Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 1: Best Laid Plans...

Walnut Creek, CA
Sonora, CA
~125 miles
~4 hours

Late Start, Like Always

No matter what time we wake up or how little we think we have to do before we'll be ready to leave, it never fails that we leave hours later than we wanted to. In this case, we left ridiculously later. Like, 9:45 PM instead of 2 PM. Oops.

Everything just took so much longer than we thought it would: While Forrest ran around buying things on the shopping list, I stayed home to sew curtains for the back of the truck (both for privacy and, more importantly, to keep the evil Day Star and/or other annoying lights out when we're trying to sleep), drawstring bags for some loose items, and print out notes on our trip.

Target was another hour of going through nearly all the aisles, picking up things on the shopping list. Then back to my parents' house to pick up some items we'd (inevitably) forgotten. Then to Trader Joe's for the One True Peanut Butter (creamy salted, the peanut butter that convinced me that Reese's peanut butter cups were not the only tasty peanut butter). Then to an auto parts store to replace the burned out interior light bulbs and buy some car markers for writing on windows ('cause the second true way to mark that you're married, after Facebook status updates, is to write "Just Married!" on the rear window).

And then we were finally on the road.

Driving Through the Delta

We grabbed some snacks from a "light night" (ie closes at 9:30) Starbucks in Concord. Forrest had never been to downtown Concord, only the strip malls nearby, so I got to show him Todos Santos Plaza with its pretty lit-up trees. I told him how we were only a block away from my childhood go-to lasar tag place, Q-Zar. The old "capture the flag" style games we played then were so much more fun than the "free for all" style that I've played more recently. Grumble grumble.

Highway 4 is right near Concord, and so we decided to take it to head out east. Except for the slight problem that we took westbound 4 instead. In turning around, we stumbled across the old Solano drive-in, which is still in business and was actually playing a movie as we went by. We totally need to go to a drive-in again some time!

So we got going in the correct direction (heh), and headed out through the delta. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy driving through the delta. It's surprisingly sparsely populated, for being so close to Sacramento and the Bay Area. Even highway 4 is just this winding two-lane road, going over crazy old drawbridges that crisscross all the little waterways. Then that Josh Turner song came on the radio, the "Would You Go With Me" one, which seemed an appropriate one start our trip with. :)

Giving Up on Dinner and Camping

Forrest had wanted to cook up some burritos for dinner, whenever we stopped for the night. But since we weren't leaving until night, we quickly scrapped that plan and decided to just head up some Dinty Moore beef stew instead. (Hey, I like Dinty Moore!) But then as it got even later, and we started contemplating that we wouldn't make it over Sonora Pass tonight, we decided to skip the cooking thing altogether and just had fast food.

Once we realized we wouldn't make the pass, and it was getting on toward midnight, we decided to just crash at a motel for the night. The Gold Lodge in Sonora is just your typical little beside-the-highway dozen rooms type of motel, but there's nothing wrong with it.

East Coast or Bust!

Tomorrow we'll get to appreciate Sonora Pass in the daylight. We'll have lunch (maybe PB&J courtesy of Trader Joe's) at the campground Forrest had wanted to show me, and then head out into Nevada.

Even though we're already on the road, driving in our fully loaded truck with a bunch of supplies and a month's worth of clothes, it hasn't quite sunk in yet that we're really doing this. It's quite the crazy endeavor, driving across an entire continent and back. So far, it still feels like a "normal" road trip -- we've driven from Seattle to the Bay Area, and from the Bay Area to Phoenix before. This scenery of the Central Valley and the foothills and the Sierras is all familiar, comfortable. Even Nevada tomorow will be a known quantity. But past that, I think it will really hit us: we're going to see the whole country (at least in width). That's pretty awesome!