One of my big regrets whenever I come to San Francisco for work is that I don't get the chance to see my cousin Melodie in Stockton. So Sunday was my chance to make amends. I rented a car, printed out my Google map, sufficiently notified next of kin and, after a quick breakfast, took to the open road.
In fairness, open road is a bit of a misnomer in California, even at 9:00AM on a Sunday morning. The road to Stockton is nothing but US Interstate -- four lanes in both directions with bumper to bumper traffic at 70 miles per hour. My first highway, #101, is actually a three lane highway which has been given the odd treatment of expanding to four lanes without having added any pavement. They just tarred over the old lines and put new lines in, so that the outside lanes are right tight against the concrete curb. It was uncomfortably tight.
One particular stretch of highway had me wondering if I was really cut out for this trip at all. It starts with a left turn from the far right lane, the off ramp swooping majestically up and over all eight lanes of Highway 101, before setting car and driver down facing due east. After a half mile or so, I could see the road rising up in front of me, 30 feet or more into the air. Oh, yes, I got to drive OVER the San Francisco Bay! The San Mateo Bridge seems to cover 5 miles with over half the bridge high in the air so ships can go underneath, and half the bridge low along the water. It was quite exhilarating but I suspect Cindy wouldn't have liked it one bit.
I eventually made it to Stockton and found Melodie's house without incident. Melodie, her boyfriend Jeff and I had a wonderful lunch at a place down the highway called BJ's brewhouse (my leftovers will keep me in suppers for most of the week) and then beat a hasty retreat to her house to watch the Super Bowl. What a game! What commercials they have in the USA!! What a way for me to win the Kuhn Bowl with a last minute touchdown!! Oh yeah, the Giants won too.
I was especially blessed to get a chance to visit with Mel's folks (and my Aunt and Uncle) who as luck would have it were visiting from Michigan. My family is quite small and spread out so we don't get to see each other very often. I was very sad to leave for the long drive back to my hotel.