Thursday, September 27, 2007

The trip begins in earnest

(Wednesday. Oakland CA to Fernley NV. 250 miles)

We proceeded merrily along until somewhere near Sacramento where unfortunately TGF went left instead of right and we barreled along on Business 80 rather than Route 80 to Reno. So around about we went until we were finally back on track. It was amazing how sleepy I felt and it was so early in the drive. One last time we pulled into a service area and got In n Out burgers. Yes I ate a burger, theirs are the some of the only ones I would eat. I don’t know what they do to them but I actually like them. A little food somehow reenergized us both, thankfully and we proceeded merrily along.

In my calculations I had forgotten about the mountain ranges we needed to drive through. Well I hadn’t forgotten but had not accounted for a heavy truck pulling a Subaru Forester. Oops. The vistas were still beautiful and I eagerly awaited the gates which mark the entrance into California Heading eastward there is no clear marker but still there was something exhilarating about crossing that invisible line out of the state that I had passed through six years previous.

The roads climbed, dipped, and climbed again. As we rode on the elevation markers made it clear how far up we were: 4,000; 5,000; 6,000 feet above sea level. There was spitting hitting my windshield, reminding me how long it had been since I had seen rain. It never rained hard but it made the driving hard for TGF; the first rains of the season make the roads slick and slippery as the water mixes with oil and gasoline on the asphalt surface. The smell was of chalk and wet and asphalt.

Suddenly the lights of Reno were ahead, twinkling and bright. One building outlined in green, recalled the Emerald City but this was a larger rainbow with other outline colours visible. There was something about the gaudy cluster of brightness that made feel like I had been living in some provincial little hamlet rather than somewhere as diverse and sophisticated as Berkeley.

After the glowing town the road was dark, cold, and drizzling when we pulled over so she could get some gas. I suppose exhaustion is to blame for her taking a wrong turn out of the station. She tried back up, which is hard to do with good instruction and while wide awake. As she tried figure out how to get out of this non-road, I pondered how to get the sleeping bags off the roof of the car and if we could keep warm enough until day light and start again. She found a way out though an unpaved section until she found a paved road and we made our way back on the road. Soon after that she called me staying she was done. Tried pulling into a Super 8 but they were full, as was the Best Western across the way. The front desk person recommended the Truck’s Inn across the highway, so on we went. This place was a total dive: a motel/casino/restaurant/truck stop with absolutely no charm. Seriously. It took forever to book the room as the woman at the desk was new and apparently not allowed to do a dang thing. The manager gave me a room but before he could put the charge through had a long phone call from which I found out that most rooms in a significant radius had been booked up for the better part of a year for Street Vibrations scheduled for the coming weekend. As nice as the manager was he wasn’t very talented because he could not put a charge through and talk on the phone. Reminded me of the joke of not being to walk and chew gum – yep that was him. Through all of this I was being inundated with second hand smoke and wanted to strip off a layer of skin to get it off.

The hallways had signs that read “Please talk and walk softly as people are sleeping at all hours”; and the room was just as charming as you might imagine, complete with carpeting on the door. Now it took me all of a minute to figure out the reason for the d├ęcor but TGF is a total princess when it comes to hotels and had never been to a place like this, what I like to call a “chew ‘n screw”. It wasn’t until the next morning that she told me she had just figured it out, after pondering it for awhile. Anybody know? It’s cheaper than a good door that actually blocks sound.

3 comments:

Jbeeky said...

I love folowing this journey, stay safe and know we are thinking of you!

Alex said...

I knew about the rugs on the doors. It's so that you can get rug burn when you're standing up. I've heard some people like that kind of thing.

heather said...

carpeting on the door! that's a new one to me. who knew i'd been living it up so well.

glad to hear you made it ok!