On The Road – Part One: Heading South
These next two postings are going to be very much on the personal side: family vacation. Bonnie and I on the road with our family of two rescued greyhounds, Alex and Ava.
Bonnie and I haven’t taken a vacation anywhere on our own since we got together in 1997. In the interim we’ve been to St. Louis where my family is, or was at that time, and New York City, home to her daughter Lori, who starred in our film Nightbeats, and her son Sam. I’ve loved those trips, wandering and discovering NYC, but we’ve long yearned to do something with just the two of us. And, now with the additions to the family, the four of us.
To that end we recently traded in Bonnie’s KIA wagon for a 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan, taken out the middle seats to make an open space for the kids, and hit the road this week on a road trip.
We headed south on I-5, the California Golden State Highway, that spans the north-south length of the state. I personally love this drive through the California Central Valley. I traveled it the first time 35 years ago when I was twenty on a solo cross-country roadtrip from St. Louis in a 1965 Volkwagen Beetle. One of the great trips of my life.
Many people groan about this trek that it is long and flat and boring. I think it’s beautiful and inspiring. The vast stretches without people of agricultural and ranch land boardedre on either side with the Pacific Coastal Range to the west and the distant Sierras to the east.
I cannot cross it without having an awesome respect for the enormity of this country and just how truly big California is. I always say that California is a country than a state and a state of mind more than anything else.
My father was a car salesman for Volkswagen in the Sixties. One year we went in a VW camper up to Ontario, Canada. Traveling in the Toyota with “the kids” in back brought back memories.
Just past The Grapevine and before reaching Los Angeles (a place that I love all out of proportion and hope to life in again some day) we jogged east on State Highway 138.
This was in keeping with “the roadtrip” aesthetic of the trip: to see places that we hadn’t seen before. And also to let “the kids” out to stretch, pee and eat.
These back stretches like Palmdale, which I’ve heard of but never been, could pass for locations in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah or almost anywhere in the American West, and no doubt have as locations in old western movies. The hills, the trees and cactus, and rock formations all look familiar. Part of our collective celluloid consciousness.
It was a long drive. Longer, in fact, than I thought it was going to be. Bonnie was better at anticipating this than I was. And Alex and Ava were good travelers. It was worth it to have this car so that we could have them with us. Otherwise, Bonnie and I would only have been talking and wondering about them the whole time.
And a long drive to where you may ask?
The Salton Sea. Just south of Palm Springs. Ten years or so ago I was visiting my friend Russ Meyer and we took a day trip out to the Salton Sean. His health was becoming a problem at that time, but he still loved to get out to striking locations and take pictures.
I’d never heard of the Salton Sea before, by I was immediately taken by it’s barren beauty and just plain strangeness. I’ve talked about it to Bonnie many times and we decided that this would be our first on-the-road adventure.
To be continued…