Sunday and Monday we planned to go see Raven and Peter for the first time since Mabon... 2004 (September for my non-pagan readers). There was just one, teeny, tiny problem.
They live in Ukiah.
Even non-Californians have heard about the New Year storms/floods for the most part. The rainfall totals just for a single weekend looked like annual totals. One location north of here receive 28 inches in a single week.
That's right... over two FEET of water. Which would have been bad enough if we were talking about a completely flat area, which norther cal is certainly NOT.
I was watching the weather reports, digging up info from CHP's site (which had some funny tidbits mixed into the dry reports from the field -- I suspect that almost no one reads these reports, which makes them a bit lax in the wording department), and generally fretting, when I hit the wall and said "What the fuck am I worried about?"
Worst case, we'd have to turn back. Roni, Kim and I could have a little road trip adventure, see some interesting stuff, and if we made it through, great. Of course, the question (and it was a serious concern) was getting BACK on Monday -- at that point there were conflicting reports about the next storm, and we could have found ourselves stranded in Ukiah until mid-week.
The trip up was as sphincter clenching as one might suppose. The rain was pretty intense at points, and even driving well under the speed limit there were multiple moments of "oh shit, I'm hydroplaning" to keep me on my toes. I was constantly being passed by freaks determined to be one of the many-rollovers or fatalities.
There were waterfalls every where, and the rivers were seriously intense, that light coffee color that only raging run-off can give them. The point I was most concerned about was Hopland, where 101 had been closed right up until that morning. When we actually drove through town, it was almost anti-climatic. One of the connecting highways was still closed, and looking eastward you could see it disappear under an inexplicable lake.
We wound up stunning them by making such good time, Raven was still in her PJ's. Of course, Raven is one of those people that you can't TELL she's wearing bed-clothes -- she has this flamboyant style (and an uncanny ability to find incredible outfits for next to nothing) that belies even the most casual of wear.
I was still exhausted from the previous two days, but managed to have a lot of fun. We gave them their pressies -- a hoodie and shirt from Goth and Go (AKA Hot Topic) with corpse bride characters for Peter, and this incredible necklace that Kim and ROni had found months earlier that SCREAMED "raven" at the top of it's silver lattice-worked spider beaded lungs. I wish I had thought to bring the camera, or photograph the necklace, because I can't do it justice with mere words.
We had dinner at a local chinese place which was incredibly tasty, hung out for a bit more (Peter turned me on to the music video for Closer, which I had never seen... at least, not in un-edited form. Damn you, MTV!), and generally hung out until I realized I was completely toasted. Beyond toasty: Crisped.
We had snagged a decent hotel room (which had been packed the night before, full of people who couldn't go any further south because of the flooding) and eventually slept. Sort of. Alright, not at all.
That was in large part due to a stupid argument between Roni and I, and yes, it WAS my fault. My only defense is exhaustion induced idiocy. We had a long talk in the morning before heading to breakfast with R and P.
Gah, I'm trying to remember where we ate (Kim? Do you recall?), because they served me the BEST french toast I've had in a very, VERY long time. Even the eggs were perfect. The waitress was a hoot, a young thing who we actually had to convince to breath. Even though the tip wasn't, in my mind, excessive, her eyes did bulge at the sight of it. I suspect the locals were too cheap to tip decently.
Even though the rain was no where near as bad, the trip down was a lot harder. After hitting Rohnert Park (south of Santa Rosa), there was a massive backup due to a relatively small subsidence of southbound 101. Later, we saw the news -- apparently several cars had nailed the broken pavement, which took out BOTH passenger side tires.
As it was, our timing was still good -- we just barely missed getting stuck behind a slide even further south.
We actually made it home by 2:30 in the afternoon. I wound up collapsing into a comatose heap at home while Roni went to take care of the Bug tire situation, waking only to tell her that Goodyear was trying to rape us over the tires. The bastards had the nerve to quote her 115 per tire -- fortunately there's a Big O tire place on the island, and the pricing on their web site worked out to 120 bucks LESS than Goodyear's price.
Oh... and that was if we bought the SAME TIRES that they were trying to foist on her at the Goodyear store. Assholes.
That was the good news. The bad news was that she was going to have to wait until Tuesday afternoon to take care of it, as Big O was closed for the "observed" holiday. Damn it.
I can't say much about Monday night... I was so conked that I barely woke up enough to eat some pizza with Roni.
Thus endeth the holiday weekend.