I went on a staycation type of road trip today. The sun was out, I had just downloaded some new music and felt like getting away from home for the day. I got in my trusty Civic, put my Recently Added playlist on random and made my way towards 280 South. Jay-Z’s Young Forever led off the list of tracks and that was followed by one of the best driving songs I’ve heard in a long time: Surf Solar by the Fuck Buttons. Their music deserves a better name only because it needs to be shared with the world.
By the time the 10 minute song was over, I was well on my way down 280 South, past Stanford and beyond. And I notice that my driving speed closely matches the tempo of the song playing; slow songs and I’m driving like grandma; fast songs and I’m Mario Andretti. I put the sun roof and windows all the way down and settled in for the long drive.
I did not look at a map before I left to see where exactly 280 South would get me to but I figured, what the heck, it’ll go somewhere. I passed San Jose, Mountain View and I saw two blue Southwest airplanes descending, preparing to land at San Jose airport. The roads were not exactly empty but it was definitely non-stressful driving. The only other time I had been around this area was around 3 p.m. on a weekday and the traffic was crawling.
The sun, which had been right at the edge of the sunroof and hitting my forehead, was now directly behind me. I had definitely turned and my guess was I was going east. By this point Doom was on the speakers eschewing knowledge with his articulate, laid back lyrical style. The hills in the distance were straw yellow and I could only imagine hiking on them, with zero protection from the glaring sun.
A sign told me that Fremont was approachable via the next 3 exits and that is when I figured out that I was probably coming up the other side of the bay now. That’s the thing with no plan roadtrips; you feel the need to stop and assess where you are but then you don’t have the logic to validate that decision. Why did it matter whether I knew where I was going or not? So I kept on driving.
Delorean, another great artist-to-drive-to, was on the speakers with Endless Sunset when I saw a sign that told me I was on 680 North and getting really close to Livermore. Map or no map, I knew that this was starting to get far out there. Livermore is where people buy big homes and shop at Costco to fill them up. I saw an exit with an overpass and took it. After filling up with cheap gas and making a quick bio break, I crossed over the overpass and began to retrace my steps.
I was getting hungry and was no longer feeling like blaring music. I rolled up the windows and the sunroof and turn on the a/c. And when was the last time anyone actually rolled up a car window? It’s more like ‘pressing a button that initiated the window raising sequence’ or something like that.
Because I like to mix things up once in a while, I got a bit crazy and switched over to the 101 North when I had come around to the west side of the bay. Crazy stuff I know. I learned right away that it’s a lot more scenic on 280. The 101 is super developed and every fast food chain or retailer has a business on it, which is exactly why I stopped off into what I thought was an outlet mall but the only clothing store turned out to be TJ Maxx. Good enough for me because everyone knows that TJ Maxx is never, ever the same place twice. (If you remember that ad, give yourself 10 points).
As I walked the aisles of TJ Maxx I couldn’t help but notice the difference in people from who I’d usually see in San Francisco. There are definitely more pot bellies down here than in SF. Life moves a bit slower, probably due in part to the hot weather. Even Redwood City seems to have more going on than here. If anything, it reaffirmed my decision to move back to San Francisco, which I’ll be doing next weekend.
I combed the men’s section and filled a cart with lots of jeans, hauled them over to the fitting rooms and luckily tried on two that fit the bill just right. I survived the massive checkout line, dropped my new purchases in my car and now I’m at the Starbucks two doors down, sipping my iced coffee while typing this up.
I decided during my road trip that I need to write more often. I had done well writing fairly often while traveling but since being back not so much. And there you have it. A blog post from a city I’m not even sure exactly what city it is. All I can tell you is that there is a Starbucks right near the TJ Maxx and Jamba Juice and across the way from a Verizon Wireless store, off of the 101. Hurry on down here. I know a great place to buy jeans and where you can get the max for the minimum, minimum price. (give yourself another 10 points).