WELCOME TO MY STATE
15 June 2005
Day one of our women's gathering is now winding down. Since I'm the only one on California time, I'm the only one still awake. A lot of miles has passed under the car wheels since 9 a.m. this morning.
At 9 a.m., I had finally packed and I called Enterprise Rent-a-Car to ask them to pick me up. The guy arrived in this lovely bright red Nissan Maxima, which they told me was their luxury car. It did look rather nice, but somewhat smaller (and much more expensive) than I expected. But the trunk looked large and so I signed the papers and was off for home to pack up my stuff. I was bringing craft supplies, bagels, wine, my suitcase, the computer and some stuff that needed to be passed out to the group. When I finished packing my things, I had already filled half the trunk. This was definitely not looking promising.
I had already heard from Mary that their flight was going to be delayed. I had called Sharon's cell phone and left a message to that effect and told her to call me when her flight arrived and we would decide if we were going to meet then or if she was going to wait for Mary and Sherry's plane from Minnesota.
I got to San Bruno with a full bladder and not a McDonald's in sight...but I did spy a Kaiser Permanente facility, so I made my way there, parked, and went to use the bathroom. What the heck. I'm a Kaiser member. Why not?
When I had finished, I called Sharon again but she still wasn't answering, so I pulled the car to under a nice big tree in the Kaiser parking lot and settled in to read my book. In time, Sharon called to say she had arrived and that her flight from Virginia had also been delayed. It was now so late that she would just wait for the Racine flight and then they would call me. (The invasion of Iraq was not planned as carefully as this meet-up was!...or had as many SNAFUs.)
Eventually, Mary called. (God, I suddenly love cell phones!) They had arrived, had their baggage, had met up with Sharon and were waiting for me.
I should add, parenthetically, that in the "old" days, I would just have parked in the lot at the SF airport and gone in to meet the arriving flights, but SFO now charges $1 for every 12 minutes and I was not willing to pay that much.
I groaned as I approached them. Maybe that wasn't all their luggage. But it was. We managed to squeeze much more than I ever thought possible into the trunk and the rest was piled inside the car, on the seat, under legs, and wherever they could find room. I gave thanks that Michelle, who was to have been with me in the car with her luggage was going to be flying into Reno instead.
We started off for Tahoe. I decided to go through Marin County so I could drive them over the Golden Gate Bridge in the free direction rather than having to pay $5 to cross into San Francisco from Marin. One less sight we have to worry about next weekend when I give "the grand tour."
We stopped in The Presidio, at a Golden Gate Bridge overlook, where we took pictures and a woman, who happened to live just 1 hour from Sharon in Virginia, offered to take a group photo. We were more interested in her illustrated body. She had tattoos everywhere, but the ones on her legs were particularly intriguing, since they extended just below the cuffs of her shorts.
Next we crossed the bridge and stopped at the View Point to take more photos (I restrained myself and did NOT take pictures at this spot.) We then drove down into Sausalito, which they just went mad for. We ended up parking the car and getting out to take in the view...
...and to stop for a late lunch/early dinner. We could have spent more time there, but it was already 2 and we still had miles to go before we could sleep.
The ride up to Tahoe was relatively uneventful. We ran into massive traffic jams three times, but they didn't last long. We stopped for potty twice and gas once (and snacks at both potty stops).
The scene for about the last hour is really beautiful. Once you leave Auburn, it is just about solid green on the hills and there were appropriately appreciative comments made all the way up. It always warms the cockles of my heart when other people appreciate this state I love so much as well as I do.
It was just barely still light when we arrived here at Walt's mother's condo. I had been driving the better part of 10 hours and was ready to stop. None of us was hungry, but we were pleased to find a bottle of white wine in the fridge and I had brought 2 bottles of red, so we sat around drinking wine and just enjoying female bonding. A much needed thing.
Tomorrow we will probably stick around the house most of the day waiting for Michelle and Phyllis to arrive in Reno (one from Texas, one from New Jersey). Then our group will be complete and the real festivities can begin in earnest.
We've been planning this gathering ever since we were all together in New Jersey a year ago and I'm just thrilled to have everybody here and looking forward to a very enjoyable week.
PHOTO OF THE DAY