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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Redding, California, Part 2

I took two days to drive to San Francisco to pick up younger son. It only took us one day to get back. Somebody was in a hurry to get out of California.

Lim's Cafe, Redding, California
It was really hot. It got up to 105 degrees in Redding Friday.

I got up at 6AM, showered, packed and was at Jonbert's by 7. We had reconnoitered the route the night before, after dinner. I've been to San Francisco before and I had Google Maps on my laptop, so with a some diligent studying I was able to find my way there. It did seem kind of far, but I live by the freeway, both literally and figuratively, so my travels usually consist of a short jaunt to the freeway, a period of zen autopilot on the freeway and then a short jaunt to my destination. Not this time. No freeway, it was all cross town traffic and it went on for dozens of blocks, dozens I tell you. I haven't driven that far in a downtown area since, umm, I suppose it was the last time I was there.

Front Door of 300 Hyde Street, San Francisco, California
I find a legal parking place a couple of spaces down from John's front door. We're a little paranoid about this, though I am not sure why. What can happen if I don't pay a San Francisco parking fine? Can the long arm of their law reach across state lines for such an infraction? In any case it's not a bad spot as far as distance to the front door, but there is a smear of shit on the sidewalk just there. We shortly get tired of walking the extra dozen paces and avoiding the shit stain so I pull the truck down to the corner and park in a red zone. I saw at least one police car come by, but they didn't seem to be the least interested in my flagrant infraction.

The apartment looked to be somewhat more organized than it was the night before, so maybe this is not going to be a disaster. We started loading stuff into the truck. The apartment was on the third floor. I made maybe a dozen trips up the stairs which was more than enough. Jonbert probably made 50. I was occupied with packing his stuff into the truck, which is just as well. He has got an infinite well of energy. Me, I am already tired just thinking about it. We got most of the stuff in the truck. We left a couch/futon on the sidewalk. I expect that some bum will have a cushy place to sleep for at least one night.

Fancy Building across the street.
I was impressed that someone would bother to high light the details on a building in this neighborhood. I do not understand anything about this area.
The sidewalk in front of the apartment is a hot spot for the homeless, and a person standing there is a target for their wheedling. Some of them are just begging, some are incomprehensible, and a few claimed to want a job. I'm working, this is an economy venture, so no, I am not hiring any help, not that I saw anyone who I thought I might be capable of carrying anything bigger than small bag of crackers. Didn't see anyone I would trust with anything more valuable either.

IKEA Mattress Foundation
We ran into a hitch when we discovered that the IKEA hex wrench that we needed to disassemble the bed frame had already been packed and loaded into the truck. Spend time on a fruitless search of stuff we hoped we were done with? No thank you. Stopped in the two bodegas on the corner. They had an impressive variety of stuff, but no Allen wrenches. I grab my bundle of tools (Vise Grips, adjustable wrench, 4-way screwdriver and pair of slip-joint pliers) and head back upstairs. The bed frame is wood. It has a fabric cover which comes off easily. Since the wood is covered when the bed is assembled, any damage I inflict on the wood frame will not be noticed. So I set to using my Swiss Army knife as a chisel and the Vise Grips as a hammer. I gouged out a space around of the heads of the countersunk lag bolts and then used the Vise Grips to grab the head of the screw and unscrew it.

We were loaded and on the road by 10:30. Stopped in Marin County to check my knots and the ropes and found that the chairs and table I had lashed to the top were doing their best to escape. The back of one chair had broken loose, but it had gotten stuck before it fell off. I redid the knots here. Just going around a piece once will keep it attached but not in place. The wind is relentless. The table and chairs had been pushed back a couple of feet in the few miles we had traveled so far. But the retied knots held all the way home.

Routes into San Francisco from the North
Traffic was heavy all the way to Mt. Shasta. Mostly it was flowing along. The section between San Rafael and Vallejo was kind of tedious with several patches of stop and creep. It was still better than going through Berkeley and going over the Bay Bridge. We went that way last time I was here and it was wretched. I don't know if my new route was any faster, but it didn't seem as bad, perhaps because there were only two lanes of cars creeping along, not a dozen like you get in the approach to the Bay Bridge.

Interstate Freeway at Emeryville
John was playing music with his smart phone. He is getting music beamed to his phone from Spotify via the cell phone network. This worked until we got in the Siskiyou Mountains on the Oregon border. My old truck has a cassette player and I have thing-a-ma-jig that looks like a cassette, but it has a wire dangling from it. Plug the wire into the phone and the fake cassette thing into the radio and we have tunes filling the air from my brand new, recently installed speakers. Did I know I was really going to need new speakers? I dunno, but it was a fortuitous decision I made.

Siskiyou Moutains
We got stopped for speeding somewhere north of Mt. Shasta. Mr. Highway Patrolman said we were going 84 in 65 zone. The speed limit for most of the route so far , which was in the flats, was 70 MPH. It was only when we got into the hills that it dropped to 65, and we had only been in the hills for short while, no more than an hour or two. The officer asks for our papers (you know, the regular car stuff). I didn't find an insurance card, but the officer asks me what company I am with, and that seemed to be good enough. Does this mean that they have a computer that keeps track of that stuff? And a copper can access that information from his car? Or was he using his own good judgement to let us slide? (Yes, of course it was good judgment. I am a good citizen after all, never mind what all those dirty commies are saying.) The best part was that he didn't give Jonbert a ticket, just a warning. I think it had some effect. I don't think he broke 75 MPH the rest of the way home.

Mt. Shasta, shot from the truck.
Somewhere about the same time the air conditioner started threatening to explode and, if not kill everyone in the immediate vicinity, at least render the truck immobile. I am not sure whether something inside the compressor broke, or whether the bearing in the compressor clutch failed. When the A/C quit on Thursday I had turned it off and I hadn't heard anything more from it. But now when I start the truck I hear this gawd awful cauter wailing from the under the hood. It sounds like something is really about to break. Well, if it breaks we'll be in a bit of a jam, but it ain't broke yet and it might not, so we push our luck and drive on. Besides we've been on the road for eight hours and we are road zombies. All we can do at this point is drive. It turns out all right. After a minute or so the screeching goes away. Or maybe we just can't hear it over the rock and roll which is turned up high so we can hear it over the wind buffeting we get from driving 80 MPH with the windows wide open. This happens most every time we stop, but we're in Oregon now so we don't have too many more stops to make.

When we got home we left the truck running while I made space in the garage for the truck. It was about quarter to 11 by now and we really don't want to unload the truck right now. I also want the truck in the garage in case the next time I need to start it the A/C really does explode.

Jonbert drove most of the way. He had been out whooping it up with his friends the night before and then had spent most of the night packing and cleaning. Claims he got a couple of hours of sleep. Now he moves his furniture downstairs and then he drives to Portland. (Okay, I drove for two or three hours somewhere in the middle.) I don't think I ever had that much energy, but maybe I just don't remember.

P.S. The apartment was about 300 square feet which tiny and the rent was $1600. While the place was mostly roach-free, the roaches on the sidewalk definite gave the place an unpleasant cachet.

2 comments:

AndrewP said...

Nice little short story, I felt as if I was there...and wanted to be elsewhere :) highway details a little tedious......thereby conveying the experience most accurately.....maybe a little more is needed about the lines on the highway zipping by then crawling....... and then we passed another gas station.....and a strip center....
Maybe next time, breakup the trip a bikers strip club?

Chuck Pergiel said...

If it was up to me, I would have taken two days to make the return trip, but somebody was in a hurry to get to Portland.