Well. Last weekend was...interesting. With a new truck sitting in my driveway and an old friend in town for a short while, the idea of doing an impromptu, weekend-long roadtrip to San Francisco was spawned: three days, 1800 Km each way...what could go wrong?
We made it to the US border without incident, at which point we were asked to pull into a garage and step out of the vehicle with our hands in view and relinquish the truck keys. Marched into a locked waiting area, we were instructed to removed all items from our pockets, take off our jackets, and prove that we had nothing strapped to our bodies under our clothing, while through the window two armed men with drug dogs headed towards the truck. Two hours later, with the truck completely unpacked and our bags thoroughly scoured, they let us into the United States. Two young, bearded guys in plaid and baseball caps driving a truck that was purchased four days earlier to San Francisco and back for no apparent reason...come on, people, that's not suspicious at all!
With our driving time severely injured, it was decided that the best course of action was to take shifts driving through the night. I fell asleep with visions of reaching the Bay just as the sun rose and lit up the Golden Gate bridge before us...visions shattered by the wail of the cop car that pulled us over for a burnt-out headlight. The female cop who came to the window, though, seemed to have other priorities. In a tone that suggested he was concealing a weapon, she barked a question at my buddy in the driver's seat: "Why is your zipper open?" Right.
When she cleared out, leaving us with a warning, we decided to switch spots. I took the wheel, and five minutes later our engine died. No gas, was our diagnosis. Nothing for it but to wait til morning to flag someone down; we were both pretty sure we'd passed a sign a couple miles back that said "Entering Middleofnowhere, Oregon". So...sleeping in the truck.
Woken up by yet another cop, this one interested in why we were way the heck out here and sleeping on the side of the highway. Anyway, two tow trucks, an $80 jerry can of gas, and one jump-start later, we're in the next town having a new part installed for free by a mechanic who decided to befriend us and do the work for free. We bought him lunch, said many thank-yous, and were on our way.
We never made it to California. The south Oregon coast was as far as we got, found a hotel with wide beds and a hot tub, and hit the road early the next morning for the 12 hour trek back home. Cruising up I-5 we both agreed: we may not have got where we were going, but it was a good trip. We made some friends, ate some good food, saw some breathtaking country and listened to good music while doing it. And I got to thinking that maybe San Fran wasn't ever the real destination, or that we didn't really care where we got to because, in the words of Shepherd Book, "how you get there is the worthier part." And those words hold true.