Let’s Begin My Wacky Kerouac-ian Odyssey

 


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I remember reading Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” as a teenager and was totally fascinated with the simple idea of a group of people possibly starting at a point in this country and tracing their steps back to their own senses of reality in their current hometowns. So when I got the opportunity for a job where I would fly to another location and possibly do a trans-continental trip….with pay, you know I took it without regret.


So last Sunday I got on a silver bird and flew to that city that the rock ballad group Journey calls home, and set my adventure into motion. But before I could get to that “city by the bayyyyy“, I had to make a drop into Dallas/Fort Worth to change birds. I guess the seagull that got om Tampa to Dallas had other plans on this Sabbath Day.



dfw-skylink.jpgIn this city that boasts how big things are, the strangest thing happened. I found the most adventurous ride of my life outside of the premise of an amusement park, or Disney’s Space Mountain. Who knew besides the thousands of Super Bowl fans who flocked in on birds of their own that this airports tram system was such an E-ticket ride.


Seriously, it bucked, chucked and possibly threw me off all in the span of a few air side terminals. It was the most fun I have ever had outside the amusement arena, and I truly loved it. After that even the Shuttle driver with the hot brake foot and the bad rear shocks on his van seemed like a petty imitation, or worse, a disappointment. But I finally arrived in the 1970’s era looking SFO airport and was onto my first adventure.



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dp2624x494.jpgRich Herrera, the Rays Radio Network Pre-game host read a Facebook plant by me and exploded with places and things I had to do while camped out in the “other” bay area. From going to the old haunts of the San Francisco Seals, to standing outside AT&T Park banging to be let in,I was in a city that showed me respect, manners and even a bit of oddity.


I even hit a few establishments mentioned by Herrera and hoisted a few to the loss of Jayne Russell and Duck Snider last night. I even think I saw celebrity chef Chris Constantine slurping a back bacon ice cream cone, but San Fran is full of those chef types. So this morning as the rest of the city was just waking from a long night’s catnap, I ventured in my mobile of choice back to my Florida nirvana hoping for the Kerouac moment.


The day started with me missing my cut-off towards the South and I accidentally went approximately 9 miles die North of intended turn target and got to learn the great freeway entrance stop light adventure. Let me just cut to the chase and tell you there is a guy in a maroon Kia Soul who is still cursing my existence.. Seems in California, this light is for EACH auto, not the whole line…..I wish I had a Oregon tag on the car, then he could blame Portland.



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Trip 032.JPGFinally I got my bearing straight and began to head towards the smog-congested mountain tops that had kissed my morning “hello” over the last few days. I was excited for a closer look to see if this region actually had snow, or some one had spray-paint tagged the summits. But before I reached those ice cream shaped domes of snow, I went past the most beautiful sight so far on this trip.

No, it was not Sandra Bullock or Anne Hathaway, it was a water-filled retention lake that was being kissed by a line of clouds, simple breathtaking. I of course could not get a photo of this since the road had no shoulder, and my trusty camera was still in the trunk.

 

But soon I was in a valley where the air had the pleasant aroma of almonds, with trees a bloom with buds of pinks and off-white. It was at this time I made my first encounter with two Indian ( not Native American) gentleman in a Shell station perched high upon a hill over looking a possible 100 mile stretch of budding plants and bee boxes.



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Trip 002.JPGThey then told me about the region and its “exports”, which also included a grand one pound bag of Habenero-dusted pistachios that they presented to me as a gift. I decided to also splurge on a pound of glorious almonds with the chances of having an accident with a chocolate bar sometime in the evening ( has not happened yet). But I left that Shell station in the heavens and continued on my odyssey.


I must had traveled 2 hundred miles before a crop duster seemed to want to “buzz my tower” as the vibrations of the small one-seat plane shook the car as he leveled to deliver a crushing blow of chemicals to the unfortunate pests invading this field. But it was cool to see that the grand old art of applying pesticides from the air was still vogue.



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Trip 018.JPGBut I had a mountain to climb. And even as my new car ( which had 31 miles on it that a.m. tried to make it up the massive mount, I could see trucks and auto pulling trailers engine’s begin to wheeze, cough and sputter as they tackled this grand rocky monument. I was amazed at the snow still kissing the top tier of the mountain, but also mesmerized by the sheer size of the cutting into the mountain needed to bring such a highway to life.



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1-clearchannelstadium01-052208.jpgI finally got to the top and took my exit towards the city of Lancaster and again gazed in wonder as the field at Clear channel Stadium, where the Lancaster Jethawks play was so green, while the rest of the city had that rustic clay look and feel to its turf. Was great to view that ballpark in all its green glory before setting out into the semi-desert ringed by more majestic snow-capped mountains.


Slowly I made my way past the odd blue-hued sage brush and dust that seemed to rise into the air and form a wall around the car towards the town of Victorville, California. But first I had to traverse a road that was plagued by “flooded” signs with massive puddles of rain runoff still sticking to the sides of the road just out of the reach of the tall cactus trees wanting a tasty aqua break.



