The NorthWest 2012

Excellent report — Sinbadnoble@*

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The California State Automobile Association TripTiks® had our trip starting in Berk­eley, not City Hall as I'd told the pre­parer. I didn't regard that small difference as significant until it proved to be among the worst things ever done to me!
Friday, March 30:
H AD DINNER at Berkeley's excel­lent Gecko Gecko. We had a great time dancing to the Junius Courtney Big Band, at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, celebrating fifty years of per­form­ing. Denise Perrier was the vocalist.
   Hit The Road at 22:30 and some mist around 5500 feet. It turned into slush, and fog so thick that visibility was down to fewer than 200 feet but that didn't last long.
Highway 44 snow   Arrived at a casino hotel in Reno exactly when I said we would when making the reservation a couple of months ago: 02:30.

Saturday, March 31:
W E WERE in Reno to conduct some business in adjacent Sparks that did not have a satisfactory resolution but will be fixed, I'm sure to my satisfaction, by Memorial Day.
  When we hit The Road a little before 15:00 the sky was dropping small flakes of ice that disappeared when they touched something. Just a wet road. No problem. As we continued North and to higher elevations, snow was falling but the roads remained wet. Because the temperature stayed above 32°F I didn't have any concern about ice until ignor­ing a CHAINS REQUIRED sign at two-lane road­side where the temperature drop­ped to 30°F. But we got through the day, and trip, with nary a slip, slide, or skid. McArthur Memorial Sculpture Garden
   For most of the day's 175 miles, from Reno past Honey Lake and through Susanville, it snowed. Sometimes there was fog that required slow­ing a bit but the very timid driver I found to follow, and keep the car's wheels in his tracks, kept us safely under control. Her knuckles were snow-white, anyway.
   At our destination we visited her grandchildren's lovely home. Went to a very nice res­tau­rant in this tiny town where the children's (ages <2, 4, and 7) behaviour was better than the fairly-priced food, equal to the excellence of our server.

Sunday, April 1:
OT A satisfactory rest but had to remove ice from the windshield before hitting The Road to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, a very pretty sight.
Burney Falls   We continued at a leisurly pace stopping at the McArthur Memorial Sculpture Garden and the towns of McCloud, Mount Shasta, and Weed. Also the Mount Shasta Vista Point but the moun­taintop was obscured by fog. Although it snowed lightly on the way to Klamath Falls, it didn't stick to the road.
  We had to do some running around to find a place to dance. Best was a bowling alley with a good-size linoleum floor and a stage for musicians but “never on Sunday”. We were sent to Chick-N-Cheers (with the threat of Karaoke), a true honky-tonk/­roadhouse/dive with many game machines, television screens show­ing sport events, a couple of pool tables, friendly cowboy-hatted and deeply cleavaged patrons, and free hot chicken, bread, and cake! It proved to be a jam Crater Lake session that was just fine even though there was little space to dance to the few danceable numbers.

Monday, April 2:
C OMPLETELY OVERCAST in Klamath Falls, it was inauspicious for a visit to Crater Lake. It was aggra­vated further by the pre­dic­tion of 22°F at The Lake.
   Passing Klamath Lake, we got a beautiful view of Mount Laughlin, one of the reasons I so like the Cascade Range.
   But no fear; the roads were snow-free until the last turnoff and the temperature at the lake was 30°F with a relatively clear sky. Our fear of ice on Crater Lake Entry the road was unful­filled so our visit was as lovely, and safe, as we had hoped.
  We had to climb some snow to see the lake. She, a Min­ne­sotan, did so with­out diffi­culty; I fell flat on my face to the amuse­ment of many, none more than I. My ass left a deep track in an even higher big bank that I climbed to slide down. Fun!
  We visited at Collier Memor­ial State Park, an excellent out­door log­ging museum, near Chiloquin.
  We stopped in a Chamult diner for a tasty snack served by its very friendly proprietor.
   We went directly to Bend's Old Mill District, a cutesy touristy thingy oxy­mor­onically No Caulks teem­ing with locals and a nice sculpture, No Caulks, defined as signs in bars and res­tau­rants pro­hibit­ing the spiked shoes worn by lumberjacks.
   Checked in to a motel and found a decent meal at Brother Jon's Alehouse where we were told that there's neither dancing nor music in Bend on Mondays.

