That was the upshot of my trip on Wednesday. Not that it was a bad trip, but I managed to get turned around in the forest after leaving Shelter Cove. Shelter Cove is one of the most remote coastal towns you can find in California, I suspect; it's north of where CA 1 and US 101 meet, with 101 taking over the role of Pacific Coast Highway as it heads toward Eureka, Arcata and on into Oregon. But on the Lost Coast, there isn't a Pacific Coast Highway--the land was too rugged and dense for a true highway. US 101 is far away from the coast as it makes its way through Humboldt County.
I'd intended to make my way down through the coastal area back to meet up with Highway 1 and head down into Fort Bragg, but an hour past sunset I realized that I'd ended up on the right road--going the wrong direction. This got compounded thanks to Caltrans, who'd blocked the way back to 101 when I ran into it, nearly at the point where I'd left it a few hours before that. I ended up taking the road that the detour apparently pointed to, which went off into nowhere. I managed to avoid hitting the kamikaze deer, though, and eventually turned around and came back to the detour point to find that it was now removed. I said very unpleasant things about Caltrans, and got back on the highway.
Fortunately I was able to make it to Ukiah by 8:40 or so, before the Ukiah Brewing Company had stopped serving dinner. I checked in online then while I was having my fish and chips (good, although not as good as the burger I'd had on the first visit), and went back home to...
...Union Landing, a big shopping center on I-880. That wasn't home, but it's where I stopped for gas, bought a car wash ticket at the pump, and was unable to use the car wash because it had closed at midnight. The mechanical car wash. The unattended mechanical car wash. One of the workers there was irate with me for even thinking I could use the "closed" car wash.
I like California, but I do wonder what the hell people are thinking when it comes to business hours sometimes.
Fortunately, the Krispy Kreme was still open, and was able to provide coffee for the remaining hour or so of the trip (which would have been less, except thanks to Caltrans again, which had a short detour on I-880).
I enjoyed the trip--but I'm going to have to actually start planning for overnight trips as I start getting farther afield. The North Coast is as far away from San José as the (Florida) Panhandle was from Tampa; both of them you can ostensibly make a day trip of, but it's a trip with a hell of a lot of driving in it and little time to stop and poke around. My favorite trips to the Panhandle were the ones where I stayed a night at a lodge at one of the state parks--the only state park in Florida that has a lodge, if I'm remembering right, actually. Out here, lodges are a lot more common, some of them are pretty affordable, and there are even coastal hostels I could stay at.
And, on an unrelated note, I think I'll have good news about work in short order, but I'm waiting for the official paperwork to happen!