This is a cautionary tale......
About a week ago, my daughter and I were planning a trip. She wanted to go to Sunnyvale and have lunch with our cousin, Melody. Now Sunnyvale is about 2 1/2 hours from our home. So, I gave her the responsibility of planning the trip with the idea we would stay overnight. The only part I insisted we put in as part of the plan was a stop in Livermore to see Sue, a friend from childhood, and a trip to the beach. Before we left we had reservations at a hotel called The North Bay Inn in San Rafael, planned stops with show up an leave times and google map instructions for each leg of the trip.
On Tuesday we started off at 8:30am, close to our planned leave time. We were packed and off to get gas for the truck at Costco. With iced teas and pastry from Starbucks we got on the freeway toward I-5 and that is the last time anything went the way we planned.
I admit that the first mistake was mine. I missed the turn off from I-5 to Hwy 205 to Tracy. We had to go up one exit and turn around. That on I-5 takes time since exits off I-5 are few and far between. We were now 20 minutes off schedule for our first stop in Sunnyvale to see Melody and her 5 year old son, Connor. We weren't too upset. The google map directions to Melody were absolutely right on! We went to the front door and rang the doorbell. No answer. We rang again. No answer. We could hear someone inside. I called. Melody answers and tells me she has Connor in the bath and she needs to dress again. The reason why isn't important. What is important is that she launched into a 5 minute conversation about Connor's bedroom decor while we continued to stand on the porch. Finally I got her to come to the door and we went in. While Melody went upstairs to tend to Connor, she dresses him and then yells down to us as Connor runs down the stairs that she only needs 10 minutes. No problem. What is 10 minutes. We planned on leaving around 2:00 or 2:30pm. We had time. While we waited, I fell asleep on the couch and the daughter had to wake me up when I began to snore. Ninety minutes after we stood at the front door, I finally went upstairs to get Melody to come down. We got to Sunnyvale at 11:50am and we finally went to lunch at 1:45pm. We ate at Chipotle (more delay) and then stopped at a quilt shop that Melody just knew I had to see.
Eddie's Quilt Shop is the most horrible shop I have ever been in. Deary, no imagination and so completely rude that I will never go back. I tried to find something to buy as we got dirty looks from the staff and Melody made me look at EVERY quilt. I tried to get someone to speak to me so I could ask about a 30's fabric I really wanted. I was virtually invisible. The only person to speak to me was a customer and a child taking a quilting class.
We went back to Melody's where it is now 4:30pm. I have already called Sue and told her what the hold-up was. She told me there was no rush. The daughter and I got back on the road during rush hour traffic. Yuck. We were off to Livermore. As we traveled along, the daughter read the directions from Google maps. She has a habit of mispronouncing words and giving me directions as she panics. Not conducive to a mishap-free traveling experience. We were supposed to go forward on Hwy 84 past a street with some unpronounceable Spanish name and the daughter told me to turn. The passing scenery seemed wrong. I stopped and read the map, sighed and called Sue for more direction. Again we turned around, retraced out steps and found Sue with her flawless directions!
All my life, my father lectured us about showing up at some one's home at mealtimes. That was a strict no-no. Even though it was now 5:30pm and definitely dinnertime, but I know that Sue had a late lunch and we were probably not disturbing her dinner. We were there until 7pm. It was lovely. Alison, her daughter, made us cookies. Sue and her family became family friends when she and my sister, Mary, met in preschool. While we were there, Mary called and we had a chat together, the four of us. Sue and I reminisced about our childhood together and caught up with what was going on now for each of us. I loved Sue's house, a two story, open, but cozy space. At one point Sue asked me if I knew how far we were going between stops. I did. Our next stop was San Rafael. I had hoped to see the mission there, San Rafael Archangel, but we now expected to arrive at 8pm. We would get dinner after checking in at the hotel, Northbay Inn. Again, we were off. After all this, I was questioning the directions by the daughter. She kept saying we were to get onto 580 going West, merge onto 580 east and then get back on 580 west. It just didn't make sense. What I missed is that she kept saying I-80 not 580. We talked about it several times and she never made this clear. So, for the third time today, we missed our turn.
We were tooling along when we found ourselves headed to the toll booth for the Bay Bridge. Once you are on this path, there is no way to go back, turn around or refuse to go over the bridge. When we got to the toll booth, I was having a panic attack and almost crying. I have issues with bridges, tunnels and driving in San Francisco. And it is 8pm with the sun going down. The toll booth guy was so sweet. He got me to listen to his instructions--take 101 North as soon as we got off the bridge. Follow the signs. Little did it occur to me that San Francisco is an island. We got off the bridge and traveled through the tunnel and lived to tell the tale. I honestly thought we would die on the bridge. There would be an earthquake and we would go in the bay, to be swallowed up and never found because we weren't supposed to be there.... 101 North is pretty much a street in San Francisco. We passed by Chinatown and went into downtown. It is dark and people are opening car doors into the street, buses cutting you off. We were religiously following 101 North, but once again, lost 101 North when it turned and headed down Lombard Street. We found ourselves headed to Fisherman's Wharf. In the bay area, it is not uncommon for trees to cover the signs. What the hell???? They can't trim their trees???? At one point I told the daughter that only one of us could be freaking out at a time and it was definitely my turn she needed to get a grip and hold it together.
Thankfully, I found our way back and soon we were on the Golden Gate Bridge headed OUT of San Francisco. We followed the signs for San Rafael and we arrived at the hotel at 9pm.