So, where was I? I went to San Francisco and it was beautiful. A bit chilly, but still sunny, no rain or even fog! It must have been two of the ten days it is not raining or foggy in San Fran. I promised you some pictures didn’t I?
So here I am, traipsing around in this dress, with the winds blowing and the dress flapping around my ears. I am sure everyone at the Sutro Baths saw more than they ever wanted to of me.
Jess took me to the seaside ruins where part of Harold and Maud was filmed. It is called the Sutro Baths and once housed the worlds largest indoor swimming pools. There are old photos showing a huge facility with several pools as well as gardens, a concert hall and a skating rink. Now it is ruins, having burned down around 1966 (and it was empty even then), with waves lapping at it, remembering the day. I would not want to be there during rough seas.
Now we are driving through Golden Gate Park.
The buildings are amazing! So much genuine architecture.
Lombard street is known as the crookedest street in San Francisco, maybe the country. It’s very nicely paved. Lots of switchbacks so the residents can actually get to their houses without a sherpa to guide them. I wildly shot pictures all the way down. I will spare you the blurry results.
Here is some of the best french toast I have ever had. Ever! And I have had a lot! It is thin slices of sourdough baguette with sautéed apples and a lemon butter sauce. They do not even serve it with syrup. It would be like putting catsup on perfectly made lobster or steak. Here is what Jess had.
Okay, have I mentioned driving in San Fransisco? It is not for the chicken-hearted, let me tell you. I have heard stories of driving in Italy that would curl your hair. Driving in San Fran would definitely give you frizz at very least. For one thing, most of the streets are one way. Never, of course the way you need to go. And no left turns either. So if you need to head west, you have to start by going east. It’s that simple. Did I mention the hills? Lots of hills. And narrow, twisty streets? Oh yeah, street cars. Fun to be on. Not so fun to drive behind. Thank goodness I personally did not have to do much driving. Jessica did the driving. Of course, her driving generally gives me the jitters even on flat, straight streets. It was an adrenaline rush for sure.
After a couple of days I had to leave for home, but I went the long way ’round in order to stop by and see my son, Phil. Oh, and see another bakery which just happens to be in the Santa Cruz area too. (ahem) I heard about this bakery when I borrowed a library book written by the woman who started it, Gayle. (Gayles Bakery) She is a self-taught baker for the most part, like myself and 30 some years later her bakery is still going strong. I had to stop by. Phil met me there. We were in slack-jawed awe of all the goodies. Not just pastries too but they had whole chickens rotating on a spit with a wood fire, sandwiches on homemade breads and a tea bar of sorts.
I went a little crazy. But I was not alone, cause phil went crazy too. We bought the largest loaf of bread that they sold. Then about 1 of everything else. And cheese. And a sandwich for the road. I had a long day ahead of me still. So I would have pastries to nibble on while driving, in order to stay awake of course, I filled a bag with bear claws, muffins, cookies, and I don’t even know what all. Phil took the mothra sized loaf back to the dorms with him and with a little help from his friends, will have a fine bread, wine and cheese fest.
So I was there for a couple of days only, then had to scoot on back to the land of cheap donut shops and flat two way streets with left arrows.
I know this is getting long. Maybe I should have made it a 3 parter. Anyway, I visited the gosh-darn beautiful campus of Santa Cruz and headed home around 1:00. Only 1 zillion miles to go. The part of the trip getting to the 5 freeway was pretty, farms, small towns, hills with lots of sheep. Fluffy sheep, skinny naked, sheared sheep, wittle wambs with their mamas. Then you get to the I-5 and pop in a CD and try to stay awake. Music, tea, my sandwich from Gayles and NO CAT . I was making good time and hated to stop, but nature wasn’t just calling, it was sending alarms to all stations. I had to waste time pulling into a rest stop.
I couldn’t tell you which stop it was. Big. Trucks. Functional bathrooms. Grass for the doggies to go. My car was an embarrassment, with a crematorium of dead bugs on the front grill, my stuff thrown into the back. Crumbs in the passenger seat (from Gayles!)I was afraid someone would think I was a homeless person, living in my car. Thats what I would have thought. But there is a fun sort of freedom, making that long road trip alone. Just me and my thoughts and my music, my snacks. Stopping when I wanted to. (so yes, it is all about me)
So after getting back in the car, all refreshed and ready to get home (I could feel the strings pulling me) I heard a disturbing buzzing.
