Thursday, October 23, 2008
Eight in the morning, and I'm sitting at Starbucks about three-quarters of a mile from Paradise Volkswagen in Indio, where the Insecto Amarillo is getting new tie rods for the trip north.
Closed up my house in the desert this morning and left the keys on the table. The new owner will be moving in within the next couple hours. I drove through the security gate of that trailer park without a backward glance and no regrets, and now I'm homeless for a few days. At a time like this, as the song says, Ya gotta have friends, and fortunately I have a few.
I don't have far to go today; it's about four hours to Bakersfield, but I might be a little longer than that because I'm taking all the back roads and alternate routes I can think of, so as to avoid the fires that now rage perpetually in the LA basin during Santa Ana season.
That means I'll bypass the 10 and 210 freeways and instead take the box canyon highway up through Yucca Valley, stopping one last time at the Water Canyon Cafe, then go left on Old Woman Springs Road (California 18) heading toward the small but impossibly sprawled town of Apple Valley. After negotiating that mess, at Adelanto I'll turn right onto CA 395, a tedious two-lane stretch that connects with CA 58 about 30 miles on. Then it's westward to Bakersfield and a pleasant evening enjoying the hospitality of my friend Reuben and his wife Emma.
Friday morning we -- the Insecto and I -- will belatedly hook up with that inevitable and relentless artery, Interstate 5 and the magic carpet ride to Northern California.
I'm not saying I'll never come back to California again. I almost certainly will, when and if Rachel comes back from Australia, either to re-settle in San Francisco or close up her apartment there in preparation for emigrating. But I doubt I'll ever again see the southern part of California, which is where my life turned upside down and which I've never liked anyway, even before it acquired the aspect of ecological, economic, and cultural doom.