Friday, September 29, 2000

Lost in Beverly Hills...and everywhere else

Yesterday proved one thing--with or without directions, with or without maps, both of us are hopeless at navigating the Los Angeles freeways. We're ready to go back to Tahoe.

It seemed like it was going to be such an easy day: wake up, eat breakfast, shower, get in the car, drive to Disneyland, drive to Huntington Beach to run an errand, find a hotel, spend the night, get up, go to San Diego. What could go wrong?

First we blew a fuse. Peggy was toasting a bagel and I was re-heating my coffee in the microwave and apparently it was too much for the house's old wiring to handle. Peggy eventually found the fuse box and we got it re-set.

Then we packed up to leave. I did a sweep of upstairs to make sure we hadn't left anything. Then, knowing me well enough by now, Peggy did her own sweep of upstairs to make sure we hadn't left anything. Satisfied we had everything, we packed up the car and, following Merrell's directions, headed up Beverly Glen to Mulholland drive. Halfway up the hill, I went to look at my watch to see what time it was and realized I'd left the watch on the sink. Back down Beverly Glen to get the watch. Back up Beverly Glen to Mulholland.

Merrell's directions seemed fairly simple: Go on Mulholland until it ends at the 405 freeway, and follow the signs from there. What could go wrong?

Well, there comes a place where Mulholland meets a couple of other roads. I could have SWORN I took the sign that said Mulholland, but after a time it became clear we were no longer on Mulholland. We wound around and around Beverly Hills (lovely to look at, at least) and up and down hills. It was like we were in a movie--Beverly Hills...Rodeo Drive...Sunset Blvd. The only thing we did not find was the 405. Somehow we ended up on the campus of UCLA and someone there told us how to find the freeway. After only an hour of wandering around we were finally on the 405 headed to Disneyland. From there it was simple: drive till the 405 hits I5, follow I5 until the signs for Disneyland. What could go wrong?

How can you lose Disneyland 3 blocks from the park? Somehow we did. The sign said "Disneyland Resort" and we assumed that was to the hotel, so we looked for a better turnoff. Many miles and many u-turns later, we finally ended up back where we'd started and the signs in the OTHER direction said "Park and Resort" so we ended up back where we started from, 3 blocks from the park. But finally we were there. Disneyland. Only 2 hours after we started.

The day in the park actually did go well. And nothing really did go wrong, except that Peggy wanted more "adventure" in her day. The attractions were entirely too tame for her tastes, though we managed to just avoid the crowds for the biggies like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. Tomorrowland offered more promise of adventure and we did enjoy Star Tours. I made her drive one of the cars on Autopia so she could get behind the wheel of a car on the proper side of the road (I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to hand the Honda over to her!)...

...and I agreed to go on the Matterhorn, a huge concession for wimp me. I was going to subject her to Small World, but somehow she managed to avoid it.

By 5, after the parade, we decided we'd had enough of Disneyland and we would just drive to Huntington Beach, settle into a motel, get a bite to eat, deliver our package to Peggy's friends, and come home to watch the Olympics. What could go wrong?

I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say that it's an 18 mile drive from Disneyland to Peggy's friend's house, and we put 100 miles on the car and only had jellybeans for dinner. Let's just not talk about it, OK?

We found a sleazy motel with no in-room coffee, in-room TV with 65 channels of static and 5 channels of infomercials, with closed captioning that can't be turned off, one bed, no tissues, one flat pillow each. I can't get onto the Internet, so I'm writing this in WordPerfect and hope to post from San Diego. It's called the Ocean View Motel, and I think I can see a piece of the ocean between the two buildings across the street. Barely.

We woke up at what we thought was 6:30 and Peggy was waiting till 7 when she could go down and get coffee from the office. However, we realized that it was 5:30, not 6:30 and we had another hour or so before the office opens, so she went back to sleep. I went down at 7, found warm coffee, no cream; and a choice of Sweet 'n' Low or a box of sugar that was full of lumps.

Today we are going to have an easy day. We will drive to Laguna Beach for breakfast, then get back on the 405 and drive to San Diego. We have maps. We have directions. What could go wrong?

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