Before today I had only briefly been in the San Francisco Bay area, when I took a flight from Reno to Los Angeles while I was in college through Oakland. For whatever reason, I had never found a reason to go to the San Francisco area until today, and now I sit here in the home of someone I know relatively well from our mutual service at the local Preteen camp near Portland and it is after midnight, and I have been up since 2:30AM yesterday morning. I am tired, but as is often the case on a trip like this I feel it necessary to write out my experiences in order to make sense of them so that I may more peacefully sleep after I am done. And so with that said, let us go.
As I mentioned, I got up at 2:30AM because I figured I would need an hour or so to get everything ready so that we could leave as planned at 3:30AM, which happened within a few minutes, at least. As is common on trips south, from Colton we made our way south through Molalla on 211 and found ourselves entering I-5 at Woodburn, stopping in Mollala for drinks–I had water myself. When we arrived in Grant’s Pass it was time for breakfast so we stopped at Elmer’s on the south side of town and had breakfast and rested for a bit. Then it was time to be off again. During the trip one of the people in our party got some rest a couple of times, but I was too busy reading (I ended up reading three books en route, the last one as we approached Scotts Valley) as well as looking at the oddities of the trip to get any beauty rest myself.
And to be sure, the trip was a bit odd. For one, I tried to help along the communication between the other two people involved, as it appears that neither of them was frequently able to make themselves understood the first time they said something. For another, the trip had the air of mystery, as we ended up taking a slight detour to find the driver’s sister, who lives in Vallejo, a town I was unfamiliar with. On the way to her house we found ourselves on the road to Napa Valley, with its beautiful vineyards, and then down another highway into nearby Vallejo, which has a lovely amusement park that is part of the Six Flags system but is otherwise not a particularly lovely town. At any rate, the driver’s sister was a friendly woman if a somewhat diffident one who lives in a mobile home park, and after we had lunch together at the Black Bear in town (the fifth, at least, of that particular restaurant chain I have eaten at so far, after Madras, Beaverton, Redmond, and Grant’s Pass), we returned to her place and the two people I was with went inside to chat with her a bit while I guarded the car and prevented it from being towed.
Interestingly enough, it had seemed that we were lost when we made our stop in Vallejo, but instead we saved ourselves a fairly lengthy journey some other day if we had not been able to get into contact today, and by chance we arrived when his sister was home and was enjoying a pear on her stairwell. From such coincidences are made worthwhile memories. And although our trip through Southern Oregon and Northern California involved some oddly named towns (like Talent, Oregon, and Weed Valley, California, where we stopped briefly at the rest stop), and even a large area of farmland in Northern California where roads were uncreatively given titles like Road 81, once we got into the San Francisco Bay area, the towns were all crowded in on each other and bragging about how many people lived there. It did take a while before we found Highway 17 to make our way to our final destination, though, as I-880 turned into I-280 and was making its way from San Jose towards San Francisco when we found our exit and made our way uphill to where we now stay. And though there are plenty of stairs, for now my foot is being quiescent, and so it is time to sleep, at long last.