Forsaken: The Edge of Everything
Locations - Mendocino County
UVMC’s only real competitor, this hospital is located on the second story of a disused Catholic Church that has since moved to more modern digs.
An accredited two-year community college, Mendocino College is composed of three campuses, the largest of which is in Ukiah. Founded in 1972, the little campus offers basic education in anything you might find at a high school, as well solid nursing and EMT programs.
The pretty little campus in its sunny valley is mostly solar powered, and so has not suffered from the steeply rising energy prices levied by MPG&E. Yet with government funding slowing to a crawl, the trustees have become heavily indebted to wealthy local donors and investors. The former group simply cannot give enough to keep a college afloat, while the latter, as ever, expects some sort of return on its investment.
Of late, the college has seen an upsurge of counterculture, similar to but smaller than what’s going on in the Bay Area. Currently very neo-hippie, the movement is mostly a bunch of kids sitting on the quad smoking pot, but one or two voices in the community are eager to make any sort of change they can before the world implodes.
Ukiah City Civic Center
A small, two-story city hall, this boxy building was once gleaming, now dirty-eggshell white. Inside is the modern-for-2000 but swiftly decaying office of the Mayor and her staff, with an adjunct building for the town council. The new Civic Center was built over the older, smaller center, after that collapsed in the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
Ukiah High School
Called Ukiahi, the home of the Wildcats was formerly a very successful school that produced NFL quarterbacks and Rhodes Scholars. Like the city, the school has fallen on hard times, with budget shortages and a skyrocketing dropout rate as students leave to join the workforce, or just leave town. To make matters worse, the school was recently rocked when a teacher and student committed suicide together to hide their affair.
Ukiah Municipal Airport
You won’t find any 747s in this one-runway airport, but the locals like to use it to shuttle into the wilderness or to the neighboring states. Paolo Brutocao even has a G4 on-hand to fly him to San Francisco or Napa on business. The people of Ukiah take pride in their airport. When times got tough, they let the relaxed controller go, and hired a more detail-oriented individual to keep UMA looking spotless.
Ukiah Police Station
Across the street from city hall is a squat, Victorian manor that is, in fact, the local police precinct. The UPD has modernized the interior and turned the two-story basement into a jail and armory. Despite the difficulty of the day, the UPD remains an efficient and popular organization, thanks in large part to the fair-handed sternness of the current Sheriff, retired NFL player Aaron Rodgers.
Yokaya Valley Medical Center
The largest local hospital is a two-story pueblo building that recently came into a bumper crop of doctors from UCSF. These excellent professionals do not discuss why they left, but they do not charge UCSF rates and the town is glad to have them.
Art and Culture
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Among the first Chinese Zen Buddhist temples in the Americas, and one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere, the Wànfó Shèngchéng was founded in 1974 by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. Built using a former hospital in Talmage just outside Ukiah, the center contains a monastery and nunnery, boarding school, gymnasium, garbage incinerator, and small farms – more than enough to sustain itself as a community-within-the-community. Long a progressive force in Mendocino politics, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has recently turned inward, its people rarely venturing outside the whitened walls.
Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House
This museum was once home to Grace Carpenter and John W. Hudson, anthropologists and ethnographers who studied the local Native American tribes. The museum continues their work by displaying art by Californians (including much by Grace herself), paintings celebrating the landscape, and artifacts of native cultures. Despite the Hudsons’ strong relationship with local tribes, there has been some controversy lately as the natives, spurred on by the Second Ghost Dance, have demanded their heritage be returned.
838 Maya Way
838 Maya Way is located in the suburban addition called East Ukiah, built during the economic recovery of 2011. Its owners were a nurse at Evanescent Hospital and a junior foreman at the local UPS hub. Then MPG&E drove UPS out of the area, and the family could no longer make mortgage payment. The bank foreclosed without allowing an appeal.
The house today is abandoned, the paint eroded on the “Foreclosure Sale” signs. An incomplete addition lacking a roof stands open to the sky, and the pool has filled with rain, creating a fetid miniature swamp you can smell a block away. It is just one example of the countless dreams of home destroyed in the Second Depression.
Locus 1 (Failure)
The incomplete addition was meant to be the father’s “man-cave.” Minutes after signing the foreclosure papers, he took his prize widescreen HDTV and threw it against the wall. Today, even the looters see no point in taking it, but the local spirits show great interest—the broken television is a locus of loss and failure.
The place is not a Wound. Not yet. But it is a haunt for dozens of Discardings, Rusty Chains, and worse, and will surely become one soon if nothing is done.