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Trip 039.JPGAs I got near my hotel, a High School came into view and there on the side of the corner was the biggest Ray-hawk motif I had ever seen. The kid had to have pounds of product in that Mohawk to even get it to not sway in the slight cross breeze. Again, the dastardly camera had been left out of reach and when the light turned green, a car behind me impatiently wanted me to move or die….not sure which?



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Trip 049.JPGI checked into my room, popped onto the Internet, took care of some mail, giggled a bit at a television show I missed, but recorded and set about downloading the days actions into my mind again. The Indian’s generosity, the purely nirvana scene of water and clouds meeting, then the oddity of snow and desert in the same photo. But I got one last surprise as I ventured into a store called Vallarta and found a Hispanic paradise that Florida really needs to invest in.

I got some awesome spicy Menudo and a few other Mexican-based dishes for dinner and set about on the quest for a food comma to put me to bed for another grand journey in the morning. With a belly full of hotel furnished waffles and great California OJ, I will leave this town that reminds me of Mexico City ( but without the crime) and head into the reaches of Arizona.

 

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Trip 009.JPGTomorrow night it will be Tucson, and I can’t wait to see what the karma Gods have in store for me tomorrow……I hope Kerouac is jealous up there about this trip, because I am fulfilling my own “journey to enlightenment” here. But with gas in the boondocks of Cali topping the $ 4 mark. this m ight be the only time in my life to take such a trip…..unless you have 6 Lotto number for me?

 

 

 

12 Comments

Sounds like a great trip so far. Sorry our California weather has been kind of crappy though. And yeah, the price of gas here is crazy. Safe travels!

http://www.janeheller.com/confessionsblog

I think the price of gas is going up everywhere, though thankfully it hasn’t hit $4 in PA (yet).

What’s a “spicy Menudo”? I thought they were one of those boy-bands of the past. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to reading about the rest of your drive.

Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Jane,
Since I have driven from Seattle to St. Petersburg,Florida before….it was a life goal to do the I-10 corridor, or a Cali-to-Florida run.
Now I can cross it off my list on Sunday night. Weather has been fine. A bit chilly, but no biggie. Gas prices were a bit steep in the mountains, but leveled off as I got closer to Arizona today.
Having a blast.

Rays Renegade

It could seem an oddity to you to see snow and mountains but that’s the way it is, every winter, out here. It is too bad you can’t stick around for the colorful wildflower burst in the desert starting about the middle of March. Joshua Tree is awesome. Sounds like you are having an interesting road trip out there. Also remember this, the folks in San Francisco were probably nice to you because I am assuming you were not wearing a Dodger cap. That hospitality would fly out the window if you were. lol

Glad our city treated you well, bit of oddity and all. We are in a hospitable mood because of the Giants World Series win. Safe travels!

Diamond Girl
http://sfdiamondgirl.mlblogs.com/

What a trip! Love the pictures and your details of your journey. Be careful and I can’t wait until the next post. Stay safe!

Ron

http://strictlycubsbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Sounds like a great trip! Yes, I imagine seeing snow and cactus in the same photo would look odd to those not from around here. I have heard about Vallarta! But I don’t get out to the high desert very often. If you’re ever heading through So Cal again and you want more good restaurant tips, post something and I’m sure a lot of us could help.
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

Sue,
I apologize to everyone wanting to read the rest of my trip. I got a bit under the weather in Tucson,Az two days ago and I am trying to get better and putting the posts on ther back burner.
I have still been taking pictures, scribing a few notes and go tearyeyed in Tombstone…..

Rays Renegade

Kingman,
I lived and worked plenty of Summer in Seattle and saw snow on the tops if Rainer and Baker, but being in the high desert and seeing the white stuff just reminds me how wild Mother Nature can be.
I actually went by that exit two days ago and almost turned off, but I had a long drivew that day and thought better of it…mistake.
Seeing some amazing sights and scenery and promise once my head stops throbbing and I can keep food down…..It is on like Donkey Kong to get you the rest of the trip.

Rays Renegade

Emily,
I am going with the illusion that they liked me wearing my Rays cap in San Fran. That is my story and I am sticking to it.
Plus, we basically handed them Pat Burrell…….okay, maybe the first reason more.

Rays Renegade

Kristen,
Vallerta is pretty interesting and stocked different than any other store I have ever seen. So far the tour from “Bay-2-Bay” has been amazing.
I am glad I even applied for the position….soon another adventure will begin…the 2011 MLB season, that one will have more pitfalls and valleys than this one ever will.

Rays Renegade

Ron,
This trip so far has been beyond some words. Scenery I could only imagine, great polite people in San Francisco (winning the World Series does that) plus no one giving me any lip about my Rays cap on my head.
Plus brought along a SPPD cap so I can honor Officer David Cleveland since his service is while I am driving back home.

Rays Renegade

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