From A Cabin In The Woods: Day 4
I’m back in Los Angeles (for now), having enjoyed a slow ride back from Santa Rosa that traversed both the coast highway, the Central Coast, and boring old I-5. Stops were made along the way in San Rafael, Gilroy, and Gustine. There was some debate over stopping in the Solvang/Los Olivos area for more wine, but…fuck man, I drank so much this week I need to give my liver a few hours break. Plus I’ve got dinner plans tonight and I’m sure there will be plenty of alcohol involved. If we go with wine over cocktails I’m going to be so fucking annoying with my tasting notes. I can’t wait.
It was actually a little sad waking up in the cabin for on the final morning in Santa Rosa. The cozy little space was really only a place to crash after very long days, but there was a comfort to it that is inexplicable. Also, you know, the silence and the rain and the seclusion was a (welcome) far cry from city life. Watching and hearing the rain tapping on the skylight was quite meditative. It was hard to extricate myself from the bed to shower. But I did. And I felt surprisingly lucid! By the way, I’d like to thank the bartenders at Russian River for sending me home with extra water as they were closing up shop last night. Waking up after a dozen or so hours of drinking and feeling in fine fettle is the best! Also it’s essential to having a productive day, and a long drive is not the kind of task I enjoy while hungover.
Fuck Peet’s Coffee and their lack of butter for people who want to eat bagels. A solid pour over and breakfast sando from Brew Coffee & Beer made for the perfect start to a very long day of driving, and stopping, and then more driving. Now, I was told by someone at Russian River last night that Sol Food in San Rafael was a MUST TRY if in the area. I assumed San Rafael was a little further than it is in actuality, so…like, an hour later it was time to eat again. I had a “Vegetariano” combo, which consisted of rice and beans served with organic salad, fresh avocado and fried plantain. Honestly, it sounds simple but in actuality it was fucking incredible. I also got to try some french toast with coconut milk. Apparently the cuban sandwich is mind-blowing, but not at like 10am when I have to sit behind the wheel of a car for the next seven hours or so. Fuck, I really need to stop using the “We’ll improvise!” approach to road trips. When it works it’s glorious, but when it doesn’t you’re left wondering, “What if…”
Morning traffic wasn’t terrible trying to get out of the Bay Area by going west from San Rafael to reach the Coast Highway, but it was certainly annoying for a few stretches of time. It took a little over two hours to reach Gilroy, where the only planned stop was at Garlic World. The last time I was in Gilroy was in 2009 for the Garlic Festival (Saturday and Sunday). The last time I was at Garlic World I had the store send my mother a super-ornate, completely unnecessary gift package filled with garlic infused snacks. This time I grabbed a bag of almonds and a bag of pistachios for her, plus a bottle of local garlic hot sauce for myself. The cashier made sure to mention that the food truck outside had amazing food — especially fish ‘n’ chips — but…Jesus Christ a man can only eat so much in half a day! Hard pass on the food truck. It was only about 1pm and I already wanted to get on the road.
From Garlic World if you want to stay on US-101 you can get to Los Olivos in about three hours. Or, you can US-152 over to I-5, or you can take US-25 to US-198 to I-5. This is where the debate occurred. Continuing down towards Paso and Los Olivos would invariably lead to drinking at Firestone Walker and a bunch of wineries. Scooting across 152 would ensure an early — and safe — arrival back in LA. The latter decision won the day.
With beautiful blue skies overhead, the next stop came at the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area. There’s lots of little hiking trails around the reservoir that proved fun if a bit slippery from recent rain. Naturally, once the car was a considerable distance away, the skies opened and a torrential downpour ruined what fun had been had hiking various trails. There were some pretty photo ops before the rains came, but once they did it was a race back to the shelter of the car.
The remainder of the drive was basically an exercise in not being killed by shitty drivers in varying degrees of intense rains. There was a stretch of maybe ten or twenty miles around Kettleman City where visibility was near zero and cars were sitting in the shoulder waiting for the storms to pass. There was some beautiful lightning storms with very clear, unique patterns darting across the sky. Listening to Ben Frost’s score from Fortitude made the storm both more eerie and more beautiful, which I guess is the most you can ask when you’re traveling at high speeds unable see more than a couple car lengths ahead of you.
The skies turned blue again near Magic Mountain and approaching Los Angeles you’d never know that insane storms were brewing so close to the city. At that point I was like, fuck it, just get me home already, so I sped most of the way through the valley and reached my destination…I don’t know, an hour ago? Not bad for having left bright and early with several stops along the way.
Three hours until dinner. Maybe I have time for a nap?
Ben Frost – Impossibilities [MP3]
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