Vacation – Day 8

This morning we awoke early, around 0800. Diane got up and I feigned sleep until I figured she had the coffee going. She greeted me with the news that the town of West, Texas had been leveled when a fertilizer plant exploded. Pretty horrendous. Not a good wakeup call especially with Boston still hanging in the air.

As I write this we are traveling east on Highway 253 toward Ukiah. Boonville is behind us. We have no cell service so cannot get any updates on West, Texas.

We went a few miles north of Point Area then took Mountain View Road to Boonville. It’s 27 miles of steep, narrow, curvy road. I was unable to share my wisdom during that portion of the trip because my keyboard kept sliding out from under my little fingers as Diane whipped us around one corner after another. That, and by not watching the road I was in jeopardy of losing this mornings fare of Cheerios and toast through my nose. That would not have been any fun at all for either of us.

12:02 pm – we just jumped on Highway 101 North at Ukiah. In 10 miles we’ll exit on California Highway 20 toward Upper Lake. Diane’s in little dog heaven because the road is flat, straight, and the speed limit jumped to 65.

12:38 pm – we’re heading east on California Highway 20, and the temperature has leaped to 71! Yea! The entire time we were at Point Arena it never made it to 60. In anticipation of the temperature increase, I donned shorts and semi-socks with sneakers. Except for the fact that my little chicken legs are on display for the world to chuckle at, it was a good choice.

2:11 pm – we’ve just resumed our journey to the east after stopping for a terrific lunch at the Nice Frostie in Nice, of all places. It’s on the Eastern shore of Clear Lake. Frostie’s was our second choice after passing on a casino many miles behind us. Pretzels kept us fortified until Frostie’s appeared. It’s a little hole in the wall place, but it had a motorcycle parked out front, a sure sign of good food. And, it truly was. Good food, and quiet, with only a couple of folks eating. Shortly, however, the place filled up as places seem to do when we go in their doors. It’s like magic. We should hire out to fill places up.

8:30 pm – we arrived at Beale AFB around 5:30. First stop was the exchange to get some things we didn’t know we needed, and something simple to fix for supper. Like a sandwich. Turns out the exchange doesn’t have that kind of food, but the commissary was still open so we went there to get what we needed.

The nice young lady at the Gold Country Inn, the Air Force’s temporary lodging facilities on the base, sent us to a VOQ (Visiting Officer Quarters) room waaaay on the other side of the base. Really, it’s about 5 miles from the check-in desk.

The base is enormous. Hundreds and hundreds of acres are apparently leased to farmers for their cattle to help with the sequestration process. If it weren’t for income like that, Beale would probably be one of the bases on the closure list. Actually, that isn’t very likely because this is the base where they train the U-2 pilots for the Air Force. These things have been flying since 1960. Amazing. I have it on good authority that they are one of the primary means of detecting IEDs in Afghanistan.  Fox News told me that. The high-resolution cameras they carry can, from 70,000 feet, detect the changes in ground coloration when IEDs are planted.

Or, maybe the Air Force has a cow rental program for young families so the spouses will have something to do while the other spouse is deployed. Notice that I said ‘spouses’, not ‘wives’, which was my first impulse.

We sat here and watched Janelle get kicked off American Idol which we knew was going to happen because of her song choices yesterday. But, we’re still depressed, so I’m quitting for tonight, after watching Person of Interest.

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