It’s still 2009, but I got to practice not freaking out when AK’s car overheated on the way home from San Luis Obispo, where we spent an otherwise fun post-Christmas weekend. Of course we were on one of the few really desolate stretches of the 101. When it became clear we weren’t going to make it to a gas station, we turned onto a dirt road that led to something called the El Camino Winery. I put on my best not-freaking-out voice, which never fools AK. We contemplated our options, and AK called AAA.
My friend Jody once found himself in Guatemala without a place to stay. He curled up by the side of the road, and when he woke up, a handful of children were carrying him to their village, talking to him in a language that wasn’t Spanish. They fed him and set him up in a hammock. He had a great trip.
I am not Jody. Even though we were in California with credit cards and fully charged cell phones, it wasn’t long before I felt my insides spinning into a tight little tornado and possibly making a high pitched whining sound perceptible only to dogs. Especially when:
- We discovered we had no water with which to cool down the engine.
- The sun went down.
- The winery gate suddenly swung shut.
- My bladder decided it could not wait to find this elusive gas station.
“You’re good for me,” I told AK. “If left to my own devices, I would have hovered all day next to the repair shop, biting my nails.”
“And I would have driven twenty miles to hang out at Pismo Beach,” said AK, “so we balance each other out.”
A good photojournalist would have taken pictures of the winery gate and the tow truck and the closed café we ate leftover burritos in front of—or at least taken pictures of our sainthood-worthy friends—but I just took pics of all the fun stuff we did before things got crazy:
Lunching with Lori in Santa Barbara on the way up.
Jogging and doing nerdy yoga poses at Montana de Oro.
Eating at all our favorite spots.
Enjoying local art.
Enjoying local eccentricity at the Madonna Inn--we didn't stay there, but luckily they let non-guests hang out in the lobby and enjoy the giant faux rock fireplace.
Visiting the Apple Farm--an aggressively quaint hotel that carries every product Paula Deen ever stamped her face on--and befriending a large, worried-looking reindeer.
Hiking (halfway) to Bishop's Peak.
Checking out the pelicans and beachcombers at Pismo.
Preemptively partaking in a little comfort food. I think we would go on to earn it.