This is a tale for those of you who may have gone on a car journey with your spouse as driver expecting you to navigate. It may ring a bell. You may even laugh at our expense.
We’d driven into San Francisco without mishap in the car the day before, leaving our travel trailer at a campsite just to the south, and did the usual tourist things. We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, took photos of the bridge with the city in the background, drove back into the city and parked with great difficulty. We caught a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf, and then queued for an hour to ride the cable car back to our parked car, unable to walk up the vertiginous streets accessible on foot only to those with calves of steel.
From the tallest building, the Transamerica Pyramid, to the pretty little terraced painted ladies, San Francisco’s charming architecture is packed so tightly on its steep mounds that the two main roads into the city, Highway 101 and Interstate 280, have to disgorge themselves onto frenetic city streets before joining up on the Golden Gate to transport you literally and figuratively across San Francisco Bay. Having experienced both routes in the car, we decided to avoid San Francisco at all costs when towing our travel trailer north from San Jose.
It was a simple enough route – Highway 101 to 880North to 580West and back to 101 – avoiding downtown San Francisco. As we progressed confidently up I880, I knew we were to take Interstate 580 West over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Except himself doubted my directions making me doubt myself. We approached the junction we needed to come off I880.
“Which way?” he asked.
“It doesn’t go the way we want.”
“Take 580 West.”
“The road splits here. 80 West or 580 West?”
“Make up your mind. NOW!”
“Oh, take 80 West then!” I felt coerced to say and he swerved left at the last moment.
“This isn’t the right road. It’s taking us onto the San Francisco Bay Bridge and straight into downtown San Francisco!” If I hadn’t felt so desperate at our plight I could have been mistaken for sounding sanctimonious but a panicky voice revealed my true feelings. The Transamerica Pyramid loomed just ahead and I pictured the claustrophobic streets at its feet.
Which Way Now: Part 2; our relationship is tested – again.