Bitterman’s Bar and ill
One-armed Vietnam vet Greg Bitterman founded his Bar & Grill in 1972. In the 80s, some daft punks tore down the “Gr” from his neon sign, so the stubborn ex-pilot had restaurant legally renamed. The food at Bitterman’s is hearty and workmanly, but his world-famous taste in whiskey gets him sample bottles of some of the finest spirits anywhere. A popular hangout among the working-class, though the sawmill and vineyard workers get along worse and worse of late.
The first long-standing Ukiah business to close after 2013, this sawmill now stands derelict a few miles outside town. No one goes there, and the forest has already begun to reclaim the building that claimed so much of the forest.
Brutocao Family Vineyards
An award-winning and world-famous vineyard, Brutocao is an exemplar of the California wine tradition: smooth, challenging tastes without European pretension. Still family-owned, the vineyards span many lovely acres, shrouded with a silvery fog on windy mornings. The Brutocao family was once the most powerful in Mendocino, and is trying to remain so even as wine prices plummet.
Orr Hot Springs
Ukiah is famous for its natural “champagne” baths of bubbling mineral water. Of the half-dozen or so spas scattered throughout the valley, the most reputable and luxurious is the Orr Hot Springs. Unfortunately, a drop in disposable income means people are less prone to spend big on spa days, and Orr Hot Springs is slowly turning into a modern mirror of ancient Roman bathhouse ruins.
World’s Largest Redwood Tree Service Station
In 1936, three enterprising brothers cut down a monster sequoia and used three sections of its trunk to build a filling and service station California’s highway 101. They thought it would be a gas to name the world’s only service station made from a redwood the World’s Largest Redwood Tree Service Station.
The site was incredibly popular as both a tourist attraction (complete with small museum of the early auto industry) and one of the last pumps before a long stretch of forest. Of course, The Scarcities put an end to most profitable gas stations, this one included. The family made a bid at landmark status, but the government had more pressing matters to attend to, like its own slow collapse.
Today, the World’s Largest Redwood Tree Service Station is a boarded-up derelict. Beloved by locals, its exterior remains fairly clean, but as time goes on, it takes on a sadder and sadder aspect.
Locus 3 (Transitions)
As one of the premiere attractions in Ukiah, the Service Station has long been an unofficial symbol of the transition from the suburbs to the woods. It swiftly became a powerful locus of borders and the changing of terrain.
World’s Largest — once spirit of the living sequoia, now of the gas station carved from its corpse — keeps the locus as neutral way-station and watering hole for the local spirits. Of late, spirits of abandonment, loneliness, and rot have all come to the foreclosed building. World’s Largest lets them fill up, but then he and the other spirits make sure they move along.
But the Service Station’s resonance is souring, providing less food for World’s Largest’s allies, and more temptation for the harbingers of entropy. World’s Largest is strong, but even he must eventually bow to changing times.
The physical locus itself is gas pump #5, which is still the shiniest nozzle on the grounds. Anyone who feeds at the Locus after leaving the woods for the city or vice versa gains +1 on a single action on their journey.
In 1958, the Army Corps of Engineers built the earthen Coyote Dam, turning Old Coyote Valley into the reservoir of Lake Mendocino. With over 30 Campsites, two boat ramps, and several marinas, Lake Mendocino provides recreation for many of the locals. Of late, PG&E has built a new local HQ and staff dormitories adjacent to the Lake Mendocino Hydroelectric plant, and surrounded the whole compound with an electric fence.
The Moaning Tunnels
From 2006 to the crisis of 2013, Ukiah spearheaded an effort to build wind turbines throughout the windswept mountain passes of Mendocino County. The turbines did indeed provide plenty of cheap, locally owned power. But the models purchased have a tendency to produce a low, droning moan as they spin, and by night, the mournful wail from the passes fills the streets of Ukiah.
Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve
1,300+ acres of coastal range forest owned by the State of CA, Mendocino Natural Reserve was established to protect its magnificent Sequoia Redwoods. Its tallest tree, the Mendocino Tree, was once considered the tallest tree in the world from 1996 through 2000. Because heavy foot traffic has been known to damage well-publicized “world’s tallest trees,” the exact tree has not been marked, and is one of many of similar height. Still, folks who have claimed to find the tree also say the woods gets eerily quiet when they do, and they cannot find it again thereafter.
Russian River flows south from the Laughlin Mountain Range a bit north of Ukiah, flowing through the city to its delta just north of San Francisco. The beautiful little river, though dangerous in winter with swift currents and muddy waters, is a tourist attraction the rest of the year.
The river is especially popular with the Gay community, hosting many LGBT events throughout the year. As San Francisco has become less safe for that minority, many gays, lesbians, and transgendered folk have actually settled along the riverbanks, which does not sit well with certain elements of the local blue collar.
Neighboring Settlements – Other villages and towns in Mendocino County