Tag Archives: marraige

Your SatNav is Shouting!

If you’re interested, we got lost in Oakland California. After Jimmy had said, “I’m not towing through any more big cities,” my bad angel made me say, “Well you’re going to tomorrow!”

Remember our towing-the-trailer-through-San-Francisco-and-over-the-Golden-Gate-Bridge blooper?

I shouldn't really have been messing with the camera at this point, but you know me!
I shouldn’t really have been messing with the camera at this point, but I can’t help myself.
Jimmy was all smiles once the narrow roads of SF and the narrow lanes of the bridge were behind us.
Jimmy was all smiles once the narrow roads of SF and the narrow lanes of the bridge were behind us that time.

With our last fiasco in mind we were trying so hard to avoid the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge leading into central San Francisco to the west of us, that we turned east and became embroiled in Oakland Good Friday traffic.

I’d studied the road atlas for several days leading up to the journey. We’d studied it together the night before. I’d memorized every route and bridge leading out of Alameda County and planned for every eventuality except the one that transpired.

After we left the campsite south of San Francisco I sat with the atlas on my lap and plotted our course inch worming my finger up the page, not daring to read a book or magazine, play on the laptop or daydream.

Maybe I daydreamed a little. We passed the top of the famous Lombard Steet on the streetcar, I took a photo and didn't even know it until I downloaded it! I should do more homework on our destinations like Mona Lisa!
Maybe I daydreamed a little. While on a trolley car I’d snapped a photo not realizing it was the top of the famous Lombard Street until I downloaded it. I should do more homework on our destinations like Mona Lisa.

On the outskirts of Oakland I began to chant directives. We stay on 880 North. We don’t want 80 West. We don’t want 80 East. We do want 580 West,” and repeated it several times to plant it in my brain, and hopefully Jimmy’s.

When I’d chanted myself into a trance and was staring fiercely at the map Jimmy said, “The sign says take I980 for 580 West.”

I looked up too late to see the sign. “980? We don’t want 980. We do want 580 West, though.”

“Should I turn off?”

“I don’t think we should go that way.”

“Should I stay on this road?”

“I don’t know now.”

“The exit is coming up. Should I turn off?”

“Y-y-y-y-ye . . . Um-m-m-m . . . N-n-n-n-n . . .”

“Say something!!”

“YES!” And Jimmy wrenched the wheel to the right with our trailer snapping smartly round to follow us. “Oh no, this isn’t right. We’re going east. According to the map we should be going north.”

“Oh great. Now look,” he said with that Dammit! look on his face. Six lanes of traffic was coming to a standstill ahead of us.

“We should have stayed on the road we were on,” I whined, wanting but not daring to blame Jimmy for making me say yes when I knew I should have said no.

Oakland drivers have a bit of southern California driving mania about them and they were changing lanes in a wild free-for-all across our bows.

Other road users don’t account for the fact that we have 7,500 pounds of rolling stock slamming into our rear end every time Jimmy brakes. If Jimmy tailgates, he’s on edge. If he leaves a safe braking distance between us and the car in front someone nips into it in their bid to gain 50 feet and he’s still tailgating. He was now displaying his don’t-mess-with-me rigid posture behind the wheel but trying to remain cool.

“There’s a sign for 80 West,” he said helpfully. “Should I go that way?”

Now let me see. Hmmm. Whoops. Too late!
STAY ON THIS ROAD! I think.

“DO NOT TAKE 80 WEST!” I shouted. “Don’t take 80 West,” I repeated a tad more calmly. We didn’t want 80 West. That much I knew. That was all I knew. That was the way to the Golden Gate Bridge via central San Francisco. The traffic jam gave me a chance to study the map. “I think I can see what we’ve done.”

“You’re priceless.”

“I’d like to see you navigate through this mess.”

“I can’t. I have to drive.”

“Well that’s lucky for you. I always get to take the blame,” and fumed for a moment until I saw the sign I‘d been praying for, “580 West! Keep to the right. If we can get on 580 West we’ll be okay.” Gleeful now, I informed Jimmy, “I know where we are now. We‘re on Eastshore Freeway.”

“Brilliant.” How can he infuse so much sarcasm into a single word?

Once we were on 580 West I relaxed a little and attempted to lighten the mood.

“Right! That’s got rid of the 80 West specter. At least we’re not going to get snarled up in San Francisco today.” Silence. Not even acknowledgement that I have spoken.

Couldn't he chill and remember our cruise on San Francisco Bay past Coit Tower?
Couldn’t he chill and remember our cruise on San Francisco Bay past Coit Tower?

So I tried again. “We just need to avoid 80 East or we’ll end up in New York! Hahaha.” Jimmy didn’t join in.

 . . . . or remember this view of the street(s) of San Francisco?
Couldn’t he relax now and remember this view of the street(s) of San Francisco?

“There’s the Golden Gate Bridge across the bay. You can have a last look.” Jimmy turned his head. At least his hearing was still functioning.

