On April Fool's day, many people think about whoopie cushions and pranks. This is what I think of on April Fool's day:
3 years ago, my then-fiance "D" and I lived in Seattle. We had a very good life there and were very happy, but unfortunately "D" was laid off. After a very stressful six months of unemployment, he finally got a job offer in Savannah, so we had a cross country move ahead of us. His new employer sent movers to pack up our stuff, so since we didn't have to do any heavy lifting, we decided to take a little vacation with the time before he started his new job.
"D" is British, so I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to show him the great American tradition of a road trip! We rented a RV and planned to drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way from Washington to California, see the Grand Canyon, then end the journey at my parents' house in Colorado. From there, we would fly from Denver to Savannah and start our new life.
We decided to bring our two cats with us on this adventure instead of flying them to a boarder.
I very meticulously planned our route. "D" had to start a new job, so we didn't have unlimited time to drive leisurely, but I tried to make sure we had interesting view points along the way. However, we did have a time table.
Unfortunately, "D" and I weren't exactly on the same page. He stopped at every single "scenic" viewpoint to look around and take pictures. Ummm...yes...the Pacific Coast Highway is very scenic. There are a bazillion scenic viewpoints.
I started freaking out about our time tables. If we didn't make it to each of the stopovers, there was no way we were going to make our flights in Colorado in 10 days. My original map had us reaching our RV rest stops before dusk each day, but that wasn't counting on stopping every 10 miles to snap pictures. There were 2,000 miles to drive. Oh dear.
Then there were the cats. Dogs love road trips. Cats not so much. The fluffy and dumb cat kept getting tangled in her harness. The smart cat was a Houdini and figured out how to escape her harness.
This was putting a strain on our relationship. Not at all the idyllic Americana road trip I hoped for!
On the plus side, we saw gorgeous scenery down the California coast, and drank wine in Sonoma and Napa. On March 31st, just a little bit outside of Monterray Bay, we bought fresh, sweet California strawberries at a roadside farmer's stall. When we got to Monterray Bay, "D" asked if I wanted to pull over and look at the beach. After all the stopping at every freaking viewpoint, I very grumpily snapped no, I didn't want to stop. He pulled over anyway. He grabbed the strawberries and said, "Let's go find a park bench and eat these." I sighed and went along.
As we traveled the boardwalk looking for a place to sit, I munched on the strawberries. I ate almost all of them before we settled on a spot overlooking a stone arch in the bay carved by the crashing waves. As I was admiring the scenery, "D" suddenly pops out a ring box and asked if I would marry him! I was shocked. I hoped he would propose eventually, but I didn't think it would be on our trip!
And he still wanted to marry me after my grousing about all the scenic stops. D'awww.
Our next stop was supposed to be in Morro Bay. We planned to find a nice restaurant where we could celebrate our engagement with a bottle of wine we bought in Sonoma, except the stretch of windy road down the southern California coast was a lot longer than I remembered.
It became dark, and we had a 40' RV on the seacliffs of the 101. I had visions of newspapers running a story about the couple who drove off the edge into the sea. I imagined rescuers retrieving our bodies, discovering my engagement ring, then running a sad story about the newly engaged couple's stupidity of driving a 40' RV on the 101 at night.
Fortunately, we made it to Morro Bay in one piece. Because the drive was a lot longer than we expected, the cats didn't get to use the litterbox and made a mess in their carriers. We were so stressed, we decided not to go out to eat, and just popped Lean Cuisines in the microwave. After seeing a death at sea flash before my eyes, it was the best meal I ever had.
As we settled in for the night, I noted where we were on the schedule, and where we were supposed to be the next day.
I said to my new fiance, "Do you know where we are supposed to be tomorrow?"
"Do you know what today's date is?"
"Yes. Thank you for not proposing to me on April Fool's Day in Death Valley."
We laugh about it every year. At least the date is easy to remember!