Interlude, and Northern California

Well, we were sad to leave Christina and Dan’s beautiful home and their four SWEET, ADORABLE daughters, but we got on the road mid-morning. After lunch in Santa Barbara, we set out on the 101 with a full tank of gas.

We also drank a lot of water in Santa Barbara, which becomes important later.

Imagine, if you will, that you are a passenger in the backseat of the blue minivan trekking north on 101. Kelly briefly mentions that she might need a bathroom soon, but there’s no rush.

Rolling hillsides, farm country, an occasional glimpse of the ocean peacefully pass by. We fill the time talking about life, love, and other mysteries. Oh, look! An exit with a gas station. That’ll be good.

Something weird happens where time and space momentarily stop for Erin and she is seemingly unable to maneuver the van off the highway. A fit of giggles ensues. (C’mon, you know it’s happened to you.)

“But that’s OK,” says Kelly optimistically. “We’re probably coming into an area where there are more….”

More farms. More ocean. More hills. No bathrooms.

Many, many miles later, a sign! With a gas station on it! Hooray, we’re saved!

We get off and enter a town that looks like a cross between the set of “Tombstone” and “Deliverance.” I don’t think I saw any actual tumbleweed, but…you get the idea. The Little Western Town That Time and Progress Forgot. It would have been charming if my bladder hadn’t have been so full.

Relieved and happy that at long last our miles of searching are over, we pull up to the gas station and see a sign that says…

NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS
SORRY

Hmm.

There ought to be a law, that’s all I’m saying.

So across the parking lot we see another establishment that looks sketchy but at this point we’ll try anything. Closing our eyes to the scantily-clad women on posters in the windows, we step through the swinging screen door and are relieved to find that it’s not a bar.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I should say, it’s not just a bar. There is, in fact, a bar to our left, with three old men sitting at it, playing cards. To our right, however, there are decrepit shelves with equally ancient groceries sitting on them. It seems to be some sort of all-purpose general store/saloon that last received a shipment of groceries approximately thirty years ago. Also, it’s housed in what looks to have been a private home at one time.

“Do you have a restroom?” I ask.

No response from the card players.

“Excuse me!” Erin says louder. “Do you have a restroom?!”

The man behind the bar replies, “In the back, to the left,” without looking up.

We meander our way to the back and to the left, into a hallway with a few closed doors and one that’s open to reveal a scarily unclean bathroom. Again, we are not in a position to be picky.

While I was using the bathroom, I heard Erin say, “WHAT?!” loudly. Apparently a couple had wandered in behind us for the same reason, and they were given the same curt directions we were. Erin thought the men at the bar were talking to her, and responded. She then heard a mumbled comment, “that girl thinks you’re talking to her, haw haw haw…”

So finally we’re headed out past the boxes of Spic ‘N Span and Kotex from 1972, and we politely say, “thank you,” to the men at the bar. One of them replies, “NO, thank YOU.” Haw haw haw.

Hit the gas and back on the highway, quick.

Here’s the trip slideshow and our first day in Northern California, when we traveled across the Golden Gate Bridge and into wine country.

3 thoughts on “Interlude, and Northern California

  1. Hey, just wanted you to know that I had so much fun seeing you and catching up. I'm so glad you had a break and a successful vaca! We miss you and your fam. out here in Cali. Everyone at church mentioned how great it was to talk with you again. I'll keep trackin' with you via the blog!Christina

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