Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Best laid plans

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." This line, adapted from To a Mouse by Robert Burns best describes our camping trip. Yes, we're home already. Monday morning broke cloudy and humid as the monsoon season that we so typically get in Southern California seemed to have arrive. I thought to myself as I went to get the paper, great, we'll be getting out of this and moving to a little bit cooler climes. We ate our breakfast, gathered up our last minute incidentals that still needed to be in the car, said our goodbyes and were on the road before 8:15 in the morning. We encountered some traffic along the 210, so we decided that we would forgo our first Vexillum flag of Haiti that was located in the San Fernando Valley and just headed off toward the Grapevine.

The rest of the drive up the I-5 was rather uneventful, although there were clues to what lay ahead. For lunch, my wife had prepared a nice sandwich for each of us. The tadpole took about three bites of his sandwich and about two sips from his juice can. I should have thought about that since he's starting to eat like a horse, but I've seen other trips where he doesn't eat much on that first lunch, so I really didn't think much about it.

After crossing over to the coastal valleys via Hwy 152, we reached our first waypoint, another Vexilla flag, this time of Barbados. The farm land was typical for the area around Gilroay and Hollister, alternating with groves of trees, most likely almonds, with corn and then pasture lands for cattle. The flag we were seeking happened to be located in a cattle pastureland. We couldn't go all the way to ground zero, but we were close enough to score the point for the flag. Being close to Gilroy, which bills itself as the "Garlic Capital of the World," we couldn't help but notice the pervasive smell of garlic in the air. However, even my son, who loves garlic, balked at the advertisement on the famer's market stand on the road which advertised Garlic Ice Cream.

We then made our way north along Hwy 101 towards San Mateo County. Once entereing San Mateo County we started actively looking at the GPSr to find a cache that we could find and log. We eventually found a very nice ammo can on a ridge overlooking I-280 on one side and the San Andreas fault zone on the other side. We then got back on the freeway and made our way to the very next exit which was a rest stop. As I got out of the van, I noticed another cache here, so we found that virtual as well, learning a couple of nice things about some of the missions in California.

Then we headed up to San Francisco, getting a dashpoint near the San Francisco zoo and a virtual in the heart of the city. The city's finest elements appeared in all there glory while on this trip through the city and the Tadpole marveled at the different kinds of people there were in the world. In a car in front of us at one point, there was a passenger who had, at minimum, an 8 inch Mohawk hairstyle. I'm not sure either one of us were ever able to determine whether this said individual was male or female. Not that it mattered, it just added to the overall story.

San Francisco was living up to its reputation weatherwise, being very cold and cloudy. The tops of the highest skyscrapers were shrouded in fog as were the tops of bother towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, yet you could look across the bay and see Alcatraz Island, basking in sunlight. We continued north, making a turn at Hwy 1 to get out to the coast on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate. That's when I started noticing more problems.

The Tapdpole, who rarely gets headaches had one and was rather pale. When we got to camp, he perked up a little bit and I attributed it to the winding road and a little car sickness. After a hearty dinner, which he wolfed down and setting up camp, we decided to try and find our first cache in Marin County. The closest one to our campground, we ended up not finding after two tries at it. The night was upon us and we headed off to sleep.

I awoke with a start around midnight trying to figure out why. The Tadpole was moaning and I was able to get out of him that he didn't feel good. I went to get a bucket, just in case and his response was, "Hurry." A couple of minutes later, dinner made a resverse entry from him. Four hours later, he finally had heaved the last amounts of dinner out of his system and was finally asleep. The morning didn't seem to bring much relief to him. He insisted that he wanted to go out to the Point Reyes lighthouse, but as we made our way out there, I could see him fading fast. We both made the decision that it would be best to come home, because it didn't look like he was going to get much better over the next day or so and it's miserble enough being sick when you're at home, let alone in a strange place. So, we're home. He's probably about 90% or so right now and another good night's rest at home will probably bring him back up to full speed.

So that's why we're home and not still out in the woods somewhere. Point Reyes is beautiful, and both of us agreed that we'd like to go back there again next year. So that's what the plans are at this time. Like a proverbial baseball team that has fallen short, "We'll get 'em next year."

Pictures were taken near Gilroy, CA, Samuel P. Taylor State Park and Point Reyes National Seashore.

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