Head Out On the Highway

On the drive from Arizona to our California destination, we passed by acres and acres of California wind turbines. Go wind energy!

And, of course, more rocky slopes.

California has been getting more rain than usual this spring and things are looking very colorful and lush. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it look so green.

I wish I’d taken more people photos but I was only at my sister’s house for a couple days and time just went by way too fast. I do have a couple new t-shirts, a belt, and a pair of sunglasses now. My sister T is my fashion consultant. I sure wish she lived closer, not just for that reason, but because I miss her and the rest of her family already.

After a couple days in southern California, I was on my way to the opposite end of California to visit my son, Lain. I rented a car and drove because I thought it’d be fun to see the scenery along the way, play some tunes, and just have some contemplation time. Unfortunately, it was raining off and on most of the way there. I did stop for coffee and got a photo of a rainbow.

And while I was stuck in Los Angeles traffic, I captured another view of the rainbow leading, hopefully, to a pot of open freeway.

I stopped when I was near the ocean and took some beach photos. Everything looked pretty gray. And it was so windy that I had to step back from the ledge because I almost got gusted over the side.

Once I got past LA, I made pretty good time and was able to have dinner with my son in Berkeley. But wait, I skipped a whole bunch of fun stuff.

Making reservations at a hotel somewhere when you don’t know the area very well is always a challenge. I generally go for the best deal in an area that seems pretty safe. I really liked the place my sister and I stayed at when we were in Berkeley a year ago but I found a better deal on Orbitz for a different hotel.

The Shattuck Hotel that I stayed at is near the Berkeley campus and has a lot of fun restaurants and shops nearby. It’s a darn fancy hotel and normally out of my price range, but there was a special and I got one night free. Little did I realize that they did not have free hotel parking so my cost went up $15 a day, but I was not going to let that ruin my stay.

So after circling the Berkeley campus a few times, which was a driving nightmare with all the college kids crossing the street everywhere, I finally pulled in front of the hotel and popped the trunk. I got out of the car and realized a guy was already grabbing my suitcase out of my trunk to bring into the hotel. I yelled, “It’s open!” but it was too late.

The entire contents of my suitcase emptied onto the street in front of the hotel. The guy was absolutely mortified and apologetic. Fortunately for both of us, my underwear and bras were zipped safely into a compartment.

I had stopped along my drive and got a jacket out of my suitcase and didn’t close it back up in case I needed something else along the way. I wasn’t expecting anyone but me to handle my suitcase. What do I know about the behavior of employees at fancy hotels? I mean, I’m crouched at the curb throwing things back into my suitcase wearing my bright red sweatshirt jacket that says “Farm Girl”. It might as well have also said “silly Minnesota hickster”.

Anyway, the hotel guy’s faux pas, caused by my lack of worldly knowledge, earned me a free breakfast for the three days I was staying in the hotel. Score!

Did I mention that I also had problems opening my hotel room door and had to get someone to show me how to open it? Honestly, I had to practically put all my weight into pushing the silly handle down to unlatch the thing!

I sat in my room and giggled to myself at the whole suitcase and hotel door incident as it is such a typical “Maery” thing to happen. I am like a constant comedy of errors. Makes life more interesting and funny though.

And I tell you, I loved my hotel Shattuck experience, even if I felt a little uncomfortable next to all the stylish people. The hotel may not be fancy to some people. but it is pretty nice in my world.

We met Lain’s boyfriend V down in the bar for a beer, a $5 beer. Geeze! But I haven’t laughed so long and hard for a long time. It’s so great to spend time with my son!

In my next post, I’ll tell you about our trip to Pacifica Beach to see the ocean. If I can edit down the video we took driving around the twisty road to a tolerable level of nauseousness, I’ll post that too.

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  1. The last time I was in California, I couldn’t find the AC in my room. I called the front desk and asked the clerk, who told me it was on the “far wall.” “But the only thing on the far wall is the window,” I whined, thinking maybe that’s what he meant after all. “Do I have to come up there?” he finally said in this exasperated, father-pulling-the-car-over voice. “Yes,” I whimpered, and he did, marching into the room and straight to the THERMOSTAT on the wall. (I’d been looking for one of those big box AC units from the olden days.) I’m NOT usually that unsophisticated, but it never fails…when I travel I always come across like a rube with hay in my hair and a suitcase chuck full of bib over-halls. Oy.

  2. I taught at Berkeley for almost 10 years – so it’s really odd to be hearing the names of places that I can visualize!

    The big city wasn’t for me, and I haven’t been back even once in a decade.

    I’m so glad that you’re getting to visit with your son!

  3. A dumped suitcase & free breakfast almost makes up for the $15 parking! 🙂

    The beach pictures were very pretty! And the hotel does look nice!

  4. What a lovely hotel room! Poor thing…I hate a suitcase accident… especially in a parking lot ( with people)!

    I can’t wait to hear more. God bless ya!!!

  5. There must be *something* about suitcases this spring since we both had mishaps. I’m glad your unmentionables didn’t tumble out.

    The hotel room looks pretty. That red wall might have been a bit much for me, but the rest looks great.

  6. I just found your blog link on the Far Side of Fifty’s favorites. I thought I’d check you out. My daughter loves cowgirl stuff and she is a city girl. I’ve seen those same windmills! We went on a road trip from Washington State thru Oregon, California, Colorado, Arizona and back again in January. Arizona was not much fun in January this year due to heavy storming. My sister lives there. Gosh, sounds like you are having a good adventure…the hotel sounded like so much fun despite the open suitcase incident. Hope to check back often on your site!

  7. Ooohhhh, clever girl…pulling the ‘ol open suitcase maneuver to score some freebies, eh?

    Very cool! I’ll have to try that if I ever get to stay in a posh little boutique hotel that has burly strong men to come out carry your luggage for you. I bet it even had down mattress covers and duvets! Sweet!

    You had me giggling at what you said about the rainbow pointing to a pot of gold of open highway. But of course, you were aware that with all the cars in front of you heading to that same pot of gold, the chances of the highway being open were pretty slim, right? hehe!

    So…..Lain…V is his boyfriend?…Meaning significant other? Partner?

    I have two young sons of my own as you know and I don’t even want to think about that situation for their futures, but I must say I’m totally impressed with your openness, your acceptance and your support of your son in his relationship.

    I hope, in the future, no matter which direction of gender, they choose to fall in love with, that I can be as hip, cool, and loving.

    You rock, Maery!

  8. I can just see it now, everyone is going to leave their suitcases open when checking into a hotel…

    Lisa – I tip toe around so much concerning my son and his relationship. It wears me out sometimes. I thought it might be risky to throw in the boyfriend word in here but I only lost one follower. I just want the same things for my child as any parent and I’m proud of him like any parent and so I don’t want to tip toe around words like “boyfriend” like I’m ashamed of him. Actually, dealing with your kid being gay isn’t the hard part, it’s the messages from society that he’s evil and the self-loathing he went through as a teen that was much more difficult to deal with.

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