Day 25 (August 20, 2017 – Los Angeles, California): “Deviant Ingredient”
It was 3:30am when I awoke to the alarm. Having only had 4 hours of sleep, I was naturally groggy. Believe it or not, Tahia was totally awake and all into getting up and out the door instead of being cranky about the early wake-up. Julie and I theorized that she was so looking forward to going home so she was motivated to get up and out the door.
The reason for the early wake-up was so we could get to Sacramento so Julie could meet up with an herbalist who could sell Julie on some kind of concoction with CBD oil to help with her gut issues. Apparently, it worked for someone else, and this was one thing she hasn’t tried. I remained skeptical, but I guess it couldn’t hurt. After all, she tried just about everything else though her loading up on sugars during this trip probably didn’t help her cause.
I managed to eat some kefir with fruits as well as some leftover arepas. Certainly, I was good to go. Julie and Tahia could eat and sleep in the car.
So by 4:30am, we were in the car and ready to go.
It was still dark when we left so the possibility of wildlife dashing in front of the car on the I-5 was everpresent on my mind. I tried to use trucks in front of me as screens so I wasn’t exactly gunning it at this time.
However, in so doing this, I was badly fighting road fatigue. I was pulling out all the stops to stay awake with drinking water (making me need to go pee pretty badly) while also listening to music loudly, amongst other things. Julie and Tahia were sound asleep while all this was going on.
I did manage to see a beautiful red globe sunrise over Shasta Lake as the sun was penetrating the thick smoke from the forest fires that must have produced all this haze. Too bad I couldn’t take a picture of this while driving.
Mercifully at 7:50am, I decided to pull off for a Pilot Gas Stop in Orland, CA. It turned out that they had $2.59/gal gas, which was pretty dirt cheap as far as California was concerned. This pit stop gave me a second wind, and from here on out to Sacramento (or Sac Town as I often refer to it, in an ode to Jim Rome’s terminology), Julie and Tahia were also awake though it would be a struggle to get Tahia to do her homework in preparation for school which was beginning later this week.
Eventually at 9:25am, we arrived at the Cooperative Grocery Store in downtown Sacramento. We had never done much in this town other than pass through. I’m sure one of these days, we should actually spend a night here and see what the state’s capital has to offer. But for now, it was purely so Julie can meet up with her herbalist while we’d do some last-minute grocery shopping for the road (like buying any more organic cherries or plantain chips).
By 9:55am, we were back in the car as Julie was successful in getting her concoction after meeting up with the local herbalist. Apparently, there wasn’t such a person in the LA area who had such a concoction specific for gut issues like Julie’s. I sure hope she wasn’t getting ripped off because it costed us $140 in cash.
Next, the GPS had us drive south on the Hwy 99 instead of the I-5. At first, I hesitated about this because the I-5 seemed more direct, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that perhaps taking the 99 might be a better option since that highway passed through more developed towns (so more opportunities to stop and eat as well as fill up gas or go on pottie breaks) while the I-5 was a whole lot of nothing with a few road stops here and there, including passing through the disgusting “Cowschwitz”.
Eventually by 11:20am, we opted to stop at a convenient Chipotle in Turlock. We also filled up on another cheap spot for gas at some Safeway station. We managed to beat the lunch rush so our usual lunch of barbacoa bowl and/or burrito and Tahia’s DIY tacos hit the spot. We were then back out the door at 11:50am.
Next, the drive continued on the 99 for what seemed like forever. As we were nearing the Grapevine, road fatigue was once again starting to set in. Julie offered to switch drivers, but I managed to get my second wind once we were ascending the highway past the Grapevine and back into the Angeles National Forest area.
The temps were nearly 100F so we had to turn the AC off while making this ascent. Lots of other cars were pulled over on the shoulders with their hoods open as they clearly overheated.
Otherwise, the drive was surprisingly smooth despite the fairly heavy volume of traffic (something expected on this stretch of highway these days).
However, we then hit traffic once again as we were near the Magic Mountain area. Now, there seemed to be some road construction work that really bottlenecked the traffic. Since everyone needed a potty break, we had to switch lanes all the way from the inside to the exit at Calgrove Drive, which really wasn’t anything.
We thought we could do a potty break at some kind of open preserve park, but we passed by it as it came upon us suddenly without adequate signage given the high rate of speed and dense traffic even on this road (apparently, many people used this road in lieu of the traffic on the I-5).
As we were getting desperate, we finally noticed a pair of porta-potties across the street from a construction site. We managed to pull over and use these contraptions (as awkward as it seemed at the time). Once we were relieved, we then resumed the drive. It was 4pm at the time.
Mercifully, we’d finally make it home at 5:10pm after making it through more sluggish traffic on the I-5. It had been a brutally long drive, but now came the real work where I had to get all the trip happenings written up and published while also working the revamp of the website. In the mean time, I had to get back in the swing of things at work, and plus we had to get all unpacked and return the rental car.
Indeed, there was no rest for the weary, but it was a price worth paying for priceless moments on trips like these. At least we didn’t have to contend with the eclipse, which was sure to cause congestion and overinflated prices in Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming (or wherever else the the moon would block out the sun in totality)…