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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Now it's my turn to be "There and Back Again."


I may have mentioned in the comments or a post of my own that I was heading up to Oregon after Christmas to visit our niece's baby boy.  Leaving at 0400 on the day after Christmas during a pandemic made for quick travel, arriving in just under 10 hours. 

It was a much needed trip.  After a year of missed occasions, lost opportunities, and restrictive, yet unsuccessful quarantines, not to mention tumultuous politics, we needed a break.  Sure, we made it up there during the summer, but that was all work and no play, moving my wife's mom off her ranch to a new home which she shares with that new baby's grandma, my sis-in-law (SIL).


It's a beautiful property, plenty of room, open spaces, some trails, and a nice view of the valley below.  We love the San Diego weather, but it's really nice to experience an environment where one has to bundle up every once in a while.  We had a great time doing a whole lot of nothing.  We sat in front of a warm fire, had nice conversations while listening to some vinyl, shared a couple of adult beverages, and went for some nice walks.  


 On one of the walks, we met a new friend from the property next door.  


She was very curious about us and almost a little affectionate.  


Finally, we spent a little time with this little guy.


He's the first grandkid on either side so he's quite popular among the family members.  We all agree he's the best thing to happen in 2020.  

A couple days later we went on another walk down by the Rogue River.  



Much colder than the first walk, we were well chilled afterwards.  We saw plenty of locals in light jackets, but we city-folk were icicles afterwards, despite the multiple layers.  The next day she felt lousy, with a very sore throat.  We also found out that SIL's son's girlfriend, who stopped by for a couple hours, was later positive for Covid.  Everyone at the house had been essentially quarantined (working from home) or recently tested as part of their job in healthcare or social services so we thought we'd be good to go, but maybe not.  Their county is far better off than any in California, but it only takes one.  We went to get her tested on NYE at my mom's old hospital, but their lab sucks and takes 4-5 days to get the results.  The baby went home on the 30th, but SIL and her husband also have a 13 year old with juvenile diabetes.  He's fit and healthy otherwise, but we all thought it would be best to get out of dodge just in case.  So after mimosas and eggs benedict I whipped up for breakfast on New Year's morn, we packed up and headed back south.


We always take Interstate 5 which is a straight shot from there to home.  It's a 12-14 hr drive, depending on traffic, which is non-existent for the most part these days.  But with no kids or dogs, our plan was to take the far-more scenic route down the coast, driving through the Redwood Forest, along US 1 and 101, through Sonoma and Napa, stopping in historic towns of Eureka and Healdsburg, seeing all the beautiful sites that California should be known for.



We still did that, but due to a late start and a heavy rain storm, the pictures were limited, and our COVID concerns precluded any sightseeing.  In fact, actual seeing was difficult.  We drove the entire way from Rogue River to Ukiah (RO1N) with the wipers on high.  Once it got dark around 5PM I had to concentrate just to see a hint of the white line on the side of the road.  While sometimes very slow, I was grateful to have a car in front of me during the twisty turns so I could guide off the taillights.  By the time we arrived at the hotel 6.5 hours later, I was frazzled.

Light rain the next morning so we saw a little more of the countryside and plenty of wineries, including one owned by some movie guy.




Haven't tried his wine, but his movies are pretty good.  Saw several other big-brand wineries from the 101 including Kendall Jackson, of which we have consumed a fair amount of.  Even if the weather and her health had been good, all bars, restaurants, and tasting rooms are currently closed by order of the governor.  If any Chanters are registered Californians, please consider signing the petition to recall him.  If not for the COVID issues, then because he's a smug hypocrite. 

The rest of the trip was uneventful.  Traffic was still light due to the shutdown and being a holiday weekend.  Despite the weather and the plandemic, it was a nice trip.  We'll have to go back when things are better and we can actually see the sights.  

Well, I hope your New Years was less eventful.  This new year won't actually be anything new I'd expect.  It'll be many months before the current infection rates go down in California and for the vaccine to start making any sort of measurable different in our herd immunity, especially with a large portion of the population claiming they will refuse the shot.  Despite Biden taking over I don't see the politics of this thing lessening up either.  So welcome to 2021, aka 2020 the sequel.  Sorry to be such a debbie downer, but I think the world being different on Jan 1st is very false hope.  Late this year we can revisit that though, and I'm hopeful.  Until then, enjoy the earliest part of 2021.


If my Governor or any Karens out there want to chastise me for traveling during Covid, have at it.  I just disagree with how the Govt is dealing with a disease with such a low mortality rate, one that barely affects children, and seems to hit mainly the elderly and those with co-morbidities the most.  We're shutting down the world for an illness most of us will easily survive.  I can wear a mask and keep up with the hand washing, but I'm not going to stop living my life.  I'm not in the "if we can save just one life" crowd.  I'll await our results*, but I'm asymptomatic and my wife has a mild case if it's positive at all.  Since we're healthy, I'm not going to live in fear of getting it.  Now, or in the future.


