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Friday, August 13, 2010

Scenic Drive

Is there a bigger bummer than heading home after a fun mini-break? As little Ivy would say, "I don't think so." But the day came when Diane and I packed up our sleeping bags and loaded up the car.

Aveeda and her little gang of campers were also packing but they weren't quite ready to return home. They were moving, lock, stock and barrel, headed to a camping ground where the sky would not be socked in by fog so they could view the Perseid meteor shower that blasts over the planet each & every August.

After saying our goodbyes, we were headed south to Mendocino, then east on Ukiah Road, a lovely little path that wound its way back to Ukiah. The Ukaih Road passes old farms with rustic wooden fences, ancient barns and quaint homesteads, some of which date to the late 1800s.

All roads through Mendocino pass through Comptche, or so the local lore claims. We passed through Comptche ourselves, and there wasn't very much of a town there - even Boonville, the eensie town we passed through on our way to Mendicino, is a bustling metropolis by comparison.
Beautiful 'Midtown' Comptche

There was a little meeting house or whatever-it-is, with a beautiful art neuvo tiled poster on it.

On the way east to Ukiah, we stopped to look back over the dry California hills we passed through. I had passed this way before in 1970, when Diane's mother Eunice, took all of us for a drive. Back then we stopped at Montgomery Woods State Park, where I saw my first wild Mule Deer. That was very exciting for me back then, and Diane and her sister never forgot how elated I was over seeing the deer, or for that matter, California Quail.

Flat Hills of Mendocino County

When we got to Ukiah we revisited the Ukiah Brewing Company for a quiet and restful lunch.

The Ukiah Brewing Company window reflects downtown Ukiah

The remainder of our drive home was uneventful though enjoyable. On our drive west we had looked for and didn't find the historic, 72 year old Castle of Lake Lucerne. We had luck and found the castle on our return drive. Diane told me the castle was built as a grand hotel was built just before the depression, when locals expected Clear Lake to be the Las Vegas of Northern California. Didn't happen! The castle only knew a scant couple of years of service, before it was closed down. The Castle has had numerous renovations, yet still stands as a monument to opulent dreams that came to naught.

A Local newspaper's photo of the castle, taken during one of
the numerous castle's numerous failed bids for rededication and use

Oh, boo hoo! In the early afternoon we were back at my house. The following day was all about relaxation. Diane, working in Yakima Washington schools, had another week or so left of her summer break and she flew home bright and early the following morning. No such luck for me, it's back to work on Monday. Bugger...

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