Time For An Adventure!

highway map of route
The Route: Interstate 80 to Sacramento, then 50 — "the loneliest highway in America" — east through Nevada and Utah to where it links with Interstate 70 East. Stayed on that through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri. Then US 55 from St. Louis, where I knew I'd be able to stay for free — and where I was going to wind up again, the next day —north to Chicago.

       I'm a guy who loves to drive. I love to see new places. I love listening to stimulating books-on-tape, or sometimes to NPR, while driving. I've had lots of practice doing this. I was a courier, a delivery guy, for three years before taking my current job. I hadn't driven across the country, though, since moving back to California in '99 to be with Barbara, the woman who is now my wife.
      And I missed it! My once anarchic life had gotten quite "scheduled" the past 5 years. I needed a break. Many of my beloved projects needed more time than I could give them before and after a day at a full-time job.
      Barbara lovingly endorsed my proposal to take the summer off, and I went for it! I decided I would feed my children's stories, my art cards and online store. I would make a CD of music, poetry, and stories. And, for a couple weeks, I would drive across the country, then visit my mom in Missouri.
     Even as I was beginning to envision this trip, however, the price of oil was going throught the roof. I didn't want to pay a lot more than a plane would cost. I decided to advertise on Craig's List that I would love to drive someone's car for them to St. Louis.
    Alas, no replies for a week. Then I received an e-mail asking whether I might be willing to drive to Chicago! Chicago — if that meant I'd have to fend for myself an additional 300 miles after driving 2,000, I wasn't too keen on it. But in a few back-and-forths, the family moving east assured me they would cover all gas costs and fly me from Chicago to St. Louis. The deal was clinched.

barbara at Namaste restaurant, Concord, CA
max throws a goodbye kiss

     I took off after lunch with Barbara at our favorite venue, the buffet of the Indian restaurant Namaste', in Concord, California, not far from our home. Crossed the Benicia Bridge, from which you can see the Navy's fleet of old, mothballed ships — and the replacement bridge that's been started and almost completed since I've last been up this way.

benicia bridge and mothballed fleet

     Stayed on 80 north through Sacramento, as I'd done many times when I'd been a courier. Then veered off onto 50, toward Lake Tahoe. My first mini-adventure took place as the highway started to climb, in Placerville.

First Stop: Placerville, CA

Title page

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