Day 15; Laytonville to Modesto, CA. Note correction from yesterday; Laytonville, not Layetteville.)
Another day that changes dramatically. Leaving Laytonville, the trees hug the roadway. We stop early for breakfast at a rest stop. California leads the way in rest stops. Yesterday, one possessed an asphalt path that led to a stunning viewpoint. Today’s isn’t quite as much. A simple path into the woods, where the Little Woman and I dine on cottage cheese, carrots, fruit salad, curds (from Tillamook, yum) and crackers. A nice, light start to the day, and we’re off and running. Highway 101 morphs from freeway to rural highway and finally a narrow, winding two lane between the trees, then switches it up, seemingly at will. Soon we split off on highway 20, then 29, and skirt Lake Medocino, and then clear Lake. Stopping, a rope swing hangs over the still water, enticing. Maturity kicks in (drat!) and the logistical challenge of changing into a suit along the highway, and reluctantly we leave, only observing the beauty.
Viewpoints abound and once more the trip is fits and starts, availing us slow progress. Continuing south, soon we enter wine country, the vineyards painted onto the sides of hills. Rows of grapes run up and over hills in lockstep, deep green and lush.
Bonus time, as highway 29 climbs over Sugarloaf Ridge. The road snakes and twists, the Little Woman asking, “Didn’t we just turn in a circle?” It seems like it, but upon exiting a turn, just look upward 200 feet, and the shoulder of the road we just passed hangs on the side. This could be a Road of the Trip winner!
Speaking of winners, here are this week’s winners;
Stupid Driver of the Week;
The clown driving on Avenue of The Giants, stopped on a blind turn. Then when he saw us, he moves to the next blind turn and moves over a little, so we can pull past him in the oncoming lane on a blind turn. As long as he gets the picture, or whatever he was after, it’s okay, really!
Worst Road of the Week;
Hats off to Florence, where the residential street, paved, simply turns into a gravel road. On a bike, it’s like someone scaring you from behind a door. With a chainsaw.
Best Road of the Week;
Highway 29, see above. Awesome, winding road, both up the pass and down, with territorial views. Right turns along rock faces where you could reach out and touch them, if you weren’t so busy with the brake and throttle. Thunderous applause, people!
Give it up for Sharon, the waitress at the Rogue River restaurant. It was breakfast food, but she set the tone for the entire room, making it a truly pleasant experience. Way to go, Sharon! Hear her laugh? That’s her laugh, with the squeak at the end.
Moment of Inspiration Award;
The fishing boats taking off into the fog at daybreak. If I think it’s cool, and I hate fishing, then how cool is that?
Back to the trip;
Wine country. I don’t drink wine. Am I no fun, or what? No wine, don’t like fishing, not wild about golf? I compensate with other things, believe me. Anyway, wine country is miles of unbelievable beauty. Wineries, built of stone and covered with ivy, are surrounded by lush fields of grapes.
We stop at an outdoor café for lunch in Yountville. Trendy, beautiful, amd pricey.But with views of lush landscaping, vineyards, and the most beautiful people in the world, why would you not spend too much? I had Mahi Mahi, and it was tender, juicy, with a little spice to liven things up. The little Woman had an Asian Chicken salad. Delicious, and off we went.
It isn’t long before oak trees and grapevines disappear and are replaced with… well, nothing. Vast, flat land covered with yellow grass extends form horizon to horizon, our road a zipper in between. This goes on for miles, until farmland creeps in once again. Then we turn south on highway 99, and spend an evening in Modesto.
That’s it for tonight. Be sure to greet the winners, admire their trophies, and thank them for their hard work.