Tuesday, April 3:
F OR MY 1986 NorthWest trip, I had planned to spend a day visiting the High Desert Museum in Bend but, at Crater Lake, the car broke. Had to be towed sixty miles to Klamath Falls and spent the day in the Klamath County Museum while the car was being fixed.
   On return to the shop, the engine was in pieces; a new camshaft was days away. I dropped my pants, bent over a barrel, and said “Sell me a car!” “Hold on to your shorts.” The first car they showed me was a turbo-charged two-seater with six cylinders. “I drive out of here in that and I'll be dead in two weeks” so, with two credit cards, bought a four-cylinder four-door sedan with a short-throw syncro-mesh stick that proved to be among the best cars I've ever had.
High Desert Museum   When I got near Bend, I was sad and disappointed to be able to only look at, and touch, the locked gate of the High Desert Musuem.
  Not today, though. The High Desert Museum surpassed my expec­ta­tions with displays, and lectures, about the flora and fauna and the unex­pected galleries on Blacks in the NorthWest as well as the indigenous peoples. Another people gallery was about, surprise!, the Oregon Trail with an appropriately-dressed old man speaking about our caravan's travels in the present tense.
   Took a wrong turn that turned into a lovely route to the Dalles with spectacular views of Mount Hood. Ran around the delight­ful The Dalles where we ate before going to Biggs Junction for the night. No music or dancing in either town. Théâtre de la Mode
   I can hardly wait for tomorrow because we're going to the Maryhill Museum of Art!

Wednesday, April 4:
O UR FIRST post-breakfast stop was at Stonehenge in Maryhill. It is what first attracted me there, per­haps in the '70s, and whence I saw a Maryhill Museum of Art sign that piqed my interest. It resulted in the discovery of one of my favorite museums on Earth not for the works by Rodin or Fabergé nor the excel­lent col­lec­tions of Western art and culture, nor the exhibit about Loïe Fuller but for the Théâtre de la Mode, a unique collection of man­neqins with a fascinating history and wonderful, and important, San Fran­cisco connections with Alma Spreckles and Paul Verdier.
   The mannequins' introduction to the world was at the Louvre's Pavillon de Marsan on March 27, 1945. My introduction to them was when they were simply displayed in a glass case, obviously in very poor condition. In 1988 one of the mannequins' creators learned that they were still alive. They were sent back to their birthplace, Paris, to be restored to their former, and present, glory.
   My 1986 visit to Maryhill, I didn't know about that and asked in astonishment: “Where are the dolls?!?” that weren't where they'd been. A finger indicated ascent of a nearby stairway. When I got to the top and around a wall I was so stunned by what I encountered that I collapsed onto a bench sobbing uncontrollably from the thrill and joy at what had been wrought. I've never since been able to talk, nor even write or think, about them absent a warm tear running down my cheek. Toppenish Murals She simply doesn't get it; I simply don't under­stand it.
  Not only had the the mannequins been restored, the sets that had been destroyed, or lost in the depths of the City of Paris on Geary Street at Stockton where the dolls were found in 1952, were recreated by some by their original artists. Today's display is dif­fer­ent from my previous visit. It's changed every three years. I hope I'm able to return in 2015.
  We stopped at nearby Washram to see an enormous locomotive then went up to the Gold­en­dale observatory before stopping in Toppenish to revel in its huge collection of excel­lent murals. We prob­ably didn't even see all of the seventy. Snoqualmie Falls
   We had an OK Mexican-style meal in Yakima and attended a Blues Jam at the Speakeasy, getting in a few dances before finding a place to stay in Union Gap.

