Sunday, May 12, 2013

The bus stops here




This is an important moment. 

On a brevet there are quite a few moments. No shortage of moments here. 

This one is important because in all of human history it might be the first time someone has hurried through the bucolic Anderson Valley thinking "How long until Cloverdale?"

Anderson Valley, land of ancient oak chaparral, world class pinot noir vineyards, Boonville (which comes with its own language), and quirky individuals. 

Cloverdale, where the main drag still feels like Highway 101. With its mini-marts and McDonald's and redneck vibe. It wants to be part of the wine country but no one goes to Cloverdale for wine. It's Home of the Citrus Fair but I don't know anyone who has been to the Citrus Fair. Ever.

When I was a kid we used to drive through on the way to the Big City. Everyone had to drive through. Cloverdale was a town of drive-ins: Pick's (still open), Foster's Freeze, Hi-Fi, A&W. I was fascinated by the Hi-Fi because they would take orders over the CB radio and have the food waiting when you got there. We didn't have a CB radio in the car, but still! In the heyday of logging the town was swarming with truckers.


The fairgrounds lie at the south end of town, just before the Owl Cafe. The cafe is what I've been dreaming about, longing for along Highway 128 through the gorgeous valley and back over the hill. On a 600K, breakfast trumps everything.

The Owl Cafe was one of the places where the Greyhound bus along 101 picked up people and stopped for food. It seems to be the only place in town serving breakfast. After 33 miles on a bagel with cream cheese and banana, only a meteorite in this exact place and time would prevent me from eating here.

Already hot in the sun. The clock on the wall says 3 minutes to 9am. Somehow I've made good time! Or 6 weeks ago the Cloverdalians neglected to spring their clocks forward. Or that's when the meteorite hit...

Breakfast is fresh and hot. It takes 10 minutes to arrive and 5 minutes to clean the plate. Time to get moving. Another 10 minutes and I'll have to order another breakfast. The pancakes look good...

So I fill up the Camelbak, fork over a yuppie food coupon, and roll happily out of town.

Next, Guerneville Safeway for lunch!

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