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Mental Health Charity Lyft Drive Day 16: 600 Miles in San Francisco

Mental Health Charity Lyft Drive Day 16: 600 Miles in San Francisco

When I woke up, I headed up to Fresno. I knew it would be a bit hard to get a ride in Fresno at 6:45am, but I managed to do it within a few minutes. I drove someone to work at Starbucks nearby. Luckily, the distance to pickup was shorter than the driving distance for once. He was still in school but working over the summer.

Once I left Fresno, I headed up to Modesto. I noticed that there was this foul smell in my car and thought there was something that died in my air intake. I checked the air filter and nothing was in there. I then smelled it outside the car, so it was just the normal odor that was outside. I posted that on Facebook and a few people mentioned that it is mostly from the cattle nearby. I was impressed that all the cattle was producing that smell and I was nowhere near a farm that I could tell.

I just got off the highway to head into downtown Modesto when I got a ping from about two miles away. I hopped back on the highway to pick him up. He was on his way to work. He was mostly silent for most of the ride. He didn’t seem to speak English very well so I kept quiet for most of the trip.

After I dropped him off, I headed back on the highway north towards Stockton. I waited for about 10 minutes until I got a ping from about 15 miles out. It was the edge of the Stockton zone. It was all highway so it only took about 15 minutes to get to him. He was requesting a ride for only a few miles. He was handling a call from work during the trip and he sounded like a medical professional. After I asked, he said was an ER physician on his day off and was heading to a massage. He seemed to be taking another call once he was inside as he was by the front door on his phone.

My next stop was San Jose. Before I got near downtown, I got a ping from a residential address very close to the highway. I was picking up a lady who was going downtown to mail out a package at UPS. I told her about the charity drive I was doing and we talked about where I went and where else I need to go. I dropped her off at the UPS store and then headed north to San Francisco.

Traffic was pretty light up until just a mile out from the Lyft HQ. It didn’t take long to get off the highway. I was lucky to find a parking space a few blocks up from Lyft’s office. I was meeting up with Jake at 2pm and I arrived at 1pm, so I went nearby to grab some lunch. I also meet up with Michael from Rideshare Report and we talked about my trip and his website. After lunch on my way to Lyft HQ, we captured a quick video for his website and then I went up to the Lyft HQ Office.

They had just moved to a larger office space on Berry Street and this place was pretty big. They have the entire floor and it spans the entire city block. The office is broken up into 6 major parts: Marketing, Engineering, Local Support, Compliance, Customer Support, and Driver Support. They also had another space for IT services, like server management and internal software support and development. There are two kitchens, one on each end of the building, which was pretty cool. They have an open concept with a ton of meeting rooms in the middle of the building. It seemed as if every one was occupied on a Friday afternoon.

You can see from the below photo how far the office goes…

Jake also bought me a coffee at a nearby place and we talked about my trip and also confirmed where I could or couldn’t drive.

After coffee, I headed back to my car to do my one Lyft in San Francisco. Not surprisingly, I picked up someone from the same building as Lyft HQ. Even when I walked in, I saw about 5 people waiting for their ride. I couldn’t tell if it was Lyft or Uber, but I figured it would be mostly Lyft. Unfortunately, there was some kind of backup on Berry Street so it took me 5 minutes to go down one block to pick her up. I drove along the waterfront to avoid some of the traffic downtown and drove her to her saloon appointment. She seemed to be on her phone most of the time so I didn’t get a chance to chat her.

After dropping her off, I drove out to Napa. I have been here before for wine tasting, but I never drove to downtown Napa and had no idea what kind of demand there would be. I thought it would be like Cape Cod where I would have to wait hours for a ride. I drove to downtown Napa and when I didn’t get a ping, I went to the local car wash to try to vacuum the interior of my car. Just when I was done pulling out the floor mats, I got a ping from about a mile out. I picked up a couple who lived in Napa and was going to a restaurant a few miles away. We talked about Napa and how the town catches a lot of drivers driving drunk because of the wine tasting. They see about 40-60 each month in the local paper and almost all of them are tourists. This is the reason why they use Lyft and Uber to avoid all the hassles of that. I told them about my charity and they seemed pretty enthusiastic about it and left a $10 donation!

