Ft. Bragg or Bust

I set out this morning at 10:00 and drove up 101 keeping my eyes peeled for that interesting bridge off to the right somewhere above Healdsburg that i’d never taken the trouble to get off the freeway and photograph.  Kept my eyes dangerously peeled, in fact, and still was forced to admit as i entered the outskirts of Ukiah that this mystery bridge is apparently yet another of my hallucinations.

Of course a possible reason i missed seeing it was that i was tuned to NPR and listening to one military/political expert after another rail at Obama for his failure in 2010 to negotiate a new deal with the Iraqis that would not require all our troops to leave by the end of this year.  I sat there listening in increasing outrage as they all excoriated Obama for this failure while not a single damn one of ’em would admit that it was their boy Bush who had originally agreed to withdraw all American troops by the end of this year.  So now they’re beating Obama up for his failure to undo Bush’s deal.

What just sends me ballistic, though, is that the main reason they all give for the necessity of keeping American troops in Iraq is to contain Iran since Iran is now so dangerous.  And of course not a fucking one of them is willing to admit that the reason Iran is now so dangerous is because America went in and destroyed Iraq, which was Iran’s greatest enemy.

Am i the only person in America who remembers the good old days when Saddam Hussein was our buddy and we were supplying him with munitions of mass destruction to use on the Iranians and there were all  those photographs of him and Rumsfeld hugging each other while Iran and Iraq fought a war that cost them collectively something like a million casualties?

We should have just sold arms to both sides and let them keep each other at bay while the rest of the world relaxed.

So anyhow, i finally got out of range of that station and ended up in Ukiah without a damn thing to show for my trip so far when i had one of my brilliant ideas.  I had noticed on my map that a thin blue line wriggled west from Ukiah to Mendocino, so thin in fact that it wasn’t even numbered and wasn’t even solid blue, suggesting that it had not been paved when the map was made.   Too much potential fun to pass up, i decided, and ignoring all the franchise fast food places, i stopped at a momandpop Mexican place in northern Ukiah and had a totally delicious couple of carnitas-stuffed flautas.   Asked a young diner if he knew about a little dirt road over the mountain to Mendocino and drew a blank, but an older guy overheard me and confirmed that it was close by.  Turn right half a mile down there on “Low Gap Road”.

Low Gap Road

And i did.  And after about ten miles, the pavement stopped and i got to pretend i was one of these guys who drive around the city in big pickups with knobby tires and mudflaps, saying they like to take ’em “off road” when they really mean “off pavement”.  Got me some mud on my off-road Prius when i hit what i thought was a little spot of water but was in fact a mud hole.  Luckily i had enough momentum plus enough traction on the right wheel to pull us out of it, as it might have been a little lonely waiting for someone to come along since the only vehicle i encountered (going either direction) during my entire three hours on the road was a pickup sitting there mostly off the road with one wheel canted at a highly discouraging angle.  I stopped but there was nobody around.  I figured the passengers had probably just crawled off into the brush beside the road and died of thirst or something.

When i finally got to the end of the road back onto a real highway, i looked back at what i had got off of and saw this sign:

Road Closed

That sign was clearly there just to scare off the tourists, since i had just ridden all the way from Ukiah on that road, over 30 miles.  There was a similar sign at the other end, but it didn’t bother me none since i know a hoax when i see one.

And then glided up Highway 1 through Mendocino on up to Ft. Bragg, where i stopped for the night at a cheap motel.  Was sent by the clerk to a little grill down the street, and i Segwayed down there and had a very tasty petrale washed down with an Old Rasputin, a local 9% stout brewed by the North Coast Brewing Co.

Also got a look at some of the Skunk Train rolling stock tucked away behind the terminal and suffering from deferred maintenance.

Skunk Train


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