Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mysterious traveler is actually traveling

I'm writing this in the back bedroom of a restored Craftsman bungalow in the historic district of Carson City, a block from the governor's mansion. Crickets are chirping in the back yard, and sprinklers are hissing. It's summer in a small town/city.

We flew in to Reno yesterday afternoon, and then drove to Berkeley for an unexpected errand. It got complicated, so we needed to find a hotel -- at 11 p.m. I called the folks the Joie de Vivre chain, which has a lovely hotel I've stayed at in Sunnyvale, and they found is a room at their hotel at the Oakland marina.

Didn't know Oakland had a marina? It's an interesting neighborhood, with trendy clubs, a vegan soul food restaurant, and a lot of urban renewal struggling to happen. The hotel was friendly, the room was clean and fresh, and the bed was comfortable. My one complaint was the bathroom, which had been designed by that notorious and apparently far-ranging Discworld architect, Bloody Stupid Johnson.

It had a feature I've encountered only once before at a hotel, but which stuck in my memory: A glass shower door that when opened more than 1/3 of the way slammed, glass first, into the toilet.

This hotel's version of the slamming shower also had the highest nozzle I've ever seen, a feature which made it impossible to adjust or redirect the light drizzle. There was, as you may gather from this, no bathtub, which is an annoyance to me under normal travel circumstances and, after 10 hours on the road -- I was slightly berserk but made do with a shower.

This morning we got the errand done, drove up to Grass Valley for lunch with relatives who have a beautiful farmhouse, then drove winding roads down to Placerville (a charming old town) and drove from there over to South Lake Tahoe and up to Carson City.

I'll explain tomorrow why we're in Carson City. We wandered around the somewhat forlorn downtown (government buildings, casinos, and little restaurants) and ended up getting salads at a nice place called Sassafras. They call their food eclectic, and they're not kidding. I say it's unusual, somewhat overly exuberant cooking by someone who uses high quality, fresh ingredients. Dessert was a house specialty — homemade popsicles. We had peach-ginger, no sweeteners added, and it was superb. Back to the B&B, where we are going to watch an episode of...what else?...Deadwood.

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