Monday, March 09, 2009

The Return

Whew! Annnnnnd we are back. Sorry for the gaping chasm of non posting there. Between saying goodbye to family and friends, driving 2500 miles and dealing with the laptop switcheroo I just dropped the bloggie ball there for awhile.

We had a nice farewell dinner with my parents and Gram. Here is the requisite family in front of the fireplace photo. You know you all have a series of these yourselves....

I am unsure why I forcibly shoved my Mother's head off to the side with my own huge head but she dealt with it very gracefully. I also have to share this one with you because I love the way my Mom is cupping Rudy's butt. You know somebody loves you when they cup you butt as seen here.... and also, you may enjoy seeing me looking toothier than a barracuda.

We let Rudy have one last romp in the frozen back yard. There's a cornfield out back and it was always full of Canada Geese. I am glad we made it through our stay without incident between dog and goose. I think we owe that to the fact that there was a polar ice shelf separating us from the field.

Our drive back west was without incident beside the fact that we had a dead battery when we went to pull out of my parents driveway to leave. That was funny timing. We had a tearful embrace with my Mom... did the wild waving goodbye from the driveway and climbed in, I then turned the key to the sound of a stone cold dead truck. We sat there stunned for a minute thinking that maybe our starter had gone out or that something major was wrong then we gradually realized it was just a dead battery. We charged it up and were on our way.

Let me tell ya... it is a long drive from Northern Illinois to the bay area of California via the southern route. You don't get any instant gratification anywhere along the route. Every state feels enormous. Well, maybe not Oklahoma.... but the rest are so wide open and vast that it really blows your mind. One highlight (funny word) of the drive was staying at The Big Texan Motel in Amarillo, Texas. You may have heard of the place on The Food Network or in a roadside attractions guide. They are famed for their 72 oz steak challenge. If you can finish the 4 pound slab of dead cow along with all the side items (baked potato etc) in under an hour you get the meal free and a cheesy certificate that commemorates your pinnacle moment as a pig. We were not interested in their steak dinners but more so the kitchy motel accommodations. Our room was made of rough wood paneling with not much to spruce it up besides a picture of a steer here and there and there was a Texas flag shower curtain in the weird little bathroom. We scored an old Bogart flick (Key Largo) on the TV and watched it until we konked out.

Just outside of Amarillo to the west you can pull off on the service road and walk out to see The Cadillac Ranch... or Car Henge. I have always wanted to stop and this time we did. We walked out and grabbed a few shots of the spray painted caddy's against the big old blue Texas sky.

We detoured up to Santa Fe for one day so we could visit with Michelle. We stayed right on our old street at Casa del Toro which is a bed and breakfast right down town. They have great rates and the rooms feel like you are staying in someones house. I highly recommend it for anyone traveling to Santa Fe. You can rent a small room on a frugal budget or a fancy decked out house from them and they are great people to deal with. It felt really funny to suddenly be back in the neighborhood we left behind seven months ago to hit the road in the Airstream again. We walked around downtown and ate at a few of our favorite old haunts. I do have to express my disappointment in the Plaza Diner for changing their cherry pie. It was formally on my list of favorite things in the whole wide world to eat and this time it sucked eggs. The food overall was not great.... what gives Plaza Diner? Anyway... we had a fun visit with Chelle. We got to see her new house and stop in at her husband's coffee shop and soak up some rays. I soaked up enough to burn the living crap out of my face.

At Downtown Subscription... two mean customers.

After Santa Fe we had to just haul ass back to Cali. We made it all the way to Needles, CA on the next day of driving and then all the way up Hwy 5 (boring, boring, boring drive) to Fairfield where the trailer was waiting for us yesterday. We arrived after dark and were totally fried from driving. We had to open the trailer door with our fingers and toes crossed that it was not going to be a mold festival inside. It wasn't. Our anti mold set up worked. I can now fully endorse those little humidity soaker upper things they sell at Walmart. We had about six of them in here along with baking soda in the fridge and freezer and it did the trick. Just to be on the safe side we cleaned everything again yesterday.... all the areas that had been a problem before. Billy even climbed up top and cleaned the fan hoods.

We are going to order a dehumidifier and run it at night in Mendocino just to be sure we keep on top of things. I am hoping that once we get up above the mid forties at night condensation will be less of a problem.

So we are glad to be back in California where spring is in full swing. We saw some fabulous displays of wildflowers along the highway yesterday....

Rudy is happy to be back in warmer temps (he did not love the cold in Illinois.) Although he did love eating popcorn and cheese with my Mom. One thing balances out the other.

I am so looking forward to Mendocino. We head up there this Thursday. We are unsure if we will be able to get online from our campsite but I will be posting pics as soon as I can! I am hoping the flowers are in bloom there just like this gorgeous rosemary bush here at the ranch.

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