Wednesday, July 05, 2006


G’s sister and her family are in California, and last week, he asked me if I wanted to come with them to Sequoia National Park over the 4th of July weekend.

“Absolutely!” I chirped.

“Do you think you can get that Friday and Monday off?”

“I don’t see why not!”

Here’s why not: practically everybody in my department was already off, and my vacation request was smacked down like a sniveling slave in a dominatrix’s dungeon.

Well, fuck.

So I conferred with G, and as it turns out, his best friend C wanted to come along, but he couldn’t get that Friday or Monday off either. We decided that G would go up to Sequoia with A’s family, and then I’d come up on Friday night with C. G would come back with us on Sunday night. A short trip to be sure, but one I was looking forward to.

To be honest, I was a little worried about spending 5+ hours in a car alone with C because I didn’t know what we’d talk about; we'd never spent any time together without at least one of our significant others around. Fortunately, it wasn’t a problem; we talked about everything under the sun, and aside from a nasty traffic snarl-up on the 5, it was a very pleasant drive.

Unfortunately, thanks to said snarl-up, we didn’t arrive at the Waksuchi Lodge until just before 2AM. The night sky was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, but I was far too tired and it was far too chilly to stand in the parking lot and admire it for long. A bleary-eyed G let us into the room, and after C and I had brushed our teeth, he climbed into one bed and I flopped next to G in the other, passing out mere seconds after my goodnight kiss.

In the morning, we grabbed breakfast at the crapshack café in the Lodgepole, and then we headed off to Morro Rock to meet up with A, J, and the kids. “Oh, by the way, after dinner tonight, I’m going down to Three Rivers,” C said.

“What?” G said, startled. “Why the hell are you doing that?”

“I got reservations at the Holiday Inn Express. I don’t want to bother you guys with my snoring, plus I figured you’d want a little privacy.”

“That’s dumb,” G said. “That’s, what, 25 miles away down a twisty dark road? What about tomorrow morning?”

“I’ll just get up early and drive back up here and meet you guys.”

Between the two of us, Glenn and I eventually wore him down, and he said he’d cancel his reservation.

When we arrived at Morro Rock, A, J, and the kids were sitting in the shade. The second G got out of the car, the boys leaped up and clung to him like limpets.

“Uncle G, Uncle G! Have you played Lego Star Wars? We saw a bear! It’s hot out, huh?”

They’d already gone up Morro Rock, but I., being 11 years old and full of energy, wanted to climb back up with C, G, and me. Not even halfway up the rock, I was clinging to the railing, panting and wheezing. My shirt was soaking wet, and little fingers of sweat groped under my bra and greedily tickled my breasts.

“I’m going to die,” I wheezed.

“Come on,” G said, grabbing my hand. “I’m sure the view will be worth it.”

The descent was, of course, much easier. I stopped to tie my shoe, and I noticed something on the rocks. I grinned and said, “Hey, G, look at this.” He came over, and I said, pointing, “I’m not lichen this.” He sighed heavily, shook his head, and walked away without comment.

Our next stop was General Sherman, the largest tree in the world, followed by a brisk hike through the woods and then a trip to Crystal Cave, which was gloriously chilly and very pretty---well, if you like caves, that is, which I do. Here’s the one picture that came out decently:

Near the end of the cave tour, G grabbed my arm and whispered, “You have to get a picture of Dildo Rock.” I looked to my left, and sure enough, two distinctly phallic stalagmites were jutting forth proudly from the ground. Now, granted, all stalagmites are phallic by nature, but these two couldn’t have looked more like cocks if someone had actually carved them. They even had heads! I giggled like a schoolgirl and whipped out my digital camera, but unfortunately it was too dark, and the picture didn’t come out.

It was an uphill climb back to the parking lot, and I was hardly able to concentrate on the lush greenery and gushing waterfalls thanks to my aching feet and burning calves. As soon as we hit asphalt, I raced to the vending machine and had the most delicious Coke of my entire life.

Our day of death marches was drawing to a close, and the seven of us went to the Waksuchi’s restaurant for dinner. I had a kobe burger, fries, and crème brulee, and we all talked and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Then we retired to our respective hotel rooms and crashed for the night.

Sunday consisted mostly of hiking various trails, so there isn’t much I can say about it, other than that it was really beautiful. Once I get all of my pictures uploaded, I’ll try to remember to come back and edit this entry accordingly.

After hiking, we went back to A and J’s hotel room, where A, C, and I talked and the others played poker. At 6PM, we sadly said goodbye and C, G, and I started the long drive back home.

Now, I’ve always been intrigued by Sonic Drive-Ins, which have a cultlike following, and I asked if we could stop at one on the way home. “What do they have there?” G (who is familiar with my culinary transgressions) asked suspiciously.

“Standard drive-in food,” I said. “You know, hamburgers, fries, and…and…” Overcome by excitement, I blurted out, “They have cheese-covered tater tots!”

“Oh holy Christ,” G groaned.

So we stopped at the Sonic in Visalia, and I got a hamburger, cheese-covered tater tots, and a cherry limeade. How was it? Well, let’s just say that, with the exception of the sublime cherry limeade, it was pretty underwhelming.

“Wow, that sucked even worse than that frickin’ Hawaiian BBQ place you made me go to,” G commented as we pulled out of the parking lot.

“Sorry,” I mumbled sheepishly.

“Awww, it wasn’t that bad,” C said. “What would you have preferred for dinner?”

“Some of your delicious manmeat.”

“Awesome! Bend over.”

“Hello, gross!” I called from the backseat.

“Oh, listen to Little Miss Prissy back there. Why can’t you accept our manly love?”

This went on for pretty much the entire drive home, barring the hour I fell asleep.

(OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: G and C make jokes like that all the time, but there’s absolutely no malice in it; I wouldn’t think it was remotely funny otherwise. They’ve known each other for something like 25 years, so they make all sorts of verbal jabs at each other, and they’re two of the least homophobic straight men I’ve ever met.)

We didn’t roll into town until almost 1AM. C dropped G off first, then me. I thanked him for driving, and then I staggered up the stairs to my apartment, where I showered, did a cursory blow-drying of my hair, and then crawled under the covers.

A scant six hours later, my alarm clock went off.

So on Monday, my hair was a frizzy aureole, I was exhausted, and every step I took was spiked with pain; I limped around all day like a footbinding victim. Was it all worth it? You betcha.