Critical praise for Christy!

For "Murder Hooks a Mermaid:"
"Author Christy Fifield creates the kind of characters that stay with you for a long time. Fifield’s new Haunted Souvenir Shop mystery, Murder Hooks a Mermaid has it all: a sunny, relaxed setting, captivating locals, delicious food, and—of course—murder! Delightful amateur sleuth Glory Martine is back with her wisecracking parrot and charming group of friends in this thoroughly entertaining adventure. Don’t miss it."—Julie Hyzy, National Bestselling author of the Manor House Mysteries and the White House Chef Mystery series
"A whodunit with a dose of the supernatural, "Murder Hooks a Mermaid" is a worthy successor to the series opener and showcases Fifield's talents for plotting, characterization and humor." - Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Quirky and unique, a heroine for whom you can't help but root. The story sucks you in." - The Maine Suspect
"With a lovable cast of characters, good conversations and a great setting, this well-written book is a terrific read." -- Dru's Book Musings

For "Murder Buys a T-Shirt:"
A refreshing new sleuth! - Lynne Maxwell, Mystery Scene Magazine
"A fun book that will make the dreariest of days a little brighter! Socrates' great Book Alert" - Socrates' Cozy Cafe
"An entertaining and clever Florida whodunit" - Harriet Klausner
"Hilarious! A great murder mystery with well-written characters" - Paranormal & Romantic Suspense Reviews
For the Georgiana Neverall Series:
"Christy Evans will find legions of fans with this new series" - Sheldon McArthur, Lincoln City News Guard
"Funny and entertaining -- a solid mystery filled with likable characters." - RT Book Reviews"
Cute cozy mystery debute -- wry humor -- adorable dogs" -Publisher's Weekly
"Will have you giggling out loud! Four Stars." - Kathy Fisher, The Romance Readers Connection"The Book is good! Keep them coming, Ms. Evans!" - Mystery Scene
"Evans delivers a fast-paced mystery with admirable finesse!" - Sharon Galligar Chance,
"Christy Evans has a hit on her hands" - Harriet Klausner,
"Christy Evans is aces. I'll be very suprised if Sink Trap isn't an instant hit with cozy readers!" -

Monday, August 5, 2013

Day Six: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Introduction:  I recently passed a milestone birthday, one of those numbers that as a child seems so impossibly large that you never expect to get there.  It came at the end of two years of personal disaster (see this post for an explanation, if you haven't already read it), and at a time when I desperately needed something good in my life.  I tossed around a lot of ideas of how to celebrate surviving the last year (lots of hospital time was involved) and making it to my birthday.  Finally, my husband and I decided to go see the Redwoods.  We had driven through several times, but always on the way to somewhere else.  This time, we would just head south and see what we could see.  We did some searching, settled on a few (very few!) priorities, and started making plans.  Somewhere along the way, we discovered a cool resort south and east of the big trees, where every "room" was a converted caboose, and decided that would be fun and unusual, exactly what we were looking for.  

These posts are my daily reports of our trip: the things we saw, the places we went, and the people we met as we drove approximately 1,500 miles in the course of six days, and had an adventure.  I tried to write down my impressions each night before bed, or over my first cup of coffee in the morning.  I wanted the memories to be fresh, undiluted by another day or days of travel and experiences.  I can only hope you enjoy reading them a fraction as much as I enjoyed living them.  (If you haven't read the first part of this series, the posts are here: Day One, Day Two: Part One, Day Two: Part Two, Day Three, Day Four, and Day Five.)

This morning we had to say goodbye to Featherbed Railroad.  It was HARD!

We dragged out of bed, procrastinating for a last few minutes, then finished packing and loading the van before we pulled around to the lobby building to top the cooler with ice, pick up our receipt, and have breakfast.  Tony outdid himself for our last day: chicken/fontina sausage, spinach and ricotta crepes, coffee and juice, finished with whipped cream-topped Nutella crepes for dessert.  I had to make them take my plate before I started scraping up the crumbs because I was already stuffed!  Tony and Peggy have been wonderful hosts, and we lingered over coffee, talking and laughing, far longer than we planned.

Saying good-bye.  Never an easy thing!

Sunny and beautiful  made it VERY hard to leave!

Eventually, though, we had to leave for the long drive home.  We started around the lake on Highway 20, taking a quick detour - just a couple blocks - to ogle an historic hotel in Lucerne.  We drove up and got a good look at the Lucerne Hotel.  Construction started on the hotel in 1927, but the 1929 stock market crash doomed the venture, and the property was foreclosed and sold.  It is now owned by Lake County, and is leased to Marymount College for use as a local campus, according to the information in the Hotel Lucerne News.

A beautiful building with a checkered past.
Hard to get a picture that gives you a good
idea of the size.  This place is massive!

For a different view of the hotel, take a look at this video, shot by a couple local teens while the hotel was closed.  I am guessing they were trespassing (not a great move to film that, guys), which contributes to the "Blair Witch" feel of the video.  And for a peek inside, this video from the Lake County Model A Ford club has some cool footage (Another thing for the "to do" list when we come back) And this one from the Marymount College lease signing ceremony is mostly speeches, but you do get the view of one room at the end.

(I got sucked into many videos of Lake County on YouTube.  You Have Been Warned!)

