cali, baby.

just got home. wearing my sleeping bag like a scarf. my roomates have been living without gas, heat, hot water, for the entire week i’ve been south. timing is right, though. they got it back tonight.

*

Don McLean sings this will be the day that i die… and the sign above us gloomily reveals our entrance back to familiar sounding cities of tacoma, seattle.

the white clouds instantly flash from rain to hail to small beating death stars racing to find their way into our big rig’s spacious interior.

we had trekked miles and miles for uneven sunburns, only to head back north and leave the summer sun in Santa Cruz. hello, again, Northwest Pacific that I know and love. good to see you’re doing fine.

the 2 for 1 McApple pies slowly sink in my stomach – bye, bye, miss american …

grabbed my pencil. goosebumps on my arms. from the cold.

pringles cracked into the carpet. some still images: ballcaps & sunglasses on the dashboard. bag of pistachios. sunscreen tube. ipod. jean jacket. maps. things you need for this kind of trip. a box of budweiser well scavenged by my road-mates last night as i drove 65mph to Eugene.

loud noises! grunts. beef jerky. shoulder rub. scandanavian chants. boys in the backseat. rowdy boys. pee break under the black sky. wishing day to days were as emotion ridden. as drunken stupor-ed.

feeling better, always, with sunned cheeks.

“what was your favourite part of the trip?” when we stopped at that oyster place. the forest. that hike. with the waves and the hills like dinosaurs on the shore.

what was the name of that town with the shitty bar last night? …that was the shittiest bar i’ve ever been to.

*

we don’t know the name of the town. somewheres after mount shasta and lily’s diner, with her white lace tablecloth, full place settings, and peach cobbler a la mode. i had a walnut and dahl burger with sprouts. surprised slow food towns and local resistance to retail. a losing battle mostoftentimes. sad superstores of beige khaki slacks and polo t-shirts litter the interstate. but pronounce it like innerstaytd. s’more ‘merican that way.

refueling at a gas station in Dune City, Oregon, I chat with the pump attendant. So, what do people do around here for fun? I poke. Watch it rain… he says, in all seriousness. i keep working the squeegee and he continues on about a pass you can buy, good for two years, which lets you drive on the sand dunes. you get a sticker or a flag, good fer anytime in the next two years, fer ten bucks. but we already rode our meat-mobile on the sand.

(i know i’ll regret posting this photo…)

ah well, when in rome. when. in. rome.

Hey, I just got sent a joke, want to hear it? So, it says, ‘submarine race’, but I’m scrolling down the page, and all I see is water… chuckles the clerk at the Sherwood Inn. its late in garbersville , oregon. he offers me a laugh as i head back out the way I came. we rock another couple miles till somewhere else to sleep for da nite.

*

lacey. florence. ukiah. san frisco. sanna’ cruz. turn around. vacaville. springfield. cheap motels. espresso cabins. outspoken people. kitchy windows like the antique store on princeton bc’s main drag. towns that come out of nowhere. scenery to digg. cliffside hairpin turns. steep drops and tense shoulders navigating the teensy road like an elephant on a tightrope. we actually drive over the golden gate bridge. it exists.

Pages into On the Road i underline Kerouac’s wistful West Coast ideals… somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me… legends of America become more clear to me.

In SanFransisco we hop off the streetcar and meet with my friend from class, Ashley. the six of us climb up and down the city’s streets, wind our way through a chinatown fair, fill up on a bag of fortunes after a peek into the chinese cookie factory. we enter onto broadway. the boys go in search of a pub and patio. ash gets excited when she spots Trieste Cafe. jack kerouac’s former hangout. we walk closer and hear the accordian accompanied by wavering italian chords. the place is packed with jovial faces drinking little glasses of afternoon wine and coffees. suddenly a tray of decorated cupcakes emerges from the backroom and catches our eye. mmm. the band switches to a tune to which we can sing along. happy birthday papa giavannnnnnnniiiiiii…. we’re at a birthday party at Trieste cafe. making quick friends with the lady whose shoulders are next to mine, we ask if she knows Papa Giavanni. yes. well, i mean, oh, i’ve met him once.. but, i don’t know him. Who is he? He’s the owner.

Seriously? A lady smiles and passes out the cupcakes. Mine is topped with an Italian flag and reads, 90th Papa Giavanni. We’ve strolled right into the 90th birthday of the owner of Cafe Trieste.

Of course as we head down the street to City of Lights Bookstore // City Lights. // What? // It’s just City Lights, David corrects me in a skypecall later. only proving that i am, indeed, a poser in this light. // Anyway, of course as we come nearer, the luck of our bag of fortune cookies would have it that there was a book reading taking place in the alley behind the store. Streamers. buckets of Chalk on the ground. Passers by leaned against the wall, listening.

We’re elated and drink a few beers in a park nearby.

*

We skip disneyland. Santa Cruz is as far south as we get. It’s paradise – minus the MayDay Rioteers that turned Pacific Avenue’s shop windows to piles of glass the night we arrived. “politicians should clean up this mess” is poorly spraypainted onto a nearby wall. Palms and boardwalk. It’s that beach that you’ve seen in a thousand movies with the flippin’ rollercoaster ON the beach, and barbies and kens running around with sandy skin and frisbees… and a deep-fried twinkie stand just for good measure.

*

There’s more to this trip. I can’t do it justice now. We raced home along the i5. it was all pretty fun. i’ll give you one more quote.

But then they danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

i love that his sentences run on forever.

i’m also (apparently) looking for a new place to live for june 1st… if you know of anything..

*

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One thought on “cali, baby.

  1. Fantastic!

    Funny, because Matt asked me to go to the submarine races on p.e.i. last summer and I fell for it big time. Apparently his mom got him with the same trick when they were kids too. haha, guess the good jokes have long lives.

    Place to rent? There’s a sign on our front fence that says “For Rent” which means there’s a free room in the upstairs of this house!!! You should rent it!!! I can tell you who to call if you want to.

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