Saturday, August 15, 2009

Road Trip: Napa, Day Three - "Oakland Sucks" and various other rants

The Oakland Raiders have fans. This fact puzzles me because they’re a team that cheats, pays dirty and is proud of both facts. Oh, and they’re also apparently not very good. Now, I’m not too into football,  I see maybe one or two games a season, and they’re usually college games, but I don’t like cheating so I don’t like the Raiders. Oh, and I also don’t like Oakland.  Besides housing a football team I hate, and sometimes supporting cop killers, the freeways there are the worst I've been on this side of Los Angeles. You may be wondering why, in a blog post about a trip to Napa, I am dissing Oakland... well, today mostly consisted of my sister and I driving my dad to the Oakland International Airport for a flight back to Southern California. We discovered, during a morning filled with various logistical phone calls, that a plane flight would cost just about as much as a car rental and would also require a drive into Oakland, so it was decided that my dad would fly home. These logistics, by the way, included a call to Comcast (the only local cable provider) to find out how much internet would cost my sister, this call took over a half-hour of my dad's time (perhaps this would be an appropriate time for me to rant about how much Comcast, like Oakland, sucks).

I should mention, that the logistical summersaults of this morning were mostly worked out by Joy and my dad (I tried to look some stuff up on my phone, but Napa has no 3g and the Edge Network is painfully slow). While they made all their phone calls, I took my Bible and Book of Common Prayer out to the beautiful river trail behind my sister’s house and did my hour of prayer. It ended up that I prayed from 9:00 to 10:00 instead of 8:00 to 9:00 due to my attempts to help with the logistics, but I'm sure that God will understand.
Around 1:00, we left for our trip to Oakland, and while buying lunch for my dad at Wendy's in Napa, discovered that my sister had left her purse behind. Since we didn't really have time to go back, it was decided that my dad would drive to the airport, and I would drive back. This decision would come back to haunt us. Excepting some bad traffic on the way and the general ugliness of Oakland, the drive there was mostly uneventful and we got my dad there in plenty of time. Before getting on the free way, we stopped at Wal-Mart to get my sister a magazine to read on the way and then left Oakland behind us.

On our way back to Napa, we discovered that the 80 East was the only nearby crossing to a wide river and required a toll (a common trick in Northern California it seems). This toll required cash, and since I had no cash and Joy had forgotten her purse, we got off the 80 and ended up in Crockett, a dead little riverside town with nothing but ridiculously steep hills and dark creepy bars. After circling around for some time trying to find an ATM for me to get cash from, we finally went into a place called the Dead Fish and found out we could find an ATM in the Tec Club (the aforementioned dark creepy bar). We went there, parked on a nearly vertical street, and walked into the bar. I had a great deal of difficulty with the ATM and a sleazy man made what I think was an awkward pass at my sister. Finally, I got my cash and we dashed out of there and got back on the freeway, arriving back in Napa around five-thirty, and was it ever a sight for sore eyes. I was already of the opinion that Napa is beautiful country, and Oakland and Crockett only reinforced this. Unfortunately, we weren’t quite through with our adventures because the car decided to start running low on gas on a stretch of freeway with no exits and no gas stations. We did make it to a Shell, however, and got the car enough gas for the rest of the way home, as well as a ride afterwards to Peet’s Coffee and Tea for my sister to use the wireless.

Let me just close by saying that Peet's Coffee and Tea rocks, I'm over there writing this blog and they just gave out the last of their pastries to us lingering customers. Since I'm starving, this is quite awesome. They also happen to have tea and coffee that is far and away superior to Starbucks, a better atmosphere (including lovely classical music) and free wi-fi.