Thursday, April 5:
W HILE photographing last night's bar's identifying entrance, we were accosted by two people who came out angrily asking, in a threatening man­ner, why we were taking pictures with the absurd claim that there were legal reasons why we should not.
   We went through Ellensburg's central district and stopped at the Indian John Hill Rest on the way to visit the lovely Snoqualmie Falls and see a collection some of interesting and unusual Marlon railroad equipment in incredibly bad condition.
  The scenery was spectacular with many jagged mountains, unrunning ski lifts and deserted runs devoid of skiers. In Roslyn, a small former coal min­ing town, there's a wall-size portrait of Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler in The Wild One.
  M'girlfriend wanted to visit the Boeing plant in Redmond where she worked during The War. Only the gift shop (worth visiting) was accessible but the employ­ees were impressed to have met another “Rosie”.
  Finding the convention hotel in Bellevue was easy. There are many nearby places to eat. We chose an Italian one, very large and rather fancy, with barely acceptable faire at undeserved prices.

THERE WAS GOOD ATTENDANCE at tonight's dance. I was pleased to see, and dance with, many dancers I know from other states and coun­tries. Seattle Swing Dance Club I'm sure we'll meet and dance with many more before the week-end's over.

Seattle's Easter Swing:
FRIDAY: Although I don't keep track of time or whether things are happening when they ought, this appears to be a well-run event.
  Non-profit conventions that include food do so with the price of admission. We were shocked when we had to pay for a significantly sub-standard breakfast buffet at a price that can in no way can be justified plus $2.50 to serve yourself coffee!
  Further, the service was abominable. The scrambled egg tray emptied resulting in people waiting for longer than five minutes for it to be replenished. A little while later, the same happened with the bacon bin with another long wait. Inexcusable!
  So far, that's our only complaint and that is the fault of the hotel, not the event.

SUNDAY: Today's finals' competition music was outstanding! Perhaps the best in my experience.
  Until this evening, the social dance music was very much to my liking except that they didn't bother to fade long numbers, some seeming as long as ten minutes when not dancing and an hour when dancing with a heavy Follower of which there was an unusually great number.
  This evening's post-convention music was very much not to my taste. I found many of the numbers undanceable. Of course I always expect there to be a few of those and welcome them to take a rest but there were so many this evening that I danced very little and not very well despite my Followers' kind comments.
  Overall, a very good event to which I hope to return in 2015
after revisiting Théâtre de la Mode.

Monday, April 9:
S TARTED THE DAY at Pike Place, of course! Then went by the Seattle Center Sculpture Gar­den and Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project that, last time here (on a ship), we spent a day visiting. Most enjoyable.
   A great fan of Rem Koolhaus, I was anxious to see Seattle's Main Library. The exterior is spectacular but, except for the floor of type with quotes in many Rem Koolhaus languages, I was disappointed with the interior. Never­the­less, it was a very worth-while vist.
   And no visit to Seattle is complete without drop­ping in to the beautiful lobby of the L.C. Smith Building and hanging a bit at Pioneer Square.

ENDED THE DAY by partaking of the unimpressive Cajun cuisine at the Highway 99 Blues Club that's normally closed on Mondays. They opened for us to have a post-convention dance and, for me, it was the best dancing of the weekend to the music of the best Swing Dance quartette I've ever heard. Their rhythms, tempi, and lengths were dead on all night long! Absolutely wonderful!
Tuesday, April 10:
A BIT MORE more running around Seattle marvelling at its fine architecture before hitting The Road. The car's odometer says we've travelled amost 1,400 miles since leav­ing home. Except for having our trip start in Berkeley, the TripTiks® ordered from the California State Auto­mobile Asso­cia­tion have been accurate and helpful. But now they're saying we should go 164 miles South to get to Vancouver then 351 miles North to get to Nanaimo (the preparer asked “Where's that?” “Brit­ish Columbia.”), a mere 515 miles out of the way, bypassing Vancouver altogether. What?!?
   Had I any sense, I would have gone through the rest of the TripTiks® at the next stop but I wasn't smart enough to do that and have paid an incalculable price for that brainflight.
   We visited the blooming daffodil fields in Mount Vernon, some sculptures at the Western Washington University, and the Peace Arch at the border.

