It didn't take long after our first date to determine we make great Adventure Buddies. Earlier that school year, (on my 21st birthday!) I had taken the LSAT and applied to law school. I was accepted to the University of Utah, University of San Francisco Hastings, and University of California San Diego. I was weighing all three as options, and I had planned to head west over Spring Break to check out Hastings. Even back then, Andrew had a real travel bug. If an opportunity to roam presented itself, he was always first in line to go. I suspect he has Gypsy in his lineage or something. So, he decided he wanted to join me on my trek. I guess I was gambling that this guy I had known for two weeks wasn't a serial killer, luckily he wasn't.
We packed up and headed west on I-80 through some of the most barren land in the country. Again, conversation flowed easily, and it was fun to be trapped in a car for 11 hours with Andrew. When we started climbing through Donner's pass, the real adventure began. It was raining/snowing, but nothing was sticking to the road. Nonetheless, as we crossed from the Nevada state line to California, troopers were directing all traffic into a small parking lot where we could either put on chains if we owned them, or we were forced to purchase over priced chains. I was hoping that holding a Utah drivers license would qualify me to continue driving on without chains, but no. $50.00 later, I had brand, spanking new chains on my Honda Civic, Bandit.
See? no snow on the roads. Our next challenge came when we arrived in San Francisco. I had reserved a room at a small, artsy hotel located directly on top of Knob Hill. We have all heard tale of driving misadventures in San Francisco, known for its steep hilly roads, but I hadn't put two and two together until we launched ourselves up Knob Hill for the first time -- driver and passenger feeling like we were on a rocket ship staring straight at the moon.
Every intersection at the top Knob Hill was a four way stop with a stop sign. A line of cars waited to pass through one at a time. To further complicate matters, Knob Hill itself was only a few blocks in size, so as we circled to find parking, we went up the hill and very soon went back down. Horror of horrors, Bandit is a manual transmission, and Andrew did not know how to drive a stick at that time. I was on my own. Using my heel on the gas, my toe on the break, and my left foot for the clutch, we successfully climbed Knob Hill four or five times. Eventually, I decided I was pressing my luck. So, we gave up and found a different hotel on flat ground at sea level. By this time, Andrew had enough and was weak in the knees from all of the excitement. Let the record reflect, however, that I successfully piloted my craft without hitting anyone or anything.
The rest of the trip was nothing but fun. Every morning, we would wake up and consult the map. We would pick a handful of sights we wanted to see or places we wanted to go. There was no itinerary, just four days available for adventuring. We explored Ghirardelli square, Andrew enjoyed his first Corona a can with a sourdough bread bowl and clam chowder, we walked the Golden Gate Bridge, checked out Alcatraz, enjoyed the city and checked out the law school.
By the time we turned back to Utah, we had made a plan to stop in Salt Lake City, pick up our mountain bikes and go to Moab. At this transfer, we learned that although Andrew loves to travel, he is packing deficient. My "Tetris" method far exceeds his "Wad and Shove" method in space savings. We prevailed, though, and spent the second half of our Spring Break mountain biking and hiking in Moab, Utah.
Once we returned to school and life, I had a big decision to make. I would like to say that foresight, wisdom, and a fiscally conservative attitude led me to choose the University of Utah. However, being a 21 year old kid with little life experience under her belt, the decision was borne out of a mysterious gut feeling about the quality and cost of the school, the proximity to family (and thus my mother's laundry machine), and the proximity to this handsome fella with whom I had enjoyed three total weeks of entertaining travel, mountain biking and college-age navel-gazing discourse. Sometimes, one falls ass-backward into a good decision. This was one of those times.