Day 6 - 470 km - 5 and a half hours
Today was a bit of a slow start after last night's beer fest - can't tolerate the brewskis like I once did!
I had planned to take the longer, but quieter, route - by avoiding the interstate and taking a secondary highway. Early on, I ended up on this three digit highway ( I think it was 229) that I call the "Disney Highway". Parts of it were single track - in other words, there was only one lane and pull outs for cars to get by each other. No big trucks or motorhomes were allowed on the road. There were pretty trees and animals like rabbits and squirrels that scampered across the highway as I rode past. For the entire time on that particular highway, there was not another vehicle!
For brunch I stopped at the McDonald's in Kerman - interestingly the staff was almost all Hispanic - and not young kids either - lots of mom aged women which is not what you see around my home. The crew chief, however, was a young, white woman which gave me pause....
|Waiting for the train to pass - lost looking for the Nut Factory in Le Grand|
|Found it! Tasty nuts!|
The next exciting stop I made was near Le Grand. I was looking for the Buchanan Hollow Nut Factory (interestingly, it was not named after hollow nuts, it was named after Buchanan Hollow - sort of like Sleepy Hollow). It took forever to find it! I knew it was in Le Grand which was an 11 km detour but when I got into the town there were no signs saying where the nut factory was. I did find it on my Google maps and it was actually in the other end of town and it was another 8 km out of my way! There were no signs that I could see that told you that the factory was even there until you were right on it.
|A shady tree for my BMW near the Nut Factory|
I got out and went into the factory shop and a nice old lady offered me several different samples of all of their different products - mostly flavoured pistachios but there were other nuts and figs - and I ended up buying a big bag of salted pistachios. They were very good and I knew it was going to be a challenge to keep the bag intact until I returned to Canada.
|A lot easier to find - especially with a big truck outside!|
|Another shady spot for my BMW|
|Front view of the waterfall|
The other stop I made was Hillman's Cheese Factory which was the opposite of the nut factory. This place was made for tourists! There was a fancy parking lot with a beautiful walkway including a waterfall that you go walk under and picnic tables in the shade. It was a great place to just walk through!
Once inside there were was a mini tour including how cheese is made and how the factory works. Once inside the actual retail part, there were a ton of cheeses but only a few were actually made at the factory. I ended up buying a corn salad and a small block of garlic jack cheese and I must confirm that it is very tasty cheese.
I also bought a Squirt thanks to my friend Mike's suggestion and it was actually a very flavourful drink but not too sweet and not to grapefruity.
|So, that's how milking works!|
|Corn salad, garlic cheese, and Squirt - lunch of champions!|
Finally I made it into Lodi and the motel room at the Best Western Royal Host was super nice. The bathroom was clean and the shower had nozzles that squirted a forceful jet of water as well as a big rain shower fixture. The room was well appointed and clean and fresh and was better then any of the motels I had stayed in so far. The only complaint was that the pool. It was the first one of the trip and it was literally covered in bugs - dead bugs. Maybe it's some sort of natural thing that's happening right now that is difficult than control but you think somebody would use the skimmer every so often just to get the bugs out. Actually, the skimmer was broken.
I did go for a swim and just pushed the bugs away as they were on the surface so I could enjoy a little bit of the pool to myself but I did not put my head under the water as I was worried about getting some weird disease.
For dinner there were the choices of Mexican, Mexican, or Mexican. I think the area that I was in was a predominately Hispanic neighbourhood. Unfortunately I didn't really feel like Mexican, even though I was in a really Mexican area so I went to a place called Hawaiian Barbecue and got take out. I went back to my room and tucked into a nice meal (but was way too big so I left quite a lot) and then watched HBO as it was included on the TV.
It was a rather early night and I did feel that I was stuck in Lodi again.