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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Sunday Drive from Hell

It has been a beautiful autumn season. Exceptionally so with the gorgeous colors and warm afternoons. After a week of working inside an office, I look forward to being outdoors on the week ends and working on some projects in the yard. One, that I'd been putting off, is to dig in the compost in the planting beds and plant french shallots and elephant garlic for spring. The cold winters here require that you get them planted before the first frost, which could be at any time. I was also looking forward to making another pie with the Asian Apple Pears that we have an abundance of. Maybe some jam.

However, best laid plans and all that stuff. Hubby, who has been working 7 days a week, 10 hour days for the last month had the bright idea that we take a Sunday drive in our classic 72 K5 Blazer to get away and relax.

The idea was to take a back road called Fender's Ferry, an historic stage coach road that would take us ultimately to I-5 and we would have lunch at a cutesy restaurant in Mt Shasta.

So, I'm like....." long do you think it will take because I have some things I want to do. OK?"

He says: "It should be just about 3 hours. I took this road from Redding in the 70s"

Looking at the map it didn't seem to be all that many miles. I now realize that those roads in blue lines represent unimproved road. Really really unimproved. Tip number one. Avoid the blue roads.

The road at first wasn't too bad. Graded and obviously well traveled..... and look, there are even some people living in cute cabins up the hill and down by the creek. Soon the road became narrower and narrower. We were already too far to go back....we thought. Three hours of bumping along on a one lane crumbling dirt road clinging to the side of a mountain averaging at best 8 miles an hour. Don't look down!! OMG it's straight down.!!! The only thing between us and certain death are those humongous pine trees that are at least 4 feet on the stump. No one had ever logged this area.......because it is freaking impossible to get to it unless you are .....insane!!!! I'm gripping the side of the seat and bracing myself with a hand on the dash. No seat belts aaaaaagh! Is this ever going to end. My hand is still cramped.

We did see some pretty country side, discovered a water fall that was at least 100 feet high. Met up with some people on quad runners. I forgot it was deer season, so at least if we broke down someone would be by sometime. I just hope that they haven't seen Deliverance.

At several points we came across pretty open meadows planted with fruit trees. Really old fruit trees. Also the foundations of barns or houses made out of rocks. These must have been old homesteads or stage stops. Probably made by people who gave up traveling on this God forsaken road and decided to just stay where they were out of desperation. Seriously, people were tough in those days. No wonder they all married their cousins. It was too much work to find anyone else.

About 3/4 of the way in, according to the squiggly blue line that represented the road the car started acting up. Clue two....there was no way the map maker could possibly make the line squiggly enough to represent all the hairpin turns in such a small line.

Me: "Um... the car is missing and sounding funny. Are we ok? " "And, just how drunk were you in 1970 when you went on this road?????"

"No problem " he says, "We are just loading up with carbon and the spark plugs need to be cleaned." The hubby, I find out later is glossing over the problem, thinks we have sucked two of the 8 cylinders and is freaked out. We have no cell phone reception and there is no way in hell that we are going to get AAA to come out here and tow us.

So, we plow on and eventually make it to I-5. We wanted to get out and kiss the asphalt.

Not lunch but now early dinner in Mt Shasta and back to home. Seven hours and it felt like we had been gone for a month and like we'd been beaten with a rubber hose.

Needless to say. No pie.

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