I do not like to fly.
In fact, I hate flying. As you can see, that puts a pretty big, messy menstrual cramp in the "jet" part of "jet-setting style" since flying takes place on planes, and "plane" is another word for "jet."
I hate flying so much that I agreed to endure the six hour drive from Los Angeles up the I-5 to the Bay Area. It doesn't sound like a sacrifice unless you have actually done this trip before. I have done it about a bazillion times and that is only a slight exaggeration. If you have not had the pleasure of making this roadtrip yourself, I can totally re-create it for you right now. Yes, right this very instant, in this post, on this blog. Set you alarm then...
Wake up at the ass-crack of dawn even though you are not scheduled to depart until 9:00 AM, which is still earlier than you ever wake up on your normal unemployed "work" day of blogging because this...this is vacation. Right.
Load the car with your belongings and ignore the looks of utter confusion and contempt that silently scream "This is a weekend road trip, not a 12-day Carnival Fun Cruise through the Caribbean!" It will not be your problem when he is caught without a little black pencil skirt, tank top with matching shrug and knee-high boots when you guys spontaneously decide to go to dinner at a "nice" place that was not pre-planned. And you can tell him to "Forget it!" if he tries to borrow your velcro rollers that are so huge that have their own carrying case that has to be checked at the gate. But you're not flying, so who cares?
Stop and get coffee (but no food) before you get onto the 405 because your chauffeur is an accountant. He has already calculated the total mileage, the total drive-time, the estimated fuel consumption plus-or-minus 2.5 gallons for unexpected slowdowns due to mini dust storms through the Central Valley, the miles per gallon, the gallons per mile, the miles per hour and the hours per cup of coffee consumed, which includes one stop prior to accessing the 405 freeway. We stopped at Le Pain Quotidien because I don't drink Starbucks unless the only other option is yak piss, in which case, I would still waffle because I have had yak piss before. My grandmother called it "bo-yahk," or Korean herbal medicine that promised to make me smart, healthy, and beautiful. By the way, the medicine didn't work completely as I am neither smart nor healthy.
Now here is the part where the drive from LA to SF gets interesting. For the next five hours and 45 minutes (because the coffee took a little longer than expected), stare at the photo at the top of the post. That's 5.75 hours if you're a metric person. Don't blink because you might miss something on the picturesque landscape that varies from mile to mile to mile. Every once in a while, you can look at the photo on the right, because that looks slightly different, but not really.
As much as I would have liked to have continuously sped along the I-5 at the speed of sound, only decelerating for wobbling out-of-state Winnebagos, we had to stop within the first hour of driving. That is what happens when you give Starbucks the finger and think you are punishing them by drinking twice as much coffee from one of their harmless "competitors" than you normally would.
It is highly doubtful that the Evil Empire felt a thing.
We had agreed that the drive would be more exciting for me if I could look forward to some sort of food-related mini-adventure about which I could blog. I thought about it. Maybe I could do a review of the mega Flying J Plazas that seem to have a truck stop monopoly all along the I-5, and well-deserved is that monopoly since they offer free wi-fi, perfect for all the blogging truckers out there. Maybe I could write about Kettleman City, which is about the midway point between LA and SF. Kettleman City has every drive-through fast-food burger joint known to California and used to be the last, northernmost location of southern-California-based In N Out Burger. Whenever I drove back to Berkeley after a Holiday visit at home in LA, I would make sure to have lunch at In N Out in Kettleman City because that would be the last time I would eat a Double-Double, animal-style until I returned home. Of course, the charm of such an activity has been eradicated ever since In N Out went and infiltrated northern California.
Maybe I could write about how funny it is that right after you leave Kettleman City, if you so chose to make your lunch stop there, and are grossly engorged with all things cow - ground beef, cheese, double thick milkshake - you will want to throw up at the sight and smell of 4 million cows. Even if you try not to look, you will see them because they are packed together like cow sardines on either side of the freeway. It is cow into the horizon. Even if you have the foresight to change your interior air circulation to re-circ as soon as you see the sign for Coalinga, you will gag because somehow, eau de bovine has X-men like properties such that it can alter its molecular structure and can penetrate glass, metal, and rubber.
But I decided not to blog about that because your pet cow is cute, but 4 million cows after binging on burgers is not.
Instead, we decided to try Pea Soup Andersen's. For all my four years of driving up and down the I-5 between college and home, I never once stopped to have a bowl of spli
t pea soup at Pea Soup Andersen's in Santa Nella. I looked forward to it.
However, as we pulled off the freeway to re-load a 14 gallon tank and unload our coffee-effected personal tanks, some strange force took over our brains. Red. Yellow. Visions of a creepy smiling clown with big feet and even bigger 'fro escaped our adult supervision. Suddenly, we were starving. Right now! We were famished to the point of delirium...right now! We tossed Pea Soup Andersen's, at least "30 miles ahead, on right" out the passenger-side window. We needed to eat now! Now! Instant gratification! Healthy protein from a rotisserie chicken and maybe some dried fruits and nuts? No! We have no time! We need speed! We need efficiency! McChevron!
Instead of waiting for 30 minutes, we bent over in front of Ronald and took his French Fries in the butt. *shameshameshameshameshame*
I'm not going to lie and say I didn't enjoy it at the time. I did. But now I hate myself.
The remainder of the drive went by quickly, and by 2:15, we were passing the old familiar windmills along the 580. I could hardly contain myself as we crossed the Bay Bridge.
We've come a long, six hour way, baby.
** a year ago today, zucchini cakes via santa monica **