Monday, November 08, 2004

I-5

When driving to Los Angeles you run east on I-580 over the Altamont Pass and veer south onto I-5. If you're up and out early, it can actually be exhilarating. To top the Altamont Pass when the sun breaks over the eastern horizon lends a bit of hopeful drama to a scene that's otherwise plain. You're driving through fields of enormous windmills, probably dodging aggressively driven SUVs, and maybe even still trying to wake up. Because of the rapid growth of towns like Modesto and Tracy, you catch glimpses of suburbs (Or do they now call them exurbs?) where there were recently fields and orchards. You'll pass the exit for the infamous speedway, where the happy hippies grooved and the Hell's Angels stomped and shivved.

So far, it's all damp yellow grass and morning mist, roadside detritus of shredded truck tires, and occasional ponds of auto glass. Not very inspiring, but I tell you, to break over the pass with the sun coming up in purple shitmist over the over-developed Central Valley is weirdly uplifting.

The open road is big in America, and maybe that's all there is too it. Maybe its escaping the Bay Area that has me running my mouth about nearly anything that catches my eye. At such times, my wife lifts one sleepy eyelid, snorts, and falls back asleep. My son says, "Yeagghhhatt!" It doesn't matter. I dig it. Even though driving south on I-5. I dig it.


2 Comments:

Blogger Don said...

I dig it too, man. The open road. America was built on "I don't like it here so I'm going somewhere else." Some day. I don't care if it's a Harley or a Winnebago.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

I left the Bay Area in the early Seventies and seldom got back until the last three summers, with my wife and kid. Words like spectacular and breathtaking take on a fresh new meaning after living in Kansas for twenty-five years. I was still driving through the wind farms on the way to San Jose and the feeling hadn't left me.

6:01 AM  

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