Morning on day 7 came with very little fanfare. Animals are very keen to changes in the karma around them. She had stopped eating last night so this morning’s walk was quick and easy.
Trunk repacked for the last time. At this point it was taking mere moments as compared to the chore it had been at the start of the trip. Car gassed up, bad pastries and coffee purchased and we were on our way.
According to the on board navigation we had 525 miles and 8 hours left of our trip. We needed to get in to Fremont tonight, even against the husband’s protestations of arriving to the new house on Friday the 13th. Bad luck had already reared its head; I didn’t care about the bad omen possibilities now.
The air beds I had been transporting across the country would be our mattresses until we could go shopping for new ones. My king size had been 20 years old and moving was as good an excuse as any to finally get a new one. The kid’s bed was also sent to the curb before we moved, having been used as a trampoline for 6 years, I felt it best to let it die a nice comfortable death in a landfill.
The thought of having to sleep on an air bed tonight was really a nail in the coffin of the sorrow I was feeling. Already feeling melancholy I wasn’t looking forward to arriving in California now, and the thought of sleeping on the floor increased that feeling.
The ride through Nevada was pretty plain Jane compared to the sights we had seen so far. Just dry barren mountains and sand.
We stopped at a rest stop in Winnemuca where the Humboldt River crosses. It is part of the old California Trail system. Trying to get the dog to at least take some water here was a chore. It was at least since we stopped last night that she had taken water. This was all affecting her badly.
Further along on our trip on the California Trail we spotted a sign we may have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque, or at the very least, Mars.
After passing through Reno, the quickie divorce capital of the USA, we head toward the NV/CA border. It was bumper to bumper traffic all the way into California and up to the agriculture check point.
Hello California! We were lucky to get a shot at all, as the bumper to bumper was caused by construction which at the very moment we were trying to take our “welcome to…” picture, started to move and we were serenaded by car horns.
The checkpoint was different for me. They actually come up to your car and quiz you on what you are bringing in to the state. Did you have fruits, vegetables, plants, where did you start your trip, and why are you coming to California?
I was in one of those states of mind that if she had said words other than “Welcome to California, enjoy your stay”, I was going to go Jersey on her. I was in absolutely no mood for anyone’s bull and just wanted to get to my destination so I could relax on a floor. The dog not eating or drinking was worrying me and I wanted to get J out of the car so she could get some rest before having to take red-eye flights back across the country that would make her change planes twice and not afford much sleep.
The Sierra’s are a very pretty area to drive through. We got to see the truck scales on Route 80 that are the stop point when there is heavy snow. J works for an East coast trucking company whose trucks always get stopped here and she frequently gets on the internet to see the cameras that stream the views.
We pass through Truckee and across the famous Donner Pass. Table for 3 anyone?
Now we make our way down out of the Sierras toward Sacramento. There are cut outs in the side of the road every few miles. They are labeled “Runaway Truck Ramps”, and we found this a novel idea.
Approaching the Sacramento area we are again in bumper to bumper traffic. It afforded me the chance to snap a picture of this guy on the side of the road. I wonder how many people whizz by this guy every day and never notice him.
Approaching the bridges that cross the eastern part of the bay, we decided to cross the Martinez bridge and come down the more scenic valley on Route 680 than take Route 80 around Oakland and the traffic at what is now a Friday rush hour. Driving through Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill into Dublin before crossing east on Route 580 and through Dublin toward Route 880 south we are struck by how pretty the whole area is.
Mountains on all sides, homes with amazing views littering the sides of the mountains, but cars, lots and lots of cars on the highway. I wonder if this is all the time or just on Friday afternoons during rush hour.
We finally make our way down Route 880 south and pull of the highway in to Fremont. The sign on the side of the highway when you enter Fremont tells you that you are 57 feet above sea level here. A big change from 8391 feet at the Continental Divide just two days ago.
Half a block from the house, the kid proclaims loudly he has to pee, NOW! Finally pulling in to the driveway of the new house, and seeing his dad for the first time in a month, he rushes past him to find a bathroom. He has officially christened the new house. If that wasn’t proof of christening, the dog gets out and promptly throws up.
Welcome to California!
After hosing down the dog’s welcome gift, real welcome hugs all around are dispensed. The better half has the look of the Cheshire cat on his face and can’t wait to take us on a tour of the place. He must be terrible at poker, we knew something was up by looking at him, but had no idea of the wonderful surprises that waited.
Walking around the empty first floor, I felt badly. He has been spending time in an echo chamber for two weeks, no furniture, and no family, not even a place to sit down and eat a lonely meal. Playing tour guide, he brings us to the second floor.
He walks us in to the master bedroom and lo and behold, there is a brand new king sized bed waiting for us! Walking in to the kid’s room, there was a brand new full-sized bed waiting for him. Gone were the thoughts of going to find a hotel room for the night to allow J to get a decent rest before having to return east. He is a wonderful guy! He gets extra big hugs for that!
We get to the unpacking of the trunk. Oh yeah, those air beds I lugged across the country, not needed now, so they were stowed right into the garage storage space.
The duct tape, scissors, flashlights, and bug spray come out and get put away, thankfully not needed but comforted by the thought they were with us. Duffel bags of clothes, bags of toiletries/medicines/first aid supplies, bags of snacks, bottles of water, rolls of paper towelling, all the things we just couldn’t live without for 7 days on the road.
Some bad fast food and much-needed showers later we were all ready to not so much turn in for the night as pass out. Dog was finally eating again, now that she had her whole family back together. Kid had his brand new big kid bed, no more twin size for him.
All in all, we had a good trip across this beautiful country of ours. We left the safety and security of the known and ventured out beyond our comfort zone and had some fun despite our fears. The kid learned to be more spontaneous. We all learned of the grandeur of the heartland. We were blessed by the kindness of strangers. We learned that sometimes goodbye really is and that life is precious and fleeting. We also learned that old sayings really are true.
There is no place like home and that; home is where you hang your hat.