So, after a very busy year, filled with conventions and rumors of conventions, on December 22, we piled into the van and headed north. I had gotten a bit later of a start than I wanted, but I figured I'd better take care of a few last-minute things, leave instructions for the Adopted Nephew, and leave some emergency cash. (Some of which actually did get spent on emergencies!) I also stopped at the Truesdale Yard and iced down the contents of my ice chest from the ice machine there. (Working for LA DWP has its perks.)
I picked up Joan, and we headed out. I stopped at a Wendy's in Santa Clarita for breakfast. I decided one more sign of our compatibility was that when I ordered the item that I had settled on, it turned out Joan had been looking at the same thing.
On the drive north, we stopped at Harris Ranch for lunch, and at Marie Callendar's in Redding. We pushed on through to Medford, Oregon, and found a motel. The next day, it was three more hours to my parents' house. Probably the most trying part of the drive from Joan's perspective was the drive up Hill Road. Hill Road is a private road, owned and maintained by the people who live on it. It's a gravel road, and it rises at about a 30° angle at some points.
We got there, and after meeting my parents, we put our luggage into the guest house. The guest house is a pole barn, half of which is given over to my dad's workshop, and the other half of which is a studio apartment. (Well, no cooking facilities unless you bring them.)
We spent a lot of time sitting around and chatting, sitting around and watching TV, sitting around and petting the animals, and some time on the internet. The animals are a cat, Leroy, and two dogs. Maggie is a Jack Russel terrier who is somewhat hyper and jealous of Barney, and Barney is a beagle who is incredibly mellow.
On Tuesday, December 26, Joan and I went out to do some shopping, and also with the intention of finding the grave of one of her relatives who lived in Coos Bay. After Joan remembered the last name of the relative in question, she called her aunt and learned the city was Newport, not Coos Bay. OK, never mind....
I was already on Ocean Avenue, so I decided to drive on westward and we could look at some of the coast. About that time, we started feeling hungry, so I decided to look for a place to eat when we hit Charleston.
Charleston is a fishing town, and there are a lot of places that sell seafood. I wound up stopping at the Sea Basket. Once I'd stepped inside, I recognized the place. My parents had taken me there at least once before.
Joan asked what was fresh, we got a complete run-down of what was available. Joan got a fish plate, and I got the fish and oysters plate. Now, I'm not usually a consumer of oysters, but that's because so many people insist on serving them raw. These oysters, like the fish (red snapper), were lightly breaded and then fried.
To drink, we got beer – hefewiezen for Joan, and amber bock for myself. The fish and oysters were both excellent, as were the beer, fries, and cole slaw. The cocktail sauce and tartar sauce, both made at the restaurant, were also very good. The only thing that failed to live up to the standard was the garlic bread. Oh, well.
After lunch, we stopped at a seafood market and I bought some wild salmon to take home. Since my parents can get that sort of thing all the time, they had us take it back to California with us.
While shopping, I had bought a bit of electronics. This was a combination VCR/DVD recorder. It can play video casettes and DVDS, and it can record onto both media. And it can dub directly from each format to the other. I gave that to my parents, and now they can dub their videotape collection onto DVDs. That turned out to be an excellent choice of present, and thanks to Joan for suggesting it.
On Wednesday, we decided to head back, in order to be sure of making it in time for Joan to function as key-holder at the lasfs. We had breakfast around 9:00, and headed out around 10:00. The drive was uneventful, even across the passes out of Oregon and through the Mt. Shasta area. We were arriving after the weather had gone for the time being. We had lunch at the Costco in Medford where I gassed up, and dinner at the Flying J truck stop north of Stockton.
I had figured on pushing through to arrive in North Hollywood around 1:00 AM on Thursday. Unfortunately, the fates had other plans.