Saturday, April 28, 2012


We are at the Coyote Valley Casino, just north of Ukiah, California (map). We've stopped here once before, but on that trip elected not to stay. I think we must have been needing a restaurant on that pass, and this place has little more than a burger stand. This time, we had dinner with us, and it was a fine place to spend the night. On top of that, we each got $10 in free play for signing up at their players' club, which we parlayed into $23 in actual cash between us, so it was a negative-cost stopover. The price we paid was the thumping of banda and rancheras music from 9-12:30 last night, emanating from the Friday night headliners, Los Ritmicos.

We spent our final three nights in the bay area in a familiar spot on the street in Redwood City (map). As with our previous pair of on-street spots in Sunnyvale and Mountain View, this one was now adjacent to an enormous construction project, tenant improvements on the office building which had been vacant on our last visit. At least there was no heavy equipment involved. Across the street from us at the county yard I noticed that the sheriff's department has stockpiled new police cruisers -- 2011 was the last model year for the legendary rear-wheel drive Fords, and many agencies ordered as many as they could afford before production ended.

Our plan a week or so ago was to leave there Thursday, to give ourselves a bit of extra breathing room on the trip north. We decided to extend to Friday morning to try to squeeze in another visit or two with some of the folks we had not yet been able to see. As it turned out, however, we just needed a day off. Louise was rather drained after an emotional breakfast meeting Wednesday, and I had a long day myself having taken the train both ways to San Francisco for my own lunch meeting, and we ended up having dinner just the two of us Wednesday evening, for the first time since leaving Alameda. Thursday morning we basically just crashed, and instead of scheduling a lunch meeting, I ended up working on routes and stops, and prepping the bus for travel. Thursday evening was our last dinner with our nieces and their family and also the all-important return of the car they had lent us for the duration of our stay.

We had a really nice visit in the bay area, albeit a bit shorter than ideal. But it also feels good to be back on the road, and also to be riding together in the bus for the first time in two weeks. As this may well be our final trip in Odyssey on the west coast, we opted for the more scenic coastal route, US-101, over the more expeditious Interstate 5. We had picture-perfect weather crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, and even stopped at the scenic overlook on the north side (for the rather prosaic reasons of cleaning the litter box and using the rest room).

Choosing the more scenic option made finding inexpensive fuel a bit more challenging. It turned out that the cheapest diesel in California on this route was here in Ukiah, $4.25 a gallon at a Shell station designed only for cars. Even small stations get their fuel from tanker trucks, and we found a way to maneuver in and out to put a hundred gallons in, which will get us all the way to Eugene, Oregon and even less expensive diesel.

Between the slog through San Francisco and the fuel stop, it was 4pm by the time we arrived here, and while we would have been better off getting a bit further, the overnight options get more limited north of here. So we decided to hunker down for the night. From here we will continue up the coast to Reedsport, Oregon, west of Eugene, before heading inland to join I-5. We have two stops to make in the Eugene area, otherwise we would continue on the coast route all the way to Washington. Tonight I expect to be on the coast somewhere near the Oregon border.

1 comment:

  1. $4.25/gal. is probably your best bet for all of northern California.

    Next time we head up to Seattle we were going to take 101 instead of I5. From Google Maps it looks like getting from Ukiah to Eureka is the worst part of the drive.


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