17th: Be no flatterer, neither play with any that delights not to be played with.
The Other End of the Leash
LEAP-FROGGING UP I-5
9 September 2004
I decided that driving on I-5 in the afternoon is like playing Leap Frog. I lucked out on the trip down to San Luis Obispo. By leaving early in the morning, I missed most of the big-rigs until it was almost time to turn off and head toward Paso Robles, and Highway 101.
Not so lucky on the way home. I didn't leave SLO until about 1 p.m. and it was a solid wall of big rigs from Kettleman City to Stockton (about 165 miles).
I don't understand big rig drivers. You'll come upon a line of four of them, one right after the other. Then #2 will move into the left lane (blocking all the cars) and pass #1. #1 will then become #2 and in a few minutes, the new #2 will pull out and pass #1. In the meantime, #3 and #4 are doing the same thing--and maybe #3 will get real brave and make it up to #1, only to be passed by #2 again.
I watched this cat and mouse game all the way. At one point I looked at the highway headed south and I saw a block of six big rigs, two abreast for 3 rows, followed by a line of cars which couldn't go anywhere becuase it's only a 2-lane highway.
Of course then there are the cars which ride on your bumper as you're doing 85 mph, 15 miles over the speed limit, and staying a decent distance between the current truck doing the leap frog in the left lane. The car will then find a place to zip out around you impatiently and fill in the space between you and the truck. S/he has gained a whopping car length but is still stuck behind a truck.
It was so good to get to Sacramento and know I was only 20 miles from home. I put in a lot of mileage in the last two days! But it was definitely worth it. I had such a wonderful time with Lynn. We talked, laughed, cried, shopped, ate, slept, and laughed and talked some more.
Today we went through more arts stores. One thing that's nice about San Luis Obispo is that the artsy stores aren't the usual run of the mill thing. You find lots of examples of unique stuff.
This bead store, at the left, was one Lynn had wanted to shop around in last night, but it was closed by the time we got there. I loved the beaded curtains hanging on the wall--of course totally impractical for this house, but they definitely looked good hanging on the wall!
We also went through a few more traditional arts stores, and then as we walked down the street, we came to something I remember Tom talking about when he lived there during his Cal Poly days, but which I'd never exacltly "experienced" before. The famous Bubble Gum Alley, off Higuera St. Apparently bubble gum started appearing on the walls in the 1960s. People complained, but the gum kept coming. Now it covers both sides of the walls of the alley--and when you walk in the entryway, you have an overwhelming craving for bubble gum. It's become such a landmark that merchants near the wall have huge gumball machines, in case someone wants to leave their own mark (we didn't).
Some of the shops were a bit more mundane than the art shops. It was hard to decide which item was the tackiest...
...the George Bush dress-up refrigerator magnets or
...or the Jesus action figures and bobble head dolls.
Eventually, we'd had our share of art and excitement and we headed to the Firestone grill, which Lynn's brother-in-law had recommended. It looks like an old Firestone tire location which has been divided up into shops, one of which is this great eatery, where we had humongous barbeque tri-tip sandwiches, fries, and onion rings. Not quite on a par with our dinner last night, but delicious.
Then it was time to say goodbye. I drove Lynn to her car, which we'd left at the motel, and I got myself into the leap-frog game. I stopped twice on the way home, once for gas and once because I was starting to get sleepy and had a craving for vanilla ice cream, so I got myself a Fosters Freeze vanilla milkshake which, along with singing along with Steve and with John Denver, kept me going until I pulled into the driveway just in time to see Ken Jennings win his 42nd game of Jeopardy.
It was a whirlwind trip, but definitely a lot of fun. I hope it's not too long between visits next time.