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May 23, 2014
Lockeford: All the comforts of home

Gail reads about the history of the Langdon Room, where we are staying for two nights

She says…

When planning this trip, we knew we just had to return to The Inn at Locke House. Our one-night stay five years ago just whet our appetite for a longer stay.

Richard and Lani Eklund have taken the home of Dr. Dean Locke, built in stages between 1862 and 1882, and turned it into one of the most welcoming bed and breakfasts we have ever stayed at. As I write this, we are sitting in one of the lovingly restored parlors, feeling very much at home. This is the back, or family parlor – not to be confused with the front parlor which was also the patient waiting room.

There is just too much history to relate here so here’s a video link.

For many years, Richard and Lani had a relationship with a gentleman who grew up here. John Thorp was a pilot and Richards‘s mentor in all things flying. All through the home there are photos of John in planes. Richard told me that John developed the Piper Cherokee plane. When John was ready to sell the house, I guess it seemed like a natural thing for the Eklunds to buy it. They moved to Locke House from Virginia in 1992.

In reading the restoration story, I was amazed to find out that Lani rid the third floor of bats, bees and birds. She plastered walls, refinished floors and did whatever else needed to be done. Sound familiar? I think she and I are kindred spirits.

We are especially pleased that Lani made sure we had the Langdon Room, the same room as five years ago. This is the room where all the components that the Locke family had in the ‘best bedroom” are placed. It is the most Victorian of all the bedrooms. The armoire was built during the Civil War for the Mokelumne Light Dragoons (the inn is located not too far from the Mokelumne River).

But the best part about Locke House are Richard and Lani themselves. They are welcoming and warm people. Lani is an amazing cook, and Richard had no problem jumping in to help figure out what is making that funny noise on our bike. His shop is amazing (he’s a mechanical engineer); and Lani’s garden right outside the kitchen is abundant, and adds a delicious touch to breakfast. (We had lemon sorrel with our soufflé this morning.)

We feel truly blessed to have added these two folks to our circle of very important people in our lives. We plan to stay in touch – and not just as guests at the inn.

The family parlor at Locke House

He says…

In previous entries, we have made vague references to a “car shuttle.” This is one of the many ways that we have planned this trip for a maximum chance of success. The van is our “supply vehicle.” It has two back-up solo bikes, extra clothing and supplies. The Prius is our “chase vehicle.’ Every few days, we shuttle these two vehicles to a current and future milestone destination. That way, if we have a medical emergency or if Gail is unable to bike one of the legs, we can still continue the trip without having to cancel and go home.

The van is filled with extra bicycles, clothing and supplies

The disadvantage is that every few days we have move the vehicles to their next milestone destinations. Because we are spending two nights in Lockeford, we spent a couple of hours doing this. We will not see a vehicle again until two days from now in Lathrop.

Our lazy day today started with delicious breakfast cooked by our hostess, Lani. (Five years ago, she took notes on my dining preferences: “No eggs. Got it.” When Gail made our recent reservation a couple of weeks ago, we were amazed that Lani still had her notes from my previous visit. “Russell. No eggs. Got it.”)

Gail chats with Lani during breakfast

Gail and I discussed possible plans for the day that included visiting Lockeford’s historic cemetery or taking a nature walk in nearby Lodi. In the end, we spent the day relaxing and resting ourselves for the days of hot-weather bicycling ahead. The high point of our day was almost finishing a jigsaw puzzle in the kitchen. (We discovered that it was missing a few pieces.)

We also spent a lot of time visiting with our hosts, Richard and Lani. Richard, a retired mechanical engineer, helped us tune up the tandem bicycle a bit. We discovered that a couple of the pedals were getting loose; Richard provided some socket wrenches to tighten them. He also used his air compressor to get the bike tires back up to 40 psi. Unfortunately, none of us was able to identify the intermittent noise that our bike started making yesterday. (It sounds like a rock hitting the bike frame and occurs non-rhythmically every few minutes. If anyone has a clue what this might be, please let us know!) We did check that absolutely nothing is loose or out of place on the bike, so we feel comfortable continuing.

Russell and Richard work on the tandem bicycle in Richard’s massive workshop

After last night’s incredible dinner, Lani gave us another restaurant recommendation. Today, we drove into nearby Lodi to eat at Pietro’s Italian Restaurant. We ate outside on the terrace, where opera music and the restaurant’s herb garden transported us to the Italian countryside for the evening. Russell got to have his favorite comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs.

Sadly, we heard that due to health considerations, the Ecklunds are reducing the number of days they run their B&B. We are fortunate that we were able to make a return visit. Once again, this will undoubtedly be one of the high points of our 160-mile adventure.

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