Kyle left on his bus in the early morning on July 25th. I had a whole extra day to myself to explore San Francisco. I didn’t. I sat in a bar all day and drank. I took a trolley back to my hotel and slept until 5 a.m. the next morning. I was taking Amtrak back home to Philly. . . but I wasn’t ready to leave. Not yet. Not this way. I know I had to come back. And I did. . . I have.
Kyle wanted to continue the trip north on the Pacific Coast Highway, where gas prices started at $5.15 a gallon—in 2001. We eventually got off the road that caused me constant panic attacks, and then rolled into John Steinbeck’s home town. Nothing was open and the town was pretty deserted. We finally hit San Francisco, California, parking the van under the Days Inn in the Tenderloin. I checked into the hotel—Kyle rented a room in a hostel. Kyle and I would never share a hotel room together again.