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Egret and crab

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Road Back

I did a quick calculation this morning. Let's see, how many times have I driven to San Francisco and back? Last 15 years, three times a year for Hillsborough, both ways. that's 90 total. Arts and Crafts show, way back when add about 8, Marin Indian Show and Napa (6 x 2) + (3 x 2) =18. Trips to Winterland, Cow Palace, Oakland Coliseum, Greek Theatre, Shoreline, Oakland Auditorium, to see the Grateful Dead and cronies and the occasional pot run in my misspent youth, add another 80. So let's see that's about 196 trips, give or take.






Yesterday might have been the prettiest or second prettiest trip ever after the one Leslie and I took through Gorman about 8 years ago when the purple lupines were going off oh so sickly! We drove back yesterday on the 46, the Lost Hills Road, and the flowers were at a fever pitch. Mustard, Poppies and Lupines, all in high fidelity cinerama and at full chromal blaze.

We spent the night at Michael's magnificent spread in San Mateo. Buzzed over to Stacks so that Leslie could eat her favorite crab crepes. Saw Warmboe and hit the road. Usually I take the Pacheco Pass through Gilroy to Los Banos but I just had a feeling. We got guilt tripped on the way down by my associate Cam, who owed me a couple bucks, which he dangled in front of me, so of course I stopped. He bought some very cool old english limos and he wanted us to see them. Lives in Salinas with his fraulein, Birgit. Salinas set a homicide record last year so I made sure that Leslie knew to duck if she heard anything loud and explosive. We grabbed the dough and got back on the road and stopped for gas. Met a neat guy there whose arm was bleeding all over the place. He said it was a daily occurrence, being employed as a barbed wire fence puller and we got into a discussion on the finer points of infection and tetanus and how to recognize a real problem before it required amputation.



We traded driving at Mission San Miguel Archangel, a real beaut that has been recently restored after a bad earthquake. We had seen it in distress and they did a great job. We turned left at Paso Robles, made our customary prayer to the ghost of James Dean, who went to his final pastures on this very same road and headed across the 46.

The 46 was just sick with color and the day was a delight, the Dead adding the soundtrack from Hampton Roads, Virginia with a tasty little Dark Star. We stopped to gas up and Leslie had the pick of the fast food joints and we stopped at Pilot #154, Lost Hills, a most unfortunate choice, it turns out. I bought an inverter there, thinking that in the event of a nuclear blast with resulting EMP I would still be able to blog, as long as I had gas for my car. BigDave, my tech support guy, set me straight and said that my car electronics would be farblungen as well in such an event. I bought the 380 watt accessory anyway and then we headed into the big mistake, Wendy's. Ordered the double cheese, extra pickles, no onions, it shows up with onions. And we ordered in at least two languages, as I recall. They finally got that right but there was something really odd about the drink, the coke tasted like some Mr. Pibb from a dark parallel universe. Very chemical, cleaning fluid and uncoke like. I managed to exchange the drink with the girl, whose understanding of my native tongue was somewhat limited, for a sprite, that was equally screwed up and strange tasting. WARNING! They may be doing gross biological experimentation at this Wendy's. Do not stop.  Fries were dreadful and oversalted. Tried to find a manager but we were shunted around so I plan to take this all the way to the top, if need be. General Manager Tim K., wherever you are, we are watching you...







We passed rows and rows of almond and cherry trees and fields of bobbing old drill rigs, that have always reminded me of metal dinosaurs.

We decided to stop at Pyramid Lake, scene of my recent Mr. Magoo adventure for some pics and bladder relief. I decided to take the piss out of the guy at the desk, Gary, and ask him for the location of the Pyramid and if there were any attendant sphinxes and sarcophagi around? He was a good guy and was having none of it and we got a full history of the lake, from it's birth as lowly Piru Creek to its present incarnation as a gorgeous lake and reservoir. You have to do some fancy driving up Templin Highway near the old three lane suicide road from the thirties, to see the pyramid and we took a pass. On the way up we saw all these signs in the central valley castigating Congress for making the large corporate farms a dust bowl, but they still looked pretty good to me. He explained that the junior water districts had their allocations cut and the signs were their sour grapes.

We finally made it to Pasadena, hit Zankou Chicken for the best rotisserie chicken around with vats of garlic paste, hummus, pickled turnips and pita and then back home. Best ride I can ever remember, and back to a hot bath and clean sheets! No place like home, Auntie Em.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It takes me three weeks to do what you do in a week. Did you find time to do an art show?

Anonymous said...

really lovely photos; especially like the way you altered the one of the oil derricks...i'm told the Denny's in Fallbrook is quite good, actually; it all depends on who manages them... am making mental note to visit Zankou, as i will be in LA this weekend...

:-(

Sanoguy said...

I think that Robert goes on these missions to eat, observe the countryside, eat, write and eat again!!! The "art sale" angle is just a cover. Don't ever stop!!!

Anonymous said...

Great summary on the road trip= you and I must have passed each other on Tuesday- I drove north myself= The colors were amazing- and I had the same reaction as you to the water signs= looked ok up there to me!

trz

Sanoguy said...

Great photos, by the way!! I have been across this country many times myself and I always marvel at how beautiful California really is!!

Blue Heron said...

Thank you, Mike. The photos were just of waiting there and I grabbed them!

Anonymous said...

sorry, this obsession with 70's funk is becoming, well, tiresome; i think you need to move on...

Blue Heron said...

That's why there is a pause button - and if you don't hit play there is absolutely no audio!

I am finding my inner funk brother self, don't give me none of yo jive ass lip.

Blue Heron said...

Actually that wasn't very nice of me. I need to be more responsive to my loyal audience. Let me have a Beegees, Abba, KC, Donna Summer, Average White Band fix and I promise I will be out of your hair.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos. Would love to take a trip to s.f. Will be sure not to stop at Wendy's. I think there's a conspiracy to poison all of the U.S. Everything there tastes like some sort of chemicals. We stopped at one in West Virginia and had the baked potatoes with cheese and broccoli. How can that be bad? But they were really awful. Almost inedible. Ever since Dave died Wendy's has gone downhill.
Nancy