The Pie Trip Diaries, Day 2: August 11, 2003

Monday morning hit the Budget Inn like a tailless monkey hitting the jungle floor. Which is to say that Brunslo and I both awoke dog-tired and full of hate. Or at least, I was full of hate. Brunslo seemed eerily cheery for some reason, as if he’d actually slept for more than five minutes in a row during the night.

We started the day with a delightful breakfast at Denny’s. Brunslo had the All American Breakfast and I had french toast, sausage, and bacon. We briefly considered ordering some Denny’s pie, but decided we were too full to really enjoy it. Herein lies the first example of a problem that would arise frequently in the coming hours and days: by the time we stop for food, we’re always too hungry to order just pie, but by the time we eat the main course, we’re too full for pie. I hadn’t anticipated how much a day on the road can make you crave actual food rather than delicious pie.

With breakfast settling nicely in our bellies, we rejoined the river of jackassery that is I-5 and headed south. It wasn’t long before we arrived in Ashland, a town known for its friendliness, natural beauty, and most importantly, abundant wi-fi access points. Brunslo cracked open the laptop and we drove through downtown Ashland scanning for open APs. Sadly, we only found one, and it just wasn’t worth stopping for. Next time I’ll have to bring a map of AP locations. Back to I-5 we went.

The California border was soon crossed and we immediately fell victim to a problem that would plague us repeatedly throughout our stay in California: it seems that every single road in the damn state is under perpetual construction. I-5 was under construction in at least four places within 50 miles, during the middle of the day, with heavy traffic. This slowed us down considerably, and we had to alter our route to compensate. We decided to forego San Francisco and its traffic and instead cross over to scenic highway 101 via highway 299. But first we took a detour to Shasta Dam, which Brunslo’s great grandfather helped design. We even saw a picture of him. It was educational.

Once we made it over to 299, what could have been an hour long drive ended up taking what seemed like three hours. Highway 299 is a curvy, narrow mountain road that doubles back on itself at every possible opportunity. At first this was fun. A Subaru WRX plus a curvy mountain road is a recipe for happiness. But too much of a good thing can be tiresome after a while, and after several hours of constant curves, I was getting pretty tired. Nevertheless, we continued valiantly onward, and I tried to have as much fun as I could.

After a few hours of zipping around curves at speeds well in excess of the speed limit, I pointed out to Brunslo that we hadn’t yet seen a single cop on 299. This prompted a goofy whiteboy recital of those infamous NWA lyrics, “Fuck the police. Fuck, fuck, fuck the police.” As we sang this, we came around a tight left turn and right there in the oncoming lane was a police car. From the way the WRX’s engine was growling and the fact that all four tires were almost at their traction limits, it must have been blindingly obvious to the cop that we were begging for a ticket. His pursuit lights came on as we passed, and the chase was on.

Brunslo pulled the radar detector off the windshield and stashed it away while I watched the rearview mirror to see if the cop had turned around. He hadn’t managed to do so by the time I lost sight of him, so I decided to push my luck, and accelerated. We were nearing civilization at this point, so I turned onto a side street and tried to get out of sight of the highway. The street turned out to be a dead end, and a local woman out checking her mail motioned threateningly that I should slow down, so I turned around and headed warily back to the highway. We never saw the cop again. Phew.

By evening, we had made it to the coastal town of Eureka, California, where we found a room at the Days Inn. After marveling at how swank this room was compared to our lodging of the previous night, we headed for a Marie Callender’s just down the road to have dinner. Our meal was delicious, and we purchased an entire “razzleberry” pie to eat later. And thus ends day two of the pie trip.