I Don't Know Why, but it seems I can't come in to Canada without having the car thoroughly searched. I've never had any sort of contraband but they keep Canadian Border Services Agency looking. It's quite a nuisance taking almost an hour to cross the border. But I've also had the same trouble getting in to the USA at a minor border crossing with Mexico. They actually took off the door panels and took out the seats. Maybe the Canadians did, too, but I didn't see what they did, only the evidence that they'd done quite a bit.

Sniff, Snizzle, and Cough: It's my long-held belief that it's not the water but our bodies that are unaccustomed to the bacteria that live where we don't. When our body encounters unfamiliar bacteria, it goes to war and we suffer the consequences.
  Same with the air. We were breathing stuff our bodies didn't know how to han­dle so we were almost always sniffling, sneezing, and coughing as our bodies reäcted to the unfamiliar. We cleared up almost the instant we crossed the California border.

I Recently Acquired A Credit Card that told me I wouldn't have to pay anything but the minimum amount due for a year. As long as those payments are timely, no fees or interest would be levied. What it amounts to is a free multi-thousand dollar loan that I'm pleased to accept. But I'm finding the card isn't universally accepted. Fortu­nately it's not the only one I brought along.

Unclear On The Concept: My credit card wasn't accepted! “What? It was yesterday!” It took half an hour on the 'phone to have it activated because, even though I'd noti­fied the credit card issuer of the dates we'd be on The Road, and it had been receiving charges from The Road for longer than a week, they sent a new credit card to my home with but one change: The expi­ration date from 2013 to 2015!

WE CHOSE A THAI res­tau­rant for dinner. It was quite expensive for that cuisine and not as good as that to which we're accustomed. Lacking real money, I charged the dinner on the secondary card because the primary card was rejected. Coyote

Wednesday, April 11:
S PENT THIS RAINY DAY running around Vancouver. Changing U$100 for legal tender cost only 75¢ but an order of coffee and tea was an incredi­ble $6.50 at the University of Brit­ish Colum­bia. I hope they pay David Suzuki well.
  Called to report a badly injured coyote limping through Jeh­rico Park toward its marina.
  The day's radio was filled with police warn­ings and threats against the badly-behaved after tonight's Stanley Cup hockey game presu­mably held in one of the two adjacent stadia with cryptic names that don't place them.
   Had dinner at a very inexpensive Viet Nam­ese place. Again, not up to what we expect but certainly well worth what we paid.
   Then dancing at the excel­lently-floor'd and lit, quite lovely, Crystal Ballroom where Ian Kirk­connell's picture is on the wall of teachers. International Style dancers are very serious and quite unfriendly, many dancing only with their partners even though there are single people in the room who would like to dance. One of those singles I found to be an excel­lent Follower and delightful personality. She even tried one of my solo tricks to fail miserably to our great Chemainus Theatre amuse­ment. When I showed her how to do it, she did it well, again to our great amusement.
   At a normal dance, I usually dance with more than a score of part­ners. Tonight? Three!

