Monday, August 09, 2010

Westward Ho

It usually takes me three and a half hours to get from Reno to Berkeley. Yesterday it took six and a half. Granted, that included two sorely needed breaks to stretch, refuel and recycle liquids, but still.

Over the mountains, there was roadwork. Everywhere, there was incredible traffic, as everyone who'd been in Reno for Hot August Nights headed west again. Traffic crawled, rarely getting up to thirty miles an hour. The one time the road cleared enough for all of us to get up to actual highway speed, I got pulled over by the CHP and given a speeding ticket.


Granted, I was speeding. So was everyone else on the road. I wasn't going any faster than anyone else; I just got unlucky and lost the CHP lottery. They've cut me breaks at least twice before, though, so my number was up this time (and I saw a lot of other people pulled over).

Anyway, it was a thoroughly miserable trip, especially when I stopped for gas about sixty miles out of SF. I needed to use the bathroom, but it was out of order. I drove to the gas station across the street to use their bathroom, which had a line of at least fifteen people, no lie. Even worse, the people emerging from the bathroom looked really unhappy. I wound up driving west an exit or two, where I finally found clean, functional facilities in a fast-food place.

I guess the trip could have been worse. Eastbound traffic in the mountains, already down to one lane because of construction, was stopped dead: people had gotten out of their cars and were wandering along the side of the road. The CHP officer told me there'd been two accidents, including a big rig that had gone off the road, and no one knew how long it would take to get things moving again.

By the time I got to Berkeley around 6:30, I was thoroughly frazzled. Luckily, my suite's lovely: I have a living room, bathroom and bedroom to myself -- and the bedroom has a view of the Bay Bridge and SF skyline -- although when I unpacked, I discovered that I'd fogottten both a crucial piece of my CPAP and crucial items of clothing. Gary's FedExing all that stuff to me; it will get here tomorrow. Between FedEx charges and the speeding ticket, this has become a very expensive trip!

My course is interesting, if not entirely what I expected: more academic than practical so far, although I suspect that will change.

Felicity Fiddle, swaddled in blankets for insulation in the backseat, was nicely in tune last night and seemed to have weathered the trip fine. Tonight, everything had gone haywire, and it took me a good forty minutes to get her even remotely in tune again. I couldn't get the fracking pegs to stay put: I'd tighten a string and get it in tune and then, sproing, the peg would loosen again. Drove me nuts. I finally got everything adjusted and relatively stable, but I hope this doesn't happen again tomorrow! I'm using my practice mute so I don't bother anyone else in the dorm, and I'm having fun playing, but man, the tuning challenge was almost as frustrating as yesterday's drive (if not as expensive!).

The weather's cool and cloudy here. I usually appreciate that during the summer, but this week, I miss Reno's sun. Also Gary. Also the cats.

I'll feel much better when I get my CPAP and can get a good night's sleep!


  1. Wow! And I thought WE had construction problems here in good old Guelph Ontario. That sounds like the road trip from hell. You sound remarkably calm about the experience though. Good for you. All this and no go girl!!!!!

  2. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Dear Susan,

    I'm sorry your trip was so rough - I hope the stay itself is a whole lot smoother and nicer! What course are you taking?


  3. Anonymous5:02 PM

    Susan, now you know why I don't like to go west of Verdi. I-80 is a NIGHTMARE. Once last summer it took me 4 hours to go from Truckee to Reno. Should have gone over Mt. Rose.

    I can't stand the California traffic any more. Can't believe I lived there for 22 years. BTW,Reno's in the mid-80's today.



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