Hands down the best driving day ever!

Trip Start Jun 19, 2013
Trip End Aug 15, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, July 15, 2013

The demands of the past couple days had caught up with me and I did not set an alarm for this morning.  Coming in to South San Francisco last night required driving on the freeway for an extended period...better than two hours at a very fast pace.  The California crazies were on the road trying to get home as quick as possible from the weekend trips and they were having to deal with two Minnesota maniacs in an old car struggling to keep up.  White knuckle all the way in.  So we got a late start today leaving South San Francisco at 10:30.  We worked our way through San Francisco toward the Golden Gate bridge.  The streets and homes are built into the hillsides so up and down they change elevation.  This part of San Francisco is not what you typically see in the movies or TV shows. The homes are packed tightly together and most of the time they share common walls. 

We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and then continued through Sausalito. 

We picked up California # 1 as soon as possible and followed the coastline. We passed by Muir Woods but did not stop as we had toured this Park with our sons when they were teens. 
The distinct smell of this forest permeated the car as we passed through the edge of it.  Strange how you remember certain things even after all this time.  For the next 100 miles, we passed over some of the most remarkable "twisties" I have ever experienced.  I felt like I was driving a go kart the whole way.  Left - right - up then down, slowing into the corner's midpoint then on the gas and accelerate out all the time holding on to the steering wheel to keep from sliding sideways on the seat...over and over again.  Long climbs that taxed the engine and drive train only to hit the crest and then down the other side using the engine to slow the car to avoid long use of the brakes.  Fun - fun and more fun.  Jean tired of the constant swaying around the corners and crawled in the back to "nap"...I navigated the turns and grades for at least an hour with her resting in the back.  I thought for sure she would become car sick but she did not...said she enjoyed it. 

Somewhere in the 100 miles, we were driving through the little settlement of Olema and the three structures including the Farm House Restaurant caught my eye and we turned around for some pictures.  I stopped in to look at the menu and found it looked very interesting...we stayed for lunch...it was great!

About 3:30 I turned into the only gas station in Point Arena just behind another auto.  From around the corner or from the far edge of the open service bay strolled a station attendant about my age who went to the car in front of me and started pumping his gas.  Two pumps...only one working so I had to wait.   He collected money at the pump, went into the station office to ring up the sale, returned with the correct change, handed it to the man through the open window and then stooped down to get eye contact with the man's wife and tipped his hat saying thank you.  I thought I was in Mayberry. The attendant reminded me of Andy Taylor's friend Goober as he was very friendly, good with the small talk and his hat...it fit the look I'm describing.  I soon discovered the one working pump... was his.  He was very reluctant and maybe misunderstanding the reason of my request to "pump my own."  He may not have known that Model A guys don't like gas dribbled over the top of their tanks. Even though agreeing to my request, he made sure he flipped the lever to switch the pump on and off.  I'm not making fun of the man... he was pretty cool and I enjoyed talking to him.  While we were fueling a young local (twenty something) swung his car in to admire our old car.  When he asked where we were from, before I had a chance to answer, the attendant said: "Minnesota."  He looked at me, knowingly, and said: " I saw your tag." (His word for license plate)    The young man's reaction was typical of what we have been getting:  Really?  Then he turned to his female companion in the car and said:  "They're from Minnesota"...and then back to us..."No way...that's cool man!  You mean you really drove that thing all the way?  Oh wow!  Really? Ah..That's to cool!"   He told us we were as far west as we could be on land in the lower 48 when we were in Point Arena and we were as close as we could be to Hawaii when on land.  I don't know about either claims but he was pretty insistent this was the case. 

We were now about 43 miles from our destination and the final leg straightened from the previous 100 miles so we were able to travel at a quicker pace.  There were still a number of sharp corners to navigate. One was by far the sharpest and steepest of the day...it just wouldn't quit..I swear it seemed it should have passed under its self. 

With this last leg of the day being traveled at a quicker pace, I should mention, these roads are very well marked or signed as to the suggested safe speed you should navigate an upcoming corner.  I noted that most of the time you could be going 5-10 miles per hour faster than the sign states but learned it wise to not trust that margin.  Some of those signs are right on as to the maximum safe speed...with a narrow tired Model A anyway. 
We pulled into Fort Bragg, the end of our drive for today, at 6:30.   I am physically tired. The constant turning, braking, shifting and hanging on was demanding but hands down was the most fun day of driving I have ever had.   I wish all my friends could have experienced the roads we traveled today and viewed the ocean scenes we passed by yesterday. Jean and I have tried to pick photos that best tell the past two day's story.

How's the car doing?
The car is running well.  Most days the fuel economy is 18 to 19 mpg.  Today for the first 100 miles...not so...closer to 15.  The temperature was cool today, I wore a light coat and was glad for the heat coming through the floorboards and firewall.  Jean wore two light coats and had a third covering her legs when she was up front. She completely dissapeared under a blanket when she crawled in back.
The constant changing of forces on the suspension due to the corners worked the grease out of the joints and the chassis was pretty noisey for the last 50 miles.  I will get some fresh grease to all the joints before we depart in the morning.  The oil level is holding and has not dropped a noticeable amount since I changed it to Rotella 15w-40 about 1500-2000 miles ago. (I've actually lost track...I need to check the mileage marked on the filter.)   The oil is just starting to change color.  I will change the engine oil, transmission and rear end lube when we reach Eugene.

How are we doing?
The cool temperatures when by the ocean are great for Jean and I am liking it to.  This is the best trip I have ever taken.  Awesome!  I am loving my wife's company on this trip...it would not have been near the fun if she were not here to share it with me!
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Mary H. on

Wow, you are having quite the trip. The beautiful scenery in CA must make the travel through the desert seem worth it. And such contrast in temp, terraine, vegetation...what a great country we have!

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