“What do we do now?” asked my agitated driver having taken the turn for San Francisco city center whilst towing our travel trailer against my wishes.
“I don’t know.”
“Well you’ve got the map.”
“You should have gone on 580 West like I said.” To further aggravate him, himself then had to pay an $8.25 bridge toll to take us into the city.
“Shall I try for the Golden Gate now we’re heading for San Francisco?” It had been a secret desire of his to tow our travel trailer over the bridge but getting stuck down a narrow road like a rat in a drainpipe had obviously not yet occurred to him.
“You might as well. We’ll get just as lost going that way as trying to turn on city streets and come back. I can’t see where we are on the map. (I had switched from the two-page large print interstate map to a 2” x 3” city centre map – a miniature grid we hadn’t yet driven onto with road names I couldn’t bring into focus, on a twilight zone of scale between the two maps.) Just keep the bay to your right and we’ll come to the bridge,” I said airily as we crawled through a city of heavy traffic, sharp turns, dead end streets and up to 21 degree gradients. Visions of broken and spewing fire hydrants, smashed cars that had been carelessly left in our path, a run-away trailer, terrified children all impinged on my map reading abilities.
“Here’s California Street. Turn here,” I offered helpfully.
“No!” he blurted as he bowled on. “I thought you said to keep the bay on our right.”
“I did but I thought it would help if we turned onto a road I could find on the map,” which seemed logical to me.
“Yes. I can appreciate that,” he replied calmly. “Where do I turn here?”
“I don’t know.”
“IDON’TKNOWWHWEREWEAREONTHEMAP!!!” Hysteria had truly set in.
“We’ll laugh about this one day,” he said in a feeble but well intentioned effort to diffuse the tension.
Eventually we came to an intersection, Chestnut Street and Hyde Street, which I found on the teeny tiny print of the Central San Francisco map. “Go three blocks and turn left and one block and turn right.”
With San Francisco Bay glistening on our right and the shops and restaurants of Fisherman’s Wharf enticing us to stop and play, we passed five minutes in stony silence advancing slowly behind cars, buses, trolleys and cable cars until himself said, “Look, we’re on 101!”
“Yes, I know,” I said in that know-all way that he hates.
“How did you know that?”
What could I say? I just sighed and began to enjoy the sights once again as we cruised majestically, car and trailer, over the Golden Gate Bridge.
This little scenario happened again, and again, and with galling frequency again – all over the United States. And we seem to court disaster whenever we hitch up and go, but we’re still married – to the amazement of all our friends – and the trailer is still in one piece, with a few running repairs along the way. We’ve wrecked the car and replaced it with a truck; nothing calamitous – the engine and transmission was knackered – just too many miles.