After dropping them off at the restaurant, I got some gas next door and also bought a Mega Millions ticket (I think I won $1 or $5, not sure) since the jackpot was up to $500 million. I have never bought it in the past, but thought it was worth a try. After getting gas, I took the norther route back out to I80 to head up to Sacramento. It was definitely a scenic drive, but tough as it was switchbacks up and down the mountain.

I drove into downtown Sacramento but got a ping from a few miles out. I arrive at the hotel (Google Maps told me to go on the freeway on-ramp due to a small issue with Lyft giving Google the GPS coordinates instead of the address) to pick up a blind passenger. I got out of the car to help him into the car. He wasn’t going far, just to the local pizza shop on the other side of the highway. Because of all the stores in the area, it took me a little while to find it on the GPS and also to make sure I wouldn’t get lost or accidentally go on the highway on-ramp on the other side of the highway. Once we got there, I parked the car and helped him to the restaurant. He was teaching me how to lead him to the restaurant. It was the first time I did that and it was a pretty cool experience. Sure, it took an extra 2 minutes, but I know it helped him a lot knowing that he was being guided.

I went back to the car to end the trip and then I was on my way to South Lake Tahoe.

From the map, I couldn’t really tell which part of Lake Tahoe was busier. I googled where all the bars and restaurants were and almost all of them were on the south side so I made my way there. The road to Lake Tahoe was a bit difficult to drive at night with many sharp and steep (uphill and downhill) turns. Parts of the road was one lane but luckily I didn’t get held up in traffic for long. It was only about a 90 minute drive, but I heard from my passenger that it can be 3 hours in the winter time due to snow and extra skiing tourists.

I drove all through South Lake Tahoe until I hit the state line. I decided to head back towards the middle of town since I knew I couldn’t pick up on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. I tried to position myself between the two cars on the major strip on Lake Tahoe when I got a ping from a few blocks away. I drove to them in a few minutes and picked up two younger ladies and their aunt. Their aunt has been coming to Lake Tahoe for about 20 years but never used Lyft in Lake Tahoe before. I told him about my charity and she was all in support of it because she has a lot of LGBT friends and many of them have mental health issues mostly from societal pressures and prejudices. They seemed to be pretty excited that I was taking the time to bring more attention to it. They were headed to the casinos on the Nevada side and I informed them that Lyft doesn’t operate in Nevada so it may be difficult for them to get a ride back. I told him to move their cursor over to the California side and either walk to the California side or have the driver pick up on the Nevada side. Hopefully they can figure it out and get back.

After leaving Lake Tahoe, my next stop was Spokane, WA. After talking with Jake, I found out that I wouldn’t be able to drive in Portland either without a local business license and possibly plates/drivers license so I decided to skip it and save a few hours. The most direct route takes me close to Boise, Idaho and the eastern part of Oregon before coming up through the middle of Washington and then east to Spokane. It was definitely a great drive over the mountains towards Carson City and Reno. This would be an area I would love to check out again. The drive was a bit difficult at night but I can’t imagine doing this drive in the winter. I believe they require tire chains for the steep inclines when it snows.

I passed through Reno (can’t drive on Lyft here either) and then stopped about 20 miles north of Reno for the night. I was getting excited about tomorrow since I would finally make it home!

How Can You Help?

I have set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise additional money for charity. It will be running for the next few months. Below is the link to the campaign:

GoFundMe Rideshare Dashboard Mental Health Drive

Even a dollar will go a long way so give what you can and it will be deeply appreciated!

You can also help by emailing ridesharedashboard at gmail.com with travel advice, what to see in each of the below cities and your best food recommendations. I have traveled extensively abroad, but I will be visiting many of these states for the first time.

Want to Know Where I am now?

I will continue to post regular updates of my trip on my Facebook Page and my Twitter feed so look there to keep track of where I am! I usually move through 4-6 cities a day so I’m definitely a moving target.

Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course! Driver Promotions
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