Thursday, April 12:
H EADED DIRECTLY to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay for the lovely trip across the calm Georgia Straight.
   In spite of the rain most of the way from Na­naimo to Victoria, we stopped in Lady­smith, explored the incredibly cute and beautifully mural'd Che­mainus and visited many of the totems in Dun­can. A simple coffee there, in my cup, was $2.40!
   We left the main road to take a sinuous scenic loop through a lovely forest.
   Our first stop in Victoria was the Empress Hotel, now owned by a San Francisco company. Afternoon Tea is now about $50! After an excel­lent and costly but fairly priced lobster platter for Parliament two, we went to see the gloriously illuminated Parlia­ment before going to dance at the Café Casablanca.
  The place is fine, the floor quite good. But the eti­quette was quite unlike that to which we're accus­tomed. When I asked the teacher/DJ to dance, she said she was involved in a conversation and that “I'd love to dance with you” but didn't even though there were several opportunities to do so. Another who turned me down with the promise of a future dance also didn't follow up.
  I wouldn't dream of turning down a dance to con­verse, eat, drink, or do almost anything but run to the toilet or rest. Eating, drinking, and conversation can be continued later: dancing together to this tune can happen only now! I had to sit out both numbers because there was noöne else to ask. Further, despite the significant gender imbalance, long numbers were consistently played displaying insensi­tivity to why those not dancing were there.
   I did manage to get in a couple of OK dances but she, an excellent Follower, wasn't asked at all. One dance was Following Bachata, that I cannot Lead, that consisted only of the basic step.

Friday, April 13:
I T BECAME obvious that I was seen coming when all I got for a U$100 bill was $95CDN. Ouch! “But I got $99.25CDN the other day in Vancouver.” “That was the other day, and in Vancouver!”
Brigadadistas    Parliament ain't so pretty in daylight but, just as the last time here, there was a very large band of youth playing at the main steps. We didn't just listen but danced to a Lady Gaga tune that one of the mothers was astonished to see that was familiar to us.
   Across the street is a monument to the British Columbian Brigadistas. It brought a sentimentally joyous tear to my eye as I knew many of the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Bri­gade. There might be monuments in Spain now but, when I was there, Franco was still terrorizing the country. The excel­lent explana­tion that accom­panies it is pointed and clear. Thank you, Victoria!
  We went to Miniature World, a revisit for me, that I very much enjoy. It includes the world's largest miniature sawmill that, last time, was working but was shown working, this time, with an expla­na­tion by its maker, on a television screen.
   I'm glad she insisted we visit the Bug Zoo. A very young entymologist did an excel­lent job of explaining things to us. She handled, and allowed us to handle, several of the specimens including a mil­lipede and a tarantula. She handled, but I refused to, a scorpion.
   On the boat from Horseshoe Bay, I heard some people talking about dancing so jumpt in to join them. They mentioned two places about which neither the tourist office nor the Empress' con­cierge told us: Café Casablanca, where we went last night and Swans where we went tonight.
   It's a brewpub with not-bad pub grub. Backstage Betty (keyboard, bass, guitar, drums, and tenor fronted by three vocalists) played very danceable Rock ’n’ Roll and a few Blues tunes.
   The opening number we had the floor to ourselves garnering kind comments from lead vocal­ist Bill Morrison to the audience.
   When she went to the toilet, I stayed near the floor and the one I always fear came out of the woodwork saying “Shall we do this?” UhOh! As I took her in my arms, she asked “What will you do – West Coast?” My fear morphed into delight as we had a quite good dance then, and another later.

Tonight's room at Paul's Motor Inn is surely larger than 400’² and includes a safe, refrigerator, microwave machine, hair dryer, iron and board, coffee maker, a real closet, four-drawer'd dresser, large vanity with lavatory, an electric alarm clock, WiFi, and a television set, i.e., everything but a radio. It's by far the best accom­moda­tion we've had in ages and it's less than half of what we pay at convention hotels even before the additional cost for parking the car and “resort” fees. (If a “resort fee” is to be levied on every room, why is it not just part of the price? Mis-representation?)
  Convention hotels' prices are justified, though, because they provide services beyond a place to sleep, bathe, and leave the car. For a place to sleep, bathe, get on line, and leave the car, Paul's Motor Inn is as good as they get! For the price, it's better than any!

