I am writing this after the Santa Rosa wildfires and before I leave for the drive to Santa Barbara to start the Sierra Club boat trip to the Channel Islands. This road trip to Williams signifies when I took back my power to drive long distances alone through remote places. It has been 18 months and it was time to get back in my 23 year old Volvo and find the confidence that I could deal with a breakdown on a back road. Both the car and my failed marriage date back to 1994 and this was an important step to take back control of my life.
Back around 1985, I had driven up 101 from San Francisco to Portland in my Honda CVCC hatchback and swore I would never do it again. This time I took Route 5 because it would take me to Ashland, OR for the Shakespeare Festival. Two years earlier, Lake County had been devastated by wildfire and I finally had the nerve to drive over to look. I wanted to check out the way to Clear Lake only once and never to Lake Berryessa and wanted to learn more about the geography so that I could boat them when the opportunity arose.
I left before daybreak and managed to lost trying to find Mark West Springs Road. Google maps put me right, but by then I was being chased to morning commuters impatient with my tentative driving in the dark. Entering Calistoga, the trick is to turn left to Tubbs Rd. to get to Rt. 20 and Williams. I wound through the twisty road near Robert Louis Stevenson park which I have not yet visited although I have lived here since 2000. So many places I want to see. Went through the town of Lower Lake.
My goal was to have breakfast at La Fortuna bakery in Williams, which I had discovered on Yelp. I would have missed it without Google telling me where to take the right cut-off from Rt. 20 that goes to Williams. The voice navigation makes such a big difference to me, The Map Queen. I ordered an adobo sandwich and the coffee was so hot, it took 45 minutes to cool down enough to drink. By then I was back on the road, heading north on Interstate 5, past Redding, up to Oregon.
Mountain driving on two-lane roads with trucks is tricky. Mount Shasta was not as snowy as it has looked from a small plane, but the next big surprise was the spectacular appearance of Mount Lassen from the road. So glad I went.