This past weekend I went up north for my good friend Molly's Welcome Home soiree. You know me, if there is a party involving a good friend and wine country then I’m so there. I hopped on a plane, rented a car, and headed up to Sonoma.
And promptly got lost.
I had no troubles getting from the Oakland Airport to the 101 and then on to the 37 and the 121. Then, when the signs said “121/12 to Sonoma/Napa” I decided this must be the “slight right” Google Maps was talking about. Not so much. (Sidebar: Yes, I know I’m from SoCal because I put “the” in front of the highway/freeway numbers. Thanks for pointing that out, Molly.)
I started noticing that there weren’t any street signs, at least not any that were visible from the highway. After about 2 miles I decided I was going the wrong way and turned around on one of these small roads. It turns out that these “roads” were actually DRIVEWAYS to wineries. No wonder I couldn’t see the street signs. They weren’t actually streets.
Once I got back to the correct highway, I found the “slight right” Google Maps was talking about and took that. Now, the street actually looked like streets and there were houses that I could see. But then I got nervous that I had passed the street I was looking for and called Molly.
“So..I’m like 99% sure I’m lost. I just passed Petaluma Road but I think I missed…”
“Kimmi. You just haven’t gone far enough.”
As soon as I hung up with her, I saw a car pulling out of one of these streets, and sure enough, that was the one I was looking for. Which I realized as I was passing it. I turned around and got onto the correct street and found Molly’s house really easily after that. I’m sure it was all my navigational instincts that told me which house was the correct one. It had nothing to do with the Cal decals on each one of the cars in the driveway.
This got me to thinking. Why is it that when I am in a city like LA or San Francisco, I feel more comfortable, even when I am lost much worse than I was in a small town like Sonoma?
I always hear people talk about how independent they are in “the City,” but if you think about it, they are actually incredibly dependent. In San Francisco, driving along the Embarcadero, there are 100 signs telling you where Fisherman’s Wharf, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Exposition Park are. There are even signs with “alternate routes” to the 80. Even outside of the tourist-heavy areas, there are a ton of signs pointing you in the right direction. In Sonoma, there were no signs like this. There were a few signs advertising delicious wine, but, for the most part, I was on my own.
So what’s my point? I don’t really know. I just think it’s so interesting that I rely so much on signs pointing me in the right direction when I’m at home or in SF, but when I get outside, I have to rely on my own sense of direction. Although, when I do get lost, I am then able to find my way much easier the next time.