However, once we got there, and realized just exactly what those poor pioneers endured that winter, suddenly those bumperstickers didn't seem so amusing. If you can find the book called "Ordeal By Hunger", I highly recommend it. Did the Donner Party turn to cannabalism? Yes. But extreme circumstances call for extreme measures. They were dying. It became all about the basic human instinct of survival. That's Donner Lake, where some of the party camped.
This is a massive memorial; as you can see 6'4" Brian is dwarfed by it. The winter that the Donner Party was trapped, I think 1847 or 1848, the snow was as high as the platform on which the statues are placed. They'd stripped all the trees that were sticking up through the snow, so some of the tree tops still look a bit odd.
I took him to Twin Peaks so that I could give him the lay of the land. That wide strip of green in the middle which tapers to a thinner strip of green is the eastern end of Golden Gate Park and the tree lined Panhandle. The neighborhood between Golden Gate Park and that other patch of hilly green is the Richmond District, which is where we ended up living.
It took us less than 2 days to find a place to live. The first full day in town, we started calling and visiting places. By 5 pm we both had splitting headaches and were exhausted and frustrated. We'd copied down another phone number on a "for rent" sign we saw in the Sunset District and Brian called, and found out that the apartment was in the Richmond District, so we went over.
We wanted this place, BAD. The rent was reasonable for a 2 bedroom - $800, including water, off street parking and washer/dryer in the building. We didn't have jobs yet and that was a huge stumbling block. However, Brian schmoozed the landlord, Bruce, who was a really nice guy. He took a chance that Bruce was into the 49ers, and since the Niners had just won the Superbowl, Brian said, "How about those Niners?!" After about a half hour of chit chatting, we left and went back to the hotel. Brian stayed in the room and I went to get some take out. When I pulled into the parking lot, Brian was waiting for me outside. Bruce called, the apartment was ours. To this day we still exchange holiday cards with our former landlords!!
And that's how we ended up in San Francisco. We were both working within 2 months and we were well on our way to our new lives on the west coast. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule!!
Thanks for indulging me with my trip down memory lane, of that fantastic odyssey nearly 19 years ago. Someday, we will take another cross country trip, but this time it will be on old Route 66.