The next day my dad was stuck in conferences until 6pm. We'd talked about what I'd do when this happened and he was always fuzzy on the details. I think he didn't want me to use his car. That 320i was his baby.

He looked me up and down, took a deep breath, and handed me the keys. As our hands touched and he looked deep within my soul to make sure I was worthy, he said:

"Be good, Derek. And whatever you do, don't go to San Francisco."

In the movie adaptation of my life, those words will boom and echo in full THX sound.

I was supposed to go to UC Berkeley to see the campus. And I actually did. But then it was 1pm and I had time to kill and I sure could go for another one of those burritos. I pulled out the map and I was gone.

The drive from Berkeley to San Francisco over the Bay Bridge is still one of my favorite drives of all time. There's this moment when you pop out of the Treasure Island tunnel and the city just explodes into view. The bridge towers jet up and bang! You can see the whole place all at once: the skyscrapers in the financial district, Coit Tower, all of it.

I cranked the stereo up and the windows down. I was ready for adventure. And I was gonna get it.

Boy was I gonna get it.