Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
The new big western trip is off, so we opted for a small one: three nights in quaint Mendocino. The Sunday drive was five or six hours, passing across the Central Valley, through East Bay traffic, across a bridge, north on Highway 101, out to the coast on Highway 128 (through Boonville), and north a bit. It is a well-rememberd route, with the northern parts remembered from my teen-age years. A long time ago!
At the end of our long-for-us drive, we checked into the SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm. Decades ago, Marianne and I had spent a memorable weekend night here. A storm had knocked out all local power, but hotel staff gave us a flash light and some candles to get by. We had also had reservations at a small, highly-sought restaurant, and they too made do with a gas-fired range, a few Coleman gas lanterns, and candles for guests. Magical memories. We value them more and more.
For dinner, we returned to another favorite: Trillium Cafe. Our memories here include meals and one past stay upstairs in one of the B&B rooms. Mendocino ranks high in our good memories.
Back at the Inn, we connected Carla for her dinner. Then we went to our second floor view room and settled in. The suite was a splurge, but why not? And the power stayed on the whole evening.
Monday started with breakfast in the room and then extended to a short walk, with flowers and such. Too many pictures, but they're free.
Back at the inn, we visited the other guests: llamas and chickens. More picture opportunities, especially when I emptied the hotel-supplied bag of chicken feed. So many chickens, so little feed.
In town, we explored more regular haunts: the Village Toy Store, Rainsong Shoes, and baked goodies at the Goodlife Cafe and Bakery. The cafe provided Marianne a chance to write her own diary, an activity we both recommend. We don't come to Mendocino to explore NEW places, the village is pretty stuck in time, but all the old places remain wonderful.
We followed this with another little walk, just enough to work up a lunch/dinner appetite. This meal was not exceptional, so the restaurant will remain nameless - in accordance with normal trotter.ws blog practice - and moms' advice concerning "if you can't say something nice .."
Back home, we settled inside while a dramatic rain shower passed through. After it was gone, the evening sun peaked out a little and I ran to take some "golden hour" pictures, with glistening rain drops. Fun.
Then it was time to relax by the fire with a glass of champagne - non-alcoholic.
All this has been as nice as we had hoped.
Tuesday started for me with a dawn diary writing session at The Waiting Room, a tiny coffee place connected with Cafe Beaujolais. Nice setting. Good coffee. From there it was back to room service breakfast looking to the Pacific. Great setting. (Bad coffee, but ... the view)
From breakfast we returned to town and a walk to the point at the ocean edge of town. A hundred years ago, this was the industrial part of town, with sawmills and ship-loading facilities. Reportedly, a large fraction of the redwood lumber that built Sam Francisco was taken from local forests and loaded down to ships from this point. Now, it's quiet.
Back in town, we wandered. No goals. We went into Anderson's Alternatives, a wood plank store that is a favorite of our neighbor Jon. He's a woodworker in his spare time and this is where quality furniture starts. At The Highlight Gallery, we saw a few of the products that are possible with time and wood and skill.
I think we stopped for pastries at this point, but I have no pictures, so maybe it didn't happen. I do remember that a nap happened, before we returned to town for dinner at Luna Trattoria. The pasta was scrumptious and the vibe from our bar seats was pure Mendocino, a mix of friendliness and old hippies. (A special call-out to our waiter. When Marianne said she just wanted a biscoito for our coffee dessert, he shared his own cookie package.)
Wednesday started with another diary session at The Waiting Room. I could not pass up the pastries, even though we had room service breakfast waiting back home. Remember, dessert first.
By 9:30, we were on our way south. Along the way, we stopped in Petaluma for charging, lunch, and a few antique paint brushes. Our friend Dale uses old brushes to create art, so we stocked up a bit.
Most of the drive was a journey of memories, since separately and together, we have driven this route for decades. Some of it changes, but most does not. The Marin County hills, Golden Gate Bridge, SF's 19th Avenue, Highway 280 along the spine of San Mateo County.
The three-hour or four-hour drive ended at a Los Gatos park, where Ava had a tennis match for us to catch. Our little granddaughter is growing up - and has a great serve!
The family dinner was warm, as family dinners should be. Sam told us about his recent trip to Hawaii (lots of golf) and Ava covered her recent school excursion to Washington DC and New York. Gabby and Mamal told us about their R&R in Mexico. It was quite a Easter break week!
Otherwise, it was a comforting, if at times teary, visit. Concerns of serious disease among our older generation creeps into everyone's thinking and the younger ones take on a worry burden.
On Thursday morning we enjoyed breakfast with Gabby at Southern Kitchen, a Los Gatos breakfast spot we have all enjoyed for decades. We need to do this more often.
The two-and-a-half hour drive was uneventful. This time of year, the hills are a bright green. The San Louis reservoir was full to the top, promising plenty of water for local San Joachin Valley farmers.
Back home, we checked in with neighbors, Marianne shopped to fill the grocery cupboards, I watched the Warriors win, and we settled into our routine. And waited for the oncologist's report on Friday.
John and Marianne
Postscript. On Friday, Doctor Rivera explained near-term actions. First, Marianne needs to get a PET scan to see if the cancer has spread. From that data, the oncologist will come up with a treatment plan, a plan that will be reviewed by a "tumor board" of oncologists from Kaiser, Northern California. He will then present that reviewed plan to Marianne, and decisions will be made.
Stay tuned, indeed.