Sacramento, California:  As you may or may not have heard, we decided yesterday to join DT’s family in celebrating Brother Billy’s 60th birthday in Merced, California. With our remodeling project on the finishing stages, we were not sure we would be able to leave for a few days, but the planets aligned, our contractor came through and we were able to hit the road. A 60th Birthday is, obviously, a huge occasion and we did not want to miss out on the festivities and delicious foods (as Bill & Ginger are renown chefs) and wonderful music (as Bill is a member of the renown BobTones blues band).

Our Honda backed out of the driveway this morning at 8 o’clock. Right on schedule. This is the first time we have been on a road trip south without our RV in about 12 years. (Long-time Readers, please correct me if I am wrong.) We had terrible fog and terrible traffic until we reached Eugene. Where were all these people going on a holiday Friday?

One interesting awesomeness occurred on our drive today – we passed milepost 111 at 11:11a on 11/11/11. How strange was that?

We had continued good luck today. Just a little snow on the side of the road over the southern Oregon mountain passes, no hassle at the California agricultural inspection station and DT drove the entire day. We only stopped three times. Once for fuel at exit 99 in Canyonville at the ever-so-lovely Seven Feathers Casino/Truck Stop/RV Resort/Restaurant where we filled our gas tank and our coffee cups (pay what you feel is fair into the coffee kitty), again just over the California border at a rest area where we enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch (prepared by me) and then again just north of Sacramento for fuel.

DT is in the white circle in the above photo. We were at the rest area along the Klamath River – just south of the Oregon-California border – and we suddenly had cell service – so Dave’s phone started blowing-up with all sorts of phone calls from the Olympic Track & Field Trials office that DT is not helping with.

PS: Isn’t that tree just gorgeous?

Strange thing. We have been at this rest area countless times, but today is the first time I have ever been inside the restroom. The restroom had flush toilets, but the restroom sinks had no hot water. Only cold water, soap and air dryers.

This, Dear Reader, is why it is best to always travel with your own restroom (RV). This trip is a learning experience for me. I am very spoiled, it is true… but driving around with your own bathroom, bedroom and kitchen is a secret we should share more often.

Or not.

That said, DT and I lucked-out tonight when we drove past our previously-planned stop-over and realized we still had over two hours of daylight, so decided to continue south along Interstate-5. (I do not want to give you the impression My Driver is a Speed Machine… note that he was driving a Honda CRV… but occasionally I would notice the speedometer creeping up into the mid-70’s. Quite a change from driving our RV, when 62 is considering speeding…)

Around 4p we decided it would not be a good idea to traverse the always-dangerous Highway 99 between Sacramento and Merced in the dark, so looked into possible Sacramento hotel accommodations. Interestingly enough, one of my favorite restaurants in the world is in Sacramento and I googled nearby hotels on my iPhone and within five minutes we were reserved and reserved!

Did I ever tell you about the time when we lived in The Philippines and phoned our parents once a month?

Tonight we are staying at the very fun, very young and very hip Citizen Hotel. Not only are we the oldest roomers in this establishment, but we appear to be the only guests not attending an 11-11-11 wedding. FOUR 11-11-11 weddings were conducted at this teeny boutique hotel this evening! The Citizen Hotel is housed in a repurposed office building constructed in the 1920’s. The rooms are small, but are very well appointed with every amenity you could desire.

After checking-in, resting-up and making ourselves presentable, we took a taxi a few blocks near Sutter’s Fort for a lovely meal at Biba. Tonight we enjoyed delicious dinners and had some time to talk with Biba herownself. Biba is a huge fan of the Portland food culture and loves how Oregonians are so into local-only foodstuffs.

It is like Biba and I are twins.

From different mothers.

On different continents.

Whatever.

Who is that old fat Bubbe lady with Biba Caggiano? And is Biba wearing Missoni? So Italian!

Until my next update, I remain, your Emilia-Romagna Road-Tripping correspondent.

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