Drive Until Dark

Sacramento skyline from the north

Sacramento skyline from the north

I’m up at 5am and head for the shower expecting there to be a line – then I remember how early it is, though while I’m in there the door receives a few knocks. I am in one of the two flush toilets available too. On my way out I pass Stacy on his way to the store. He invites me over for breakfast, with Jeff when he wakes up. I accept. Chalay plays fetch with himself and we watch Seabrook, the cat, turn the truck into his playground.

The morning meal will consist of toast, eggs, peach oatmeal, and a glass of water. Tasha comes over and we watch Get Him to the Greek. As much fun as I’m having procrastinating my trip I must get home. I take the 44 west and get lost on one of the roads that will lead me towards Anderson – a small town near Hwy 5 that I will be on for most of the next two days. Later, the odometer will read 38,000 miles – done in 16 months.

The next noteworthy thing to take place on this long stretch of pavement was the sign on the highway ‘Fire Ahead’, yet a lot of drivers continued forth. They might have been reduced to a lane around, but I took the next exit. I sat at the intersection trying to figure out my next course – keeping an eye on my rearview, but wasn’t fast enough for the officer blocking the on-ramp, so he kindly gave me directions – left here, right there, and back on the road to continue through to Sacramento.

San Joaquin valley south of Tracy

San Joaquin valley south of Tracy

I don’t stop there, but glance at the tall buildings as I fly by. Near Los Banos there is another accident. No fire at this one, just a car that is in need of a new everything besides the trunk. I don’t know the condition of the other vehicle, there were a few vehicles and lots of helpful tax-paid transportation on site to deal with the situation. I let them handle it, slowed down, got to the far lane, and kept on driving.

My next stop would be Avenal, for the night. I thought about getting closer to LA. I had debated taking the 99 – more camping available, but stuck it out on the 5. There is a gas station truck stop here with a built-in eatery – Asaderos Mexican Restaurant. I have a feeling they are stealing business from Subway, but it is so worth it. I have a flashback to the big deal made over the deli in the Mobil gas station in Lee Vining.

I order a veggie burrito, grab some chips and salsa, and sit down caddy corner to a man already at a nearby table – there were plenty others, but this one was close to the chips. I would get seconds while I wait. My number was called and I went to get my food – that was the size of my arm from wrist to elbow! I’m not complaining. All that for $4.31. I eat half of it, get some salsa to go, and leave as the place fills up after 9:30 pm.

The parking lot is large – like it was made for sleeping in your car, and I’m parked just right to keep the lights off my face. There are large vans – some with Indian families and others with church or youth groups in them, and some other cars scattered about. The restaurant traffic must also be from gas pump customers. I suppose not all of them ended up here to sleep like I did – windows cracked, pillow down, shoes off, and stretched out.

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