While my blog was moving virtual house last week, I went on a short road trip to California to help my brother move (real) house. The drive from Seattle to Berkeley is a marathon 13 hours and 800 miles, which we divided over two days. I was thrilled to hit the road, not so thrilled to leave my brother behind in another state. I say this now, despite the fact that when he was too young to protest, I nicknamed him "Buggy" because, in the brutally honest words of my toddler self, "He bugs me a lot." Over time, attitudes change; nicknames stick. (Sorry Buggy.)
For most of our trip, we listened to movie soundtracks as we watched the hills turn into mountains and, eventually, the rain-rich valleys level off into flat, vast, golden California cropland. We stopped in Portland for an hour, visiting Ken's Artisan Bakery for buttery baguettes, a slice of opera cake, and Stumptown coffee. Our midway, overnight stopping point was Ashland, a small town on Oregon's southern border known for its Shakespeare Festival. We stayed an extra hour in the morning to wander through a still-sleeping downtown Ashland, which has all the trappings of a town devoted to the Bard of Avon: independent and second-hand bookstores, America's first Elizabethan theater, strong coffee, sweeping backdrop.
Notes for future road-trippers: 1) bring snacks 2) wear layers 3) if you're heading to the Bay Area and you see signs for an unincorporated community called Yolo, population 400-something, you've gone too far on Interstate 5. Stop making #yolo jokes, pay attention, and consult the maps, unless you want to take a "detour" past Sacramento and a terrifying field of wind turbines.
I spent a day and a half in Berkeley, just long enough for two dinners with family, blackberry amaretto French toast at The Sunnyside Cafe, and magnificent cacti at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. Then I boarded a plane, nodded off to The Picture of Dorian Gray (randomly, the one e-book on my iPhone), and woke up back where I started. Back to real life, sweater-wearing, blog-tending, and planning the next trip to California, which hopefully involves going further south.