Blue Heron in flight

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Road food

I pride myself in being comfortable in many worlds, rural, urban, provincial, urbane. Rich, poor.

I moved around a lot with a crazy mother as a kid and learned to communicate and fit in at her mercurial footsteps. 

She was a master at that and at sizing people up, she was also a french gourmet cook, which is quite difficult to do when you find yourself at that sad conundrum in your life when you are occasionally very poor.

I feel confidant that we were the only children on our block in El Paso who dined on calves brains and tripe as well as other weird shit. 

She made yoghurt from scratch and I remember her first quiche. People simply didn't each quiche in Cielo Vista in 1965. 

She had a good palette and I think most of her children had one. Buzz, after giving up law and opening a restaurant, was an award winning chef in Toronto.

And then there were times where there was no food in the house, and we lived on corn mush and fish sticks, beanie weenie and minute steaks. A person learns to adapt.

I just returned from San Francisco. Second trip back and forth in what, ten days? Wait, no, a week. I sold some paintings in the south bay, a whirl wind trip. My ankle still hurts from pushing the accelerator and I get to go back on the road Tuesday.

I dropped out of high school and went hitchhiking around the country at 16. Had a ball, traveled far and wide, met up with an incredible cast of characters. Learned how to survive on the road. No one cared about money back then, siddhis, illumination, sex, joy and happiness. You did what you had to do and you took care of each other and I never remember it ever becoming a big deal.


Last week I was driving and I was hungry but didn't want to stop at fast food and was sort of near nowhere on the 99. I went into a Shell station and decided to go to the sandwich rack.

Now I never do this but I had a schedule to meet and I needed to get something into my stomach. What the hell, right? What could it hurt?

It did.

I ordered a chicken caesar wrap with something resembling aoli mayo. What I didn't check out was the vegetable it was laying with in the wrap. I still have no idea what it was, but it tasted acrid and sour like a weed that grows up on a forgotten cement basketball court in the inner city. Like a thistle or artichoke leaf maybe.

It was disgusting. I ate as much as I could bear and threw it away. Very off putting.

This week I found a road sandwich that actually works.  

I like to stop at the Weirick Rd. Arco AM/PM for my first pit stop when I am driving north on the 15.

Anyway, 5:30 in the morning, need to drive ten hours, what do I eat? 

I sauntered over to the hot cart and bought their own Sausage, Egg and Cheese croissant. I ate it. It was good.

And I noticed that they had to be eaten in fifteen hours or thrown away. 

It tasted good and it tasted fresh and so did the second one I bought yesterday on the way back from Woodside.

Of course, this meant I would have to skip stopping at the Jack in the Box in Frazer Park, their small tacos another culinary masterpiece.

I needed to get somewhere, like home, made as few stops as possible. And now I have a new cheap go to when there are very few options. I have had way worse.

As I said, I got up early to go home yesterday. 

Thought the GPS would send me across the 580 but it favored the 101.

I drove through Gilroy and stopped at one of my favorite diners, the Longhouse. 

Leslie, Cam and I have been eating there for over thirty years. 

It burned down once but they rebuilt it. Great breakfasts. I had ham and eggs.

Gilroy is of course the garlic capitol of the world. We love garlic.

When we drive through, we roll the windows down.

It was the strongest and greatest garlic cloud I have ever smelled yesterday.

Going over the Pacheco Pass I decided to stop at Casa de Fruta and buy garlic pistachios and dried apricots. They wanted thirteen bucks for the former and twenty seven for the latter. Too expensive. I left without buying a thing.


My ankle hurts from so much driving.

I went to the mechanic before I left, tire pressure light was on.

I told Gary at Pro-Tire that I was driving back up north and he insisted on checking fluids and making sure I was good to go.

Lo and behold, he showed me that a rat had taken up residence in the engine compartment and had chewed up a bunch wires and left them bare.

Undetected, I could have easily had a fire if they touched, could have been an absolute disaster. I appreciate Gary so much. He has kept me on the road for thirty years, with the best attitude imaginable.

And now he saved me again.

He did a service and oil change three weeks ago. According to the window sticker I am due again in under four hundred miles. Wow. This Ram Pro-Master is so great. It has changed the way I do business, it's load capacity and front wheel drive a blessing. Turns on a dime, could live out of it if I had to.


One thing you don't see today that you saw hitchhiking in the seventies is that nobody writes between the tile cracks like they used to do. You could read some pretty profound wisdom it the tile above the urinal. Don't see it anymore. Ray says they shrunk the grout.


I was thinking about the transgender bathrooms thing when I walked into the rest stop in Avenal for the second time on the trip. I think there is a lot of selective indignation on this subject. You see, there is a sign in the bathroom that says that disabled people might be accompanied by people of the opposite sex. And nobody freaks out, they know that the attendant is not there to "get them." More like, somebody has to pee.

I don't think transgender people are any different or are there to accost anybody, they also have to pee. Let them. I was talking to Dave about this because on the Grateful Dead tour, you often saw women in our bathroom. The lines were shorter and they were not to be denied. No one cared.

But he told me once that he and Jeff got an ovation from the women in the john because they were the only two guys who washed their hands after using the toilet. You see that I hang around with a better class of people.

So what is my scorecard on this issue? Bathrooms, no problem. Compete against biological females in women's sports? No freaking way.


Want to know that you are getting old? Count how many people in your contact's list are dead.

Speaking of getting old, my podiatrist (who said that my big toe is healing splendidly, if you care) told me that you are entitled to a couple free pedicures annually at his office through medicare. Yippee. Who knew?


I just permanently blocked an acquaintance that has become so virulently anti zionist that she justifies the killing of Israeli babies and kids at a concert as long overdue. I tried to explain to her that without Palestine I would not be alive today but she was having none of it. On her way to Washington to protest Gaza. Over and out.


Leslie was broadsided last week, took out the right door of her car and the inner parts of the entire right side. Guy backed into her when she was turning on Hawthorne. He says she hit him but it is impossible to hit somebody with the middle of the side of your car. Cops know, so do the insurance people.


I saw John Paul at dinner at Max's in Burlingame. He told me that as an RSS follower of the blog I make life very hard for him. I write too much and he is getting constantly notified. I am bummed about this. If you are seeing too much of the blast, let me know and I will dial it down.


Warmboe noted that I failed to mention the magnificent short ribs dinner he cooked for me on Wednesday night. It was phenomenal and I apologize.


Blue Heron said...

no mention of my short ribs. and you went on and on about the garbage you consumed on the road?????

Blue Heron said...

They were phenomenal Bill, thank you!