Not Your Ordinary B&B: The Featherbed Railroad, Part 2

If you missed part 1, you can catch up on it here. 

There’s a crisp chill in the air this April afternoon. Gray clouds are high over Clear Lake, reminding us of recent rains and storms. But all is quiet today other than the sound of the residential Grebe calling for its mate. It’s easy to get lost in the view sitting on the porch of La Loose Caboose. But we’ve already decided to write about our experience. I mean, how often do you stay at a B & B and laugh as much as we already have after seeing bras hanging from the wall, mirrors over the bed, and the neon light glowing “La Playpen” over the sleeping area? It’s already too much fun.

As you may have guessed by now, The Featherbed Railroad B & B experience starts when you meet the owners, Jami and David.

“Hi, Jami,” I smile after we make our way back to the check-in office. “I just wanted to reintroduce myself to you as The Bloom.”

“Are you a secret shopper?” she smiles coyly.

“I guess I am!” I laugh out loud. “My husband and I write all good news in Lake County,” I hand her a business card.

“Well, I guess we passed the test if you’re back.” 

“I guess you did,” I agree. “Your La Loose is great. I haven’t seen anything like it before. It makes me laugh just being in there. It’s great fun!” I affirm.

“Well, I have to show you something if you’re going to write about us.” Jami ushers us past the kitchen and out the back door. “We still have so much to do; it was such a mess. There was an outbuilding, garbage, just everything everywhere when we first bought it,” she explains. Spring’s green grass is growing tall beyond the gravel patio. The backyard is home to a caboose that is slowly blending into nature and in need of repair if it ever joins the other cabooses. Nearer the office is a small area with a caboose that houses Jami and David. There’s a privacy fence, a hammock, and BBQ for their downtime. 

But that’s not where Jami is taking us. Under a large white canvas awning sits a brightly painted yellow and blue carnival-themed van converted to look like a circus car. Jami opens the door. “Be careful of the first step,” she says. “You have to duck to get in, and then you can stand up just fine.” We duck our way inside and enter an entirely different world. Two dark royal blue cushions make the length of the sides of the van a seating area that easily converts into a bed for sleeping. 

“We made this for my dad,” Jami reminisces. “I was two when my dad took custody of me.” She smiles fondly. “He took odd jobs anywhere, so he and I were always on the road. We lived in a van. It was just the best time. You know we were really like Gypsies, and I have so many wonderful memories with him. 

“But then, when I turned six, my teacher told him we had to have a permanent address, and we had to stop moving around. It was really kinda sad. Later we took my dad’s van, stripped the inside, and converted it into a gypsy van! He was so surprised,” 

Jami sits on a cushion facing my husband and me looking fondly at a small collage of photos from her childhood and the special memories they hold of her, her dad, other gypsies, and the most special people from her past. We listen as Jami tells story after story before it’s time to return to reality. We say our goodbyes for the evening after capturing another photo of Jami and David together before returning to our own caboose. 

The damp chill deepens into the early evening, but the view is too inviting. My husband brings me a glass of wine, and we settle in under the branches of a large oak tree where our small deck wraps around its trunk, promising to provide ample shade on a warm summer day. It feels good to be outside, but the evening chill promises to get colder, and we make our way back inside to the warmth of the caboose. 

For such a small space, there are worlds of their own inside. I make my way up to the cupola. Two benches that face each other, an old lookout designed to give a look down the track for any warning signs. But tonight it’s the perfect setting to take in the sun setting on the lake. One seat takes full views of the lake while the other takes in views of other cabooses. Each is special, set apart, and romantic. 

Before we know it, we finish an entire bottle of wine over conversation and a lot of laughter. As I recall, we did dip into the next evening’s bottle of wine. But that’s when things get a little blurry . . . . . .

Now should your evening be more indulgent than you expected, have no fear. Jami and her staff promise to be the perfect cure for all that may ail you. The morning after provided us a hot croissant sandwich with ham, cheese, and egg with a side of hashbrowns and a cup of fruit and more than enough joe to wake up the living dead if necessary. 

Whether you live in Lake County or not, everyone should experience the Featherbed Railroad B & B. Each caboose is differently themed and promises to capture an unforgettable experience. If you have time, stay for two nights. It’s meant to be a journey, not to be rushed and quite possibly my new favorite staycation destination in Lake County.

Featherbed Railroad

2870 Lakeshore Blvd, 

Upper Lake, CA 95485

(707) 274-8378

Trudy Wakefield

Trudy is the owner and editor for The Bloom. The Bloom's dedicated to showcasing all the good parts of life. If it's good news, you'll probably find it here.

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