For the eagle-eyed among you, this isn't the Golden Gate Bridge at all, but once on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge we, no I, was happy to think it was. It's the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Can you understand my confusion?
For the eagle-eyed among you, this isn’t the Golden Gate Bridge at all, but once on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge we, no I, was happy to think it was. It’s the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Can you understand my confusion?

We’d towed the trailer over the Golden Gate on a previous trip. We’d “sailed” under it on a bay cruise. That day we’d given it a slightly wider berth than planned.

Sailing under the Golden Gate on a more relaxed day.
Sailing under the Golden Gate on a happier day.

Once ensconced on the picturesque route 101 going north I knew my map reading expertise (questionable that day, granted) wouldn’t be needed for another 100 miles or so, so traced our route back to study my booboo.

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. This is the right one!
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. This is the right one!

Where my wits had deserted me was at the confluence of five – that’s FIVE – interstate highways in a city of nearly half million people on a holiday weekend.

I think we’re lucky to still be married. Lucky probably isn’t the word Jimmy would use.

Can you see where he’s taking me?

Can you see where he's taking me?

Click on the picture and all will become clear!

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The Secret Diary of a Smug Married.

I would like to share with you today a post by my favourite/favorite British/French blogger. It isn’t about travel, RVing, silly signs or poems. It’s just very funny. I’d like to visit with her one day when we are in France again but she lives at the back of Beyond and I can’t find Beyond on the map.

Multifarious meanderings

Bridget Jones is back. She has apparently gone full-circle, and is now Mark Darcy-less once again. The question is, am I going to read a third serving of Bridget?

I really don’t know. I remember loving the first two books. Then a few years and three births later, I picked up the first book again, and realised that my initial sympathy for the misunderstood, nicotine-addicted bachelorette had not only waned, but had been replaced by a sneaking desire to slip into the pages and stick her oversized knickers over her head. After a day knee-deep in toys, trying to deal with the laundry equivalent of Vesuvius whilst a newborn baby mistook my nipples for chewing gum, a wailing, incontinent two-year-old clung to my shins and my five-year-old cut up the magazine I had bought in a feverish moment of optimism two months before, the last thing I needed to read…

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Dee’s Road Kill Café

The trailer magnifies every bump in the road for us in the car so on a bad road I feel like a kid bumping down the stairs on my bottom – for hours. Hastily contrived Plan B’s after we’ve juddered along Interstates have not been the ticket to marital harmony as we have gotten lost on local roads not shown in the road atlas. We’ve checked out the Interstates in most states and tend to want to avoid them, hence my unpatriotic comment about the Interstates in my Friday post.

English: Map of the present Interstate Highway...
English: Map of the present Interstate Highway System in the United States Labels: Two-digit interstates (dark orange line) Selected three-digit interstates (blue line) Selected planned interstates (green dashed line) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Eisenhower’s grand scheme, approved in the 1950’s to open up the country with a grid work of limited-access highways, made long-distance motor transport in the U.S. quick and easy. I was a little girl when I95 scythed through my grandparent’s dairy farm in Maryland, spoiling the country tranquility.

Currently running to 46,876 miles, the whole of the Interstate Highway System was completed . . . . well, it’s not done yet. And thanks to a complicated system of funding with federal, state and toll authority funds, we will probably rattle our brains out on the poorly maintained Interstates for years to come. They’re not all in bad repair but you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for until you are committed to at least that day’s route.

State and county roads usually have smoother road surfaces and less traffic hassle so that when we arrive at our destination at the cocktail hour Jimmy’s beers don’t explode, the contents of the bathroom cabinet don’t fall into the sink the first time it’s opened (so funny when I hear it happen to himself, “ARG*#@*&GH!”), and the frozen orange juice doesn’t launch itself onto your foot with the first visit to the freezer.

The country roads offer a slice of Americana as well.

Description unavailable
Description unavailable (Photo credit: LunaMoth116)

Had we stuck to the Interstate, we’d never have seen Whistle Binkies on the Lake in Rochester, Minnesota or the hair salon Curl Up and Dye in Georgia or Dee’s Road Kill Café on the back road to Atlanta; we wouldn’t have towed down Main Street in Brockport, New York and hooted with laughter at Fast Buck Fanny’s and Trader Shag’s Emporium.

If we hadn’t tooled along The Great River Road – Highway 52 – Iowa would have remained 56,276 square miles of beans and corn in our minds and we’d have missed the pretty town of Guttenberg nestled invitingly on the valley floor between the Mississippi River and the limestone bluffs, its limestone block buildings harking back to its origins over 150 years ago, a long history for this young country.

If we’d stayed on the Interstate instead of taking route 41 south in Georgia, we wouldn’t have seen fields of cotton and  the roadside littered with tufts of cotton, like so many wadded up tissues – real cotton – blown off the plants, the harvesters and the trucks hauling the cotton harvest to the train depot. Cotton was now a crop to be labored over in our minds, not just a shirt fabric in a store.

Cotton on porch of sharecropper's home, Maria ...
Cotton on porch of sharecropper’s home, Maria plantation, Ar… (Photo credit: New York Public Library)

There’s so much to see off the high speed roads and it’s a shame we can’t appraise every square mile.

What is your favorite back road?