I mentioned listening to some vinyl.  I've recently grown to enjoy that simple pleasure very much.  My BIL got me hooked on a bunch of 70's hits, "Yacht Rock" is often played on XM as well, and I've begun a decent collection of 70's/80's records.  Some of my faves-  FM Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Jackson Brown Running on Empty, Little River Band Greatest Hits, and some Cat Stevens, Bread, and Doobie Bros are all on the frequent play list.  Anyone still spin vinyl?


*Turns out my wife is positive so I got a test Tuesday morning.  I wrote this on Sunday so the timing of current events didn't work out for the Wednesday post and I didn't feel like rewriting.  I had a single mild symptom on Monday, none on Tuesday, so hopefully I'm either clear or barely sick.  The doc was very nonchalant about it, saying most who are positive have a mild case.  You wouldn't get that from the news- which makes it sound like death is at everyone's door.

24 comments:

  1. Road Trip! For some reason Animal House suddenly comes to mind, your jaunt certainly looked more civilized though.........:) That distance driven with such poor visibility, no thanks. Congrats on the healthy looking little guy, family bestest reason to travel. Been awhile since I purchased vinyl, prices are NOT what they used to be, (old man rant coming) twenty five to thirty bucks really?!? Good to hear your cases are so slight. 2020 has been the supreme example of "never let a crisis go to waste", how to degrade and destroy the lives of so many people. Good to read an update from the West Coast Tuna.

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    1. I will start hitting up the estate sales when they start happening again to try to find more bargain vinyl. There are a lot of record stores in the area which I will mine as well for the older stuff. I have no intention of paying 35 bucks for anything.

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  2. Thank you for posting about being an American, deciding what you want to do and doing it. I was beginning to wonder if there were any left Tovarisch Kalifornia!!

    I loved vinyl. I'd play some when I worked at a radio station back in the early 90's. They were a bit harder to que up than reel to reels. We had a guy that worked there from about the mid 60's. Watching him que up a couple records was like watching a master artist. Smooooth and no wasted motion.

    I'm glad you took the time to see the little ones and visit. That is very important now, more than ever I think. I'm hoping to do the same next month. I figure it'll be more and more difficult as time goes on.

    Take care!

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    1. Sad that I felt like I needed to defend my actions.

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  3. Tuna, I am familiar with that drive from Eureka down through to Marin county. It is truly a beautiful drive. At one time my parents thought about buying a small condo in Humboldt county but never did; now of course one could not afford it. So green and such lovely country to see (if you have never been, Ferndale below Eureka has wonderful architecture. Also, the Loleta Cheese Factory is worth a visit.

    I sincerely hope you are both doing well. We have now had a death on either side of my parents family due to The Plague - both in their 70s and at higher risk, but unexpected.

    Good luck with the petition. For all the insanity that is California politics, the fact that the electorate has failed to hold Newsom in disgust at the clear violation of the policies he proclaimed continues to surprise me.

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    1. I really wanted to make it a 3 or 4 day trip, with Ferndale and Eureka on the stopping list, but alas. I will again some day.

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    2. Actually, I'll add Ferndale. Healdsburg was the one I was thinking of, wanting to visit ever since that movie The Majestic came out.

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    3. There was a movie with Dustin Hoffman - Pandemic, maybe? - that was at least partially shot in Ferndale.

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  4. I don't drink much wine...but to my uneducated taste buds...Coppola wine is great. No matter which one you choose, it never disappoints. Again, since I am uneducated when it comes to wine, it is my " go to" choice. Price is usually reasonable. Tastes great. Of course like everything, results may vary.

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    1. I'm planning to sample his wares as soon as I can get out of quarantine!

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  5. Ah, tales of wine and song...

    Sort of.

    Glad you had a good trip, sad that it was cut short. Hope that you and the missus are soon on the road again, health-wise and travel-wise.

    Good post Tuna!

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    1. That would have been a better title! Thanks. We're doing ok. She's sick, but nothing scary at this point.

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  6. Well, I certainly hope and pray that you and Mrs Tuna will recover with minimal distress. Sounds like a great trip, glad you got to go and meet the newest member of the family.

    Hope the Newsom recall is successful. "Pour encourager les autres" if nothing else.

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    1. The LT Gov is no better, but my Rino Mayor who just left office is waiting in the wings, forming a committee now.

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  7. Just got my test result. I'm negative.

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  8. Glad you got a chance to get out and get mobile. Seeing family is as or more important today for well-being than it has in a long time (which, of course, is why the Powers-that-Be wish to restrict our ability to gather and travel, both concepts deeply shrouded in the fundamental framework of this once-great-country but now thrown aside for a bug that's as dangerous as the common cold (which, surprisingly, kills old people and those with multi-co-morbidities, just like it's now-more famous corona-virus brother (colds being corona-viruses also.))

    Love the mustache. Rocking one myself. Got a real Tom Selleck on my upper lip. Well, maybe a half-Tom Selleck.

