Thursday, April 01, 2010


Silence Is Golden

And so is that bridge thingie outside of San Francisco. I know. I drove over it by mistake.

As I've stated many times, I could get lost in my own bathroom; quite possibly in my own glove compartment. I start out confidently, fully aware of where I am and where I'm going and how I'm going to get there, and then somewhere in the middle of the journey I get distracted by something shiny and it all goes to hell after that.

Every. Single. Time. (this may help explain how I tried to go to a fibrefest in the wrong place last summer. Apparently the people at CFB Esquimalt didn't want to buy yarn, but at least they didn't shoot me.)

I managed to leave Beth's house just fine, and find the I-5 again (eventually) and even found a place to get off the highway for lunch (Arby's) and to buy some ibuprofen (Bi-Mart -- how could I have resisted?) and managed to get back ON the highway again. Going in the right direction.

This, for me, is a plus. I wouldn't have been at all startled to have gone about 20 miles in the wrong direction before I realized I was heading north, but I didn't make that mistake that day. (it later turned out to be one of the few mistakes I missed making)

I drove and drove and drove and oh, Oregon! Why did nobody ever tell me before how pretty you are? If I'd had more time I'd have gotten us a room, that is just how pretty you are. Sheeps! Trees! Green everywhere! And everyone was nice and polite and funny and bla bla bla. As you can tell, I was utterly enchanted.

I finally got to the border and was through the Fruit and Nut Gestapo (they were actually very nice and not a bit intimidating but this is my story, so shut up) and managed to convince them that I had no fruit in my car (I didn't). They didn't seem to notice I was nuts, so all was well and they let me through.

The change in terrain was almost immediate, and I was again enchanted, although not quite as smitten (I'm used to green). I pulled off the highway in a little place called Weed (Californians are serious about their weed, apparently) and called home, as I had realized I'd left the directions here. Or perhaps never even printed them out.

Ben couldn't get Santa Clara to come up on the map, so he said, "Oh, it's big, there will be signs. Just head for San Francisco and look for the signs; you'll find it with no problem."


Apparently it is NOT big, and there are NOT signs.

There were problems.

to be continued ...

I have done the get-on-the-freeway-heading-the-wrong-way thing. It took me 20 minutes/20 miles to figure it out!
This has got to end better than my Moving-to-San-Jose story. Long story short, 24-year-old me moved from one coast to the other, driving a uhaul, towing my car, last stretch was 36 hours with no sleep bc there are no non-skeezy hotels on that last stretch, ran out of diesel, couldn't find a diesel pump to save my life. Tow truck guy and I drove through the weigh station about 6 times before it was said and done.

Long story even shorter:
Santa Clara/San Jose is just as easy to miss from the south.

Eventually, it all worked out, though, and it's where I met my Ben (who made your winder). :D
One of the big lessons in my 24th year was that any highway is actually TWO highways -- one that goes north (or west) and one that goes south (or east). Woe betide the driver who chooses the wrong one.
I've learned to stop saying "ohshitohshit we're lost" in a panicky voice b/c it upsets my kids. I learned to pull off at a gas station and ask for directions or consult the bigass road atlas I keep in every car I drive. We have a GPS but I still have maps since the trusty GPS doesn't always want to go where I do. Case in point, last weekend in a rental car in the wilds of Georgia in the dark with no map and unhelpful road signs and the GPS said "no route found". Luckily there was a friendly cop in the Burger King where I stopped to get a chicken nugget infusion for my (very patient) 9yo travelling companion who only asked "are we lost?" once or twice.
Do not feel badly, Dear Rabbitch. I live in the Bay Area and have accidently found myself in San Francisco more than once, twice, or even three times. At least part of the problem is the damn freeway signs & the tangle of freeways themselves. And driving in SF sucks too. Great if you live there, not very driver friendly if you don't. Once I got rid of my car I realized that I don't actually hate the city. In fact, as a pedestrian and public transit rider I like it rather a lot and even go there on purpose now. I'm sure the trauma of learning to drive stick shift in SF 20+ years ago greatly contributed to my feelings about motoring in the city by the bay.

Glad you survived the experience!
Oh I can't wait to hear the rest of this story. :-)
I now have a smart phone to help me get from here to there. The only time it doesn't work is when there's no service. Then watch the fun begin. Seriously, my dad put a compass on the dash of my first car and I still got lost.
It's not an adventure until you get lost. Very hard to remember while you're lost and running late, but I try to remind myself of that while I'm panicking.
Yes we are mostly awesome here in Oregon. Glad we could make an impression. And Bi-Mart is awesome as well. It is so worth the wait to hear of your adventures.
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