The journey home from California last Sunday night was long and strange. I decided to take the coastal route because of excessive heat in the northwest. It was wonderful to see some redwoods and while some areas were a little hot, not too bad. I left Melissa’s pad in Emeryville at 4 pm which is fine when taking I-5 home as it is much faster, but a bit late for the highway 101 route. All the small towns close up when it gets dark, even the gas stations. Luckily, I was okay with gas as I filled up In Healdsburg, and my cute little car travels almost 400 miles on an 11-gallon tank. For real! Not bad for a 2007 Toyota Corolla!
I was able to listen to Sirius radio via my iPhone pretty much the entire way which seemed miraculous as I don’t have satellite radio in my car, just the Internet version on my phone and computer. I used this small device that plugs into the lighter and syncs with a radio station signal which isn’t being used. Plenty of those up Highway 101! If the station begins to come in, I find another one, and it only takes a moment. Of course, I had it on the Beatles channel most of the time with a bit of Classic Vinyl thrown in. I got hooked on Sirius radio when I purchased my 2014 Ford Focus what seemed like a lifetime ago. The car had Sirius radio installed, and it was free for a year. Not long to get hooked on that.
So, as Highway 101 darkened, I’m singing along to Beatles songs such as, “All My Loving,” and so many other classics. I never get tired of them. Never.
It was just kind of creepy to drive through numerous towns that were completely closed. I passed by a lit-up motel with people sitting out front feeling as if it reminded me of something. Oh yeah, the place reminded me of the Bates Motel. Then I reached Eureka which was a larger town with open stores and gas stations. Eureka! And nice cool air blowing in from the ocean. Ahhh. I remembered the week on the beach with my grandkids and sighed. I stopped at two different gas stations, really to use a restroom and maybe snacks. Their restrooms were closed. Denied. I even stopped at a Walgreens and asked about the restroom. Sorry. I stopped at one more gas station and nope, they tore it out. A guy told me to drive up the hill and turn left and I’d see Winco, open 24 hours with lots of restrooms. I was desperate because I suspected there were no rest stops after eureka. So I found the Winco which definitely looked like the most hopping place in all of Eureka and beyond at 10 pm. And yes, I was greeted by a guy who sat inside the front door and he pointed to the restrooms. Eureka! Then of course I bought more snacks. Trail mix and a bang drink with no sugar or calories but loads of caffeine. Atkins bars just cuz they were on sale. Then I did the horrible thing and bought a box of doughnuts. Only two old-fashioned glazed and two other weird pastries. Never ate the weird pastries.
After long conversations with a cashier and two customers, I was off driving and driving through lots of intermittent fog and crazy road construction. I decided to take highway 199 to Grants Pass from crescent City which I knew was windy in parts to save an hour of time. And no fog. I could see the gorgeous redwoods as I drove slowly through the windy parts. And I was excited to finally reach Grants Pass off I-5 where the gas stations have restrooms! In fact, there are travel stops, truck stops and rest stops up and down I-5! I watched the sunrise as I made that last two and a half hour trek to Eugene. It only took 14 hours of driving all night long.
Note to self. Travel 101 route during the day! Or stay at a motel somewhere but not the one that looks like Bates motel.