With two days of advance warning, a group of college friends planned a 4-day shindig over the Memorial Day weekend. One would host the others in his apartment in Los Osos, adjacent to San Luis Obispo, where we went to university, and the other two would leave from the San Francisco Bay Area, with one of them actually coming from the Sacramento area first. Another would show up for half of it, and another would meet for a single meal.
I usually drive through San Francisco, since I am more familiar with that route. However, I had already crossed the Golden Gate Bridge that morning for a job interview. The bridge toll doesn’t bother me, though I did wonder how much traffic there might be on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend, even though rising fuel prices mean people are likely doing less leisure driving. I know the East Bay route is also consistently congested, though even slow movement might be faster than 19th Avenue. Plus, I’ve never gone that route, so we decide to try it (also paying no bridge toll).
It was very slow, and it slowed down again once we connected onto Highway 101, where we could see and smell the smoke from the redwood fires. That heavy traffic lasted all the way through Morgan Hill, and eventually, we made it through to clear roads. Our dinner options looked better in Salinas, so we passed by Gilroy. The Westridge Mall Outback Steakhouse parking lot yielded a lost $5 bill, but the wait was 25+ minutes, so the second option of El Pollo Loco would be able to take advantage of the found money, plus a $1 bill found when leaving Outback. A small pile of BRC burritos and Taco al carbon, from the almost Dollar Menu, paired with refillable drinks should hold us until we reach our destination.
It’s pretty dark by now, and we make one final stop at the Camp Roberts rest area. I think the planners made a mistake regarding the placement of these rest areas. There is one on each side of the freeway, but the one on your side shows up first. If you miss it or decide you don’t want it, you’ll see the one on the other side of the freeway several miles later, mocking you if you realize that you should have stopped. They should have placed them so the rest area on the opposite side of the freeway is seen first – that way, you are reminded that you are rapidly approaching a rest area in your direction.
By the time we get close, we have options – take Highway 46 and cut over to Highway 1 for the shortest route to Los Osos. However, some of these guys have a tradition of driving through the Cal Poly campus for the first activity. It’s fully dark, and I am not familiar with Highway 46, so we continue south on 101 into San Luis Obispo, where we drive through campus at night, so you can’t see much (other than college girls wearing summer-style clothing).
In Los Osos, the other two are already there. Of course, one of them lives there. We leave most of the stuff in the car, as it won’t be needed until Sunday. They start watching The Bourne Ultimatum (that I brought as requested), but then pause and stop the film because they are too tired to watch. How can you be too tired to watch a Bourne movie?