I write this entry from The Normandy Inn in Carmel, CA. I am calm now, having finished off most of a bottle of wine. A few hours ago that was not the case. In fact, at a stop sign, I got out of the car and announced “Get me out of here.” I headed off in the dark and cold, with no coat, to see if I could locate the damn Normandy.
Believe it or not - that wasn't the high point of today's journey but certainly memorable. The fact that we're now in our room, talking and laughing (well not exactly haw hawing) but we're still together; speaks volumes of our ability to endure and survive obstacles.
We left Lexington, on time and arrived at the Chicago airport to see them de-icing planes...not a good sign. We make our way to the gate (stopping for Auntie Anne’s hotdogs) just before the plane boarded. Philip notices our name on the 1st class upgrade list. Yes indeedy, we got 1st class - lovely way to travel.
We land in San Francisco - 1 minute ahead of schedule - make our way to baggage claim, onto the tram to the rental cars and pick up our car. That's when then next 3 hours completely falls apart. It's pre-rush hour as we merge to 280. We live in Kentucky - our idea of a traffic jam is 5 cars making a left turn. Not only has Philip carefully studied the map, we have our handy dandy GPS with our destination programmed. I call Normandy Inn and tell them we're coming in a day early and blithly say - "we'll be there in about 2 hours."
We are in awe of the amount of traffic but we're cruising along. Then comes our old nemisis - Highway 17. It's a horrible road between Santa Cruz and San Jose - climbs over the coast mountains, twisting & turning and generally impossible to travel more than 40MPH. Philip knows he wants to continue driving south but the GPS is telling us to head to San Jose which he doesn't want to do and I'm saying, probably in a voice more forceful than needed – “well you sure as hell don't want to go to Santa Cruz.” (I’ve noticed a directly corollary between my sarcasm and our mistakes) We end up on the road to Santa Cruz. Philip is upset and I'm not talking..which might have been more helpful earlier. Nevertheless, even tho this detour probably cost us 15 extra mins. we're zipping along at the speed limit and begining to relax.
We merge onto Hiway 1 and come to a complete dead stop. 5 lanes merging and no one moving - no one! It took us almost 1 hour to go 2 miles ... and there was only about 100 ft of shoulder road work. There is stop and go traffic all the way to Watsonville and then the road changes to a 2-way road ... does it get more fun????? We're on 3 hour jet lag, the sun has set and oh did I mention we only then realize that our headlights aren't on!!!
Philip turns on the headlights but then the inside lights dim to the point he almost can't see the dashboard and there's no place to pull over. So yes, by the time we reach Carmel, where we take another wrong turn and the city doesn't believe in street lighting - my one goal in life is to get out of the car.
Eventually, I find the Inn, Philip finds a parking place and 2 wild eyed people stumble into the office. Philip couldn't stop talking about the drive and I'm wanting everyone to be quiet, give me the damn key and let's get our luggage - which will need pack mules to bring to the room.
We walk a few blocks to a store, buy a lovely bottle of wine, mortadella and cheese and head back to the room … we have arrived, we’re in one of our favorite towns, we’re out of the dreaded cold, the world’s starting to look pretty good….