From there we headed back to the highway and east for I-5 and home.  We hit the freeway at Williams, an easy 40 miles east of Clear Lake.  No route 175-like surprises on this leg of the trip!

Turning north on 5, we had several hundred miles ahead of us.  We spent the day trading off driving, the passenger sometimes reading aloud from a book we'd found at a shop in Petaluma.  America Eats, on the Road With the WPA is a collection of works created by the Federal Writers Project in the early- to mid-1930s, compiled, annotated and expanded upon a few years ago by Pat Willard.  It's an interesting read, and just the kind of thing Steve and I often share on road trips.  A few years back we read a book about a miniature spy sub program, finishing the last few chapters by the light from a hand-held flashlight.

Somewhere along the road I realized I was relaxed and happy, grinning like a fool without a care in the world.  By some strange magic, our trip has worked exactly the way we wanted.  We unwound from the stress and intensity of the last 22 months, pushed aside all the care and worry and demands of our daily life.  I felt good, for the first time in a long, long time.  It was a nice feeling.

Temptation by the
side of the road.
About 55 miles north of Williams we made a stop at Olive Pit in Corning.  This is one of my all-time favorite roadside stops; a shop bursting with the local olives is an array of flavors, combinations and preparations.  Steve tasted - and then had to have - anchovy-stuffed queen olives.  I bought olive oils as gifts for friends back home, as well as some olives for me and pickled okra for another friend.  Yeah, it was an expensive stop!!

The original In-n-Out Burger.  Yes,
I have been there.  Many times!
Back on the road, we headed for Redding, another fifty miles up the highway, and our traditional lunch stop at In-n-Out.

I was born the same year as In-n-Out, grew up only a few miles from original location, and lived within walking distance of that same store for several years after I got married. The burger chain and their excellent food were a big part of my childhood, my teen years, and my early adulthood.

Once, many years after I left Southern California - and long before they had expanded outside the LA basin - my son asked if there was anything he could bring when he came to visit.  I jokingly said, "A double-double."  It arrived in his carry-on luggage, wrapped in protective layers of foil and insulating newspapers, a little worse for the wear.  Tasted heavenly!

Like this -
only more crowded!
We pulled into the Redding location about 2 pm, and found the parking lot, and the store, jammed.  At 2 pm on a Friday afternoon!  Service was still speedy, and the food as good as I remembered.  Sometimes you just have to keep with tradition.

And just like in Southern California, where everybody goes to In-n-Out, we spotted a celebrity: Amy Roloff from Little People Big World fame.  A woman at the table next to us saw her and said something to her companions; when they didn't immediately understand she turned to me and asked "That is her, isn't it?"  I nodded and she turned back to her friends, satisfied that she had, indeed, had a celebrity sighting.

We stopped for gas in Medford at about 5; finally someone else pumped our gas!  Oregon is unusual in that by law you cannot pump your own gas.  It's a great deal for us, but it does make for some awkward moments on road trips when we forget that we have to do-it-yourself in other parts of the country.

The entire trip had gone smoothly up to this point, and although we did run into a little rush-hour traffic in Medford, we never really encountered any awful traffic.  Occasionally there was someone in too much of a hurry, and there was one guy with a bicycle tied to the top of the pile of luggage that was strapped atop his car - the bike didn't look any too stable, and we were nervous the whole time he was in front of us.  Wish we had a picture of that - you'd understand instantly!  Steve just didn't like the idea of a bicycle coming through the windshield.  Or the radiator.  Frankly, neither did I.

Close to home!
Finally, about a quarter of nine, we pulled into Eugene.  We lived there for many years, and still have some very good friends in the city.  We met one of our favorite couples for dinner (us) and dessert (them).  We sat in a coffee shop and caught up in a way we hadn't been able to do for nearly a year.  It was wonderful to see them, and we could have easily spent several more hours talking and getting the latest news, but we still had a long drive home.

About 60 miles up I-5, we took the turnoff in Salem, and were finally on the last stretch to home.  The 50+-mile drive over the coastal mountains is very, very familiar; we have made it every few weeks (at least) for nearly 15 years - and last year, while my mother was ill, I was making the round-trip every weekend.

Kinda like this.
Only dark!
But somehow, no matter how familiar the road, no matter how far you have already driven, the last 20 miles feels like a thousand.  We pulled up in front of our house about 1 a.m. - tired, happy, relieved that we would be able to sleep in our own bed.  We gathered the necessities (medications, electronic goodies, etc) that we didn't want to leave in the car, or that we needed immediately, and left the rest of the unloading for morning.  There wasn't anything in the suitcases we couldn't live without for the next few hours.

We petted the kitties, and listened to their complaints about our absence, made a quick check of email for any immediate crisis (none), and tumbled into bed.  Sleeping late was on the agenda, since there wouldn't be one of those amazing breakfasts to make it worth getting up!

This has been one of the greatest vacations I have ever had, thanks in large part to Tony and Peggy at Featherbed Railroad, and especially thanks to my companion of 30 years, my husband Steve.  It was a great trip, a wonderful birthday present, and I made memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

My thanks also to each of you who has taken the time to read my reports, look at our pictures, and enjoy our vacation along with us.  And if you stop at Featherbed Railroad, be sure and tell Tony we sent you.

Now go out there and make some memories of your own!!