"Turn here!" I hollered.
"Turn where?" a startled Turk hollered back. He hit the gas and we headed straight for a cliff.
"Back where? Why? It's too late."
"No, no, it isn't! It's Cold Spring Tavern! I've heard about this place. I've seen pictures ~ it looks great! I've always wanted to go. I didn't know it was in here. Turn around!"
"Okay okay okay. Hold your horses," he intoned with the zen-like equanimity that has seen him through 23 years of road trips and nearly 20 years of marriage.
Rule Number 1 of Road Travel ~ never argue with your wife when she's shouting at you on twisting mountain roads. Whatever it is, it can't be as bad as going over the rail. Not usually.
We U-turned back, hung a sharp right and wound our way along a narrow path. We found it by a tiny waterfall and parked in the small clearing bordered by a steeply sloped, rocky embankment. I grabbed a jacket as a sweet cool breeze rustled the leaves overhead and we stepped out of the car into the sylvan glade. Built in 1885 as a stagecoach stop for weary travelers along the Pass, the tavern was all I'd imagined it would be ~ a deliciously cozy haven; authentically rustic and thoroughly romantic. I was enchanted.
"Let's live here," I murmured as we entered the front door.
"Let's eat first," replied the Turk.
He ordered a huge house burger served on artisan bread with fat fries and a large glass of freshly brewed iced tea. I had a lovely house salad with lingonberry dressing, followed by the special. The grilled King Salmon glistened plump and coral on it's bed of bright red and green grilled peppers, lightly sauteed spinach and creamy mound of garlic mashed potatoes. The house Chardonnay was crisp and light and filled my head with a soft amber mist. Everything glowed with the golden warmth of old wood, afternoon sun and decades of hearty conviviality. Even the stuffed goat's head in the corner smiled down on all benignly; forgivingly. Life, I thought musing happily over that luscious salmon, was sometimes something very close to perfect.
"I'm not leaving," I told the Hubs as we left.
"I know, dear," he said, hands in pockets, shooting me a sidelong glance. "But that means, of course, we'll never get to Cambria."
I sighed. He was right. A very wise man, that Turk. I've always thought so, and I thought so even as he backed into the steep rocks with a resounding crunch on our way out of the lot.
"Shit!" he said, abandoning all aforementioned composure. "Did I damage the bumper?"
I got out and looked. "I don't think so," I said. We were tight against the rock, and I couldn't really see anything.
"Thank god," he said.
I hoped for the best. You don't mess around when life is busy being something very close to perfect.
Rule Number 2 of road travel; never tell your husband that he may very well have put a sizable dent in his beloved bumper. Not on the first day of your road trip. Not if you want to make it to Cambria.