Saturday, April 14:
I 'VE TWICE VISIED Butchart Gardens so we went to Abkhazi Garden this time. It's small but jam-packed with loveliness preceded by a great love story about its creators.
  We went to the Mile 0 monument that, unfor­tu­nately, doesn't say how far it is to the other end. I've driven all 4,990 miles/8,030 kilometres!
  Boarded MV Coho for the four o'clock voyage, that included almost constant mild pitching and rolling and nice views of the snow-capt Olympic Mountains, to Port Angeles where we fed the car and set off for Olympia stopping to dine at the Seven Cedars Casino. I've never before seen an Indian casino with Craps. Despite the unusual 50¢ minimum with ten times odds, making for a fair game, I didn't win.
  While playing, I ordered a drink that I didn't really want. When it came, I gave her a “thank you” and a dollar check. She said “It's seven dollars.” “What? You're not buying?” “I'm not.” First time I've ever been asked to pay for a drink on a casino floor. We also lost at the res­tau­rant having the worst meal of the trip unmitigated by the very friendly and equally incompetent service.
   But we were extremely pleased with the band that played for dancing on the Seven Club's excel­lent floor that we had to ourselves for its opening number, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, that they, and we, nailed! We danced another number before hitting The Road.

I absolutely hate the frequent occurences of signs giving a good reason to leave the highway to encounter a T-intersection with nary a clue as to which way to go. Some­times they'll give a cardinal direction but if it's overcast or dark, how is a traveller to know which way is what? Even when the correct choice is made, there's often not a ThisWay sign of confirmation.

A SIGN ENTICED A visit to the town of Shelton. We had no idea what there was to see but, when we found Engine Tollie Engine Tollie in front of the post office, guessed it was the reason. It's among the few of its type I've seen, the drive not being the typical one we all know, nor even the equally unusual worm drive, but a gear drive. There's also a tender, log car, and caboose all in very nice condition.
   We went by the State Capitol before making our way to this dump of a motel at the same price as last night.

Sunday, April 15:
A LTHOUGH IT STARTED well with the good luck of finding a very popular, and good, breakfast place, this was not a good day.
   Then an excel­lent tour of the state Capitol that contains more Tiffany lamps than anywhere else. They're among his last because, soon after they were made, his shop burned and wasn't rebuilt.
   Relying on the TripTiks®, we got on an Inter­State highway in the belief that we'd soon get off to go over to The Coast. By the time we realized the TripTiks® were wrong, again, it was too late to do anything about it so we didn't see an inch of the Washington coast. I was asbsolutely livid as you can read in the letter sent to AAA.
   By the time we got to Astoria it was raining and continued to do so. And, of course, it got dark making driving down the magnificent Oregon coast rather difficult as well as viewless.
   We stopped in Warrenton for dinner at a place with about as many staff as customers. We waited so long for our order to be taken that we got up to leave but were arrested at the door and convinced to return to our table.
   Big mistake. The food was terrible, almost as bad as last night's. It was only slightly mitigated by their comping us delicious desserts, not a normal part of our diet.
   We stopped in Tillamook for the night. I neglected to ask for the WiFi password. By the time I went to get it (there's no 'phone) the office was closed. I finally thought to use the 'phone book and her Yuppiefón to call to get it. To my surprise, there was an answer.

Monday, April 16:
A NOTHER GOOD BREAKFAST and seriouly overcast weather making for a colorless and shadow-free day, in anticipation of the beautiful Oregon Coast and its many lovely and inter­esting lighthouses. Because of a camera disaster, I lost the many pictures taken of them in 1986.
  First stop was in the rain at the lovely 366' Munson Creek Falls in a thick and moss-encrusted forest.
  We took a scenic bypass through Pacific City and stopped many times at places like the Devil's Punch Bowl, the Devil's Churn, Yaquina Head Lighthouse (I was looking forward to seeing all of the lighthouses, Oregon Coast Lighthouses brochure at hand, on the Oregon Coast and want to kill the TripTik® preparer for steering us away from them) that has an out­stand­ing visitors center, on the way to Sea Lion Caves for my third visit. My first was before the elevator was installed. Many regard it as a tourist trap/ripoff but I find it very much worth the while.
   We relied on the TripTik® that told us to go inland from Reedsport to get to Oregon Caves. I don't know why it didn't register on me as we went along the Umpqua River, where we saw many elk, cows, horses, and sheep, that something was wrong but it hit me hard when we got to an Inter­State highway. I screamed “WHAT THE [HELL] ARE WE DOING HERE?

