Thursday 9/16/20 After the salt flats excitement of Utah we head for California. After a fill up and a bite, we leave town around 2pm, later than we had planned, but with only 9.5 hours to go, we figure we'll be o.k.
We make it to Reno around dusk and decide to push it one more hour. Oops, it's a very dark and dreary road through the Tahoe National Forest. There is construction most of the way and it's pitch black. Difficult driving so I start making hotel calls. The rooms are crazy expensive until I call the Colfax Motor Lodge. Affordable and get-to-able! It's the perfect place, sweet room that feels like California, arched doorways. Everything looks like the owners take great care and pride with their motel. The paint is kept fresh, the outdoor carpeting of the covered walkways is vacuumed, etc. For the first time on this trip, even the toilet has the little paper ribbon declaring it's sanitation! It is not fancy, but meticulously cared for and it shows. The morning comes too quickly, but up we get and pack the car. At the entrance's hill is a restaurant -and it's home cooking! Since we had skipped supper, we're both hungry and were thinking Cracker Barrel thoughts. This was even better! Eggs, home fries, pancakes, bacon. Mmmmm. Now let's get to Danville! Getting back on 80, the construction seems to end shortly, or at least easier to get through in the day light. The road is wide and very hilly, running like a giant rollercoaster. Our ears pop every few minutes, dipping down low, then rising up over the next hilltop. A strange looking plane flies overhead. Traffic is flying, and though we're not sure what the speed limit is, we're able to keep pace pretty well. The beautiful pine trees go whizzing by and we're so happy to be well rested and able to see the roads and be out of the construction! As we take a hill, we see a blue light off to the side of the road. Oli slows, then sees the speed limit sign after the blue light. 65 mph. Then, as we crest the top of the hill, we see something that puts our hearts in our throats. An ocean of blue lights, all up and down the highway. Travelers pulled left and right by a squad of police. It's a major speed trap! The first we've ever seen like this. And, as you might imagine, Oli looks in his side mirror and we have attracted a blue light of our very own. We pull over, as quickly as we can, trying to find a clear spot between all the others. The young California patrolman is not Eric Estrada, but has strong features and short brown hair with frosted highlights. He walks up smiling with a mouthful of perfectly white Hollywood teeth. "Good morning! Our radar plane read you doing 86 in a 65." (Ouch!) "If you had gone 2 miles faster, I might not have been able to catch ya!" The officer has a sense of humor but still gives us a ticket. It's obviously a well orchestrated operation and they will be very busy, all day long. At least we got our turn early in the morning. Oh, well. The state of California is in major financial trouble, and maybe this is helping them pay for all that road construction! :) Now to concentrate on Danville. We are so close. Oliver grumbles that if he had been able to drive just a few more miles last night, we would have been past where they set up the speed trap the next morning. Better a ticket than wrecked off the mountain side due to exhaustion. With a phone call we confirm our hotel and it's beautiful. Lafayette Hotel, old time Cali style! Very luxurious, with all the charming touches, including robes and overstuffed furniture. Even those fancy curtain boxes over the beds, that make you feel like you're sleeping in the royal bedroom. (No paper sanitation ribbon on the commode, however!) We drop the car off at Professional Automotive, where Dave, an organizer for the car show has graciously offers a full car detail. We apologize for the salt and other buggy 'road trophies' we've collected over the past 3000 or so miles, and he laughs. There is a 1954 Jaguar one spot over, a beautiful machine. I compliment it and Dave claims it as his own! He says that they just did some damage restoration on it and it's ready for the show. Also that we'll be seeing lots of classic cars, but that he's thrilled to see our little D! Back to the hotel for a nap and then maybe some dinner. We rent what Oli calls 'Freddy Fingers,' (Nightmare on Elm Street), and Oli keeps falling asleep!! When you lay down on these beds, you keep going. You just sink in and never want to climb out. A nice nap and we start a review of the days and weeks to come. We've got the map of America in front of us and a calendar. There is so much to see and so many miles and really so little time,. We want to make the most of it, with out killing ourselves. Exhaustion is acceptable. We have dinner at a Mexican restaurant down the street that seems to be birthday party central. It's so loud and the service is slow, but the food is good. It seems we're the only couple there, as most everyone there is in groups of 6 to 18 people and all of them have screaming kids! (It's a Friday night, so we accept the terms of the chaos.) We eat and leave with our ears ringing, like we just left a rock concert. Oli works on catching up the blog, I find a book on the shelf in the room about PT Barnum. Then sleep!