Mondo Spider Goes to San Francisco: Eva’s Log

17. May 2010 by Leave a comment

After a long day of preparing the spider for her trip, and a long night of hitting the town, my phone rings at eight in the morning.

“I’m going to be there in ten minutes!”

I can hear the grin in his voice. Brad, journey companion and wheelman for the first leg of our trip, is way too happy to be waking me up. He knows I hate him for it, because I tell him so.  Mornings and I have never been particular friends.

Ten minutes later, I stumble into the car bleary-eyed, and quickly settle into the backseat with blanket and pillow to pass out for the first few hours of our road trip.

We had planned an early leave time for Sunday morning due to possible hold-ups at the border.   This meant we’d be leaving Sunday and we’d have some time for a leisurely drive down the Oregon Coast on our way to Google I/O and the Maker Faire in the Bay Area. We swing around town and pick up our compatriots in travel, including the lovely lady herself, all wrapped up pretty and greased down for the trip (rain protection is key when traveling down the Oregon Coast).

Things go flawlessly. We even manage to find a Timmy Ho’s on our way down. We pull up to the border and get directed into the trucking lane, as we are deemed a commercial endeavor, and wait. And wait. And wait a little more. The line moves at a snails pace. We had planned for a possible four hours at the border, but regardless, by the time we’re handing over our passports we’re all a little irritable and anxious to get moving.

The border guard booth is high above our window, built to service the cabs of rigs much taller than ours. The guard can’t see those on the left side of the vehicle (Myself and Dylan). We are asked to exit the vehicle and stand where we can be seen.

“She’s much cuter in person,” quips Ben, referring to my passport photo.

“Well… Maybe not today…” adds Brad.

Great. Already I feel beautiful and appreciated. I am nonplussed.

Quickly, my mood goes from nonplussed, to extremely irritated, to frustrated, to resigned and laughing. We get caught at the border. After waiting nearly an hour, the guy in charge of our file refuses to let us through, and demands more paperwork. We can go no further. We have to find a broker.  Our dreams of going to San Francisco were wilting like the flowers in our hair.

After a few false starts, we manage to find a broker who will work on our paperwork with us on a Sunday. Four hours after hitting the border, we are on our way back into Vancouver to get the requested paperwork sorted out. It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing much to do but comply with their requests, and a valuable lesson is learned: borders suck. Piles of scrap metal and batteries suddenly multiply in value when you configure them into such a wicked shape, and people sometimes have a hard time understanding that we just want to show it off, not sell it.

Eventually, we get to enter America for realsies. It is now nine o’clock. According to our original schedule, we should be in Portland now, readying ourselves for the trip to the coast.

We make the decision to drive through the night. The original plan calls for us to camp the night in Oregon, and then spend the entire next day getting as far towards our destination as possible. This is not to the be the case. We will stick to the I-5 until it gets light, and hit the coast in the morning. This way, we avoid the possible treachery of a night drive along a windy, narrow road.

We take turns driving and sleeping as the night deepens. Daybreak finds us near the California border, and Ben is nearly hallucinating. I feel better than most everyone else, as I find myself capable of curling into a tiny ball in the backseat and sleeping pretty comfortably. The guys seem to have a problem with leg room.

Chalk one up for short people.

We finally reach the coast in the morning. We are about where we had planned to be, but with less leisure and more sleep deprivation.

We continue on our merry along the water. We stop at nearly every vista advertised, which appear to occur every 1/4 mile.

We keep ourselves amused with commenting on various towns and inane conversation. Ben pulls out a jar of bee pollen, claiming its health benefits. I ask why it’s called bee pollen… It’s plants that make pollen, not bees.

“I guess because bees gather it,” answers Ben.

After five minutes of quiet, I question:

“Then shouldn’t we call apples ‘man apples’…”

Our drive continues with much conversation in a similar vein. Long stretches of driving are punctuated by the occasional vista, gas, or food stop.  We enjoy a scenic detour through the mighty redwood forests .  We are in awe of the massiveness of the trees. As a forestry student, I had an understanding of how large Sequoiadendron giganteum can get, but actually being there was another story entirely.  Some impromptu forestry lectures take place as we all enjoy the serenity and overwhelming feeling of vastness.

Near five o’clock we enter Mendecino and we are beginning to think of stopping for the night. Apparently we have found ourselves in a respectable gentleman farmer community and well-heeled cityfolk retreat, where the only purveyor of places to sleep for the night is an expensive, but gorgeous, bed and breakfast. We continue on down the road, and eventually find ourselves in Gualala. We are currently holed up in the Breakers Inn, a much recommended establishment, with great service, immaculate rooms, and reasonable pricing.

Tired now, ready for cards, a nightcap, and a good nights sleep.

Lessons learned:

When bringing any large, unusual machine over the border, always be prepared that your intentions regarding its use can be easily misinterpreted.  Art is a hard concept for some people to understand.

Boys are smelly.

Bored people have weird conversation.

This is Eva, over and out.