Next morning, my sister and I got up and packed our bags. We were going to stay the next few nights in the dorm. The underclassmen had already left the campus. It had been a long time since we’d been in that kind of situation but the fact that the rooms weren’t rooms but suites made it sound quite inviting. She and I would be “suitemates”. I’d heard that term many times over the years.
After loading the car, we stopped at a neat little home style restaurant to eat breakfast. I had a veggie omelet (is that an oxymoron?) and my sister had one with some kind of fish. I think it was salmon. I made sure of what kind of fat the potatoes were fried in and we both got some of the potatoes ‘n onions. The portions were large but I had no trouble polishing mine off. My sister wasn’t as hearty an eater and she had me finish her potatoes. She said I could have the rest of her omelet, too, but I declined. I’d never eaten fish and I wasn’t about to start.
Heading through the valley, the scenery was gorgeous. There was one part of the road that was lined on either side by huge shade trees. It made it seem like a tunnel of green. We marveled at all the beauty around us.
Our route took us through several little settlements until we came to one and the road was blocked. Cars were turning off to take the detour that was marked. Wanting to know what was going on, I asked one of the men guarding the CAUTION tape and he said that there was a chemical spill and he had no idea when it would be cleaned up. Well. Now we’d have to find our way to the college by a different route.
The only thing I knew to do was follow the cars ahead of us. The going was slow. The highway we’d been on was two lane but it was a regular highway. The detour was over a more or less country road. It was like the “straight and narrow”. No one dared get up much speed. It was a tight squeeze to get by oncoming traffic and everyone was being very cautious.
We were in wine country and that slowed everything down even more. It wasn’t that anyone was drinking—at least, not to my knowledge. There was a lot of rubbernecking going on as all the tourists had to see the wineries. Some were famous, I’m sure, but I wasn’t versed in such. Since I was driving, I couldn’t take any pictures so I handed my digital camera to my sister. I gave her a quick lesson in point and shoot and figured we should be able to rack up some memories.
I’d say, “Oh, look at that one! It’s on your side! Take a picture, quick!” Once, she accidentally got a picture of the dash but that was okay since no film was wasted. I guess we were as bad as the rest of the tourists. That road did seem to go on and on.
By and by, we got to a road paralleling the one that was blocked so I took a chance and turned left. There was a fruit stand not many miles farther so I stopped to make sure we were going in the right direction. We were and we bought a supply of fresh stuff to have in the room. I might have been a cooked foodist extraordinaire but I still loved fruit.
Finally the road came out at another going to the right (I’m terrible with directions so I don’t know if it was north, south, or east but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t west) and we were back where we were supposed to be. I breathed a sigh of relief.
The next part of the journey made my sister nervous. She calls me Old Leadfoot, anyway, so it doesn’t take much to upset her if she’s in the car and I’m driving. It was up a mountain and the road was very curvy. I’m sure people who drive it routinely aren’t bothered at all but she was hanging on for dear life and, I’m sure, praying. It’s a wonder there wasn’t a hole in the floor on her side from her putting on the brakes.
By and by we came to the campus. It was beautiful but all uphill and downhill. My sister was having trouble with arthritis and wasn’t sure how her walking everywhere was going to work out.
There were several dorms on the campus but we found the right one. We went in to find DD. She came to the lobby wearing, as my sister was fond of saying, “an imaginary skirt”. I thought she looked cute, myself, and was as clothed as any of the other female students and more so than some.
The first order of business was to get the luggage out of the car. DD went to help. I popped the trunk and she reached in to get my huge two ton suitcase. My sister warned her not to try lifting it alone but she plucked it out as if it were nothing. We collected the rest of the paraphernalia and went inside.
Checking in at the desk, we were given a key to our “suite”. There was no elevator so we bumped up the stairs to the next floor. My sister’s aches and pains were getting a workout.
Glancing into the open doors here and there, I was beginning to wonder about how luxurious our digs were going to be. It was well I should because when DD turned the key in the lock and opened the door, we saw what was going to be our home away from home.