    The more the months creep by, the more I realize "The Hunger Games" was just time-travel. Someone went into the future and it wasn't too far forward. Your governor sucks, but considering he's a Pelosi, well...

    On the other hand, my governor, Ron DeSantis, went nuclear at some newsie who was trying to push an agenda. At which point, Governor DeSantis verbally unloaded all 35+ barrels at the media jackal. Deservedly so.

    Unfortunately, our state decided to vote a $15.00 min wage with gradual increases to the $15 so my formerly great state will start really dying this year unless that piece of dog-squeeze legislation gets booted. Min Wage should be $0.00/hr. Well, for criminals paying back restitution, negative numbers can apply...

    Sorry to hear the Wu Ping Cough (thanks, Angus McThag for that one) has hit your family. My wife got it late 2019, when Covid-19 was just being diagnosed as 'not-flu flu' and it took her months to shrug it off, but she did. I may have experienced a brief encounter and if I did it was no worse than a medium allergy day (bad allergy days are... bad, part of having bad allergies, dontchaknow...)

    Great post. Glad you experienced some freedom and individual rights. Fingers crossed, hope we will be able to in the future.

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    1. Thanks Beans. Wife is doing ok. Mild symptoms, but it's been a week already. I was hoping it would ease up by now. Govt- I'm done with it. Looks like the Senate is lost as well. As for my 'stache, I've had it for years, but I guess I don't post many pics of myself.

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  9. Wish I had known your plans, we could have met up for some drinking and eating (on the "Q T", of course). We returned to FL from Santa Cruz yesterday - all day long, we returned.

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    1. Santa Cruz was a little further south than I was planning on coasting it. Or were you on the same route as us?

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  10. Holy moly, Tuna....that's a helluva drive! I'm not good for more than 6 hours or so anymore. Just can't do it.

    Looks like they live in a gorgeous area. Reminds me of some of the homes here, but further up in the foothills. I would have preferred something more like that, but had to compromise with Sweet Little Wife, so we set the spindizzy down here. Probably take a tactical nuke to dig me out of here now, so all worked for the best.

    Those alpacas, or llamas? Our DIL's younger brother and his wife bought a 15 acre former alpaca ranch about 6~7 years ago. They had large piles of alpaca dung to dispose of, but found a place that paid them to haul it away. One man's trash can be another man's treasure, I guess.

    Furthest North I've ever been in California was Tomales, at the Northern end of the San Andreas Fault, so I've been through some of the area, and it's quite beautiful when the weather cooperates.

    Sure hope you guys slide by The Virus OK. We've had a couple of friends back in SoCal that tested positive. One was fine, the other said she felt like it was a "very bad cold", but she's A-OK now.

    Ah, yes, VINYL! Had quite a collection before we moved here. Gave 'em all away because I didn't want to lug 'em here. Good see vinyl is coming back, and you can even get "heavyweight" pressings at Target, of all places. We've got a big used books/records/CD's place here, and they have a repair shop specializing in tube and high-end audio equipment. I always wind up chatting with whoever is behind the counter when I drop in to get rid of books. I've got a Technics Turn Table I've had for some years, with a few different cartridges/headshells to play with. Still working on my old Heathkit AR-15 rebuild. Finally got all but three of the capacitors swapped out, and fabricating some mounts for the three remaining ones. Still need some decent speakers, though. I built some "Hitmaker" bookshelf speaker kits, but they're more of a "near field" speaker, and don't deliver the proverbial Room Filling Sound.....

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    1. That Technics table is probably worth something if you have completely abandoned vinyl. I'm looking forward to digging through the used record stores around here. The northern part of Cali is amazing. I was trying to get some pics of the gigantic trees that line the 101, but the rain and my phone didn't allow for it. That drive is a regular thing for us, but once this covid shyte is over, I'd like to fly.

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    2. I haven't abandoned vinyl, but I'm scratching my head as to where I can set up a nice system. The acoustics in the "Electronics Shop" of the basement are amazingly good. It's carpeted and paneled with Real Wood, and it's under the living room, so I can make some racket down there After Hours without disturbing the bedrooms, which are over the garage on the other end of the house. I've bought some new heavyweight albums, but when I had things lashed together to check the speakers I built, I found the headphones more enjoyable. Possibly because the little amp I was using didn't have enough power to properly drive the speakers, and also because I had the turntable only a foot or two away from the speakers, and any significant amount of power to the speakers caused microphonic feedback that shut things down pretty quickly.

      So once I get some of the excess radio equipment sold down the road, I'll set things up in one of the empty racks. I've got a Heathkit AA-1640 Power Amplifier (200W RMS per channel) I'm itching to get going, but I really should get some better speakers. That amp could turn my little bookshelf speakers into smoking ruins.....

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    3. You sound like quite the audio-file! Nice. I've got a cheap turntable with internal speakers so I'm jealous.

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