Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Near Miss at Kingvale

Yesterday morning, when Lisa was ready to go and I was otherwise already packed, I told the computer to shut down without noticing that it was "shut down and install updates." It began the shutdown with "33 updates to install." Groan. 40 minutes later, with fewer than half the updates installed, I carefully took the computer off its dock and carried it out to the van and set it in the back of the Astro. The battery on the computer is good for about five hours, especially when the screen, wi-fi, and Ethernet are off, so I figured it would be okay to let it grind away on updates as we drove into Reno to have brunch before continuing to Yuba City. But it did put us a fair bit behind our expected schedule.

After brunch, we set off for the mountains. The storm the night before had blown through quickly, and the highway crews had I-80 well-cleared. However, parking lots are the responsibility of their owners, which nearly led to a big problem when I pulled off at Kingvale to buy coffee.

The Kingvale parking lot has become a center for snow-play. The parking lot still had lots of snow in it, and people were double- and even triple-parked. I parked the van and went in to get the coffee I really needed, on account of I was feeling immensely groggy. When I came out, Lisa (who was planning on driving the next segment) had tried to pull the van out because people were starting to park in a way that would have boxed us in, and the van skidded a little bit and was sitting askew with very little room to get out. Lisa said that if it was her van, she would have given it another try, but was less sure of another vehicle. (I pointed out that had it been the Big Orange Van, it wouldn't have gotten stuck in the first place.)

There being no practical way to get the tire chains on the way the van sat, I decided to give it a try on its own. Securing my coffee, I got in and had Lisa act as a spotter to make sure I wasn't hitting anything. Perhaps my extra weight made a difference, because while I couldn't move forward, I was able to get a little bit of traction backing up. I carefully eased back, with less than 20 cm clearance at times. Had I still been unable to move, I'd been thinking of trying to pour the coffee under the drive wheels to melt the ice that was holding us. I had one scary moment when the back end broke loose and I started to slide sideways, which would have put me into the line of parked cars, but I managed to bring it under control, ease forward, and again back up at a crawl until I could get sufficiently clear. The way out was blocked by a huge queue of people waiting for the restrooms. Lisa finally got the clueless people to make enough room for me to ease out of the ice-covered parking lot. She scrambled aboard and once clear of the Kingvale Trap, we were on our way again.

Aside from this unwanted excitement at Kingvale, the trip to Yuba City was uneventful, albeit that we were considerably later than originally planned. I'd called ahead to warn my nephew that my original plans were askew and not to worry. We delivered a big gift basket to my sister. Kelli is unlikely to ever get to travel much ever again, being mostly bedridden and homebound (my nephew's Day Jobbe is as her caregiver), so I make an effort to bring her treats from around the world; in this case, we went wild at Cost Plus World Market and I included a jar of honey from Bishop. She is thin and needs to put on weight; I told her, "Eat all of this, but probably not all at once!" I also gave my mother a gift card from the Yuba City equivalent of Whole Foods Market, and my nephew a generic gift card. Mom gave us socks and a video about trains in Japan, both of which are welcome.

The rest of the trip to San Jose was also without incident, and we checked into the Holiday Inn North First Street for a couple of nights. They put us in one of the top-floor rooms, which are nice, but a little strange. I thought this hotel used to have function space on the top floor, but I don't see it anymore. I wonder if they converted the former space into hotel rooms?
Tags: family, hotels, lisa, travel
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