Route 1 Prequel: Get me to LA on time

Next adventure up: a road trip born months ago out of facebook conversations with one of my most favorite travel buddies, Mr. Nick Cooper. After multiple iterations, we settled on a nine day California blitz with a road trip up Route 1 from LA to SF at its heart. Five days before Nick and I were supposed to meet in LA, I was still in Seattle (with my car) recovering from Burning Man. I had spent a week back from the burn in the glorious northwest decompressing with my fantastic Sacred Cow campmates and my complete immediate family. It was such a nice reentry to be surrounded by all these people I love, but soon it was time to get back on the road.

Sisters then and now! Yes, we’re super adorable.

I budgeted three days along I-5: Seattle->Crater Lake, Crater Lake->San Francisco, San Francisco->Los Angeles. I had done Seattle->SF in one fourteen-hour day on the way up, so this seemed outrageously reasonable. Ha! Back then I wasn’t still sleep deprived from Burning Man!

My sister Laura and her friend Micah helped me rustle up a 30-year-old roof rack from my childhood out of my dad’s garage and secure it to the top of the car. Frantically on my last morning in Seattle, I brushed most of the playa dust off my supplies, tossed my food bin/tent/air mattress/etc back into the car, and headed south along the less picturesque but more efficient route of I-5 South.

Get that puppy on nice and tight!

I enjoyed driving by myself. I felt that traveler spirit set into my soul again and, hell, it felt so good. The freedom! I can do whatever I want whenever I want. It’s awesome. On this trip, my whims usually involved stopping for ice cream or a nap in a pretty rest area. No compromising on music, no feeling guilty about said ice cream or naps, no qualms about singing along at the top of my lungs. Yeah, this is happening. And man, radio quality is so much better outside metro areas. I dug the optimistic country music playing in southern Oregon: “My heart’s never smiled this hard, baby. Lovin’ you is fun…” I began to decorate my car (recently christened “Ginger” by Maestro), beginning with a friendly black bear to keep me company. You may have noticed an uptick in my facebook posts as I shared my journey with virtual travel buddies.

But after a long first day, tiredness started to kick in. I intended to spend the night at Crater Lake National Park, but somehow missed the turn off. I decided to skip it as I wanted to make tracks. After that decision, I didn’t know where I would sleep but was feeling pretty good to go. Perhaps I could drive through the night, with reasonable rest stops? I pulled into a rest stop at 10pm to take a nap. Of course, a “nap” turned into eight hours curled up sleeping in the car.

One downside of driving by myself? There’s no one there to monitor my sleep-crazy: I continue to have lucid dreams and sleep-talk. In this case, I dreamt I had a travel buddy with me so I nested a second bed in the passenger seat and nearly got out of the car–in the middle of the night–to fetch them from where I saw them standing across the parking lot. I opened the car door, then decided to go back to sleep, locking the door again behind me. The next day as I relayed this experience, one concerned party told me: “Babe, this is trouble. Sleepwalking in rest stop parking lots – no good!!” I’d have to agree… no more nights out on the road, promise.

Day two I blew threw Northern California (BTW, best veggie burger I’ve ever had was at Cottonwood Eatery in Cottonwood, CA!) into San Francisco, stopping to catch my breath for the night and reconnect with my dear friends Simran and Gautam, recently moved back to SF. On day three, after a delayed departure I dashed south, stopping in Gilroy at a roadside produce stand to pick up some avocados, tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, and garlic ice cream. Because seriously, how was I going to resist trying that?

Beautiful Gilroy farmlands.

I arrived in Los Angeles at midnight on my cousin George’s doorstop in Silverlake. Thankfully, George is familiar with the roadtrip/crashing deal. In fact, he’s done weeks in the car roaming around the states, including showing up at my door late at night looking for a sofa. I was pleased to finally return the favor. 😛 We stayed up late laughing as he cooked a midnight dinner, we caught up, laughed like crazy, and he gave me the lowdown on his rules to date by. Especially now that I’m navigating dating back in the real world, I find other people’s (boys in particular) dating methods/philosophies/strategies utterly fascinating. I also got a chance to hear about life as an actor and now producer in Los Angeles. In fact, he launched his new production company’s–Bad Penney Productions–website while I was there. Check them out, along with their first short “Remora” that is currently being submitted to the 2014 festival circuit. Go George!

Hanging with my kickass cousin and host, George. Love ya!

I also got to have a number of Wellesley reunions with good friends who I do not see nearly enough. So thankful I got to reconnect with my lovely computer science and squash ladies who are rockin’ it out in the lives, each in their own way. *Heart* you three!

Wellesley CS mini-reunion in Pasadena with the fantastic and brilliant Vasu and Bx!

Beauty on our nighttime Cal Tech campus walk, Vasu’s new home as a post-doc fellow.

With my Wellesley squasher teammate Brenna at the Griffith Observatory. What better way to spend a day in Hollywood than at a star party? 😛
After three days in sunny LA, it was time to pick up Nick and head back North! Coming soon: the story of beautiful return trip and how Nick and I tore up the California coast. 🙂

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