An Interesting Coupla Days

Yesterday, for lunch I decided to take the less than 10 mile drive to have a hot dog at the Dinky Diner. Both the short drive and the destination is relaxing – usually. Although I live in Sacramento, the short drive down the river and the Sacramento Delta is a world apart.

Laid back is the term I would use.

Just another 15 miles or so is the town of Locke – the only town in America built by the Chinese for the Chinese. And if you are there, you have to try Al the Wops.

There is a fascinating history behind Locke – I take visitors there and tell them that it is a “living ghost town”.

But since this story starts with my trip to the Dinky Diner, I will  in uncharacteristic form attempt to stay on topic.

The Dinky Diner, and the small marina below it on the levee, is owned by a long-term Clarksburg family.

It’s a place where you can have a hot dog (grilled!) and Coke for $5 or so, while sitting by the river and just watching the world go by.

Only yesterday things were a bit different.

For one, the diner was closed.

I suppose it had something to do with the wind, which I estimated, using the S.W.A.G * Methodology, at 60-70 mph.

Only I was dumb enough adventuresome enough to drive in those conditions.

When I stopped to make a U-Turn back the way I came, the entire 4,000 lb car was rocking back and forth.

So I am heading back home down the levee road – a 2 laned highway, and a tree had just fallen across the road.

Made another U-Turn and in the tiny town of Clarksburg, a siren – like an old 50s civil defense siren, is wailing against the sound of the wind.

It had an eerie feeling – like the last days…of something.

And in my attempt to find a way home – I didn’t want to drive down the river to the Bay Area and make a day of it – I took a small road west to Jefferson Blvd and West Sacramento.

Came across a very large section of tree that had fallen and blocked this road.

Got out of the car and slowly pulled this out of the way, falling on my butt back for the effort.

Had to laugh in the roaring wind at the situation.

Finally make it home and decide to confer with a friend who, with me, was planning a car club rally to Bodega Bay this coming Sunday. It really is a cool run, using all back roads to the coast. It’s a very scenic and relaxing drive through the wine country to the coast.

Bodega Bay was made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds.  Actually to be completely factual while much of it was filmed on the coast at Bodega Bay, other scenes were in the nearby town (a few miles inland) of Bodega.

Movie magic and all that, since the audience thought it was all on the coast.

Anyway we were to have lunch at the Tides Restaurant, briefly shown at 3:18 and 4:44 in this clip.

I had made reservations last week, and after a conference (well, back-and-forth texts) we decided since some of the route is through Sonoma County (and the fire and evacuation), we should postpone the drive.

I call The Tides and get a recording, when they should have been open.

Tried several times, with no luck reaching anyone. Wondered why nobody was answering.

Come to learn yesterday that the entire town of Bodega Bay has been evacuated.

This morning, I take my car to be serviced at a dealership in El Dorado Hills.

El Dorado Hills is in the start of the Sierra Nevada foothills, maybe just 5 miles or so from the edge of Sacramento. You are gaining some altitude, 764 feet, in maybe 10 miles from Sacramento on Hwy 50.

The foothills covers dozens of small towns, some “up the hill” to maybe 3,000′.

In the last 30 years, there has been an explosion of growth there as people want to have a bit of “country living” yet remain close to the city. Many people from the Bay Area have cashed out in their small homes and bought acres up in the foothills.

There are many who commute to work in Sacramento from this area.

I had a good friend who lived in Applegate, about 10 miles further up the hill from Auburn, also a former gold rush town. Sandy had a wonderful house up on a small hill, surrounded by pines. She liked classical music and was a wine connoisseur, so you would frequently hear Mozart in that setting.

Sure beat my suburban tract home for ambiance.

Anyway I take my car in for service, meet the service writer who I have known for years, and the place is half empty. Not the busy place I expected to see.

He was saying most of the employees live in the foothills and they have all been without power for 3 days. I made the suggestion that California is reverting to the gold rush days.

Without the gold.

On PG & E, he was saying after the Paradise Fire (The “Camp Fire”), the insurance companies, who paid the homeowners, then all turned around and sued PG & E.

Who then declared bankruptcy.

He said that you cannot even get fire insurance from a private company now if you are in much of the foothills. He has to use some state-funded program and it is, unless I didn’t hear him correctly, $6000/year.

I think the foothills are losing some of its allure.

Been an interesting and educational couple of days.



** S.W.A.G. – Scientific Wild A$$ Guess

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Filed under Life, Small Stuff, Travel

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