WHEN 128 COLLAPSED last week and stayed collapsed not far from the Sonoma County line for three days, locals got in and outtahere either by the Ukiah Road or via Mountain House Road through Hopland. (Caltrans deserves high praise for its quick and ingenious repairs at that clay-slidey site.) Is it even necessary to report that Jan The Mail Lady got through? She's living testament to the old Postal Service vow that begins “Neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of night…” From her home in Yorkville, Jan drives to Cloverdale to pick up the day's dispatch for a huge sector of southwestern Mendocino County. She then drives from Cloverdale, through the Anderson Valley, west on Greenwood Road to Elk, south to Point Arena, including the mostly defunct Point Arena Air Force installation, and back again to Cloverdale. She does this six days a week in all kinds of weather, including El Nino's wet turbulence of recent days. And not a single accident in all the years she's done it. Jan detoured through Hopland to get to Cloverdale last week and seemed not in the least perturbed at the prospect of Highway One becoming high tide impassable at the Garcia River. “No problems for me,” Jan said Monday morning. “I've been very, very lucky.”
MONDAY'S DOWNPOUR closed 128 at Flynn Creek Road when the Navarro spilled its banks for the second time this winter, but the Road Closed sign didn't flash into life until almost 7pm, which surprised many locals who thought Monday's day-long deluge would have flooded the roadbed much earlier.
PEBBLES TRIPPET lives virtually at the mouth of the Navarro. She writes Tuesday afternoon: “About an hour ago, I called 911 to report the wrecked vehicle that went off the road on 128 at the 1.7 mile marker from the coast. A fallen alder caught the vehicle on its slide down into the Navarro River or else the people and the vehicle would be floating down the muddy rushing river to the ocean. No one was hurt; they have the alder to thank. My back yard is starting to flood. The frogs are singing full throat, but the river is now 10 feet lower than last night due to the break in the weather. This is not yet like the Dec 31 2005 true flood that ran me out of my cabin, perched on 5' of stilts with 2' of water lapping at the calves of my legs and rising. I was rescued at dawn Jan 1 in a neighbor's canoe. 2 of my 3 cats made it through the trauma. It'll take another long ferocious rain before anything like “floodstage” is reached for the people who live along the Navarro River, most of us off the grid.”
ROBERT PINOLI remembers spending a very long late January night trapped in a school bus ten miles west of Covelo, circa 1969. “In those days,” Robert remembers, “we took two buses everywhere, a player's bus with the two boy's teams on it and a rooter's bus with cheerleaders and fans on it. That night Shorty Adams was driving the rooter's bus. Ray Ingram was driving the player's bus. Shorty's bus was just ahead of us, and had just gotten through when a slide came down and blocked the road, and blocking us on the Covelo side of the slide. We had to turn around, and by the time we got headed back to Covelo, another slide came down, and there we were trapped between the two slides. We slept on the bus and didn't get back to Boonville until three the next afternoon. And we had a game that night!”
JUAN BUCKINGHAM WANDESFORD, 1817-1902 is probably best known for his paintings of Mount Shasta, but little known for “On the Navarro River Mendocino,” undated. It's presently on display at the California Historical Society headquarters on Mission near Third, San Francisco, where I saw it Friday, then went back on Saturday to look at it some more. Wandesford's Shasta paintings were rendered in the 1860s. We can assume he visited the Anderson Valley just as early when his oil on canvas of the Navarro depicted two finely dressed women, a dog, an oarsman and a man in the bow of the rowboat with what appears to be a pile of newspapers on his lap, all of them paused on the untouched river. Wandesford was born an English aristo who taught drawing in Glasgow before leaving for America as a young man, dying in Hayward after a long, successful life as a painter including On the Navarro River which, I believe, is the first really good painting of any part of the Anderson Valley.
RACING through Sunday's Chronicle, a familiar face met me in the Home & Garden section of the paper. Darned if it wasn't Patrick Schafer in full color above a long article about his heirloom fruit tree business, his and a fellow named Todd Kennedy. Lots of us first met Patrick when we were customers of his trash pick-up service, and then lots of us knew and know him as basketball coach for the Anderson Valley High School's junior varsity basketball team.
MUY AUTENTICO! Grupo Estrellas, the new band formed by Louis, best known locally as the friendly guy at Pic'N'Pay. Louis and his fellow musicians, K.Milo, Jivy and Isai, are available for your festive occasion. Off their first packed house engagement Saturday night in Ukiah, Grupo Estrellas is already much in demand but always available for your event, large or small. Grupo Estrellas is Las rodillas de la abeja. And La mejor cosa desde el pan rebanado. Give Louis a call at 272-1745.
ENTIRELY JUSTIFIABLE grumbles from a Ukiah automobile dealer who gave the Boonville school's a very large discount on a pick-up truck, expecting only that his business's modest logo appear on its door. The logo is not on the door and the truck is being used as the personal vehicle of a high school teacher, who also seems to be gassing up out of the school tanks.
