San Mateo, CA – Winnemucca, NV
Distance: 424 Miles
Leaving San Francisco was difficult for both Madeline and me; so many great conversations with friends, family, loved ones…that was the best part! Everyone had watery eyes when we left, but we definitely felt blessed for having the chance to spend so much time together.
Madeline spoke her first words in San Francisco, made her first friend and Grandpa caught her first steps on camera while we lived here.
1st step pic
As we left SFO traveling northeast towards Reno, Nevada a sad Madeline watched a video (she hadn’t watched a video until we hit California). For me reading all the familiar signs, I was aware of everything; I spent time being nostalgic and sentimental and reminisced about riding my bike rides in just about every inch of the Bay Area North, East and South; up to Lake Berryessa, the 99 miles east from my front door to my friend Judy’s at the state capitol, Sacramento. As we passed through Yolo County, it reminded me of sky diving and hang gliding. And then ohh at Donner Pass we saw the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains on the California/Nevada border. I’d forgotten it was spring and spring skiing in Lake Tahoe or Boreal or Sugarloaf on the Nevada side would have been a great experience for M. ugh, I wish I’d thought of it earlier. Both Madeline and I were stuck in the muck.
We knew we had two big drive days; we were trying to make it to Fort Collins, CO for Tuesday homemade pasta dinner with friends. We had to move our noon interview with Stan Schmidt the author of the Life of Fred books out a bit because we had a late start out of San Francisco. Stan was a high school math teacher when he created the character of Fred. When Stan switched to college he “brought” Fred along with him. After Stan retired, his daughter suggested he put the Life of Fred into a series and the rest is history. Madeline and I both enjoy the LOF series; Stan puts a fun perspective on things. The series is much more than just learning math facts, it is about how we use math everyday in our lives. We love stories like this.
We felt bad because we had really low energy going into this interview and as it turns out, this interview with Stan and his lovely wife Lynn was actually absolutely perfect timing. I’d say the best part of the interview was when we asked Stan “What do you do when you get down…?” He replied that stays with his sadness (feels his feelings) and watches a movie which is exactly what Madeline had just done as we left SFO. All of our interviews have been fantastic; but this was exactly what we needed to hear at THIS moment.
Just after our meeting with Stan, Madeline was not even fazed (good thing we had that discussion in Georgia) when I was pulled over and received a ticket while pulling out of the Mc Donald’s parking lot. I was wrong and it is never a good thing to drive while not using the hands-free. We were really running late and I wanted to check in with David and the Bluetooth wasn’t kicking in so I dialed his number while sitting in the parking lot. I started driving after I dialed the number and as I was putting the phone down the Bluetooth kicked in I looked up and he turned his lights… I was WRONG and deserved the ticket. I received a ticket for Distracted Driving.
We felt as if we were stuck in “Area 51”. Even though we were nowhere near Area 51 (“Top Secret” military base) it certainly had an affect over us. Madeline was staring out the window at nothing but a brown, hot, and dry dessert.
When we arrived in Salt Lake City we felt as if the fog had lifted! The lake was all white with salt and we noticed a Morton Salt sign and factory. We don’t know how Salt Lake is actually connected to Morton but we do know Morton is headquartered in Chicago, IL anyway we didn’t feel like Googleing it from the car so we made a note to check it out when we get home.
We had an interesting turn of events when we stopped for gas and lunch just off of Highway 80. We discovered the most beautiful park, Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City. But before that story, I should mention I had a little odd thing occur while pumping gas. I couldn’t get the gas to pump into the gas tank. We weren’t in dire need so we decided to go have a proper lunch and then get gas on the way out of town.
As we were pulling into the parking lot for lunch I noticed a beautiful park and we decided to stop for a quick look before we left town. Sugar House Park is a large pond surrounded by beautiful green grass and by apple blossom trees in full bloom—(finally we got to see apple blossoms, we just missed them in Washington D.C. and we missed ours at home), then surrounded by snow capped mountains. We felt so at peace there. We noticed two young ladies having fun with silk (you know, like the aerial rope silk in Cirque de Soleil) and we went over to have a closer look. The next thing we knew, Madeline was swinging high above my head cocooned in silk. The girls were really interested in our trip as they are leaving shortly for a trip around the world. How fun is that? bummer no camera
After the park we stopped to fill up with gas and again I had the same problem of not being able to pump gas into the gas tank—I do have some experience pumping gas, 4,000+ miles… Anyway, I noticed it was another Chevron station so I decided to go to the next closest gas station where; you guessed it, I could not pump gas into the tank. Embarrassed I asked the women at the cash register to help me out (maybe there is some trick to pumping gas in Utah or maybe she knew something I didn’t). When she couldn’t pump, my heart started racing; you know that feeling you get when there is something you just don’t understand or can’t control. Yikes, this just goes with our day!! My mind did a quick check of my premises–just had 20,000 miles check up in SFO, maybe something to do with VW? Just then I looked up and saw the exact same car directly in front of me so I walked over and the women said “Yes, I noticed your plates, I just drover here from Washington, blah, blah, blan” Anyway she tried to pump and couldn’t and had never this experience in all of her travels. Ugh, finally we figured it somewhat out: I had to hold the nozzle about ¼ of an inch in—not push it all the way in as usual. note: deal with this while we are in Colorado.
We drove for what seemed like forever and our bellies were rumbling so we stopped in a pretty much ghost town for the worst pizza ever. We were both sick with bellyaches afterwards. Traveling east back onto Highway 80 for us we were hoping to make it to further today but staying in Winnemucca seemed appropriate for our day. In my head I kept thinking “Stuck in Winnemucca.” I just couldn’t get it out of my head.
I don’t like traveling in the dark for several reasons, number one is that the big boys travel at night–the double and triple 18-wheelers, secondly, the dear run wild especially when we are out in the middle of nowhere, and finally, with Madeline I have an exposed vulnerability so I prefer to be safely tucked into our hotel before sundown.
We’ve only traveled at night two times this trip and both nights we arrived at the best hotels—friendly, spacious, and immaculate—too bad we can’t stay longer. We arrived at the hotel late, sad and had a 5am wake-up call.
Happy travels (?) from Linda and Madeline