There comes a point in almost any trip I organize, when I would like a chance to do it over. Some parts of a trip sort of inevitably disappoint, because it's through a dull spot, or includes lots of transitions and layovers. But I flatter myself a good travel agent, with the skills and experience and nature to know how to prepare, be flexible, and see the bright side. But. Yeah... this last part, our drive into San Francisco, and the frankly crud Airbnb stay, then the long haul home, was brutal, with some levity, grace, and beauty sprinkled in. I know, somewhere in Orange County, I swore Never Again! And I meant it, but a couple of months have passed, and I would like the chance to do it over. Maybe.
1. More Time in In the Woods.
I love Oregon, and Northern California, those redwoods, fern canyons, rivers, the relaxed drivers, and wildflowers. One night camping is never enough, and hardly worth the hassle of getting setup and settled in... which was exacerbated by how minimally we were prepared. Need: Sleep pads, matches, more pillows.
2. Always Read The Fine Print.
That Airbnb, in SF, was kind of awful, and it was my fault, at least in part. I never noticed that the check-in was 7pm, and despite my asking if we could please at least drop off luggage, the host was firm: No. Very firm, and very lecture-y, and very alarmist about city crime, car thefts, and break-ins, robberies, and tigers and bears, oh-my! Send me a nickel and I will share the rest, including how the host demonstrated the proper way to sleep between sheets, explained the difference between shampoo and conditioners, counted towels, and described in degrees how to turn a door knob. There is no hyperbole or even a smidge of exaggeration in what I've shared, and it's only a fraction of what we endured, before we
3. San Francisco Deserves Its Own Visit.
I'll never have a one night stand with that city, again. It's great there, and I love it, but thinking we could drive in, from camping, walk and sightsee, before driving home the next morning, was naive, and I regret it. We love the Musée Mécanique, and I am so glad we finally got a chance to visit, but the whirlwind exhaustion of transitioning into city traffic, the aforementioned alarmist text messages from our "host," and simply running out of time, were brutal. We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at our campsite, for breakfast and the whole drive south I imagined we would finish our day with a delicious SF dinner... nope. The Airbnb check-in was late and narrow and by the time he finished his required introduction we were 30 minutes from "quiet time," and too defeated to dare leave the room in search of a bite to eat.
4. Maybe Take The Train.
Like San Francisco, Los Angeles is not to be trifled with. It's wild there, but worthwhile if you give it space, and time. I would have liked to come home from our visit to Oregon, with the easy and relaxed feel of Oregon still in my psyche, and nervous system. Unfortunately, drivers in California have become kind of awful. It's one thing to drive very fast, but enough with the tail-gating, and roaring past... a lane change does not have to be a hostile take-over. Chill the f*ck out. From Willits, all the way home, I would have known we were driving in California, even if I were a blind-folded passenger... the tension and urgency is tangible. Of course, I am back in the groove, again, and know how to manage the interstates and highways of my favorite state, but I sure do miss Portland drivers, and Oregon traffic. My impulse and inclination is to somehow ditch the car, when returning to the Southland, just chill the f*ck out, and ride in on a train.
Oh, that was a lot of miles. From home to Oregon, and back again. For a bit, I thought I could never do it again, but now, I see I could try once more, and do it better.