Saturday, June 2, 2007

On The Road!

When we arrived in Mineral, just a few miles from our cabin in Mills Creek, we discovered something quite unexpected: a little store that sells broadband Internet access by the hour. looks like I may be able to do some trip-blogging after all...

Today was "travel day" -- we left Jamul at about 5 am, and just zoomed straight up I-5 until we got to Red Bluff (between Sacremento and Redding). We had good luck with the traffic -- no clogs in all the usual places like Los Angeles or Sacremento. The only obstacles we ran into were a couple of slow drivers and our own endurance. Our ice chest was loaded with goodies we'd bought at Trader Joe's the previous day, so aside from one stop at a Starbucks to stoke up on caffeine, the only stops we made were at rest areas and gas stations. I used a total of about $150 in gasoline to end up here with a full tank -- expensive, but still less expensive than flying to somewhere nearby and renting a car (especially a 4 wheel drive car!).

In total, the trip was 697 miles, and we were at our cabin in Mill Creek at about 4:15 pm. That means we averaged over 63 miles per hour for the trip -- darned good time! We did have one misadventure on the way up, though. At one point just north of the Grapevine my father turned around in his seat to fetch his jacket, where he keeps his hearing aid container; he wanted to take his hearing aids off and put them away. While he was doing this, a police car followed closely behind us, and finally pulled us over. The police officer had spotted the fact that my dad wasn't wearing his seat belt, and she wrote him a ticket! We were only pulled over for a few minutes, and she was quite polite (though insistent) about it, but my dad was quite flustered by the whole experience. Personally, I object to the entire nanny-state notion of government enforcement of my behavior (when it doesn't harm anyone else), and I think this incident in particular was absurd. But...the affair wasn't of the police officer's making; she was just doing her job. And in general, I don't think that sassing police officers is a particuarly smart idea, nor is it likely to result in positive outcomes...

When we arrive at the Mill Creek Resort, where we are spending the next week, we were very pleasantly surprised by how well-equipped the cabin was. We've never been to this place before, but hard past experience tells us that you just never know what you're going to run into -- the description on the web site (or the one you're given over the telephone) often doesn't match the reality you discover when you check in. Here all the surprises have been on the good side, at least so far. The cabin is quite large, with two bedrooms, a full bathroom, a kitchen, and a small "living room" with a big fireplace. It is neat and clean, though a few minor things are in disrepair. There are at least two cords of wood piled in front of the cabin. The kitchen has a full-sized refrigerator, a normal stove, a microwave, and even a toaster oven -- along with a table and chairs. It's not a cozy, romantic getaway -- but it is a very comfortable "home base" away from home. We're pleased!

After we unpacked the truck, we drove a few miles off and stopped at a few places to look around in the forest we're in. It's a diverse conifer forest, with very abundant cedar, Ponderosa pine, several other pine species, and at least two firs. The understory is full of unfamiliar plants that even my dad couldn't identify, but there are some old familiar plants as well -- maples and oaks are very common, as is dogwood. We spotted a few flowers: Indian paintbrush, some nearly-gone lupine, forget-me-nots, and a small pale violet flower that neither of us knew. In general, though, at this altitude (about 4,500 feet), we're too late for the flowers. We found out later that they've been snow-free at this altitude since mid-March -- so the flowers we're looking for will be at a higher altitude. That will be tomorrow's quest...

The Mill Creek Resort has a small restaurant, with a limited menu and hours. We ate dinner there tonight, and in general the food was quite good, simple, home-style fare. We had a nice dinner salad and fried chicken. My dad was hungry, and (in addition!) had a bowl of beef stew and a chocolate ice cream soda! Not a gourmet dinner, but perfectly good, solid food; both of us are sated. But we are also quite tired, and after a shower, we're hitting the sack!

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