In 1982, I read Blue Highways, a bestseller written by William Least Heat-Moon. It chronicled a journey by car taken entirely on the small roads—the mapmakers’ blue highways. An English instructor as a small Missouri college, Least Heat-Moon, disoriented by a fracturing marriage, chose to look for himself by choosing, as Paul Simon put it, to “look for America.”
Buoyed by Least Heat-Moon’s adventures and observations, I have, whenever practicable, chosen those blue highways for my travels: a two-laner and small towns versus hurtling through interchangeable Interstate spaces at 70 mph.
So, for our road trip to Ann’s high school reunion in Casper, WY, I planned to include back roads whenever possible.
Day #1 was to begin at our home in Sonoma County’s Wine Country and end Continue reading “Road Trip 2015: Sonoma County to Trinity Center”
In the summer of 2002, on a vacation in Spain, Ann and I were in Sevilla, walking back to our lodging after a typically late dinner. It was midnight, but the twisty, cobbled lanes were not entirely deserted. As we entered a three-way street junction, lit only by a few faraway home lights, two young men on a motor scooter drove up behind Ann and snatched her purse. It was hooked over her shoulder, so the scooter’s acceleration yanked her off her feet before snapping the purse strap. I had been about 15 feet ahead and had not seen the approach, but I heard her cry out and saw her fall. Continue reading “Midnight Fantasy in Sevilla”
It’s Sunday, Father’s Day in Australia.
Looking for lunch on the South Coast of NSW, we see a sign for a bistro. It appears to be housed at the Coledale RSL, so we pull over. Many cars. Many people. What’s an RSL? We have no idea, but we vote unanimously to give it a look-see.
People are sitting at outside tables eating and drinking beer. Inside, they’re doing the same, but the walls are covered with many video screens, each one of which shows a race track in operation or Lotto numbers being picked.
Is this a casino? Continue reading “Father’s Day in Australia”
There is very little to recommend California’s Interstate 5 except straightness and speed.
In a midsummer’s sunset somewhere south of Buttonwillow, I am rolling at 80, glazed by oncoming lights and nearly listening to bad luck and worse love on a Country FM out of Visalia. I lift, drink, and am down to an inch in my water bottle.
Suddenly a below-decks clang-clank yanks my eyes to the rearview, and there’s something bouncing along behind me in the road dusk, losing ground. A non-conscious thought hikes my foot off the accelerator, and I coast into senses and an immediate inventory: there is no smoke, no smell, Continue reading “On Balance”
After a terrific cioppino lunch at Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero (the huge quantity of crab paired extremely well with the wallet-slimming price), my wife and I motivated south on California’s Highway 1. She was driving. I was marveling at guano-encrusted rocks jumping up from the seabed. It was a bright blue day, and we were in our Prius, on the way to Santa Barbara for a long weekend.
“I think we need gas,” she warned.
I leaned over, glanced at the gauge, and gave my mathematically confident reply. “We have 125 miles before empty…give or take ten.”
Her expression convinced me she was unconvinced.
“We can make it to San Luis Obispo,” I explained. “I’ll drive.” Continue reading “Gas(p) Prices!”
New Hampshire has held the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries since 1920. With the first presidential “beauty contest” in 1952, our citizens have personally met the candidates and by popular ballot have declared their preference for their party’s nominee. Since 1960, Dixville has been the first community in the state and country to cast its handful of votes in national elections. On election eve 100% of the eligible voters gather in the Ballot Room of The BALSAMS. At midnight polls open and a few minutes later promptly close. The results are broadcast around the world.
—Roadside marker text…NH Route 26
It is both a privilege and a responsibility to vote. The few citizens of Dixville Notch, NH, take their franchise seriously and have gained notoriety therefrom. So, this year…will it be…”How goes Dixville Notch, so goes the nation”?
Continue reading “Dixville Notch: The First Voters”