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Friday, August 06, 2010

First Leg of a Week Long Mini-break: Ukiah

Yeah! Onto day one of a week touring and camping with my high school buddy, Diane who is down for a week from Yakima Washington. I picked her up at the airport and bright and early we were driving alongside Clear Lake on Hwy 20. Know what I found out? That I drove through Clear Lake, once or twice a year over more than a decade and NOT notice the flippin' volcano sitting next to the lake! If there was a T-Rex on the route, I wonder if I would have noticed it? Well, never mind.

Mount Konocti beneath which eyeless fishes creep

While I drove, Diane also told methat long ago the Pomo Indians told the local Whites about large caverns hidden beneath the mountain, in which there dwell fish without eyes. No one but the Indians took the stories about the underground caverns as anything but 'Indian Legends'. Hum... eyeless fish in dark underground caverns... haven't I heard of such a thing before? Diane and I suspect the Pomo tales are fact and as usual, it will take latter day Whites another century or three to catch up with the Pomo.

The existence of a volcano was just the first bit of info Diane shared. A bit later she pointed out a State landmark I've driven past at least a dozen times, without bothering to stop for a look-see. On this day however, prompted by Diane, I stopped and here is what I saw.

Details of Dreadful Events in California History

Like other lands of European 'discovery', California has a ghastly history of murder of native men, women and children. Diane knows of such historical happenings, not because she completed her K - 12 education in California, as there is residual denial of the gawdawful treatment of Indians, but because she's keen on history. Driving about with Diane was having my own personal historian at hand. I am not going into it all here, look it up for yourself. Really. Do so.

Now, the last thing you see as you drive from Hwy 50 through Lake County a lazy herd of bison on the south side of Hwy 20 - a sure sign you are about to intersect Hwy 101. For once, I did not take the 101 dead north, headed for Eureka or Crescent City. Instead I drove us south a bit to Ukiah.

Ukiah is a special place to me. When I graduated high school, I was gifted by friends & relatives with a grand sum that approached $100. I decided to use the money to fly north - on PSA, an airline no longer existing - to visit Diane, her mother and sisters, who left San Diego and returned to Northern California where Diane, Aveeda and Heidi were raised. I'll never forget what a great time I had when Eunice, Diane's Mom, picked me up in San Francisco and spent several days driving up hill and over dale sight seeing in California. To this day, Aveeda & Diane told me when they see California Quail they think of the first time I ever saw the birds. I pretty much pitched a happy fit at the sight of the up tight little fowl, marching along, then scrambled into the rural shrubbery. On that trip I also saw my first wild California Mule Deer as well as the magnificent redwood trees of Montgomery Woods State Reserve. Nineteen-seventy was when I fell in love with Northern California and developing a wish to live here.

Enough hisherstory! As I said, Diane once called Ukiah home, and we began our visit, driving around the town in search of placed Diane once called home.

First up was a beautiful yellow Victorian, where Diane, her Mom and sisters lived for a short while. As soon as Diane told me the place was haunted, other interesting info about the place mostly flew out of my head! The family heard steps and other noises from the upstairs, which was entirely devoid of people/things. Cool!

The buttercup yellow haunted Victorian

Diane's parents bought this house, at one time shaded by a humongous Horse Chestnut tree. The house was only a couple of blocks from Diane's high school so she could come home for lunch every day.

Diane's former family home still retains a welcoming look.

This is the house I remember - sort of - as it's the one I visited in 1970. The only visual memory I have of the house itself was Diane and her sisters playing with their two Siamese kittens.

After the house tour, we did a little downtown strolling and light shopping, then were on for a great lunch at the Ukiah Brewing Company.

It was Diane handled the details of this trip, arranging for us to rent an adorable little home, nestled among wine vineyards in the country for a couple of days. The house is very pretty and my first thought on seeing it, was that it shows potential for future hen parties. The inside was prettily decorated and the stats was a bedroom for each of us and a living room with fireplace & comfy chairs. The kitchen had a cute & funky old stove, and was fully outfitted with microwave, fridge, coffee maker and BONUS! An expresso maker which I didn’t know how to work, damn it. But my favorite thing about the house was the back porch. Every time I stepped onto it, I had to say, or at least whisper, "I had a farm in Africa...!"

View from the porch, showing the walk down past the vineyards to a rushing river

I couldn't look at the porch view, without expecting giraffes gracefully striding past

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