Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Days 0-4: Larrington Towers - Lakeview, OR

Firstly, Constant Reader, apologies for the lack of updates so far this trip; this has been caused by lack of Internets, sleep or both.  Anyway, I am here in Lakeview, which is near, er, (consults road atlas) Goose Lake, which is, er, (consults Wikipedia) a large alkaline glacial lake located in the Goose Lake Valley on the Oregon-California border.  Anyway, to the start.


Friday September 3rd was much the same as Friday September 4th last year, except that I didn't get to choose the seat I wanted, because BA's on-line check-in system, no doubt programmed by gits, made me spend ages entering my passport details, which BA already know.  Did I mention that they're gits?


Much the same could be said about September 4th this year, i.e. Terminal 5 is still a great echoing barn full of desperate people sitting on the floor which, in the unlikely event of his ever witnessing the scene, would doubtless make Lord Bloody Rogers' head explode.  And I flew to San Francisco this time, and instead of a polished performance by National Car Rentals we had a farcical ceremony courtesy of Hertz.


You'd think that when you make a booking in February, and the car you reserved is no longer availble, their Babbage-Engine would, well, Do Something.  Like, oh, I don't know, tell you.  Clearly more Rise of the Gits in the programming stakes, innit.  After much faff they were able to set me up with a Corvette convertible, and off I duly trot to stall 124.  There it is, all yellow, and shiny, and completely lacking in the vital not-a-key required for the Performance of Useful Work.  Such as opening the boot, and switching on the engine, and things.  Stomp off, collar Hertz lackey.  She cannot find the missing not-a-key, which has no doubt wandered off in some menial's pocket, but instead offers me a different car.  Without the TwatNav for which I have paid.


I am this: cross.


She disappears again and returns an age later, having located a third car, this one with the TwatNav, for which I have paid.  It is parked opposite the non-functional one, exactly where I'd told her it was twenty-five minutes earlier.  At last.


Incredibly, The Luggage fits in the boot and I tell the TwatNav to find me the quickest route to my friend Ariane's place in Alameda.  I probably should have listened, but the Bay Bridge is much more fun than the San Mateo-Hayward.  Doubly incredibly I arrive at almost exactly the time I said I would.  There is BEER, and subsequently a trip for food in Oakland, accompanied by Ariane's friend Maria, who is Argentinian and fit. 


Curious thing seen on the road: me. 


Apropos which, I am hungry now, so will continue this drivel after I have found Nice Things to put in my mouth...


Safeway to the rescue!


On Sunday September 5th it is time for me to be scared, as Ariane is taking me sailing.  In my worldview, boats should have engines, and fridges full of cold BEER, and other luxuries.  Ariane, on the other hand, is of the yottie persuasion.  There are two sorts of yatchs; the three hundred foot motorised ones which cost more than a guided missile destroyer and are owned by people called Khashoggi and Abramovich, and those with sails.  Ariane's is one of the latter. 
A yot, yesterday
Actually two of the latter, but as one can only sail one at once,we're going out on the smaller of the two, which is twenty-three feet long.  A yahct is basically a life support system for a colony of ropes, but calling them "the rope which performs function X" would remove the air of mystique, so they all have odd names.


Anyway, I was supposed to be terrified, but wasn't, even when we came under attack from Somali pirates.  Packing up a yacht even after the shortest excursion takes about four hours and makes one thirst for BEER.  So we went to Petaluma Ytahc Club, which was full of Alamedan boaty types, some of whom had even sailed there, and ate and drank and were merry. 


Curious thing seen on the road: a Morris Minor.  


On Monday September 6th I took my leave and headed north to Eureka, there to visit my friends Al'n'Alice.  Al'n'Alice have been Organisators-In-Chief of the Battle Mountain event for a Several of years, but alas Alice was recently damaged in a bizarre gardening accident which saw her fall from a great height and damage a foot and a back.  The X-rays are spectacular, but I jump ahead.  One can get from the Bay Area to Eureka by heading straight up US-101, but that would be dull, so I took a minor detour on some Daft Wee Roads. 
A device for turning petrol into noise
A Corvette makes a noise like the Battle of the Somme when it goes over 3500 rpm, but on the other hand the presence of four howitzer-sized exhaust pipes immediately below the boot means that your shampoo, shower gel, whisky etc. take an age to cool down afterwards.


But anyway.  I did not linger chez Al'n'Alice,as the poor lass is in a very sorry state, but instead put up at the Humboldt Bay Inn, and meant to get an early night, and didn't.


Curious thing seen on the road: a 1950 "Bullet-Nose" Studebaker. 


And so to today or,for those of you reading in BRITAIN, yesterday.  Al had recommended taking CA-299 from Arcata to Redding, and he was right except for the roadworks which prevented me from having a scrap with a briskly-drive MINI.  Probably just as well, as I'd have lost.  I once got duffed up on eighty miles of winding Colorado back road by a non-local in what was essentially a Vauxhall Astra while in that forty-valve six-speed 4WD masterpiece the Audi S4.


The other half of CA-299 is mostly rather dull, I'm afraid, and DJ Random is being anything but..


Curious thing seen on the road: a huge Peterbilt truck, in bright pink!

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