Saturday, March 28, 2009


I realized today what a difference having certain landmarks along a long drive makes.

The day started v-e-r-y early. I was so afraid I'd oversleep, that I set the alarm for 5:30--and then was wide awake at 4:30. It left me enough time to run a load of dishes, do a load of wash, feed the dogs, take a shower, pack the car, and be on the road by 6:30. I didn't know how much rush hour traffic I would encounter on the way to my mother's and wanted to plan ahead.

As it turns out, I encountered NO rush hour traffic, so I got to her house by about 8:15. She was at the hairdresser and her doctor appointment wasn't until 10, so I managed to fit in a half hour nap.

We got to Kaiser early and had a bit of a wait, but we met with the anesthesiologist (a very nice man who set off my gaydar, even moreso after he talked about his ex-wife and about how his father "disagrees with some of the choices I've made in my life and feels that I'm going to go to hell."), then the nurse who was in charge of explaining how the procedure was going to go, and finally a woman who, I guess, was in charge of calculating the cost--but she typed about 10 words a minute, obviously didn't know how to work the computer and screwed up so many times I was tempted to volunteer to enter all the information FOR her!

We were finished and back home by noon, I had a quick sandwich, and was on the road for Santa Barbara by 1 p.m.

Fortunately, I had an audio book with me and it made the miles fly by, but what made them pass even faster was realizing how I didn't think of it as a 300 mile trip, but a trip from point A to point B, from point B to C, and so on.

The first landmark is San Jose. It's about a 2 hour drive on whichever highway we choose (we have 3 options from Davis to San Jose) and I never really feel that I'm "underway" until I've gone past San Jose.

By the time I'd passed San Jose, I was already feeling sleepy and stopped at a McDonald's to get one of their new mocha lattes and hoped it would wake me up. It did!

I always love driving through the stretch of highway before Mission San Juan Bautista, which is lined on both sides tall eucalyptus trees, which was used in the film Vertigo. I have never driven that stretch without thinking about James Stewart and Kim Novak!

As I passed through the area south of the Mission San Juan Bautista, my eyes actually hurt because the hills were so incredibly gorgeously green. I finally had to stop and take a picture. This photo doesn't begin to do it justice!

Next come signs for Watsonville (where my friend Phil grew up) and Castroville, the Artichoke Capitol of the World. Both are off the beaten track, so I only pass by their signs.

Then there is passing through Salinas. Every single time we pass through Salinas and see the highway sign for the John Steinbeck center, I think of how I've wanted to go there for twenty years, but we are always rushing to get somewhere else whenever we pass through Salinas. If it hadn't been so late, I might have actually done it today.

The water tower at Gonzales is my next landmark. This is across the highway from The Burger Queen.

Walt's mother used to work for the Department of Agriculture and traveled all over the state. She discovered the Burger Queen on her travels and usually stopped here for lunch or dinner.

It's a pretty "nothing" kind of place, but it's not a chain and the food is cooked to order and it's pretty good, for a burger joint. We frequently stop there for lunch or dinner, if the timing is right, but I had already had lunch and it was too early for dinner, so I mushed on.

The Burger Queen

I never really feel that I've passed the point of no return until I pass through King City. I hate King City. Not for any rational reason but just because it is about the halfway point so it seems to take forever to get there whether you are traveling north or south.

Once I've gone through King City, the next landmark to look forward to is San Luis Obispo, where Tom used to live while he was attending Cal Poly. I love it when I hit SLO at dinnertime, as I did tonight. If I'm driving alone, as I was today, I always stop for a meal at The Apple Farm.

It's filled with all sorts of kitschy things, does its own baking, and the food is very good. I love stopping to eat there. Tonight I had a chopped chicken salad that was so huge I brought half of it with me and Walt had it for dinner here. It comes with the Apple Farm homemade cornbread.

Once I leave SLO, I know it's only a couple of hours to Santa Barbara. The next landmark is Pea Soup Andersons and the road to Solvang and from there it's a hop skip and a jump to here.

I listened to all but 2 hours of my book, so I've almost finished it. It and the mocha latte were a real godsend to keeping me awake all the way down here. Tomorrow Laurel and I are finishing the cakes for the birthday party on Sunday.

When we get home, we will have seven dogs: our two, the four puppies, and Tot, who is coming back for awhile (Tater has been adopted).


Indigo said...

I like your new haircut, and I love that you have gaydar. LOL! You are about the same age as my mom, so I have no choice but to imagine her saying 'gaydar.' And that alone makes me giggle.

Have a great time! What book are you listening to?

Le laquet said...

That sounds like a fab trip - I have FANTASTIC gaydar and feel that anyone who doesn't have it should have it surgically inserted! **wanders off singing Bev really knows the way to San Jose**


Elle said...

How funny, I made the trip from Northern California (down to LA via) Santa Barbara on Saturday, too! It was absolutely gorgeous - I couldn't believe how green it was the whole way.

I'll have to stop at Burger Queen and The Apple Farm in SLO sometime.