I looked back through all the debris, telling myself it was just a fly that had flown in.
Trying to look nonchalant I quickly exited the vehicle. (Thats what they always say, isn’t it, in the manuals? “In an emergency, quickly exit the vehicle”? Especially a Prius. Have you seen their manuals? Yikes! Danger Will Robinson! on every other page. Makes me feel like I am sitting on a huge electrical circuit ready to blow at the slightest provocation. Enough said. But I am always at the ready to “quickly exit the vehicle”)
So, where was I. Oh yes. Bzzz. I looked through the window into the back. Sure enough, there was a pathetic little bee, as far down into the crevice at the bottom of the rear window as it could get. The heat and my junk would have eventually killed it! But I could not just drive down the freeway with that thing buzzing behind my back doing God knows what, planning an attack as a last act of revenge. I reached in with a skinny boy scout badge book I found in the trunk and tried to scoot it out. It dug in deeper. Big sigh here. It buzzed. I jumped. It was getting late
Thats when I noticed a man nearby reading a paperback and sitting on a nearby picnic table. Why, he looks like he needs a chance to do a good deed. I’ve got just the thing to help him to feel good about himself! And he’s a man. He can kill a bee for me, right? Its somewhere in their genetic code, along with making fire and digging pits at the beach. I signed louder and mumbled. He looked up. I shrugged my shoulders and said something to the effect of “There’s a bee stuck in my car. Guess I’ll be walking home from here.”
“Want some help?” Ah-ha! His chivalric nature reared its noble head. Can I pick em or what.
“Sure, that would be great, here” and I practically handed him my whole car. He came over and assessed the danger. He deftly reached in with his bookmark, gently allowed the bee to grasp it and pulled the bee to safety. It flew away, visibly sweating. Wow.
“Thank you so much! I would have just killed it. You saved its life. And mine. Here” I rummaged for a treat or some reward for my bee charmer. “Would you like a Dr. Pepper? Its kind of warm, but still”
“Sure, thanks”, he said taking the soda and going back to his book. I said my thanks too and drove away, confident that I had done a greater favor for him, in boosting his self-esteem, than he did for me in just getting rid of one little bee. (whew! That was close.)
So now I head home in earnest. The day was warm, about 80 until you got to the Grapevine (which I kept thinkin I saw in the distance. Man California is long!) There was snow at the top even and was in the 50’s. As soon as I dropped down the other side, and as evening was approaching, it was 90! What is up with that I ask you!?
Now it had reaalllly been a long day. I needed to be home and now. Or I needed someone to take over driving. Do bees drive? I am no longer thinking clearly. At least I had hit no traffic at all the whole trip.
I just had to think that, didn’t I.
Just less than an hour from home, whammy! There was stopped traffic. I maneuvered into the commuter lane. (nanner-nanner, hybrid sticker!) But soon even that clogged up. Don’t they know how tired I was, how far I had come. Didn’t they see all the dead bugs on my grill! They should have let me through, out of pity.Where is mans mercy to man?! Let me out of here.
I have a confession. Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you. But just so you know you are not alone if this ever happens to you. But suddenly I caved in. It was a weak moment and “he who must not be named” loves to utilise those weak moments. Suddenly every fault on mine, every wrong move, every regret came down around my ears. I skipped feeling sorry and getting misty and just went full on into hysterical sobbing. And wouldnt you know, the traffic cleared up. Now I was on the last leg, but could not stop crying. Just how safe is it do you think, for a hysterical women to be behind the wheel of a car going 70 miles an hour, flying down the highway? Remember seeing those stickers ‘Don’t drive faster than an angel can fly”? Well, that would apply here for sure. Cause there must have been a full regiment of them keeping me from careening out of control. I made a phone call to my daughter, poor thing, probably figuring she could handle this better than anyone else right then. She could have had company, or been out shopping. It never crossed by mind. All my energy was being diverted to getting home and there was none left for cognizant thinking.
It took a while, but I eventually regained control of myself just in time to pull into my neighborhood. This dumpy little ‘hood never looked so good. Hello tomato plants! Hello cracked asphalt driveway! Hello leaning fence! Hello silly apricot tree! Hello Jack, good faithful guard dog! (bet he would have eaten that bee for me). Hello sleeping little chickens.
“Mooommm! Your home!”
Everyone was glad I was back in one peice. Lordy, I wont be doing that again anytime soon.
But I’m sure glad I did it.