We had a disastrous dining experience in Sutherlin. I put menus down when I see what I want so didn't realize she was ordering a pizza. She, too, didn't realize it until it came. We had to order the wine three times before it came and the empty glass we always get to share the wine was one designed for soda, not one to match the stemware in which the wine was served.
  When I asked for the check, the credit card was on the table. When she brought the check that was for a very low amount, I had to stop her to take it with the credit card. I should have just paid it and split because she returned with another check, almost double the amount of the first. Looking at it, I asked what was a particular item. Turns out it, too, wasn't our check.
  She returned with a third check that appeared to be correct but she hadn't run the card. She eventually returned with the third check and a bill to sign with the claim that she had removed an appetizer from the amount. We hadn't had an appetizer!
  Although we weren't in a hurry, the process of asking for the check to actually signing the bill took longer than half an aggravating hour.

WHEN WE GOT BACK to the car, I looked at the TripTik® to ensure that we were where we should have been despite the fact that I could recall nothing about being on an Inter­State highway in Oregon. I couldn't because there wasn't!
   We should have stayed on The Coast to Coos Bay where we had planned to have dinner at a res­tau­rant for which we had a $25 discount coupon. In stead, we drove about fifty miles on an Inter­State highway far from the beautiful coast that I had told anyone who was interested, including the TripTik® preparer, that we were going to take all the way home.
   When we finally got near Grants Pass and saw a sign to Coos Bay, I went into a rage that kept me so livid that I couldn't go to sleep after getting to bed at wake-up minus 8½ hours. At wake-up minus six hours, still fuming having not slept a wink, I got up, dressed, and went out for a walk. Wake-up minus 4½ hours is the last time I saw the clock. We all know that lack of sleep and emo­tional upset are not conducive to safe driving but I got through the caffeine-infused day without killing anyone – I think.
   We had already experienced significant errors with the TripTiks® yet I wasn't smart enough to stop trusting them; after all, they were fine, except for the starting point, all the way to Seattle. Now it's too late. I have no further need for them. Although it's almost impossible to ruin a trip to the NorthWest, this one is not the one I planned, not the one I asked for, and not the one I wanted for her to experience. I'm inexpressibly angry.
   The likelihood of a next time is remote because I'm old and prob­ably have very few years of safe driving in me. My girlfriend will never see the magnificence of the Washington and Oregon coasts because of those erroneous TripTiks®. I'm so angry that I, a life-long pacifist verified by an FBI investigation (a neighbor mother reported that at age eight I refused to play with guns and wouldn't even point a bang-bang-you're-dead finger) could commit violence!

Tuesday, April 17:
T HIS PENULTIMATE DAY of the trip started out wrong because I made a mistake that cost us an expend­able hour and about thirty miles, dammit.
   When we got to Cave Junction, I almost missed a tiny sign at the side of the road saying “Caves Closed”. We dropt in to the information center where the sign was to be told that the closure was the result of too few visitors to remain open. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was. Yes, I've been to Oregon Caves, first when a child and two or three times since but I was still filled with excited anticipation for this visit.
   The disappointment of the cave closure was compounded by the fact that we bypassed so much of Oregon's beautiful coast for a visit that didn't happen.
   We weaved through patches of rain before, through, and after the magnificent, dense, mossy forest in Redwood National Park to the ocean at Crescent City. Carson House
   Walked the delightful square in Arcata, had dinner at the Samoa Cookhouse that, I'd been warned, is no longer a good place to eat. And it isn't, but the por­tions are unlimited and the price is modest. Our young server was the epitome of courtesy, friendliness, and efficiency. Even though she was quite busy, she did her job at an unrushed pace giving us, and other diners, as much attention as was demanded.
   No visit to Eureka is complete without seeing the 1885 William Carson House, among my favorite buildings on the planet. It has a new-to-me dark-colored paint job that I don't particularly like but harm to that building cannot be done with mere paint.
   For more architectural spectacularity, we stayed at the Vic­torian Inn in Ferndale. Tomorrow we get home and if I can get my hands on the TripTik® preparer, will no doubt suffer an execution at the hands of the state.

