Thursday I threw Maria in the car and we hit the road. And promptly hit the traffic. Oh well, I knew that section was going to be bad. Did I take it into my calculations for how long the drive would take? Uh...
Finally escaping the traffic, we proceeded up the state at an "I don't see any cops, and there isn't anywhere for them to sneak on when I'm not looking" pace. We hit Redding by dusk, and the Oregon border by around 7. Sadly, it was dark when we passed by Mt. Shasta. I had been looking forward to seeing it, since I'd never seen it before.
We passed into Oregon without knowing it. This was largely because it was pouring rain. Sionna had mentioned rain earlier in the day, but did I take it into account in my travel estimations? Um...
Getting up the Siskiyou mountains was more or less uneventful. It's more of a climb than I had thought -- it's a lot like hauling over the Grapevine. Individual parts aren't so steep, but taken as a whole, the car is panting by the time it gets to the top. But finally we reached the summit. Not that we really saw it, since at that point the rain tapered off to be replaced by ground fog. Really bad ground fog. I-can't-see-20-feet-in-front-of-the-car ground fog. I was indescribably grateful to have a copilot at that point, since I watched for the little lines on the road, and she watched for anything else. Progress was slow.
I must, at this point, pause to praise the new tires. They were wonderful! Even in the wettest, most pouring-est parts, I didn't notice any difference riding on them than I did on normal, dry pavement. It was incredible. The old tires always felt like I was practically driving on ice whenever any amount of water built up on the road -- even when they were new! But these ones? Nope. They splooshed along through the wet like a duck.
I don't remember a lot of the rest of that night's drive. I spent a lot of time staring at lines that I couldn't entirely see. After a couple of hours of this, we decided to call ahead and tell Sionna that there was no way we were going to make it to her place that night, and found a motel in Eugene. By this point I was fairly incoherent, and spent a lot of time entertaining Maria and the staff by commenting on the cute little rubber duckies in the cute little miniature fountain in the lobby. Upon obtaining a room, we crashed promptly.
I slept fitfully and woke up early after a disturbing dream about mass murders. I paced around for a while, and eventually shook Maria out of bed (disgustingly early), and hit the road. The drive to Seattle was excellent. The rain from the night before had mostly vanished, and dried up completely by the time we left Portland. The traffic was reasonably light, despite going through Portland in the middle of rush hour. By noon, we were pulling up to our destination.
The nominal point of this exercise was to help my friend -- and now new roommate -- move. (The real point was to enjoy a nice, long road trip, test out the new tires, and enjoy a blissful day of not being at work. But we really don't need to mention all that! :) After getting to her place, we grabbed lunch, ran a couple of errands, and loaded up her truck. I was rather impressed -- it only took about an hour to load the truck. It took another hour to tie everything down and get all the odds and ends accounted for. But soon we were on our way -- out through Friday rush hour traffic. Yipee.
This is probably a good point to mention A. What to say about A...? After dealing with her for the weekend and receiving a hysterical phone call at 5:30 in the morning from her, I've taken to calling her Psycho Freak Girl. Okay, to be fair, I started calling her Psycho Freak Girl before the phone call. But now the name has really stuck. But A is shorter, so I will stick with calling her that. Though I maintain that Psycho Freak Girl is probably a more accurate description.
So, A. A is 19-ish, and I personally believe she needs to see a psychiatrist to diagnose if she just needs a lot of therapy to help her out with her problems, some medication in addition to therapy, or a repeated boot to the head every time she does something stupid. (That last option, by the way, would give her a concussion in under 5 minutes, since she seems incredibly attached to doing stupid things. Really stupid things. But I won't go into those right now. I'll save them as a treat for later.)
A was one of my new roommates' former roommates, and is the major reason for this whole move in the first place. The girl has no grip on reality, no sense of thinking ahead -- really, she has little apparent sense at all, and has learned few social graces (or common manners, for that matter). She takes all the things that make teenagers annoying to deal with, and has polished them into something almost resembling an art form. Watching her is like watching the Three Stoodges getting into a traffic accident. It's bizzare, it's stupid, it's almost tragic, but ultimately, it's all because of her own actions that she's in the whole mess, and for some reason one can't quite stop watching, just out of a morbid curiosity of what is going to happen next.
A, for reasons really not apparent, was going to be following us most of the way down. She was planning on staying with a friend of hers in the Bay Area before heading off to Chicago (also, for reasons unknown; some things man was not meant to understand, and what A is thinking is one of them.) She didn't want to do the drive by herself, so she tagged along with us. Fun, fun.
Hmm... This is getting long. I think I'll stop with introducing the infamous A, and with the beginning of the trip back, and continue this later. (Yes, this should fill you with a vague sense of dread...)