bill and his lady Danni took us to dinner (for my birthday, after much rug-beating) to a great place on the other side of the lake in Lakeport. It’s called Park Place and is right near the boardwalk. Fantastic food! Lots of GARLIC! 

From there it was back on CA-20 to Williams and Granzella’s for breakfast. It’s a great Italian Deli/Restaurant that offers good eats. 

Up past Shasta, we dined al fresco at a rest stop and made it to Grants Pass for the night. We stayed again at the Knight’s Inn on 7th and G, and for good reason. First, it’s a good motel. Most importantly, it’s a short walk to the Laughing Clam pub. Great food there, especially the seafood sampler appetizer. That and a Guinness is enough for dinner. Now, our whole reason for staying in Grants Pass was something called The Great Race. I covered it a bit in the last missive. It was having a stop over there, right in front of the Laughing Clam! So, we ate, drank Guinness and watched the Auld Crates putter through the day’s finish line. We also got to meet up with an old friend, Karen, from when our kids did Irish Dancing a LONG time ago. 

Next morning, under threatening clouds and drizzle, we headed back up the I-5, chugging up the mountain passes. The Auld Froggy Car did NOT like them thar hills! Breakfast was another recommendation, this time from buddy Tom. It’s a place off the highway near Azalea, OR called “Heaven on Earth.” They have cinnamon rolls to DIE for! They rival the Old West Cinnamon Rolls in Pismo, and that’s sayin’ something! These suckers are HUGE and drip with icing and butter! I guess it’s an odd little community of Mennonites, which explains the hymns in the muzak. Still, it’s well worth a stop. 

From there it was an easy, if wet, shot to my Mom’s place in Olympia. Next time, I’ll regale you with the tales of the return and the car show in Tacoma, where again, we took home a Major Award! 

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