Tuesday, April 22, 2008

'Happy 420'

That was the greeting we got at about 9 o'clock Sunday night as we walked up Grant Street in San Francisco to North Beach Pizza. It came from a group of three 20-somethings, one in dreds, all possibly buzzed and just hanging out on the sidewalk. We knew what they meant: 420 is the unofficial passcode for pot, and 4/20 -- that is, April 20 -- is like an unofficial holiday.

"It's my birthday!" Michelle called out over her shoulder as we walked by.

"Really? Cool!" one of the dudes said. "Do you smoke?"

It had been a long day of driving for Michelley, who won't let my epileptic self near the steering wheel of the Excellent Element, and I wouldn't have been shocked if she'd pulled up to bogart the guy's doobie. But there was sausage pizza and an Anchor Steam to be had a block away and we were ready; we didn't need any help getting the munchies.

Although Pie in the Sky II really began on Saturday with the drive to Mom's house, Sunday's long Eugene-to-San Francisco leg felt like the true kickoff.

And what a strange day, to begin with several inches of snow on Michelle's car and to drive through intermittent snow flurries all the way through the Siskiyou Range separating Oregon and California.

After that the weather and the landscape changed as we pushed on through Redding, Corning (home of the Corning Olive Festival), Weed and the rest of those little Northern California towns, stopping occasionally to have a cup of joe and one of Mom's excellent cupcakes.

As it got dark, we finally crossed the Bay Bridge into San Francisco.
We spent an excellent night at the San Francisco Westin, thanks to the SF Chronicle, where Michelle did some consulting yesterday morning, and then we had our favorite lunch: the world's greatest turkey sandwich from Pete's BBQ at Mission and 20th, and a cappuccino at Cafe Trieste in North Beach. Special bonus: We met Trieste's founder, Papa Gianni, who posed for the picture at the top of this post. Click here to see how he looked back in the day, when he started this business 52 years ago.

From the Trieste web site:

If asked how he does it, "No big deal," Papa Gianni would say. "Buy the best beans, roast them yourself, and brew each cup like it's for you."
Then a beautiful longish drive down Highway 101 (with a stop in Steinbeck's home town of Salinas) to Santa Barbara, where we camped at El Capitan State Beach. Nice. The Element worked beautifully as a bed.

And now we're in Ojai, the little artist enclave 20 miles inland, where we're scamming the free wireless at the Ojai Coffee Roasting Co. and enjoying our second cup of the day.

Heading now into LA for a few days of fun with friends and poker junkies.

Thanks to all for the comments.


Jim Thomsen said...

You said no to a fatty but smoked down some Starbucks? Something's seriously wrong here ....

freda said...

nice trip, nice pics

mich said...

I'm so jealous I can't stand it!!!

Rita said...

Great to hear from you guys and know that all is going as planned. Sounds like you're off to a perfect start. Hope you keep the stories and pictures coming.

Andrea said...

I love the snowflake-hair picture!