KARIN UPHOFF and Mary Pat Palmer, of Philo, Registered Herbalists, are presenting a class on immunity and herbs on Saturday, January 30th. “We are very open to sliding scale and work-trade. Mostly we want to share our knowledge with you. The class is from 10am to 4pm with a potluck lunch Give a call and let us know your needs. We will be focusing on specific problems presented by participants as well as giving great formulae for teas, tinctures and diet. 895-3007, email@example.com. Philo School of Herbal Energetics, 16 mile marker, Highway 128.
SPEAKING OF MARY PAT PALMER, I was fortunate to receive a bottle of her absinthe for Christmas. The infamous “green fairy” is said to have been at least partly responsible for the creative successes of Rimbaud, van Gogh, Verlaine, and even Oscar Wilde. I'd swig it by the case if I thought it would heal my limping prose, but I've yet to try it because Mary Pat's absinthe looks so nice in the bottle I'm loathe to break it open.
THE FAIR BOARD and staff are attending the annual Fair Board convention in Reno where, presumably, Jim Brown, Bill Holcomb, Frank Wyant, Cecilia Pardini et al haven't been snowed in.
THE HIGH SCHOOL basketball team will miss assistant coach Luis Espinoza whose new job with the Hopland Tribal Police Department leaves Luis no time for coaching. Mr. E. is also in line for a job with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department.
DON'T FORGET High School for Dummies, “a comedy for all ages” this Friday night at Lauren's Restaurant, curtain at 9. A matinee performance at Lauren’s, curtain at 4 Saturday afternoon. Adults $5, students and seniors $3. Contact person is Shiela Leighton at 272-4801.
FREDA MOON reports that according to Angie, lead singer for The Blushin' Roulettes, the band packed 'em in at Lauren's last Saturday night.
THE RENDEZVOUS RESTAURANT, Fort Bragg, will host a winemaker's dinner with Allan Green of Greenwood Ridge Vineyards on Friday, January 29, at 6:30 P.M. The dinner, “From the Mendocino Coast...Great Whites and Dungeness Crab is being held in conjunction with Mendocino County's annual Crab & Wine Days.” (Fear not, gastronomes! The 'great white' is a reference to white wine, not Jaws.) “The five course dinner is $87.50 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by phoning 707-964-8142. Guests will take home a copy of the recipe for our extremely popular crabcakes, along with enough of our housemade jalapeño mustard to make them. The full menu can be viewed at www.rendezvousinn.com/WMkr100129.php. We hope you can join us! Regards, Janice & Kim Badenhop. Rendezvous Inn & Restaurant, Highest Restaurant Food Rating in Mendocino County. 2006-2009 Zagat Guides, Bay Area Restaurants. Please visit our website: www.rendezvousinn.com”
BOB PADECY writes in his Press Democrat blog of Anderson Valley's very own… “Remember Martin Tevaseu, the wide body who played nose guard for SRJC, the 295-pound freshman and the 417-pound sophomore? Well, he’s at the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando and will play Saturday. NFL scouts, apparently, are drooling. An unknown nugget as it were, since UNLV — Tevaseu’s college — is not usually on the NFL radar. Does Lenny Wagner, Tevaseu’s defensive coordinator at SRJC, think Tevaseu has a chance to make it in the NFL? I could tell Wagner wanted to say, 'Hell, yes.' Instead Wagner took the cautious approach. 'I thought Scott Ware was a no-brainer,' said Wagner of the ex-SRJC defensive back who started for a USC national championship team. 'Martin has a lot of intangibles. He’s such a leader. He’s got a great personality. And he’s very smart. I know we would like to hire him as a coach.' Tevaseu has one more semester at UNLV to get his degree in sociology. If he isn’t playing pro ball, Tevaseu said he will take that degree and work with troubled youth.”
SCOTT WARE, who also starred at Santa Rosa JC, now plays with the Super Bowl-bound Indianapolis Colts. He went from SRJC to USC then, although undrafted, to the pros. I saw Ware play at SRJC, only saw him in that one game, but Ware dominated the game on defense from his safety position so thoroughly, well, I'd never seen anything like him. I also saw Logo Teveseu, another spectacularly dominant football star from Anderson Valley play at SRJC. Logo, as locals know, went on to play at TCU and now, with John Toohey, coaches the Anderson Valley High School football team.
BEGINNING IN FEBRUARY, a military family support group will meet at the Veteran's Memorial Hall in Fort Bragg the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7pm. The group will bring together family and friends of men and women currently serving in the armed forces (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, Reserve/Guard). This group is sponsored by the American Legion Sequoia Post 96. The Veteran's Memorial Hall is located across from the library in Fort Bragg on the corner of Alder and Laurel Streets. For more information contact Lisa at (707) 972-2261 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org