Northern California countryside

day eight: end of the road

Today we reached the end of our travels as we rolled into San Francisco around dinnertime, got the oil changed in the Highlander and checked into our airport hotel. Today’s drive took us down another fairly boring stretch of I-5 from Redding into San Francisco. At one point we actually back-tracked a bit to hop onto 162 because it looked (according to my awesomely old-school AAA map) as though it would have taken us up through the redwood forests. We drove up 162 for about a half hour, started down another stretch of two lane road through the foothills and realized it was starting to storm and the road ahead looked pretty ominous. We also noticed that our Bitch in the Box (aka GPS) now told us we would be arriving two hours later than we originally expected. We sat there debating for a few minutes, then turned around and headed back the way we came, down 162 to I-5. About 45 minutes later we realized it was a good move when we looked to our right (out over the mountains in the distance) and saw nothing but black clouds and what appeared to be large scary-looking storm cells. Later at dinner we saw on the news that there had been tornado warnings in that area, and – see what you think- I may have accidentally taken a picture of one….hmmm…good thing I didn’t know it at the time or I would have been *slightly* freaked out.

Dinner tonight was at the Crowne Plaza because we were simply too tired of driving in the city to venture back out, and we had just filled up the car with gas and gotten the oil changed for Mark- it was time to be done. And knock me over with a feather- this was one of the top two dinners we had the entire time! We ordered West Coast Fish Tacos, which were comprised of seared ahi tuna, mango salsa, and baked avocado slices, wrapped in lettuce leaves and drizzled with a lime chipotle aioli. FANTASTIC!! I absolutely have to learn how to make these puppies at home.

About an hour later we got word that Mark and Gwen had arrived, so we ventured over to the airport and picked up the four of them (Mark, Gwen, Everest and Sierra- world traveler canines extraordinaire). The six of us- along with two dog cages, a cooler, and Mark and Gwen’s luggage- all crammed into the Highlander and jetted back over to the Crowne Plaza for a nightcap before they headed up the road to Wine Country for the next few days. It was so great to see them and relax a bit before they hit the road and eventually join us *permanently* in Ohio at the end of the month.

Mom and I fly home tomorrow, and what a fantastic journey this has been. If you’ve been reading along, a great big thanks for following me through twelve states, countless highways and rest stops, and the most amazing parts of the country I’ve ever seen. This was a trip I’ll never forget, and I truly enjoyed sharing my thoughts along the way and my “shots across America.” Signing off now from San Francisco…

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