Wow! THIS is late….. but that happens when SPRING hits, eh? Life’s pace changes to high gear immediately! But. I DID want to capture a highlight or two of the remainder of our CA trip before ……. you know. . . . . . .
Previous post mentioned we’d moved on to the 80’s Gay Resort town of Guerneville... . . .. … just north of SF. It’s a beautiful place along the Russian River and very near a Redwood State Park…… but….. THIS time, the place was quite changed, and most gay life is gone. This was a town the AIDS crisis pretty much ended as a “gay” destination…. We did find a place to stay, a nice little cottage at the Woods. Hosts were nice, but really nothing to do. We were one of probably 3-4 guest rooms occupied that night.
We set out just to explore, and stopped in at the Sports Bar that was rumored to be “gay friendly”. We were seated close to the soused straight owners who kept trying to talk with us. Well, it was a karaoke joint and a LOUD one at that. We quickly moved onto the one gay bar left in town, the Rainbow Cattle Company where we had a great time chatting with Lee, the “artist” bartender who’s true goal was to become a videographer. I’m not sure with his laid back ways, he’d end up at Warner Studios, but…..he was a great guy to chat with. We were home early and up fairly early, rested and ready to join the family.
NOT before we stopped in Petaluma (30 years ago famous as the Poultry Capitol…… to eat at HALLIE’s DINER !!! Yes! A simply little coffee shop with fabulous food. Her twist on Eggs Benedict: EGGS PETALUMA is NOT to be missed………. This is one place, just like the little joint in Trinidad, we will never have to reminded about. IF we’re in the area, we will go OUT of our way to eat here. That set us up to complete or southbound journey to Ripon and join Aunt Paula!
From there, we crossed the San Rafael Bridge, saw glimpses of the old home place bookmarks: the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate, downtown SF, Oakland, Berkley…(Spenglers! Ah!)….. We filled the little truck with $4.21 and the scrolling marquee on the pump said, among other things, “God Bless You”….. C’mon, Gas Company! that’s disgusting you play nice while reaching for every penny we have.
That gave us a day and a half to prepare for Chet’s memorial. So, besides visiting with Paula, wonderful, we did the required shopping for what we’d need Saturday. MUST mention the other “favorite” breakfast place, in Salida, CA that we always “must have” a Chicken Fried Steak at, and THIS day, we learned more about how it’s done. ONE employee spends 2 full days a week preparing the beef: cutting it up (yes, they get the whole beef)….tenderizing it with the chopper, seasoning it……and letting it sit)….. I don’t care WHAT your diet is, once in your life you SHOULD get to eat one of these orders. Rodger and I SPLIT ONE order (extra eggs, yes, but the Steak is….half order on each plate):
Saturday came quickly, we were on our way to Bethel Island. With Paula and Mick, we joined Dennis and Pam at the little park across from the Fire Station (yes, there IS reason to mention this place…….) and completed the setups they’d already started. Even the very cute fireman who happened to be jogging around the park perimeter helped us with a tent or two, a NICE guy.
Folks began to arrive in a while, and by 1:00, lots of Chet’s friends had found time here 5 months after he’d passed away to join up and visit with Rodger, have some food, and relax. Things went VERY well, some of these people I’d never met, this was a nice affair. By 3:30, things pretty much came to a close, we, including cousins, family, moved on over to one of the Sacramento River Delta Channels, and a little ceremony let to the spreading of chet’s ashes. Whew! Closure. It was nice, and we didn’t have an opportunity for pictures.
Oh yes…….the Fireman story! The shorter cute fireman from the morning told us to make sure to let him know if we “needed” anything. (The total firemen stationed here at the moment, due to cutbacks: 3). About the middle of the gathering, Chet’s girlfriend, JOYCE…..stumbled on something, and fell….she wasn’t “sure” if she was stable enough to get up, we held her steady, and someone ran to get the FIREMEN! They sure came in a hurry. -3-, I tell you, “THREE” very handsome cute firemen showed up, and I have NEVER been so impressed with how gentle, soothing, and kind they were to Joyce and the rest of us. I wonder what I’ve missed in life not ever having a fireman next to me helping me feel better ………..hah.
We got back to Ripon in good time, and to bed fairly early to begin the NEXT day’s trip to Morro Bay for Cheryl’s little memorial. We, Paula, Mick, Karen, Lori & John made the 5 hour trip in 2 cars. **Mark once again astounded the massive expanse of California’s agriculture industry you watch driving south in I5!
The California aquaduct….looking more like a large river than a canal stealing No Cal’s water for LA and environs is truly impressive.
The drive over the coastal foothills into Morro Bay is simply spectacular in beautiful scenery. We arrived meeting up with Karen’s daughter Jen, just up from L.A., Norma & Sue Ann, old Cheryl friends, and we’re looking for Bruce & Kevin…but, thanks, to Jen, joined her at THE GALLEY……for lunch. (I had a fabulous Crab Louie)….
WHEW! We arrived in good shape along with Bruce & Kevin, Norma, so we all checked into our lodge: The INN AT MORRO BAY . We decided on this place simply searching the web, and after seeing the town, THIS couldn’t have been a better choice. On the south end of town, it was quiet, but most important: At the very south end of the motel, HUGE SEABIRD ROOKERIES were in the trees just overhead. (***Check the link, it’s picture page showing the redtails and egrets too) It was pretty FABULOUS to watch the cormorants nest-building and the three redtail hawks also setting up home patiently waiting near the bottom of the trees for any egg / chick to sadly fall. An egret Rookery bordered the Cormorants. There were California Vultures at the other end of the lodge WHO, the next morning, sat at the very tippy top of the tall trees with wings outstretched in the morning sun…..Beautiful!’
another view, but these pics ***(EMBIGGEN THIS TO GET A BETTER FEEL of how CLOSE the birds were to the camera)***
are SO limited….so MANY trees in the surrounding area were FULL of birds making the nests….. the “chortling” interesting sounds were fascinating.
This was a perfect day. We ate, shopped, and by mid-day, enjoyed a perfect lunch. That was eaten at a wharf side joint where, not just the fresh catch of the day was mentioned, but which BOAT the fish were caught by. Nice. After lunch, we all needed to get back to our homes, and said our goodbyes. It was a perfect Cheryl goodbye.
Back at Ripon, we relaxed for a day, and finally rented the U-Haul trailer planned to bring back what things of Chet’s Rodger wanted to keep. So, finally, we loaded up said sad goodbye’s to Karen, Paula, and began our trip back home.
BY the time things were loaded, and we’d cleaned up everything, we were TIRED….but thought, we ought to GET ON the ROAD….and at LEAST get partway home. It was obvious there was going to be a LOT to do when we got there….. and, it would be raining.
We stayed that night in an old rail town near Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir, CA ………….. (the link is pictures….nice) in an old motel, family run, but clean and perfect for us, AND….about halfway home. Our trip next day was quiet, and we were happy to be home in time to unload, relax, and prepare things we needed to get done. We were NOT happy to be back in the RAIN.
Pulling a trailer with the Toyota up over Shasta and the Siskiyous is a mountainous trip….we’re not always leading the traffic up the hill. BUT…..as if we could get a good luck omen, our U-Haul had TWO markers on it we thought good. The first: The license was from WISCONSIN (hey Thomas / Brenda!!)…so we felt no matter our driving pattern, we’d be forgiven:
Finally. Rodger’s found closure since the passing of his father and only sister.