Wednesday, April 18:
A NOTHER OVERCAST DAY until dark with some rain during the first few hours. Not good for taking pictures of the spectacular Humboldt and Mendocino coasts.
Saint Orres   We spent a while running around Ferndale admiring its many architectural gems before hitting The Road to the Avenue of The Giants passing by Trees of Mystery's Paul Bunyon and Babe.
  We didn't go the full extent of the Avenue return­ing to the Redwood Highway to Leggett and The Coast.
  I've taken the Cabrillo Highway many times. It's said that the portion between Carmel and San Simeon is the greatest meeting of sea and land on Earth. I don't want to discourage visiting it because it is fabulous but I think the Shoreline Highway along the Mendocino coast is even more spectacular. Often stopping, it took us 4½ hours to cover a few more than a hundred miles.
   “That looks like a church. You can go to the toilet there” but it proved to be a res­tau­rant, Saint Orres, so we had an excel­lent (and expensive) dinner there.
   “It's dark so there's no point on staying at The Coast. Look at the TripTiks® to determine where we can go inland to the Redwood Highway. We're in Gualala.”
   She read off town names, each familiar, none near where we were. “I can't find Gualala.” “It hasta be there!”
   I pulled over to look at the TripTiks® and exploded! The idiot TripTik® prparer had us on the Redwood, not the Shoreline, Highway. As I said yesterday, I didn't need them today but, when I did, they were wrong, terribly wrong, again.
   We took the River Road from Jenner to the Redwood Highway to get home at 23:20. The car's odometer reported we covered 2,484 miles spending 92 hours (almost four, 25%, of the twenty days) in the car; that's averaging 27 miles per hour.
   The original route that I requested is 2,460 miles that do not include driving around towns, taking wrong turns, and all the other additional miles one travels when in unfamiliar places. The TripTiks'® basic route is 2,761 miles.

EXCEPT FOR THE EXTREME and irrecoverable damage done by the TripTik® preparer, it was a nice trip, per­haps my fifth, prob­ably my last, to The NorthWest.

13 VII 12| 8 VIII 12 20 IX 12–0.5

President, California State Automobile Association
100 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco

The following in Italic was filed 9 March 2012 at 17:55:

I'm furious! On February 29 I sent a message via your WEB site requesting TripTiks so that I wouldn't have to use my time to wait for them to be prepared.
  Because the TripTiks and Regional maps I requested on February 29 have not arrived, I spoke with [the] WEB Support Team Member in Glendale at 1888/nnn-xoxo on 9 March from about 13:50 until 16:42, about fifty-five minutes of wasted time, so that the TripTiks could be prepared.
  I'm furious!

Although I've done further research, I've not revised that map since March 14 so that you can see the route requested on the 'phone, that I repeatedly urged [the] WEB Support Team Member to use.
   I did not record the coversation with [the] WEB Support Team Member. Perhaps your system did. What I remember telling him is starting at City Hall (he had Berkeley) and repeatedly referring to scenery, beauty, ocean, spectacle, rocks, coast, flowers, crashing waves and other words and phrases indicating the route I wished to follow without specifying each and every little town en route.
   Attached is a page of relevant excerpts from the daily reports written while on The Road; the full report is [above].
Thank you,

CSAA member: #n#n#n#n#n
[On and off line addresses/Telephone]

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