Saturday, July 7, 2007

End of the line

I spent the past two nights with the Kelley family. Susan was my mom's first cousin, and twelve years ago mom and I took a trip out to San Francisco, which is when I met them for the first time.

At the time, Rachel was still a baby. She giggled and babbled and was enthralled with the shiny braces on my teeth. Now she's almost thirteen, preoccupied with friends, the mall, MySpace, and all the other nonsense one associates with preteens. It was the first time in my life I found myself on the other end of the line, "I remember when you were this big!" It was a profound experience.

Unfortunately Neil, who wasn't even born the last time I was there, isn't in this picture either. He was at the water park for the day with friends.

Yesterday I finished the first leg of my summer adventure. I drove from the Kelley's house in Moraga into downtown San Francisco and straight back out again from the Golden Gate Bridge. The fog was heavy - it was the same the last time I was here and probably will be the next time I visit - so driving across the bridge was like passing into another world. To my right lay Alcatraz and the city, while to my left lay the Pacific Ocean, none of which I could see. All I saw was fog.

Staring out into the ghostly ether, I felt a sense of accomplishment that is hard to describe. Nearly four weeks earlier I had set out from the shores of the Atlantic, and here I was at the Pacific several weeks later. I wasn't flown here by an airline pilot or driven here by a busdriver. I was on that bridge due to my own perseverance. I had driven across the country. Fulfilling a life's goal is indeed a profound experience.

And I still have to get back to Jersey...


48statebus said...

Congratulations on a job well done! I've crossed the country quite a few times in both cars and airplanes but never driving myself....being that you drove by yourself that is one huge accomplishment!

Valerie O'Shea said...

all I have to say is that I'm really, really happy for you!

the chef said...

Bravo Scott.

I hope the trip home is equally amazing and from what it sounds like... trouble free.

Be good...

P.S... If you drive through Las Vegas again, give me heads up... my brother lives there... he may be able to put you up for a night... maybe take you on a little tour of Nellis Air Force Base... show you his helicopter... well, Uncle Sam's helicopter but he gets to fly it. I wonder what it costs to gas those things up?

Have you ever seen "Apocalypse Now"?

The scene with Robert Duvall as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore... "Charlie don't surf!"... When they play "Flight of the Bumble Bee" as the choppers attack the village on the beach?

Best scene from a war movie by far.

The opening scene from "Saving Private Ryan" is a close second.

Third... the opening scene of "Full Metal Jacket"... needs no explination.

Fourth... the mexican standoff scene from "Three Kings". If you've seen it you know what I'm talking about.

Fifth... The closing scene to "Full Metal Jacket".. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!
plus the narration... "I am in a world of shit... Yes... but I am alive... and I am not afraid."
My motto.

Well now... that was random.

A top 5 list out of nowhere.

I'm stealing this for my blog Scott. Sorry.

Hilary said...

At least you didnt come in to SF a couple of days earlier - my mom said the heat wave was terrible and no fog either. so now it looks like normal for you. I hope you enjoy SF, where are you headed next. Oh if you do head towards madison, even though I wont be here past July 23rd I have freidns you could stay with.

I hope this trip is as amazing as it seems.

Dad said...

Ah, yes, the "End of the Line" - fine song by the Traveling Wilburys in 1988. Hope you stuck your feet in the Pacific Ocean - now you can look forward to a spectacular drive up the Pacific Coast.

Your notes about San Francisco bring back memories - you and Mom were there in August, 1995 the week Jerry Garcia died. I met up with you out there a few days later. Great city with a musical heritage!

I'm sorry Cousin Susan and family live on the other side of the country - really wish we could see them more.

Amy said...

I certainly hope you yelled, "Green Smoke!" as you passed Alcatraz, Scotticus!!!