Saturday, September 12, 2015

Screaming Horse In My Belly

California Coast, Sept 11, 2015
I'm in Eugene, Oregon. I didn't intend on stopping in Oregon, especially Eugene. My brother lived here for a year before he moved back to Pullman and killed himself, and since I'm angry at everything that could have possibly contributed to Jeff's death, Eugene is on my list. It is better than Salem, though, and Portland is too expensive. Oregon is the Texas of the West Coast. Driving through the state on I-5 is an awesome experience if you can't get enough Jesus billboards and adult stores, all named "Adult Store" or "Adult Shop". (I wonder if seeing Jesus on a cross and being reminded that he died for our sins after going to an Adult Store is kind of like going to confession. Wipe away your sins with this billboard!) Don't forget all the guys in dirty t-shirts without sleeves (I'm not going to use that name, but you know what I'm saying) roaming the sides of the freeway, and RV's. And RV parks! And RV dealers! I actually saw a car driving in Eugene that had a huge "no fat chicks" sticker covering the back. If that doesn't make you want to visit Western Oregon, would you be interested in visiting a town called Drain? How about the next town over, Curtin? It's too bad there's not a Shower nearby. That was really a missed opportunity.

When I left Pismo Beach, I really tried to roam free without using GPS, which lasted about 20 minutes in which I ended up in a marina parking lot. So I pointed Gina (my Garmin GPS) towards Half Moon Bay. Half Moon Bay was my favorite place to go to the beach when I lived in San Francisco. I drove along the coast, through Big Sur and Monterey, ending up in Santa Cruz. I'd never taken that drive before and it was gorgeous. The next day I made it to Half Moon Bay, but by way of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. That's means I drove in a big circle. Don't ask.

Of course I'm going to tell you. I woke up in Santa Cruz thinking I'd had enough of the scenic route, and headed on the most direct route to Seattle. I was on some freeway, and reached a point where the freeway split in two. If you went right, you were going to Sacramento (which was the way the GPS was taking me), and if you went left, you were on the road to San Francisco. Suddenly I realized that I was skipping San Francisco entirely, in favor of Sacramento, and I was like, hell no. So I went left. That split second decision led to me driving on the top part of the Bay Bridge, which I've always found both exhilarating and terrifying. Part of the time, I can't see where I'm going, and it feels like I am driving way too high in the air for any sane person to tolerate, and I'm going to drive off the end of the world. Then suddenly, I'm driving into San Francisco! I hung out in Half Moon Bay for a bit, and then headed for an Indian restaurant in Petaluma. I really can't explain that one, but it meant that, unexpectedly, I ended up going north on the Golden Gate Bridge, which was 1) amazing, 2) free (no toll going north). So I hit both the S.F. bridges. Totally worth it. But that's not all! When I did decide to go back to some kind of logical route to Seattle, my GPS took me through Napa, which is another place I'd never been and was beautiful. I had one of those transcendent moments, driving through the farmland of Northern California, singing at the top of my lungs to "Wild Hearted Son" by The Cult, when I thought, "I'm exactly where I should be, when I should be, and I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life."

Yesterday I learned:
1) I am just someone who doesn't take the direct route, and even if I try, I end up going in circles.
2) I have a strange internal compass that takes me where I don't even know I want to go.
3) It's not logical, but it makes sense.

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