I have spent so long struggling to post my time-lapse sunrise that even though the quality loses everything I wanted to share, I’m still posting it. If you watch it very closely, in the bottom right corner, you might get a chance to see the sun sparkling on the water drops that covered the tree. In the moment, it was crazily magically beautiful. On the time-lapse… well, you can’t really see it. Maybe if you watch it in a very dark room, you might get a glimpse. Mostly, though, you’ll have to use your imagination and trust me that it really was gorgeous!

So! Moving on… I left Half Moon Bay on Friday morning and literally prayed on the drive into the city to find a parking place. Literally. Out loud. I apologized to the universe for asking for favors — I have a pretty strict policy of only praying in gratitude and appreciation and to ask for blessings for other people — but I was envisioning driving around and around in Serenity, finding only parking spots that would require parallel parking in tiny spaces. Instead, there was an open parking space — not parallel! — directly in front of my favorite dim sum bakery from decades ago. Yes, it felt like a miracle. A really nice minor miracle. I envisioned my guardian angel patting themself on the back in that pleasure and delight that you get when you find someone the perfect gift.

I parked… and then I did not go in for dim sum. I watched people going in and out, most of them taking packages of deliciousness to go… and I thought about how miserably sick gluten makes me. And then I thought about how much I love shrimp dumplings and pork siu mai. And then I thought about the sore throat and the aches and pains and the feeling of having so little energy that even standing up is an effort… And eventually my friend S arrived and we went down the street to Burma Superstar, currently the #8 restaurant in San Francisco according to Trip Advisor, and ate delicious gluten-free tea leaf salad and braised pork with coconut rice. I’m pretty sure that means I am never going to willingly eat gluten again. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that San Francisco dim sum would be the place/food that I would pay the price for, but apparently it’s not. Fortunately, lunch was delicious.

While we were eating, it hailed! I took a video but I’m not even going to make an attempt to post it, but here’s a picture from the window, including a little girl picking up pieces. Hail must be pretty amazing if you’re a San Francisco kid.

little girl picking up hail in San Francisco

After lunch, S and I went to Golden Gate Park and took Zelda for a good walk, and then I dropped S off sorta close to the de Young Museum and headed north across the Golden Gate Bridge. I did debate going to the Museum myself, but I wanted to get to my campground before dark and I didn’t want to get caught in traffic.

That was a really good call. The campground would have freaked me out after dark. It was remarkably isolated, considering it was in Sonoma. No cell service, no electricity, and a steep and winding road in lousy condition to narrow, hilly campsites. Also mostly deserted. On Friday afternoon, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to stay.

But it was gorgeous.

Serenity, alone on the hillside.
Zelda, eager to explore
Come on, Mom. Let’s explore!

Zelda had no such doubts. She was bouncy and excited, loving the weather — cold and sunny — and the smells. So we stayed through Sunday morning, with a mostly very quiet Saturday. I could have run the generator to give myself some electricity (I did manage to get it working again) if I’d wanted to use my computer or cook anything complicated, but instead I read books and ate leftovers. I wasn’t as tired as I’d been on my quiet day in Half Moon Bay, but it was nice to have a day where I didn’t have driving goals.

On Sunday, I headed off reasonably early, and finally finished my long drive. I arrived in Arcata around 3, pulled into S’s driveway and got comfortable. My journey lasted seventeen days, and over 3000 miles. Some parking lots, some driveways, some campgrounds — and I ought to count them up, but I spent a long time trying to get that video to work and I’m ready to move on to other things! But it was a good trip. I’ve driven across the country four times now, with timetables ranging from four days (not solo) to about eight weeks. Seventeen days was probably a little too fast — I’m really ready to not drive again and I was pretty tired by the end — but I think I managed a good balance of driving days and restful days.

Still, I’m glad to be here. Yesterday S didn’t have work, because of the holiday, so we did laundry, ate a big breakfast of bacon and eggs, went to the beach with the dogs (briefly, because it was cold!), and had pumpkin soup and salad for dinner. It was a lovely beginning to my lengthy visit. Today, I’m hoping to put on my yoga clothes and wander down the street to the nearest yoga studio — a five minute walk away — and go to my first yoga practice in over a year. But first, breakfast.

Edited to add: I can’t believe I forgot to include this rainbow. It felt like a beautiful welcome to California!