Friday. June 16, 2017. On a train somewhere in CA.
Today has truly been a mess. I did nothing exciting to even distract from all of the things that went wrong.
So this morning I woke up to get breakfast and cruffins at a local bakery that according to the internet is all the rage. They were delicious, so I understand. I then had to go check out of my room and leave my pack with them for a while. After that I went and got a massage in Chinatown, which reminded me of home and my frequented foot spas. Of course I am so sun burnt that it hurt my skin. Not necessarily in a bad way, but like how they sometimes give you an Indian burn on your arms? Like that, but literally the whole time. So maybe actually kinda in a bad way.
Afterwards, I walked down to a park and sat for a while in the shade before eating Italian food in the North Beach district. Unfortunately with all my walking, the straps on my little drawstring bag broke. It would not have been a big issue as it was easy to re-tie it, but my grandma’s camera that I had borrowed was hooked around the strap. So obviously it slid off into the streets of San Francisco somewhere, and I did not acknowledge it until I was in Richmond at the end of the BART leg of my trip.
Fortunately (well as much as I can use that word in this situation), I had gotten bored and left for Richmond early in hopes of there being a coffee shop to hang out at with the confidence of not missing my train. But instead with that free time, I took a Lyft ride to the local Target to pay $140 to replace my grandma’s camera. I lost the majority of my pictures from San Francisco though (left only with those on my phone.) But as my mom said, there are worst things I could have lost. The Lyft driver sat outside Target waiting for me, to guarantee an immediate ride back to the station. So I gave her a $10 (100%) tip. I was focusing on being positive and emitting good vibes.
I got back to the station with plenty of time to spare, and I ended up having a good conversation with a couple of girls around my age. They were all in awe that I was traveling alone, which after the mood I was in and the day I had had, it was nice to hear. I was intrigued by them as well, since they were all leisurely traveling to visit family or return from whatever place, and were using a train. Again, just not the most available form of transportation near me.
That emotional boost from our conversation did not last long however, because on the train I decided to double check the Yarts schedule for the morning trip into Yosemite. That is when I realized the rock slide on highway 140 had blocked off the entrance I needed into Yosemite. The bus I was going to take to the valley now is only going to a lodge in El Portal. The problem being the one express bus leaving from the lodge to take the 4 hour detour, is leaving before even the bus I am taking in Merced. Thus, I spent the following 2 hours trying to google campgrounds by the lodge with the shuttle into the valley, the highway 120 bus route (which is 1.5 hrs away from Merced), the possibility of walking around the rock slide, and literally any other option I could think of. To no avail. I ended up on the phone with my mom (who should have been sleeping) and had a full on breakdown.
Now this is where trail magic comes into play. Even though I am not even in Yosemite, I am now a 100% believer. The lady on the train across from me obviously witnessed my breakdown on the phone (embarrassing). Anyways, she then was concerned and started asking about it. I answered as much as I could to explain, without setting off another set of tears. She was a motherly Asian woman and was offering to do whatever she could, but as I said, there was not an option to be found.
So when we got off the train, she got in a taxi and asked where I was going. They ended up giving me a ride to my Airbnb, so I asked the driver about the cost of the taxi ride to the lodge if I could get there by 7am to catch the express bus. At $180, I could not afford that after all my other new additional expenses (sun care, camera, new tripod- that I lost the clicker to when I lost my camera bag, go figure). That is when the lady said she could at least help with that and handed me some cash, and absolutely would not take no for an answer. It was $200!
By then we were outside my Airbnb, and the hosts were outside concerned because I had not gotten out of the taxi. So I got the taxi driver’s number to contact him with a plan for a 4am ride to the lodge. When I got inside I started telling Darrell and Linda about my awful day and current predicament.
Linda immediately went and grabbed aloe once I showed her my shoulders, half of which being one giant oozing blister now!! Being a sweet grandmother, she went right into action rubbing my shoulders and face down with all the expected exclamations my grandma would use. She then insisted on drawing me up a bath with baking soda, because apparently that soothes skin. (Side note: she also had two homemade cookies waiting for me before I had even gotten there if that tells you anything about her as a person.)
While Linda was doing that, Darrell was telling me he had realized about the Yarts bus issue earlier and had already researched it. Apparently the two buses actually overlap stops in Mariposa, so I can get off my shuttle and hop on the next bus 6 minutes later. Thus, I will just be 1.5 hrs later than I expected, but I will be where I need to be in the valley. The other issue is coming back (which I had not even started stressing about) because my train leaves Saturday, 2 hrs before the only bus to take the detour even leaves the valley. So, I ultimately need to come out early on Friday to guarantee I will make my train. Darrell and Linda graciously offered to let me stay again on Friday night with their house sitter, as they will be in Oregon.
So needless to say, today has been a day… and I need to sleep.