By 6:30 a.m. we were only running half an hour behind schedule.
This is nothing short of a miracle if you know Emily and me. In high school I used to forge notes excusing our tardiness because we couldn’t quite manage to rally before first period. (And when I say ‘we’ I mean Emily.)
As we boarded the on ramp of the Bay Bridge the first rays of sun were just starting to break through the fog in San Francisco. Mapquest had us cruising into Yosemite by 10:30 a.m. if we drove straight through. But factoring in our quick breakfast stop (one hour), grocery run and bank fiasco (45 minutes), pit stops and all around goofing off (90 minutes) – we descended upon the campsite a little before 2 pm. Right on schedule.
Let me make this clear: There is no one I would rather roadtrip with than Emily. I have roadtripped across the country, up the California coast to Oregon twice, and through the Midwest – and never found a better driving partner. We have so much fun together that to the innocent bystanders in our wake it may appear that we are mildly retarded or drunk.
For instance, after admiring the wind farm in the East Bay we stopped at a local diner for eggs, coffee and more coffee. After washing my hands I came back to the table at Perko’s Cafe to find Emily, feet up on the seat, perusing the menu. I scooted into the booth opposite her and took in the bright teal plastic seats and tabletops. Two men wearing flannel shirts were seated in the booth behind us. There was no one else in the dining room.
Em: [Looks around the restaurant.] “So this is middle America. The menus … so big.”
We were one hour outside of San Francisco.
Forty minutes later we climbed back into the ‘Ru and continued onward to Yosemite. Following Highway 120 we carved our way through the golden hills around the Don Pedro Reservoir, winding up towards Groveland – a sweet little mining town about 25 miles outside of the park’s entrance. The town is one of the original gold settlements in California and home to the Iron Door Saloon – perhaps the oldest continuously running bar in the state. The storefronts are typical old west. The people acknowledge you when you pass by. On Saturday there wasn’t a Prius in sight. For some reason I found this oddly refreshing.
Sidenote: You know you’ve been in SF too long when you catch yourself thinking: $4:15 for gas? They’re practically giving it away!
In our brief stopover there, we impressed the people of Groveland with our math skills
Em: $151.24 divided by two is $127! The answer is 127!
Clerk: Do you want a 7 lb bag of ice, 10 pound block or 20 pound bag? Me: We’ll take the 10 pound bag. Clerk: It’s a block. Me: Oh, it’s a block? We’ll take the 10 pound bag of ice. Clerk: It’s actually a block you see.
Me: [After getting beeped at] I couldn’t stop for the man in the crosswalk! I was driving too fast.
not to mention priorities …
In the parking lot of the grocery store, I was searching the bags for the sirloin strips to get them on ice before they spoiled in the 95 degree heat. I look up to find that Emily had already filled the cooler. With beer. We compromised and took half out to accommodate our dinner.
On second thought, I won’t mention the bank incident.
When we pulled up to our site at Tuolumne Campground we found Em’s brother had beaten us up from LA. He was asleep in a patch of sunlight near the grill. Within 10 minutes we had pitched the tent, cracked open our beers and toasted the start of the long weekend.