Road Trip

My friend Dick has recently taken possession of a 2004 Prius, and I am eager to get his impression of how it handles. I’m just delighted with mine, but this is doubtless influenced by having spent a year and a half behind the wheel of a 2002, which was certainly the least stable vehicle I’ve ever owned. This wasn’t a problem in the city, but on the highway I always felt that I was just barely in control, especially on curves at highway speed.

Chris is visiting now, and on Monday I took him up to Calistoga to see Jeff Notias’ Bulldog Cactus Ranch. On the way up I took 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge and then 37 across the Petaluma River flood plain and on over to 29 up to Calistoga. En route, I was able to play tour guide, pointing out terrain features and prattling incessantly about the various wineries as we passed them. The 52.4 MPG I got on the trip up was made possible by the lower speed limits and fairly heavy traffic up Highway 29.

The greenhouse was fascinating, and Chris showed admirable patience while Jeff and I talked the talk and inspected plant after plant. Exercising great restraint, I purchased only five new Haworthias, for example, H. springokulok v. sandpoort EA976, just call me Sandy:

H. springokulok v. sandpoort EA976

And OK, I couldn’t resist, a female Euphorbia obesa, a mate for my male. He’ll be so happy.

Euphorbia obesa

To take a different route on the return, I cut west up the grade out of the valley at St. Helena. This narrow, twisty back road provided my fir st real opportunity to seriously test the handling, as it was one 20 MPH curve after another all the way up and all the way down. I can now report that I just love the handling. It feels like all four paws are gripping the asphalt, and as I grew more accustomed to it, I could take the curves faster and faster.

Actually, the only problem during this phase was an occasional minor squeak, but after listening closely I determined that this was just Chris.

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