Day 9 Drive Rogue River to Santa Rosa

California! This has been our first serious travel day in a while. I bounced out of bed at 530 and we were on the interstate before 700, pretty much at first light. The espresso stall wasn’t even open, I had to have gas station coffee, for which I paid the princely sum of eighty nine cents. Have you noticed that there is no cents symbol on keyboards anymore?

The first couple of hours on the interstate were pretty quiet – only mad dogs and Englishmen go driving that early. And truck drivers. Crossed into California mid-morning, and actually had to stop to assure them we were not transporting fruit or vegetables into the state. Gassed up around 1030 and was unable to use my VISA card at the pump because it wanted a zip code! Too bad if you’re not from the US, I guess. It took my debit card, though. Lunch at the last interstate rest stop before we dove off onto smaller highways. I think doing the picnic thing is even quicker than Burger King.

Pleasant driving in rolling hills turned into some of the most crazed mountain driving yet. Entering the Napa Valley, we drove through a canopy of overlapping trees on a road that twisted and turned so much that the 25mph curves were the easy ones! We drove around hairpins posted for 15mph, and of course, the line of sight is so limited that if any one of the cars ahead of us had lost control, the destruction would have been epic.

Suddenly, we rolled past Foothill House, our old base of operations back in the early nineties, and then drove the Petrified Forest Highway again. Donna will recall that as one of her least favourite ‘hurtles’. Made it to Santa Rosa before 1400, thanks to the early start.

Santa Rosa is hot. When we left Rogue River this morning it was 7C, but forecast to hit over 35C. At noon, somewhere in Northern California, it was over 38! Our hotel is a little strange. Laid out like a big motel: low buildings with separate entrances for each room, but with nice garden and pool areas. Unfortunately, something smells funny. It might be the garden, which has lavender and eucalyptus, or it might be the air freshener the maids use, but we asked to change rooms, and even this recently redecorated one smells a little odd. We were planning to stay here for four nights, the entirety of our California visit, but now we are working on changing that.

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