Notes from the Roadside


Big doings in Anaheim. Lots of projects coming to conclusion at Disneyland. Especially Carsland.

No secret. I’m a fan of the open road. Out going places, seeing things I never have had the chance to see before. So, yes…  I’ll be joining folks to see the new at California Adventure soon enough.

But back to that road. I’ve had the luck or misfortune to have been through enough places that most folks never see, let alone stop and explore. And I am smart enough to say that the road opens ahead of me with plenty more of these kind of places ahead.

All kinds of places that could pass for their own versions of Radiator Springs. The kind of spot along the road where one extra customer can mean the difference between prosperity and bankruptcy. And I have been that extra customer, buying that soft drink and snack. You know, the one that after driving for several hours with nothing in sight, that makes you smile at the prospect. A stretch of the legs. And that bathroom break, with indoor plumbing.

It is possible still to drive the miles without seeing civilization. You often have to leave the Interstate and bigger highways to do it, but even in today’s world of hyperconnectivity, those stretches of roadway are out there.

The photo above is one such place. Along a portion of Santa Fe Avenue, in the middle of the San Joaquin valley, south of Merced. You can stop alongside the road and other than the railroad and the road, there is nothing. The view in all directions? Nothing. Not a sign of civilization anywhere.

And even though the area here has cell phone coverage, it is not hard to imagine one’s self years ago. Back before the phone, land line variety, was even something you could find easily. Out in spaces like this, believe it or not, rural meant just that. If you were not self sufficient, you might not have electricity or indoor plumbing. Hard to believe but some places still come close out there. Gold Point, Nevada for example.

Burning Man doesn’t come close to what I’m writing about here. Sure, it may be off the face off the planet. But anybody who has ever been to Gerlach (on purpose, mind you) can tell you that. Nope, these are the places that few people ever see. I mean few. Not 60,000 plus all gathered for an homage to dust.

The pioneer spirit? Maybe. Living off the grid? Maybe. Life without air-conditioning? Well, plenty of people do manage just fine. Give up the Internet? Not a bad idea…

But all kinds of places are still out there waiting to be seen, waiting to be found. So, start that motor and head off for the unknown. Liable to be a good cup of coffee and a nice slice of pie somewhere out there worth finding!


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