Willits to Anchor Bay - on the verge of the worst verge
A day of Kindness that made MPJ cry.
Today was not a good day for driving, doubly compounded by what turned into a seemingly fruitless search for that ever elusive pet-friendly motel... We knew we could not go far today, just far enough to find a nice motel and to spend the day resting and re-energising after that hideous night.
When we pulled in to Willits last night, DESPERATE to just stop driving, and then had that endless search for a motel that would allow pets, well MPJ had lost the will to live - at this stage any bed would do. She happily paid the only motel in town that would accept animals just to be able to STOP driving and throw her weary self into a horizontal sleep.
But Oh My Goodness, it was really BAD.
The room had this really peculiar odour, which reeked, like cheap patchouli air freshener trying to mask someone's stale vomit.
I kid you not.
It was GROSS.
But frankly we were so exhausted it was a negligible issue, we'd already been up and down the main drag 3 times. This was our lot and we were stuck with it.
The bed was OK comfortable.
The Loo was clean.
So why did we have such a terrible sleepless night?
Who, I mean WHO, invents an air conditioner that is set on a temp regulator so that when the temp rises the nasty beast of an externally mounted, outdated, thunderous machine roars into blow-mode, rattling and chugging and generally sounding like a geriatric old geezer who has smoked for 60 years, spewing out cold air until the temperature reader then switches it off.
Already bone-weary exhausted, we were both suspended in that never-sleep-zone where just as you fall into a doze, Boom, you get woken.
All. Night. Long.
Not a jot of REM happened for either of us.
First light and we could not get out of there fast enough, just threw stuff in the car, turned down Hwy 20 to Fort Bragg, and headed back towards the coast.
And NO, we did NOT pull off on to any of the roads in the Jackson State Forest.
No Way Jose. I'da barked my head off if she'd even thought about it.
One of the great things about this Road Trip is that it is really fulfilling our purpose to discover what does and does not work.
The decision to do the Charity Drive in an RV means we never have to stay in flea-pit motels the entire time we are doing the Coast to Coast & Back Again journey.
Thank Goodness for that!
Now, a word to the wise - NEVER stand between MPJ and her morning coffee.
Especially after a night like that.
Really good coffee that miraculously stays constantly topped up, and (who knew) in the middle of nowhere - we lucked into a proper Rueben! Jani's favourite sandwich, and this one is the real deal. Actual homemade salt beef, hot out of the oven, homemade sauerkraut, real russian dressing (not thousand islands, no no no) and honest to goodness proper real dark rye.
She's in heaven.
I'm pretty happy too, a portion of that salted beef is bound to be coming my way.
MPJ is almost human again. Ahh the restorative power of breakfast.
A champion breakfast!
Today's mission: not to drive.
Find a motel and find a beach and spend a day recuperating and resting.
Not a single room to be found in this town.
Then as we were leaving Point Arena, we went sailing through the bend with these signs up. Jani took the first turn-around to come back and honour this town's collective message by taking these photographs.
It is so heartwarming for us to see this.
Everywhere we have been travelling we have seen a willingness to make these public displays of Inclusiveness. It gives us the sense that there is strong willingness to express the kind of society many Americans wish for.
Even more heartwarming is that many of these displays are on school fences, that the generation coming is concerned and want to say so.
Hurrah Point Arena, we salute your civic spirit. Thank you for making our day much better.
And then it got kinda worse.
Just as we get out of Point Arena, the traffic is all being turned around because of a truck that's gone down and blocked both lanes.
Then it's an inland detour on a winding mountain road, back to the coast at Gualala.
Heart sink. More difficult driving.
It's a good thing too, that we had to make that detour, because if we had done that bit of coast road I'm not so sure we'd have ever been able to get back on Hwy 1. (But that is the tale that awaits us around tomorrow's bend...)
Keeping in mind here, that MPJ just wants to stop.
But every single motel, and hotel, is either booked or No Pets.
Gualala is a non-starter, there are no rooms at any of the Inns.
Not even a stable to be had.
So by time we get a bit further down the coast, Jani pulls in to Sea Ranch Lodge, praying for a room, who cares how much it may cost (this place looks expensive).
By this time Jani can barely speak English, she is literally shaking, and she is fighting back tears of abject exhaustion.
Their last Pet-Friendly room has just been booked.
The girls on reception realised just how fractured my poor bedraggled exhausted Pet was, and with Great Kindness they started to call up and down the coast to find the closest reservation they could.
Jani did cry then, so utterly relieved to have help.
So, armed with the name and address of the booking, we set off, back UP the 15 miles of coast we've just come down, knowing we were going another 4 miles further north of Gualala, on the bit of coast the overturned truck had excluded us from.
Now, a word, if you'll indulge me.
Thing is, My Pet is pretty smart, pretty savvy, and she is a person who can cope.
In all my life, in all the 9 years I've been with her (that's 63 human years), I have NEVER seen her like this.
So, now I'm sitting up and doing my very doggie-best to help draw off the tiredness and give her the wherewithal to just keep going this one last leg - there is a reservation made, we definitely have a room at an Inn just ahead...
Well, long story short:
MPJ loses the plot.
She drive 4 miles up from Gualala, past the Anchor Bay General Store, past the 4 mile mark, can't find any B&B as described.
But by now she's forgotten the name of the place she's looking for.
We drive all the way back to Gualala, in case we missed it.
Turn around, drive all the way back to Anchor Bay, call in to the store, ask if anyone has internet so she can call back to Sea Ranch Lodge to get the name and number of this Mystery Inn...
At which point an old timer says"I think I might know the place, follow me on up the road a bit"
Oh the KINDNESS of folk.
And sure enough he brought us exactly to where we were meant to be.
And with no further ado, Pia showed us to our somewhat splendid room.
This place is gorgeous!
We settled in to our (enormous) room with a grateful sigh.
The garden is just FAB, there are other dogs to play with, and we can spend the rest of the day at the beach.
A drive that should have taken us 1 1/2 hours ended up taking 5 hours.
Once we'd settled in and MPJ had a recuprative rest, we went to ask Pia where the best beach walk is.
And, Bless her Wonderful Kindness, she said "I was just coming to find you, You and Milly must come and eat dinner with us tonight, you need a proper family meal."
Well, needless to say, Jani burst into tears again, and Pia folded her into another enveloping Mummy-Hug, knowing that no matter how old you may be, there are times when you need someone to just take care of you.
And there is nothing like a ramble on the beach to set you right.
Or in this case, a scramble across the cove full of beached logs.
I feel happy that I was able to make MPJ smile, relax and even laugh, as I jumped from log to log, impressing her with my terrier talents.
Thank You Pia (in the blk&wht striped shirt holding the white dog) and Chris (Mustachio) for welcoming us,
not only to stay in your fabulous Inn, but for inviting us into your home,
to share a meal with your family,
and for helping to restore MPJ and cure her of road-weariness.
Your KINDNESS will never be forgotten!
And together we curled up in our enormous and unbelievably comfortable bed to sleep the dreamless sleep of true restoration.
Little did we know, that the scariest verges awaited us, and that tomorrow would be the worst drive of Jani's life...
Oh sweet innocence.