It was a blind date with a fellow playwright. I was flattered because he told me on the phone that he loved my play and I fell for it. We decided to meet at a casino for lunch in the wine country, a mutually distant place for us to travel to. This particular River Rock Casino is located in mini Geyserville, a few hours drive from San Francisco or Sacramento. For myself, I would be traveling from the north, Eureka to be specific.
It was mid-summer, and my trusty Toyota had recently lost its air conditioning. I am very forgiving of my car because it has over 330,000 miles on it, and the problems it has are largely cosmetic. I love a trip to almost anywhere, to this casino in particular, as they have a fabulous dining room that was built to overlook the scenery. I left about 6 a.m. in the morning to have a casual, happy trip south down into the gorgeous wine county.
It is only fair that I mention that I am middle-aged, and while I keep a positive attitude about aging, I have every intention of doing so gracefully. I do get hot flashes. This is a vital piece of the story, otherwise I would not disclose this information.
In addition to my air conditioning not behaving, a red light went on in the dashboard. I kept driving south to the big casino on the hill, knowing they had a huge parking lot that was covered, a security department, and guys around who probably would not mind helping a damsel in distress. It was really getting hot, like about 100 degrees, and I had been driving for three hours. Needless to say, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, hungry and crabby.
I wound around the beautiful wine groves and up the hill to the casino, parking in the four-tiered parking lot, but with a problem. My car light and dashboard indicators refused to turn off. I was afraid my car’s electrical components were messed up, so I decided to lock the car still on, go inside, meet my blind date guy, then return to the car and head home.
I entered the casino with my heart pounding, thinking maybe the blind date would be a miracle car fixer. No such luck, in fact, I got stood up. I don’t know if waiting in the restaurant lobby for 15 minutes counts as getting stood up, but for me, all hot and sweaty, stressed out and feeling some hot flashes coming on due to stress, it was time to go.
Once I got in the car again, for some reason the stupid light went off and the car seemed fine. I was too pooped to go back in, and so I took off for home in the cool redwood country. Unfortunately, after 30 miles of driving, I was absolutely miserable. I had my windows open and was getting a sunburn on my left arm. I was heading north on 101 and crossed the bridge that went through a little town called Willits.
I spotted the car wash on the left side of the road. I was so hot and exhausted that I pulled in to a covered wash area, put in eight quarters, and instead of washing my car, I stood in the shower of cool water that pulsed out of the hose. I knew I looked ridiculous, but I just didn’t care. There I was, completely dressed and sopping wet.
Even when it is hot everywhere else in the summer, the fog rolls in and settles in Humboldt County. Thus, the redwood forests. If you are old enough to remember how nice it can be to talk to a real person, you might consider telephoning 800-346-3482. I suggest this because a traveler can speak to a redwood coast travel specialist.
Some info about Humboldt County:
Old growth redwoods pepper the mountainsides as you drive north for the following:
Beaches, Bigfoot, Redwoods, Hiking, Wildlife and Birding, Boating and Water sports, scenic drives, and trees that stand taller than the Statue of Liberty. You can drive through a tree, which is a popular tourist trap.
There is also Humboldt State University, Native American cultures, the largest trees in the world, the most fog, Victorian architecture, bumpy roads and interrupted Internet. If any of this sounds appealing, just remember Humboldt County is not in the fast lane, it is the off ramp.